Bair Ranch Foundation Seminar Dates Announced

The Bair Ranch Foundation Seminar Dates have been announced.

The very first seminar of The Bair Ranch Foundation Seminar Series is next week, Wednesday, September 19th.  Vince Smith will give two seminars, a research/technical seminar at Noon in ABB 134 and a Community Talk at 6:00 pm in ABB 134.

There will be a reception starting at 5:30 pm in the Atrium before the Community Talk, everyone is invited.  Please share with anyone you think might like to attend.

If you have any questions please contact Carl Yeoman ( or Lance McNew (

Bair Ranch Foundation Seminar Series – Fall Semester 2018

Wednesday, September 19:

MSU Seminar @ Noon in ABB 134

Vince Smith, Professor, Department of Agricultural Economics and Economics, Montana State University

“Food Aid Cargo Preference:  Costs, Benefits and Implications for US Humanitarian Aid Efforts”


Community Talk @ 6:00 pm in ABB 134

Vince Smith, Professor, Department of Agricultural Economics and Economics, Montana State University

“US Agricultural Policy:  Where Have We Been and Where Are We Going?”



Wednesday, October 3:

MSU Seminar @ Noon in ABB 134

Kevin Ellison, Grasslands Ecologist, Northern Great Plains, World Wildlife Fund

“Landscape Scale Interactions between Birds and Agriculture”



Wednesday, October 17:

MSU Seminar @ Noon in ABB 134

Amilton de Mello, Ph.D., Nevada Meat Science Lab, University of Nevada – Reno

“Beef Industry in the U.S. – Challenges and Perspectives”


Community Talk @ 6:00 pm in ABB 134

Amilton de Mello, Ph.D., Nevada Meat Science Lab, University of Nevada – Reno

“Beef Industry in the U.S. – Challenges and Perspectives”



Wednesday, October 31:

MSU Seminar @ Noon in ABB 134

Matthew Cronin, Scientist with Northwest Biology Company

“Population Genetics of Wildlife and Livestock”



Wednesday, November 14:

MSU Seminar @ Noon in ABB 134

Matthew Spangler, Professor, Beef Genetics Specialist, University of Nebraska – Lincoln

“Genetic Selection of Livestock:  Why it Matters to You”


Community Talk @ 6:00 pm in ABB 134

Matthew Spangler, Professor, Beef Genetics Specialist, University of Nebraska – Lincoln

“Genetic Selection of Livestock:  Why it Matters to You”


New WPS Requirements for pesticide applicators

Montana pesticide applicators and owners of agricultural establishments should pay special attention to new worker protection standard requirements as of January 2018. The US EPA published a revised Agricultural Worker Protection Standard (WPS) in 2015 to better protect agricultural workers from pesticide exposure. Revisions went into effect January 2, 2017; however, Montana pesticide applicators are reminded of a few revisions that recently went into effect January 1, 2018. The following paragraphs define the new 2018 requirements while providing additional WPS resources.

Most of the revised WPS requirements became effective on January 2, 2017. Three requirements went into effect January 2, 2018:

  • Pesticide safety training must cover the expanded WPS content.
  • Pesticide safety information (posters) must meet the revised standards. Updated posters

    can be reviewed and ordered on the PERC website.

  • Handlers must suspend applications if workers or other people are in the application exclusion zone (AEZ). The AEZ refers to the area surrounding the pesticide application equipment that must be void of all persons other than appropriately trained and equipped handlers during pesticide applications. See details at the MSU PEP WPS website.

    For general information on WPS, navigate to the EPA website or view the MSU PEP website. Complete WPS manuals titled “How to Comply with the 2015 Revised Worker Protection Standard for Agricultural Pesticides: What Owners and Employers Need to Know” can be downloaded from the MSU PEP website or can be purchased from MSU Extension Distribution for $3. A manual for trainers titled: “National Worker Protection Standard: A Manual for Trainers of Agricultural Workers and Pesticide Handlers” is also available on the MSU PEP website.

    Contact Amy Bowser, MSU Pesticide Education Technician (406-994-5178; regarding WPS questions or Cecil Tharp, MSU Pesticide Education Specialist (406-994-5067; with other pesticide education questions.


    EPA WPS Website: MSU PEP WPS Website:
    PERC Website:

MSU College of Agriculture hosts first ‘College of Ag Connects’ forum Jan. 15

The Montana State University College of Agriculture and Montana Agricultural Experiment Station invite members of the agricultural community and the public to attend its first college-wide public forum, “College of Ag Connects” on Monday, Jan. 15 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The forum is slated to engage with the Montana agricultural community on current and local issues by highlighting relevant, ongoing college programs and projects in agricultural teaching, research, and Extension. Faculty from each of the college’s five academic departments will present overviews of their teaching and research, followed by a question and answer session. MSU Vice President of Agriculture Charles Boyer will deliver opening and closing remarks.

Tracy Dougher, associate dean of MSU’s College of Agriculture, said she hopes College of Ag Connects becomes an annual winter event for the college.

“As a cornerstone college of the land-grant mission at MSU, it’s important we continually provide face-to-face venues to connect with our partners and colleagues, in addition to digital means,” she said. “January is a good month to share updates on our diverse agricultural research and activity when most producers and agencies are preparing for the new year.”

College of Ag Connects will be held in Room 125 in Linfield Hall. Lunch costs $10 in MSU’s Miller Dining Hall, but the event is free and open to the public, though registration is encouraged. Registration forms can be found at  Visitors are welcome to park in university parking lots designated SB and F for the day, as Jan. 15 is a federal holiday and MSU classes will not be in session and offices will be closed.

Patrick Hatfield, head of MSU’s Department of Animal and Range Sciences, organized a similar departmental meeting in past years with great success.

“Our annual meeting with the Stillwater Range Association stakeholders in the Animal and Range Sciences Department eventually grew to include presentations from other departments in the college, and we received requests to expand the program to the entire College of Agriculture, Experiment Station and Extension,” he said. “We’re glad to do just that and hope the event is an opportunity for dialogue and feedback on our programs and research.”

Hatfield said the event is modeled after summer field days in the Department of Research Centers, where seven remote MAES research centers host a day to share programs and research.

College of Ag Connects faculty presentations are as follows:

For more information, contact Patrick Hatfield at or call 406-994-4850.


Source: MSU

Regional Pesticide Education Trainings offered across Montana in 2018

The Montana State University Pesticide Education Program (PEP) is coordinating five regional private applicator initial certification trainings across Montana. These seven-hour training opportunities are designed for individuals desiring to learn more about pesticides, while simultaneously qualifying for a Montana private applicator license. A private applicator license allows individuals to apply restricted use pesticides on land they own, rent or lease. Training opportunities are available within Northern Cheyenne Reservation (Lame Deer) on January 17th, Blackfoot Reservation (Browning) on January 30th, Stillwater County (Columbus) on February 1st, Fort Belknap Reservation (Harlem) on March 6th and Broadwater County (Three Forks) on March 15th.

Each program will cover many subject areas of interest including integrated pest management, pesticide movement in the environment, pesticide safety and toxicity, pesticide law, calibrating ground spray equipment, understanding the private applicator license, reading and understanding the pesticide product label. Montana State University and Montana Department of Agriculture trainers speaking at these events include Dr. Jane Mangold (MSU Rangeland Weed Specialist), Dr. Cecil Tharp (MSU Pesticide Education Specialist), Amy Bowser (MSU Pesticide Education Technician), Theresa Schrum (MDA District Officer), Diana DeYoung (MDA District Officer) and Michaela Hystad (MDA District Officer). Surrounding MSU Extension county and tribal agents will also be assisting with many of the presentations.

Cost and Private Applicator Credit Opportunities

The registration fee varies by location with Lame Deer ($15), Harlem (Free), Columbus ($15), Browning (Free), and Three Forks ($27). This fee (when applicable) covers necessary manuals, speaker costs, and a catered lunch. Private applicators may attend the entire program for 6 private pesticide recertification credits. Attendees will qualify for a private applicator pesticide license by attending the entire event. Once qualified, individuals may send in a new applicator permit with license payment to the Montana Department of Agriculture to attain their Montana private applicator license. Attendees are strongly urged to pre-register as space is limited. See initial pesticide training details on the following page:

Initial Training Details and Registration

Date Host Location Info Fee Registration
3/15/2018 MSU PEP

Broadwater County

Three Forks Headwaters Livestock Auction

25 Wheatland Road

Agenda $27 Online


3/6/2018 MSU PEP

Ft. Belknap Reservation


FBIC Transportation Building

258 Agency Main St.

Agenda Free Online 994-5178

2/1/2018 MSU PEP

Stillwater County

Columbus Columbus Fire and Rescue

944 E Pike Street

Agenda $15 Online 994-5178

1/30/2018 MSU PEP

Blackfeet Reservation


Glacier Peaks Hotel 46 Museum Loop

Agenda Free Online 994-5178

1/17/2018 MSU PEP

Northern Cheyenne Reservation

Lame Deer Charging Horse Casino

½ US 212

Agenda $15 Online 994-5178


Follow the links above for location-specific agendas and registration or use the full links below. • Agendas:

• Registration:

Contact Amy Bowser (406-994-5178; regarding registration questions or Cecil Tharp (406-994-5067; with other pesticide education questions.

MSU Collegiate Stockgrower Honored with Two Awards

Kamron Ratzburg, former President of the MSU Collegiate Stockgrowers, has been awarded with two prestigious awards this week. He received both the 2016 Award of Excellence for demonstrating campus leadership and his community service work, as well as the 2016 Torlief Aasheim Community Involvement Awards, the university’s top award for student service.

The “Torley” Award recognizes senior students who, in addition to excelling academically, volunteer on campus and in the community. The award was named for the late MSU alumnus Torlief “Torley” Aasheim, former director of the Montana Cooperative Extension Service and a member of the class of 1937.

The Award of Excellence honored students were nominated by faculty in their college or department. Qualified seniors must have at least a 3.5 grade point average on a 4.0 scale, as well as demonstrated campus leadership and community service.

The award-winning students each selected a mentor who was honored with them at the event.

Kamron Ratzburg from Galata is majoring in animal science. While at MSU, Kamron has served as president of the Collegiate Stockgrowers, public relations chair for the Ag Student Council and was a member of the pre-vet club. He is also a member of Collegiate Young Farmers and Ranchers, Alpha Gamma Rho Fraternity and Alpha Zeta, an honorary, professional society for students in agriculture and natural resources fields. His community service includes volunteering at a spay/neuter clinic, participating in Trick or Treat So Kids Can Eat, supporting his fraternity’s philanthropy at the Alpha Gamma Rho Testicle Festival and helping out at the FFA State Convention. In his spare time, he works on the family ranch.

We are lucky to have such amazing young members in our Collegiate Stockgrowers. We look forward to seeing where the future leads Kamron!

Montana State Ag College to Recognize Outstanding Alumni

Montana State Celebrate AgricultureThis weekend (November 6-7), Montana State University will Celebrate Agriculture with a number of events on campus to recognize contributions of the College of Agriculture and Montana’s largest industry. Friday’s events will include an Economics Outlook Conference with a number of great speakers. Read more about the included topics. Friday evening, our Collegiate Stockgrowers will host a reception at the Animal Bioscience Building beginning at 4 p.m.

Saturday’s events will include a Harvest Breakfast, recognizing several leaders and award recipients, followed by Bobcats Football taking on Southern Utah at 1:40 p.m.

MSGA is excited to share that our current President, Gene Curry, MSU alumni, will be recognized as the college’s honorary and outstanding alumni, along with Jerry Nielsen, MSU Professor Emeritus, during the college’s Celebrate Agriculture Harvest Breakfast event..

Nielsen taught at MSU from 1966-1999 and has a long history of supporting and advocating for soil science at MSU. He was also instrumental in the recent legislation naming the Scobey Soil Series as Montana’s official state soil and a newly remodeled campus soil lab.

Curry is an Animal and Range Sciences graduate of the college and manages a family cattle operation in Valier, Mont. Curry has a lengthy career of service in supporting Montana agriculture and MSU programs, evidenced by his contribution to myriad boards and committees.

MSGA congratulates both these gentlemen on their accomplishments in Montana’s agricultural community. We hope you’ll take the opportunity to thank them and take part in the MSU Celebrate Ag events in Bozeman this week.

Fire Effects in the Northern Great Plains

Heat Duration In MinutesInformation provided by Dr. Mark Petersen of the Fort Keogh Livestock and Range Research Laboratory in Miles City.

Fire and grazing are natural and important processes in maintaining grasslands in the Great Plains and elsewhere.  Active fire suppression has in fact been recognized as a key disruptive force in rangeland ecosystem integrity throughout the world.  Fire’s ecological effects are numerous and complex.  Fire can manipulate nutrient dynamics, soils, vegetation, and animals.

Primary factors affecting community response are timing, frequency, and intensity of fire relative to the biology of organisms examined.  Fire effects on total plant productivity in the northern Great Plains are neutral to positive.  Native perennial grass productivity generally increases following fire.  Neutral responses in total productivity occur when increases in native perennial grasses are offset by reductions in annual grasses and forbs, which are predominantly non-native and non-preferred species.  Fire causes an immediate reduction of standing dead material and litter.  The combustion of standing dead material is a loss of forage in the near term.  The reduction in litter can alter light and moisture relations at the soil surface, promoting increased productivity and discouraging establishment of non-native species.  Reduction of standing dead material and litter as well as improved forage quality of new growth also attract grazers to burned sites.

Fire Season Effect on Brome Density
Response to fire can be species-specific, allowing targeted control of native weeds, such as purple threeawn, pricklypear cactus and juniper.  Invasive non-native weeds, such as annual bromes are also susceptible to selective control with fire and fire can kill seeds of some noxious invasive species.

Fire has even been shown to selectively control pest grasshopper species.   As an evolutionary process, fire cannot be substituted with any other management option.

Fire Effects on Weed Seed EmergenceThe dominant perennial grasses in the northern Great Plains are resistant to fire.  Western wheatgrass, threadleaf sedge, needle-and-thread, and blue grama were exposed to fires with a wide range of fuel loads (up to 8020 lb/ac) and hot, dry weather to determine the probability of fire-induced mortality.  No western wheatgrass or threadleaf sedge died.  To reach a 0.5 probability of mortality for needle-and-thread and blue grama, surface temperatures  exceeding lethal limits had to last 10.5 and 7.5 minutes, which required more than 7100 lb/ac of fuel.  Most combustion in grassland fuels is completed in 30 seconds to 2.5 minutes and fuel loads in the northern Great Plains are typically 600-2700 lb/ac.

Species such as Japanese brome can be reduced by fire through direct mortality of exposed plants and seeds, and indirect reduction through alterations in the microenvironment that reduce successful germination and establishment.  Established perennial weeds with protected buds, such as leafy spurge, are not harmed by fire, but seeds near the soil surface, in the litter, or in the canopy can be quite vulnerable to fire-induced mortality.

Heat Effects on EggsAs with plant species, animals are directly and indirectly affected by fire.  For example, ticks and grasshoppers that are in the plant litter or canopy  experience direct mortality from fire.

Additionally, we have shown some of the primary pest grasshopper species can be selectively controlled with fire.  Migratory grasshoppers show little egg mortality because they lay eggs deeply in the soil, whereas white-whiskered grasshoppers lay their eggs near the soil surface and commonly show 86% mortality.

Fire Ecology References available upon request. Email