Cattlewomen to host second “Urban Meets Rural” tour June 23

The Fallon Creek Cattlewomen of the Ismay, Mont., area invite their urban friends and neighbors to an afternoon in the country full of ranch tours, activities and a beef barbecue on Saturday, June 23.

Hosted on the Griffin Ranch 40 miles east of Miles City, the activities will start at 2 p.m. with wagon tours to learn about the cattle and farming operations of the Griffin family. Following the tour will be games and activities for the entire family. Wrapping up the day is a steak fry and full-course meal.

The entire “Urban Meets Rural” tour is offered free of charge to those interested in learning more about how ranchers raise healthy, sustainable beef and care for the land. Registration and additional details are available through by searching for “Urban Meets Rural.” Allow approximately an hour travel time to the ranch from Miles City. The route includes 31 miles of paved highway and nine miles of gravel county road. In the event of rain, the event will be canceled.

Attendees are asked to register by June 20. For more information call or text Pam Griffin at 406.951.1006, or email her at

Stockgrowers Continue Tradition, Host Mid Year in Miles City

MSGA Directors Jim Steinbeisser and Jack Holden in the Parade in Downtown Miles City

MSGA Directors Jim Steinbeisser and Jack Holden in the Parade in Downtown Miles City

The 2014 Montana Stockgrowers Association (MSGA) Mid-Year Meeting drew over 300 ranchers from across the state for policy meetings and MSGA’s annual Ranch Tour. The meeting also hosted several events for the community, including a concert with the Bellamy Brothers, an All-Horse/Livestock Parade through downtown, and the Miles City Ranch Rodeo.

Here are some of the highlights from the 2014 MSGA Mid-Year Meeting:

-Opening General Session featured Bob McCan, Texas Cattleman and President of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association. McCan discussed several issues affecting Montana ranchers today. The NCBA continues working on rancher’s behalf including the EPA’s Waters of the U.S. proposed ruling, and foreign trade opportunities.

-The 2014 MSGA Ranch Tour began at the Fort Keogh Livestock and Range Research Center where ranchers learned more about the Center’s research work with forage establishment, cow longevity and grazing recovery following range fires. MSGA then traveled to the Range Riders Museum and WaterWorks Art Museum. Finally, the tour traveled to OptiBlend Industries to learn about work in the oil and gas fields, which has a large impact on the economy in Eastern Montana.

The Stockgrowers Ford at Mac's Ford in Miles City

The Stockgrowers Ford at Mac’s Ford in Miles City

-Following the Ranch Tour, a delicious dinner was served at the Eastern Montana Fairgrounds. MSGA’s Research and Education Endowment Foundation (REEF) awarded Ariel Overstreet-Adkins of Helena the 2014 MSGA Educational Heritage Scholarship and held a fund-raiser auction to benefit education programs. The auction included a commissioned painting by local artist David Graham and a saddle donated in memory of the late-Shawn Pilster. The saddle garnered over $10,000 for REEF programs in a rollover auction.

-The community of Miles City also joined in on the Mid Year festivities. On Friday night, the Bellamy Brothers came to the Eastern Montana Fairgrounds for a well-attended concert opened by Copper Mountain Band. On Saturday morning, prior to the Miles City Ranch Rodeo, Stockgrowers hosted an All-Horse/Livestock parade through downtown.

-Two interim policies were passed through during committee meetings on Friday and Saturday mornings. The Beef Production & Marketing Committee passed interim policy in opposition of proposed importation of beef products from Brazil due to concerns of Foot and Mouth Disease being brought to the U.S. The Land Use & Environment Committee passed interim policy regarding the Montana Water Court, encouraging the completion of adjudication.

Ranchers in Policy Meetings at Miles Community College

Ranchers in Policy Meetings at Miles Community College

-The Membership Development & Services Committee passed a new dues structure that will allow Montana’s small ranchers to join MSGA through a fair-share dues structure. Rancher dues for those owning 1-60 head of cattle are now set at $75. Higher due levels are set for those ranchers owning larger numbers of cattle as a part of the dues structure.

-The Young Stockgrowers held a meeting on Thursday afternoon with five featured speakers. Topics ranged from changes in antibiotic use in livestock, soil management, land appraisals, market outlooks and advocacy.

-Mid-Year photos can be seen on MSGA’s Flickr page –

-Plans are already underway for MSGA’s Annual Convention and Trade Show, which will be held Dec. 11-13 in Billings at the Holiday Inn Grand Montana. Watch for more information to be announced at

130th Mid-Year Meeting in Miles City Brings Concert, Parade and Ranch Rodeo

Montana Stockgrowers 2014 Mid-Year Meeting Miles CityHold on to your hats and kick up your heels because the 130th Montana Stockgrowers Association Mid-Year Meeting in Miles City promises to be a weekend to remember, June 13-14. This year’s event will be highlighted by an amazing concert on Friday night featuring The Bellamy Brothers and opening act Copper Mountain Band!

“Miles City is very excited about the opportunity to host MSGA’s 130th Mid-Year and we look forward to a great meeting and events,” says Fred Wacker, MSGA Board of Directors member and rancher from the Miles City area. “In addition to Friday night’s concert, Mid-Year attendees will be treated to a horse parade in downtown, followed by the ranch rodeo on Saturday afternoon.”

RSVP in the Facebook event and keep up with the conversation by using #MSGA14 online!

Mid-Year is one of two major meetings MSGA holds annually where members will gather to discuss the issues facing Montana ranching families and set interim policy to guide the association through the rest of the year. Policy and Committee meetings this year will be hosted at the Miles City Community College.

Opening General Session on Friday morning will include an address by current president of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and Texas cattleman, Bob McCann. A ranch tour on Friday afternoon will include stops at Fort Keogh Livestock and Range Research Laboratory, Range Riders Museum, WaterWorks Art Museum, and OptiBlend Industries.

Everyone is welcomed to join us on Friday, June 13th for an amazing concert featuring The Bellamy Brothers at the Eastern Montana Fairgrounds! The Bellamy Brothers have received nearly every music award there is to have, and they even hold the record in both the Academy of Country Music and the Country Music Association for the most duo nominations.  They have written countless worldwide hits, crossed the globe just as their music has crossed genres, brought reggae to the Grand Ole Opry, and recorded 45 albums.

The concert will also bring in Copper Mountain Band as the opening act, a high-energy country music group from the great state of Montana. With a fiery passion for their craft and an appeal to all audiences, they incorporate music from many genres and styles into their performances.

Saturday, June 14th will bring more fun and excitement as attendees finish policy meetings, enjoy an Old Times All-Horse/Livestock Parade, grab a bite to eat at the Young Stockgrowers Tailgate Luncheon, and then head off to cheer on their favorite teams at the Miles City Ranch Rodeo!

A block of rooms has been reserved at the Holiday Inn, Comfort Inn, and Sleep Inn. Discounted rates start at $90 and must be reserved by May 5th. For more information about MSGA’s 2014 Mid-Year Meeting, contact MSGA’s office at (406) 442-3420 or join the Facebook event. Registration packets are available online at received before June 2 will receive discount pricing.

Montana Dietetics Intern Pasture to Plate Tour

Pasture to Plate – Montana Dietetic Intern Tour

Lisa Murray Montana Beef CouncilLisa Murray RD, Montana Beef Council

Meeting a beef producer, stepping into his pastures and touring the ranch, isn’t the everyday norm for the dietetic intern students at Montana State University. Yet for these soon to be Registered Dietitians (RD) and nutrition experts, recently they followed the “life of a steak” at the Stovall Ranch in Billings.

Most of today’s consumers are several generations removed from rural America and two-thirds of consumers do not know a farmer or rancher. This disconnect results in a lack of understanding and in some cases an acceptance of misinformation, about food production and agricultural practices. More and more consumers are asking “Where does my food come from?”

For the 20 MSU dietetic interns, the ranch became the classroom during a “pasture to plate” tour of Montana’s beef chain. A majority of the interns had never been on a farm or ranch before, but were very eager to learn more about the beef industry and how cattle are raised.

While at the Stovall ranch, the students heard from ranch owner, Turk Stovall, about the lifecycle of cattle and how their operation works. Some of the topics Turk discussed and showed the students were cattle nutrition, taking care of a sick animal, the importance of record keeping, artificial insemination, calving, cattle breeds, water, pasture rotation, and haying.

“I will never complain about how much work I have to do or how tired I am,” stated one of the students during a point in the tour when Turk mentioned that he had been up since 2:30 a.m. to bale hay.

The tour connected the dots of the beef value chain from farm to plate. The students learned about farming and ranching practices, sustainability, food safety and nutrition from Turk Stovall, Jude Capper PhD – Beef Sustainability Consultant and myself. The students also engaged in professional development with Daren Williams, Executive Director of Communication for NCBA, who focused on tips and techniques for a successful media interview.

After the tour, 100% of the students stated their knowledge of beef nutrition and how to incorporate beef into all types of diets was increased and 75% of the students stated the tour increased their knowledge of how cattle are raised. “Ranchers are great, honest and hardworking people, I always thought that but to see it was amazing” said one of the dietetic students.

Montana Dietetics Intern Pasture to Plate Tour