RANCHER RESOURCES

NCBA Releases Resources for Livestock Grazing on Public Lands During an FMD Outbreak

NCBA and the American Sheep Industry Association (ASI), through funding from USDA National Animal Disease Preparedness and Response Program (NADPRP), developed movement criteria guidance for federal lands ranchers in the event of a foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) outbreak. In the past, these resources were tailored only to livestock on private land with gaps in specific recommendations for those who raise cattle and sheep on grazing allotments. These resources are now available on the Secure Beef Supply website under the Public Land Grazing tab.
Why it matters: For the first time, there are resources specific for the movement of cattle onpublic lands during an FMD outbreak, which further strengthens our foreign animal disease preparedness efforts. There are many unique challenges federal lands ranchers face that were not previously addressed in the Secure Beef Supply Plan but now there is guidance for all producers across the country.

UPCOMING EVENTS

The next Montana Board of Livestock meeting will be held on Tuesday, May 28, 2024 from 8:00 am – 5:00 pm in the Montana Department of Livestock Conference Room #319, Scott Hart Building, 301 N. Roberts, Helena, MT.

THE PUBLIC IS WELCOME TO ATTEND THIS MEETING IN PERSON, BUT ATTENDANCE WILL ALSO BE AVAILABLE VIRTUALLY BY ZOOM. PLEASE NOTE THAT THE MEETING WILL BE LIVE-STREAMED ON THE BOL WEBSITE.

The agenda will be posted to the Department of Livestock website at liv.mt.gov soon. For instructions on how to join the meeting virtually or, if you would like a printed copy of the agenda, please call 406-444-9321 or email at [email protected].

Join us June 11-13, 2024, in Miles City, Montana for the 406Grazing Academy; a 3-day hands-on workshop for ranchers wanting to sharpen their skills for solving grazing management challenges on their ranch. The event will feature a field day, educational speakers, and hands-on learning opportunities. Workshop cost is $200 per person and includes educational materials, monitoring kit, dinner and lunch all 3 days. Participants are responsible for travel and hotel costs. A limited number of scholarships to assist those interested in attending are available through the Montana Rural Employment Opportunities (REO) program; for additional details on REO visit https://reomontana.org/. A block of rooms has been reserved at The Miles City Inn & Suites, use code: 406 Grazing Academy to reserve your room. Room block and event registration both end 4/26/2024. Class size is limited, so register today!

If you need assistance registering, contact Stacey Barta at (406) 594-8481  
or Shantell Martin at (406) 531-4584.  

Register for 406 Grazing Academy

Registration is open for the Montana Range Tour that will be held June 20, 2024, in Stanford, MT. This educational event will feature a tour of the 2023 Leopold Conservation Award winners, Kurt & PJ Myllymaki’s ranching operation. The MontanaRange Tour is an educational field day for ranchers desiring to learn from others who are leaders in implementing innovative on-the-ground grazing and agricultural practices. The cost of MRT registration is $65 per person and includes the tour, presentations, a banquet breakfast, and lunch. Transportation from Lewistown to Stanford is also provided. Event registration ends 5/27/2024.

If you need assistance registering, contact Stacey Barta at (406) 594-8481  or Shantell Martin at (406) 531-4584.  

Register for Montana Range Tour

STATE/FEDERAL PROGRAMS

Society for Range Management to Recognize Ranchers for Stewardship Efforts

The Society for Range Management (SRM) recently established the Chuck Jarecki Rancher Land Stewardship Award thanks to a generous donation by its namesake, Montana rancher Chuck Jarecki. The award was created to recognize ranch operators who demonstrate outstanding rangeland stewardship and contribute to the ranching profession through local, state, and national service. Since SRM’s formation in 1948, ranchers have played a critical role in the organization and those who exemplify the founding principles of SRM will now have the opportunity to be recognized for their dedication to the land.

“If you are like most ranchers, you are a livestock manager plus a steward of the land,” Jarecki said. “I believe each is of equal importance.”

As a SRM life member, joining in 1967, Jarecki found much benefit in his membership including learning opportunities, research promotion, and connection with other like-minded range enthusiasts. He led the International Mountain Section of SRM, served on the Society’s Board of Directors, and was instrumental in creating an Endowment Development Fund. His recent gift to SRM was just one more example of his devotion to not only the Society but the stewardship of rangelands based on sound ecological principles – a pillar of SRM’s mission.

“For more than 50 years Chuck Jarecki has been a leader in SRM and it is with much appreciation that we accept the generous endowment that he has donated to develop this new Rancher Land Stewardship Award in his name,” SRM 1st Vice President Karen Hickman said. “While working with Chuck through the development of this award it became very clear to me that his drive to recognize excellence in land stewardship is only one aspect of his contribution to rangeland management and the SRM. We are so fortunate to have members like Chuck who want to provide more opportunities for excellent range management to be recognized.”

The Chuck Jarecki Rancher Land Stewardship Award will be a cash award whose recipient is an active ranch owner or operator with a lengthy record of successful ranch management. Evaluation of award candidates will be generally based on evidence of rangeland stewardship practices, including effective grazing, soil, vegetation, noxious weed, and fish/wildlife habitat management, for example. Special consideration will be given to those who participate in community activities, especially those in service and/or leadership roles to benefit natural resources. Membership in SRM is not a requirement for award eligibility.

Nominations for the Award will open in March of 2024 and the first recipient will be honored at the 2025 SRM Annual Meeting in Spokane, Washington.

About SRM: The International Society for Range Management is the professional scientific society and conservation organization whose members study, conserve, manage and sustain the varied resources of the rangelands which include prairie, shrublands, woodlands, and savannahs which cover nearly half the land on earth. SRM’s members are land managers, scientists, educators, students, ranchers and conservationists – a diverse membership guided by a professional code of ethics and unified by a strong land ethic. Learn more at rangelands.org.

Livestock Loss Prevention Grants

Once again Montana’s Livestock Loss Board is accepting lossprevention grant applications. Applications are due by 5:00 p.m. on May 31st. Board members will be meeting sometime during the last week of June to award the grants. For the first time in many years the board has adequate funding for larger projects. Because of this we encourage people thinking about starting a carcass removal project to do so this year. If it is for a carcass removal site, please include state or county required permits.

Fill out every section of the grant form. It a section doesn’t apply to your specific request put n/a in that area. Incomplete applications will be rejected. Make sure the grant supplement if filled out for every ranch participating in your program. Livestockper-capita will be checked and must be current for either the applicant or for the ranches participating with an applicant. Failure to be current on per-capita will cause a grant application to be denied. New this year is additional reporting requirements for grants related to range riders. Please be sure you can comply with the new requirements. They are listed in the application.

We will notify grant applicants of the day the board meeting will occur and encourage applicants to attend the meeting. A meeting date will be set early in June.

FWP accepting applications from landowners forBlock Management Program

HELENA – Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks is accepting applications from landownerswho are interested in participating in the 2024 Block Management Program. Application deadline is June 1.

Through the Block Management Program, landowners and FWP work together to help manage wildlife and public hunting activities on enrolled lands. Landowners and FWPenter into voluntary agreements that determine how hunting will be conducted on the landowner’s property. Items such as permission requirements, times when permission will be granted, hunting opportunities provided and vehicle use are a few examples of what is covered in an agreement.

Block Management offers various benefits to landowners enrolled in the program. These benefits include assistance of FWP staff to help monitor hunting activities, compensation to help offset impacts associated with allowing public hunting, wildlife management, a free subscription to Montana Outdoors magazine and a complimentary, non-transferable sportsman or big game combination (nonresident) license. Landowners do not relinquish any rights by enrolling and are covered by Montana’s recreational liability statute as well as livestock loss reimbursement, both of which are extended to landowners who allow access at no charge.

For more information or to receive an application packet, go to fwp.mt.gov/hunt/landownerprograms/blockmanagement, contact your local biologist, warden or FWP regional access manager or contact the Parks and Outdoor Recreation Division’s main office at 406-444-3750 or email [email protected].

Montana Student Loan Assistance Program Preserves Family Farms and Ranches

College-educated ag producers can apply for up to five years of student loan assistance

Applications are due June 3, 2024

HELENA, Mont. – The Montana Department of Agriculture’s (MDA) Student Loan Assistance Program is now accepting applications. Established during the 2019 legislative session, this program provides student loan assistance to Montana’s college-educated youth pursuing careers in farming or ranching.

“The Student Loan Assistance Program seeks to relieve the financial stress facing our young producers so that they can focus their energies on raising some of the world’s highest quality commodities and carrying forward Montana’s agricultural traditions,” said MDA Director Christy Clark. “And when we can keep a family ranch in family hands, that is a success for Montana agriculture.”

Qualified farmers and ranchers are eligible for student loan assistance through the program for up to five years. Applicants must be a Montana resident designated as the primary owner, heir, successor or assignee of a farm or ranch in Montana that obtained their associated or baccalaureate degree(s) from a Montana college or university and have agreed to operate their farm or ranch for at least five years.

Applications are due June 3rd, 2024, and can be submitted through WebGrants. Full program guidelines are available on the department’s website at agr.mt.gov/Student-Loan-Assistance-Program.

The Montana Department of Agriculture is serving Montana Agriculture and growing prosperity under the Big Sky. For more information on department programs and services, visit agr.mt.gov.

Junior Ag Loans Available Through the Montana Department of Agriculture

HELENA, Mont. – For over 40 years, Montana youth have participated in the Montana Department of Agriculture’s (MDA) Junior Agriculture Loan Program. Young people under 21 years of age, active in Montana agriculture, are eligible for loans up to $8,500 and are encouraged to apply.

“With the average age of farmers and ranchers being nearly 60 years old, it’s important we do what we can to encourage the next generation to stay involved in agriculture,” said Director Christy Clark. “The Junior Ag Loan Program is a great way for young producers to access financing for a project they are passionate about.”

The Montana Junior Agriculture Loan Program was developed to assist rural youth in developing or expanding agribusiness projects. Projects can involve crop and livestock production, custom farming, marketing and distribution, processing, and other financially feasible activities.

Program benefits can far exceed the actual loan for active participant. Many young men and women unable to secure conventional financing due to age, or inadequate collateral or have used the program to establish financing experience and to advance their project’s monetary value.

Applications for the program and other information, can be found on the Department’s website at: https://agr.mt.gov/JuniorAgricultureLoans.

The Montana Department of Agriculture is serving Montana Agriculture and growing prosperity under the Big Sky. For more information on department programs and services, visit agr.mt.gov.

The Montana Master Hunter Program provides advanced hunter education that increases skills, competence, ethical behavior, and knowledge of agriculture and stewardship.

One Montana (1MT) launched the Master Hunter Program to help the State of Montana and private landowners improve wildlife management efforts by restoring the cooperation between hunters, private landowners, and game managers.

Find more info at www.mtmasterhunter.com

Comprehensive Water Review

Dedicated website is live now!

A website dedicated to the Comprehensive Water Review has been launched. The site details each of the identified key challenges and provides a single place for the public to learn more about upcoming events, find information, receive updates, and submit comments or questions.

Montana Rural Employment Opportunities

Because REO believes that everyone should have the opportunity for economic independence,

  • creates employment opportunities,
  • educates individuals, families and communities,
  • advocates for the elimination of poverty.

Rural Employment Opportunities (REO) provides outreach and services in all of Montana’s 56 counties to more than 400 adults and 900 children each year as they struggle to support themselves and their families. Through REO, Montana’s agricultural workers have access to educational programs to complete their high school credentials, children’s educational programs,  job training, and college certificates or degrees.  These opportunities lead to full-time employment, improved family income, and greater economic security.

Supporting Montana Agricultural Families

REO supports agricultural workers and their families with:

  • Job search, placement and growth.
  • Employment security and wage advancement.
  • Funding for tuition, books and other related training costs

REO is an Equal Opportunity Employer/Program and abides by all federal and state EOC regulations and laws.  Equal Opportunity is the law.  Program financed 100% with federal funds of $699,452 with 0% nongovernmental funds.

 

REO has operated this federal Department of Labor grant for over 30 years, serving farmworkers and their families across the state of Montana.  Through this grant, REO offers opportunities for farm workers, and/or their qualifying family members, to improve their earning capacity in agriculture or other career paths through education and training. REO staff members work closely with participants, helping them determine the best way to reach their educational and employment goals. The goal of the program is economic self-sufficiency and wages that allow workers to support and sustain their families.

Participants may choose to attend a vocational, technical, or trade school for short-term job training, work-related certification programs, college courses, or participate in an on-the-job training program or apprenticeship program. They may also work with REO for direct placement into the workforce. In addition, REO is able to support each participant with needed items for training or new employment such as tuition assistance, books, laptops, fuel vouchers, work clothing, and/or tools to help reach their goals.

We have updated our website at www.reomontana.org.  On Facebook, we have pages for “Rural Employment Opportunities”, “REO Southwest Montana”, “REO Northwest & North Central Montana”, and “REO Eastern Montana”.

Online Modules Now Available for Calf Care and Quality Assurance Program

DENVER, May 11, 2022 – Farmers and ranchers raising calves now have access to the free Calf Care and Quality Assurance (CCQA) program online at www.calfcareqa.org. CCQA promotes a way of thinking that prompts calf raisers to approach management decisions with thoughtfulness and an appreciation for the responsibility they have to their animals, consumers, the environment and the broader cattle industry in the United States.

“Healthy calves are the cornerstone of every beef, dairy and veal facility,” said Trey Patterson, Wyoming rancher and chair of the Beef Quality Assurance Advisory Group. “Committing to calf health management is the right thing to do for calves, producers and consumers, and completing CCQA’s online modules is an easy way to demonstrate that commitment.”

The program was developed with an understanding of the diversity of calf-raising enterprises, being science and outcomes based while maintaining facility type and size neutrality. While the practices identified in the animal care reference manual are not the only practices that can meet the desired outcomes, the program provides a framework that serves as a resource for anyone working in the calf-raising industry. In addition to the manual, online modules and self-assessment tools, CCQA will release an audit tool later this year. Completion of the CCQA online modules provides certification equivalent to Beef Quality Assurance certification.

Certification through CCQA helps ensure optimal calf health and welfare and is the first, collaborative educational tool that provides guidelines for calf raisers. The CCQA program is a joint initiative led by NCBA’s Beef Checkoff-funded Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) program and the National Dairy Farmers Assuring Responsible Management (FARM) program, managed by the National Milk Producer’s Federation (NMPF) with support from the Dairy Calf and Heifer Association, and the Beef Checkoff-funded Veal Quality Assurance (VQA) program.

“Certification programs such as CCQA establish guidelines and standards that help earn the public’s trust, demonstrating that beef and dairy producers share their values and are committed not only to quality animal care, but also to ensuring safe, wholesome meat and milk,” said Patterson.

For more information, visit www.calfcareqa.org.

Montana Meat & Poultry Inspection Bureau Cooperative Interstate Shipping Program FAQ

Find more info at www.liv.mt.gov

Question:        What is the Cooperative Interstate Shipment (CIS) Program?
Answer:           The CIS program allows selected “state inspected” establishments to ship their selected products across state lines. This program is voluntary.

Question:        Who can apply for CIS?
Answer:           Any licensed establishment who has had a state Grant of Inspection for at least 90 days and has no more than 25 employees. The establishment needs a satisfactory Food Safety Assessment on record with no outstanding issues and the ability to take measures to completely separate CIS inspected products from all other activities with the establishment.

Question:        Who may not apply for CIS?
Answer:           Any establishment under USDA Grant of inspection. Any state inspected facility with over 25 employees.

Question:        I currently have a custom processing plant. Can I join CIS?
Answer:           Yes, however, you will need to maintain a state grant of inspection for 90 days before applying to enter the CIS program.

Question:        I am an eligible plant owner, what should I do first?
Answer:           Refer to FSIS Directive 5740.1 which describes the CIS process.

Question:        What regulations should I review before requesting the on-site visit?
Answer:           FSIS Directive 5740.1: Cooperative Interstate Shipment Program

9 CFR Part 313: Humane Handling of Livestock

9 CFR part 416: Sanitation

9 CFR Part 417: Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points

9 CFR Part 500: Rules of Practice

*For plants with poultry* 9 CFR Part 381: Poultry Products Inspection Regulations

Question:        What will the process involve?
Answer:           The basics will include:

        • Review of establishments hazard analysis and HACCP plans for all applicable processes
        • Review of recall plan, food defense plan and labels.
        • Onsite review of facility will be completed by state inspection staff.
        • Entrance meeting with USDA official will be scheduled to review: employee numbers, labels, facilities and equipment and product processes to finalize establishment is able to meet basic requirements.
        • If requirements are not met the representative will discuss with plant and state inspection staff what is necessary for eligibility. If USDA standards are not met by the second visit the establishment may not reapply for one year.

Question:        Once I am in the CIS program, where can I ship my products?
Answer:           Anywhere within the United States.

Question:        Who will be my inspector if I enter this program?
Answer:           A state of Montana Department of Livestock inspector will still be the regular inspector. A federal inspector will conduct less frequent, unscheduled inspections as well.

Question:        Who can I contact if I have additional questions?
Answer:           Interested facilities should contact the Department of Livestock at 406-444-5202 or [email protected].

Additional information regarding the CIS Program can be found at:
https://www.fsis.usda.gov/inspection/apply-grant-inspection/state-inspection-programs/cooperative-interstate-shipping-program

COMMENT OPPORTUNITIES

SCHOLARSHIPS & INTERNSHIPS

JOB POSTINGS

The Public Lands Council is seeking a Director of Government Affairs to join the team in Washington, D.C. This role will work across natural resources priority areas to advocate for grazing permittees’ and lessees’ needs to Congress, the Administration, and industry stakeholder groups. This role concurrently serves in the same capacity for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association on the natural resources policy team.

The application period is open now: https://jobs.keldair.com/ncba/jobs/81086/director-government-affairs-and-public-lands-council

Drought HUB

MSGA is committed to keeping its members up-to-date on drought related information and resources. As our members work to find solutions during this challenging time, resources and information will be posted on this information hub as they become available.

Take Action

MSGA encourages its members to engage in the public comment process and has developed the Take Action page as an opportunity for you to be involved in the decision-making process happening within federal and state agencies.

White Papers

White papers, or position papers, outline MSGA’s position on a variety of issues impacting Montana ranching families. Read to find out where MSGA stands based on membership-led policy.

In the News

Keep up with everything happening within MSGA and agriculture industry all in one place!

MONTANA AG SAFETY PROGRAM

THE MONTANA AG SAFETY PROGRAM WILL… 

  • Help your operation be in compliance with the Montana Safety Culture Act with trainings and resources 
  • Provide one-on-one safety consultations 
  • Assist with creating custom safety plans tailored to your operation 

Accidents disrupt lives and could cost you your business. Learn how to protect your legacy through good safety practices. Safety is no accident!

Members are eligible for a partial premium return on their State Fund Workers’ Compensation Insurance Policy. 

MONTANA SAFTEY CULTURE ACT (MSCA) REQUIREMENTS

Every employer shall establish, implement, and maintain an education based training program that shall at a minimum:

  • Provide general safety orientation to all employees and volunteers before work starts
  • Complete job or task specific training appropriate for employees before performing the work
  • Have continual refreshers
  • Develop awareness and appreciation for safety
  • Do periodic self-inspections and assessments
  • Keep documentation of meetings, trainings, accidents, procedures, and policies for 3 years

Emergency Disaster Resources

USDA Expands Eligibility, Enhances Benefits for Key Disaster Programs

Contact:
[email protected]

Policy changes will help more producers recover from natural disasters

WASHINGTON, Jan. 10, 2023 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) made updates to several conservation, livestock and crop disaster assistance programs to give more farmers, ranchers, and tribes the opportunity to apply for and access programs that support recovery following natural disasters.  Specifically, USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) expanded eligibility and enhanced available benefits for a suite of its programs. These updates will provide critical assistance to producers who need to rebuild and recover after suffering catastrophic losses of production and infrastructure due to natural disasters.

FSA has updated the following programs: The Emergency Conservation Program (ECP), the Emergency Forest Restoration Program (EFRP), the Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees, and Farm-raised Fish (ELAP), the Livestock Forage Disaster Program (LFP), the Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP) and the Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP).

“As I meet with producers across the country, I have gained a better understanding of the ways in which our programs work—and the ways in which they can be improved to better support all producers, especially those who are working to rebuild their operations after a disaster,” said FSA Administrator Zach Ducheneaux. “This set of updates to our disaster assistance programs reflects FSA’s commitment to listening to producers and responding to their needs wherever we have the authorities to do so. We are confident that these changes will increase the both the accessibility and efficacy of our disaster assistance programs, consistent with our goal to build equity into the fabric of our work at the FSA.”

Conservation Disaster Assistance Updates

FSA updated ECP to:

  • Allow producers who lease Federally owned or managed lands, including tribal trust land, as well as State land the opportunity to participate.
  • Provide advance payments, up to 25% of the cost, for all ECP practices before the restoration is carried out, an option that was previously only available for fence repair or replacement. The cost-share payment must be spent within 60 days.

Additionally, Congress also authorized the Federal government to pay 100% of the ECP and EFRP cost for damage associated with the Hermit’s Peak/Calf Canyon Fire in New Mexico. This fire burned over 340,000 acres from April 2022 to June 2022 and was the largest wildfire in recorded history in New Mexico. ECP and EFRP cost-share assistance is typically capped at 75%.  This policy change for 100% cost-share applies only to those locations impacted by the Hermit’s Peak/Calf Canyon Fire.

ECP and EFRP provide financial and technical assistance to restore conservation practices like fencing, damaged farmland or forests.

Livestock Disaster Assistance Updates

FSA also expanded eligible livestock under ELAP, LFP and LIP. Specifically, horses maintained on eligible grazing land are eligible for ELAP, LFP and LIP. Many family farms and ranches use their forage to raise horses to augment their other agriculture endeavors. FSA recognizes that animals maintained in a commercial agriculture operation, add value to the operation and could be available for marketing from the farm. FSA regulations have been updated to include these animals as eligible livestock

Horses and other animals that are used or intended to be used for racing and wagering remain ineligible.

Ostriches are also now eligible for LFP and ELAP. FSA is making this change because ostriches satisfy more than 50% of their net energy requirement through the consumption of growing forage grasses and legumes and are therefore considered “grazing animals”.

This change for ostriches is effective for the 2022 program year for both LFP and ELAP. ELAP requires a notice of loss to be filed with FSA within 30 days of when the loss is first apparent.  Because this deadline may have passed for 2022, FSA is extending the deadline for filing notices of loss through March 31, 2023.

LIP and ELAP reimburses producers for a portion of the value of livestock, poultry and other animals that died as a result of a qualifying natural disaster event or for loss of grazing acres, feed and forage. LFP provides benefits for grazing losses due to drought and eligible wildfires on federally managed lands.

Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance

NAP provides financial assistance to producers of non-insurable crops when low yields, loss of inventory or prevented planting occur due to natural disasters. Basic NAP coverage is equivalent to the catastrophic level risk protection plan of insurance coverage, which is based on the amount of loss that exceeds 50% of expected production at 55% of the average market price for the crop.

Previously, to be eligible for NAP coverage, a producer had to submit an application (Form CCC-471) for NAP coverage on or before the application closing date. For 2022, if a producer has a Socially Disadvantaged, Limited Resource, Beginning and Veteran Farmer or Rancher Certification (Form CCC-860) on file with FSA, it will serve as an application for basic coverage for all eligible crops having a 2022 application closing date and all NAP-related service fees for basic coverage will be waived for these producers.

FSA will notify all eligible producers who already have the CCC-860 certification form on file of their eligibility for NAP basic coverage for 2022. To potentially receive NAP assistance, producers who suffered losses due to natural disasters in 2022 should file an acreage report as well as a notice of loss with the FSA at their local Service Center.

Producers who are interested in obtaining NAP coverage for 2023 and subsequent years should also contact their local FSA county office for information on eligibility, coverage options and applying for coverage.

Reporting Losses

Producers impacted by a natural disaster should report losses and damages and file an application with their FSA county office. Timelines for reporting losses and applying for payments differ by program.

For LIP and ELAP, producers will need to file a Notice of Loss for livestock and grazing or feed losses within 30 days and honeybee losses within 15 days. For LFP, producers must provide a completed application for payment and required supporting documentation to their FSA office within 30 calendar days after the end of the calendar year in which the grazing loss occurred.

For NAP, producers should contact their local FSA office for guidelines on submitting a notice of loss and filing an acreage certification.

More Information

The updates to these programs build on other Biden-Harris administration efforts to improve disaster assistance programs, including additional flexibility in obtaining Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP) basic coverage for socially disadvantaged, beginning, limited resource and veteran farmers and ranchers.

Previous enhancement to the ELAP provide program benefits to producers of fish raised for food and other aquaculture species as well as cover above normal expenses for transporting livestock to forage and grazing acres and transport feed to livestock impacted by qualifying drought. And earlier updates to the LIP payment rates better reflect the true market value of non-adult beef, beefalo, bison and dairy animals.

Yesterday, FSA announced it would begin accepting applications for the Emergency Relief Program (ERP) Phase Two and the new Pandemic Assistance Revenue Program (PARP) on Jan. 23, 2023, through June 2, 2023. ERP Phase Two is designed to fill gaps in the delivery of program benefits not covered in ERP Phase One and improves equity in program delivery to underserved producers.  PARP will help address gaps in previous pandemic assistance, which was targeted at price loss or lack of market access, rather than overall revenue losses. Learn more in the Jan. 9, 2023 news release.

Additional Resources

On farmers.gov, the Disaster Assistance Discovery ToolDisaster Assistance-at-a-Glance fact sheet, and Farm Loan Discovery Tool can help producers and landowners determine program or loan options. For assistance with a crop insurance claim, producers and landowners should contact their crop insurance agent. For FSA and Natural Resources Conservation Service programs, contact the local USDA Service Center.

USDA touches the lives of all Americans each day in so many positive ways. In the Biden-Harris administration, USDA is transforming America’s food system with a greater focus on more resilient local and regional food production, fairer markets for all producers, ensuring access to safe, healthy and nutritious food in all communities, building new markets and streams of income for farmers and producers using climate smart food and forestry practices, making historic investments in infrastructure and clean energy capabilities in rural America, and committing to equity across the Department by removing systemic barriers and building a workforce more representative of America. To learn more, visit usda.gov.

USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender.

State of Montana Resources

Flood Mitigation Assistance Grant

The Flood Mitigation Assistance (FMA) program makes federal funds available to states, U.S. territories, Indian tribal governments, and local communities to reduce or eliminate the risk of repetitive flood damage to buildings and structures insured under the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP)

Emergency 310 Provisions

Emergency work may be performed without a permit if it is necessary in order to safeguard your life or property – including livestock and crops. This applies to rivers, streams, and some ditches.

Montana Disaster and Emergency Services – Situation Awareness

https://montana.maps.arcgis.com/apps/MapSeries/index.html?appid=be83aa7c0bf24fbe9006e90c70911db5

Commissioner of Securities and Insurance Office Flood Info

Commissioner Downing recommends that any person who has sustained property damage to immediately contact his or her agent to identify whether they have flood insurance coverage. Property owners who have flood insurance should promptly begin the process to file a claim.

Any person who has sustained property damage and does not have flood insurance should contact his or her county’s emergency manager so their damages can be added to the damage assessment tally. Click HERE for Local Disaster and Emergency Services Contact Information. The assessments will be tallied for all affected counties and will be used to determine whether an amendment should be sought to the disaster declaration for individual assistance.

We encourage property owners to review the more general information below to identify steps they can take to document their damages and minimize their flood losses.  Our team is ready to assist property owners if they have any questions on filing a claim with their agent or insurance company or encounter any issues when dealing with their insurance company.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Property Damage Forms

Montana has experienced extensive flooding during the week of June 12, 2022.  This flooding has resulted in extensive damage to state and county infrastructure (such as roadways and utilities) as well as extensive damage to private homes.  The State of Montana is trying collect private property damages and contact information. Please visit the link below to complete the survey.

Montana’s Department of Commerce has a Resources for Flooding Recovery page that has resources for those affected by the flooding, or for travelers in the area.

If you wish to assist those affected by the flooding please, please visit the flooding donations link below to find organizations that are assisting in the recovery.

Community Donations Resources For Flooding

Montana Department of Commerce Flood Resources

SBA DISASTER LOAN ASSISTANCE

US Small Business Administration Disaster Loan Assistance

SBA LOAN INFORMATION

Disaster Loan Assistance

DISASTER ASSISTANCE

UNEMPLOYMENT RESOURCES FOR FLOODING VICTIMS

Unemployment Insurance

Individuals who have lost work due to flooding may be eligible for unemployment insurance (UI) benefits. To file a claim online, visit MontanaWorks.gov. You can also call the Unemployment Insurance Division’s Claims Processing Center at (406) 444-2545 if you have questions.

VISIT MONTANAWORKS.GOV

Job Service Montana

Job Service Montana locations can help provide a range of resources to those out of work or seeking work due to this disaster. Individuals impacted can contact Job Service Billings at (406) 652-3080.

We encourage you to share this information with individuals you may know in the impacted areas.

To stay up-to-date, visit the Montana Department of Labor & Industry’s website and follow its Facebook page.

MONTANA DEPARTMENT OF LABOR AND INDUSTRY WEBSITE

MONTANA DEPARTMENT OF LABOR AND INDUSTRY FACEBOOK PAGE

USDA Resources

Disaster Assistance Discovery Tool

Learn about USDA disaster assistance programs that might be right for you by completing five simple steps.

https://www.farmers.gov/protection-recovery/disaster-tool

Disaster Programs at a Glance Brochure

https://www.farmers.gov/sites/default/files/2021-09/fsa-disasterassistance-at-a-glance-sept.-2021.pdf

USDA FSA Resources

Livestock Forage Disaster Program (LFP)

Provides compensation to eligible livestock producers who have suffered grazing losses due to drought or fire on land that is native or improved pastureland with permanent vegetative cover or that is planted specifically for grazing. Learn more about LFP.

Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP)

Provides benefits to livestock producers for livestock deaths in excess of normal mortality caused by adverse weather or by attacks by animals reintroduced into the wild by the federal government. Learn more about LIP.

Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees, and Farm-Raised Fish (ELAP)

Provides emergency assistance to eligible producers of livestock, honeybees and farm-raised fish for losses due to disease (including cattle tick fever), adverse weather, or other conditions, such as blizzards and wildfires, not covered by LFP and LIP. Learn more about ELAP.

Emergency Loan Program

Provides loans to help producers recover from production and physical losses due to drought, flooding, other natural disasters, or quarantine by animal quarantine laws or imposed by the Secretary under the Plant Protection Act. Learn more.

Disaster Set-Aside Program

Provides producers who have existing direct loans with FSA who are unable to make the scheduled payments to move up to one full year’s payment to the end of the loan.  Assistance is available in counties, or contiguous counties, who have been designated as emergencies by the President, Secretary or FSA Administrator. Learn more.

Emergency Conservation Program (ECP)

Helps farmers and ranchers repair damage to farmlands caused by natural disasters and helps put in place water conservation methods during severe drought. Learn more about ECP.

Emergency Forest Restoration Program (EFRP)

Helps owners of non-industrial private forests restore forest health damaged by natural disasters. Learn more about EFRP.

Availability of Low-Interest Physical Loss Loans for Producers Affected by Natural Disasters

Physical loss loans can help producers repair or replace damaged or destroyed physical property essential to the success of the agricultural operation, including livestock losses. Examples of property commonly affected include essential farm buildings, fixtures to real estate, equipment, livestock, perennial crops, fruit and nut bearing trees and harvested or stored crops and hay.

State: Montana

Triggering Disaster Event: Blizzard and excessive snow that occurred April 11, 2022, through April 24, 2022

Application Deadline: March 20, 2023

Primary Counties Eligible: Custer and Prairie

Contiguous Areas also EligibleMontana:  Carter, Dawson, Fallon, Garfield, McCone, Powder River, Rosebud and Wibaux

More Resources
On farmers.gov, the Disaster Assistance Discovery ToolDisaster Assistance-at-a-Glance fact sheet, and Farm Loan Discovery Tool can help you determine program or loan options. To file a Notice of Loss or to ask questions about available programs, contact your local  USDA Service Center.

USDA NRCS RESOURCES

Emergency Watershed Protection Program

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) administers the Emergency Watershed Protection (EWP) Program, which responds to emergencies created by natural disasters. It is not necessary for a national emergency to be declared for an area to be eligible for assistance.

https://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/mt/programs/planning/ewpmt/

Renewable Resource Loans and Emergency Grants

Grants are available for emergency projects that pose an immediate threat to the beneficial management of a renewable resource and, if delayed, will cause substantial damage or legal liability.

Emergency Loan Program

DNRC has the authority to provide up to $10 million in emergency loan financing each biennium. The amount of each loan is limited by the applicant’s bonded debt capacity. The financial guidelines and security requirements normally required for the issuance of general obligation or revenue bonds apply. Interest rates vary with the coal severance bond rate and may be adjusted by the legislature. The term of the loan is also variable, but typically is limited to 20 years.

Loan financing will require the processes and time constraints normally associated with the incurrence of bonded indebtedness by a governmental entity.

Emergency Grant Program

Grant assistance is limited to only serious emergencies that meet program requirements. The emergency must pose an immediate threat to the beneficial management of a renewable resource, and all reasonable funding sources investigated before an emergency grant will be awarded. DNRC will award grants or loans for an emergency project that, if delayed until legislative approval can be obtained, will cause substantial damages or legal liability to the entity seeking assistance.

Typical types of projects have included:

  • dike failures,
  • emergency dam repairs, and
  • emergency repairs to municipal drinking water and wastewater systems.

Emergency grants and loans are available to:

  • counties,
  • incorporated cities and towns,
  • conservation districts,
  • irrigation districts, and
  • water and sewer districts.

Application Instructions

To initiate a request for emergency grant or loan assistance, contact the Emergency Grant Program staff. A detailed description of the problem, the proposed solution, and any financial information, including the estimated cost of the project and proposed funding sources, will be required to expedite the application process.

Emergency grants are limited to $30,000 per project. Limited funding is available for emergency grants from DNRC each biennium.

Apply for an Emergency Grant online at grants.dnrc.mt.gov

Following initial notification, a DNRC engineer will contact you and arrange for a site investigation. A determination will be made by the DNRC Director’s Office within a matter of days, and a grant or loan agreement will be executed accordingly. Grant funding is available almost immediately, usually 45 to 60 days assuming that adequate rates and charges are already in effect.

Disaster Assistance Program

The Disaster Assistance Improvement Program’s (DAIP) mission is to provide disaster survivors with information, support, services, and a means to access and apply for disaster assistance through joint data-sharing efforts between federal, tribal, state, local, and private sector partners.

Disaster Survivor Application Checklist

Before you start your FEMA application, please have the information below and a pen and paper ready.

  • Social Security Number
    • You, another adult member or minor child in your household must have a Social Security number. You or they must also be a U.S. citizen, non-citizen national, or qualified alien.
    • If you don’t have a Social Security number, read the article How do I apply for a new or replacement Social Security number card. You will get instructions on what to do and what documents you will need.
    • Once you have your number, you may come back to DisasterAssistance.gov or call FEMA at one of the phone numbers above to apply.
  • Insurance Information
    • Describe the type(s) of insurance coverage you have. This could include coverage under policies like homeowners, flood, automobile, or mobile home insurance.
  • Damage Information
    • Describe the damage caused by the disaster. Include the type of disaster (like flood, hurricane, or earthquake) and the type of dwelling or vehicle (like a condo, mobile home or house, or a car or truck).
  • Financial Information
    • Provide your total annual household income, before taxes, at the time of the disaster.
  • Contact Information
    • Provide the address and phone number of the property where the damage occurred and the address and phone number of where we can reach you now.
  • Direct Deposit Information (optional)
    • If approved, we can deposit your funds directly into your bank account. You just need to provide the following banking information:
      • Bank name
      • Type of account (like checking or savings)
      • Routing number
      • Account number

NEED HELP? If you need help with the application, please call FEMA at one of the phone numbers below.

For help with your application or to apply by phone for FEMA assistance, call:

1‑800‑621‑3362 (711 available)

If you use a video relay service, captioned phone, or other communication service, give FEMA the number for that service.

To apply for other assistance that FEMA doesn’t manage:

You must follow the instructions provided for each program. This may require going to other agency websites.

Read How do I search for assistance on our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) page to learn more.

WATER COURT NOTICE FAQ

Why did the Montana Water Court issue a notice on the CSKT Compact?

As required by Montana Law, the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes (CSKT), the State of Montana, and the United States recently submitted paperwork to the Water Court asking the Court to include the Water Rights Compact that was negotiated and approved by all three parties in a water rights decree. The Compact quantifies the water rights of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes within the State of Montana. When the Montana Legislature established the Compact process in 1979, it directed that all ratified compacts be submitted to the Water Court for inclusion in a decree. As a result, all water compacts in Montana with Indian tribes and federal agencies have or will go through this process.

What is a Preliminary decree?

There are multiple levels of decrees in Montana. A Preliminary decree is a step toward a Final decree. A decree is a Court order adjudicating water uses within a geographical area of Montana. The Water Court has divided the state into a number of adjudication basins for this purpose. The notice that you received was notice of a preliminary decree. Before the Court issues a Final decree, the process progresses through several stages in this order: verification or examination, temporary preliminary decree or preliminary decree, public notice, resolution of individual cases, public hearings, and a final decree.

The DNRC is in charge of the important first step of examination. The rest of the proceedings, and much of the public involvement, occurs at the Water Court.

I just received notice of a Preliminary Decree from the Montana Water Court. What should I do?

This notice is a legal document so you should read it closely. It has been sent specifically to you as part of Montana’s statewide stream adjudication because the outcome of this adjudication process may have an impact on your claims to water use. As indicated in the notice, if you wish to lodge an objection to the approval of the Compact by the Water Court, you have 180 days from the date of the notice to submit that objection to the Water Court.

Does everyone receive this notice because it’s a general announcement?

No. You received this notice because state records show you have filed a statement of claim, applied for or received a permit to appropriate water, or own a water reservation in the vicinity of the area in which a water right quantified by the Compact may also exist. Accordingly, the notice was sent to you so that you can decide whether to raise an objection to the decree of the Compact.

Who do I contact if I have questions about how I should respond to this notice?

The notice directs all questions to the Water Court at toll-free number 800-624-3270; or call our regular office number of (406) 586-4364, which is not toll-free. Or call the Kalispell DNRC Regional Office at (406) 752-2288 or the Missoula DNRC Regional Office at (406) 721-4284.or to the DNRC [contact/address]. You can also find more information at the Montana Water Court website, https://courts.mt.gov/courts/water/Notices-Info/PublicNotices

This notice mentions tribal water rights—Does this apply to me if I am not a Tribal member?

Yes, if you received the notice you may be entitled to submit an objection if the water rights quantified in the Compact have a negative impact on any interests in water you may have.

I thought the Water Compact was ratified and this process was completed?

The Compact has been negotiated, ratified and executed by CSKT, the State of Montana, and the U.S. As is required for all Compacts in Montana, the water rights quantified by the Compact must be included in a Final Decree by the Water Court.

I thought the CSKT Water Compact settled all water claims?

The CSKT Compact, quantifies the water rights of CSKT, however, as noted above, when the Montana Legislature established the compact process, it directed all ratified compacts to be submitted to the Montana Water Court to be included in a Final Decree.

I thought advocates of this Compact said it provided important protections for non-tribal water users? Doesn’t the fact that I received this notice indicate otherwise?

The CSKT Water Compact, as a negotiated settlement, quantifies the water rights of the Tribes while providing important protections for valid, existing uses of water under state law. In this process the Water Court will consider including the Compact as a whole in a decree, including the protections contained in the Compact for non-Indian water users.

15 Recommendations Provided to FWP by Elk Citizens Advisory Group

On July 26, Fish, Wildlife and Park’s elk citizens advisory group held their final meeting and finalized 15 recommendations that were presented to the agency for consideration. MSGA members Chuck Rein and Race King served in the working group and were instrumental in providing landowner perspectives during meeting discussions.

In light of elk populations being chronically over objective, new disease concerns, continuing calls for more access, reports of crowded public lands, and more people than ever coming to the state, a group of 12 citizens were selected by FWP to participate in the working group in May. The group was tasked with developing a set of recommendations to address elk management issues and improve relationships among stakeholders and met half days, every other week for roughly two months. The final recommendations include the following:

  1. Choose your weapon/area
  2. Promote focused damage hunts
  3. Use of shoulder seasons
  4. Establish local elk work groups
  5. Understand and mitigate the disease of brucellosis in elk
  6. Enforce stricter penalties for trespass violations and other bad behaviors by hunters and landowners
  7. Access plus program
  8. Expanded hunter education
  9. FWP landowner liaison
  1. Create an A9 tag bundle
  2. Improve accessibility to the FWP videos that promote the desired behaviors between landowners and hunters
  3. Stakeholder meetings
  4. Promote FWP, USFS, BLM, and DNRC collaboration
  5. Develop user friendly and effective methods to collect data
  6. Manage elk where they are not

If you have thoughts, feedback or comments on these recommendations, please share those with the MSGA staff. In the coming months, staff will have a variety of opportunities to work with FWP staff and share member’s feedback.

HELENA – As grizzly bears emerge from their dens across the state the potential for conflicts with farmers, ranchers and other producers is increasing. In the past few years, bears have been spotted in areas where they haven’t been for more than a century, and the possibility of encountering a grizzly exists anywhere in the western part Montana. Black bears are also widely distributed across the state.

Bears are always on the lookout for an easy food source, including unsecured garbage, spilled grain and livestock carcasses, all of which can bring them into proximity of homeowners and agricultural producers.

Grizzly bears are still a federally protected species. Landowners can haze grizzly bears off their property but must do so without harming the bear; this typically means using loud noises and hard-sided vehicles. U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service guidelines for hazing grizzly bears can be found here. Producers can reduce the risk of depredation by installing electric fencing around small calving pastures, pens and corrals. Be cautious around brushy cover including shelterbelts and creeks that bears may use as travel routes or resting areas. Additionally, putting salt, mineral and creep feeders out in the open, away from brush and water, can help deter bears.

Removing or putting electric fences around bone piles can prevent bears from receiving food rewards and being drawn in near homes and herds. In several areas around the state, local efforts have implemented the removal of livestock carcasses to avoid attracting bears near livestock operations. For more information about carcass collection efforts that might be in your area, please contact the nearest FWP specialist. You can find a list of specialists here.

In and around towns, attractants can include other things such as pet food, garbage, barbecue grills and bird feeders. Homeowners should secure these sorts of items to prevent attracting wandering bears.

FWP specialists work diligently to help landowners, homeowners and communities avoid bear conflicts. To report a grizzly bear sighting or conflict, or for assistance securing attractants, contact the FWP bear specialist nearest to you. For livestock conflicts, contact USDA Wildlife Services.

Given grizzly bears are a federally protected species, conflict response is primarily conducted by FWP, tribal fish and wildlife agencies, and USDA Wildlife Services under the authority of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. It is illegal to harm, harass or kill grizzly bears, except in cases of self-defense or the defense of others.

Landowners can take measures to prevent bears from being drawn near homes and livestock. Here are some general tips to help prevent bears causing problems in agricultural areas:

  • Place tarps under loaders when transferring grain to prevent spills.
  • Dispose of old grain through sanitation services, burning or dumping away from people, buildings and livestock.
  • Dispose of carcasses and afterbirth through sanitation services, inside an electrified boneyard or by distributing away from people, buildings and livestock. Electric fences can be placed around fresh carcasses and bone piles until they can be permanently removed.
  • If possible, secure domestic animals within an electric fence when unattended by people or at night. This includes poultry, goats, sheep or rabbits.
  • Place creep feeders, molasses and mineral blocks in open areas where humans and livestock can easily view the area before entering.
  • Grizzly bears can be deterred from areas near homes using USFWS guidelines for hazing grizzly bears, found here. This helps reinforce bears’ fear of people.
  • Don’t let grizzly bears linger in your yard or in close proximity to home or other structures because this can lead to habituation. Call an FWP specialist to help deter bears if you are not comfortable or able to do so.
  • Notify your neighbors if you do observe a grizzly bear in the area to help make others aware.

You can find more information on living and working in bear country, here.

Be Aware of Fraudulent Attempts to Take Over Digital Properties

Livestock producers have recently reported fraudulent attempts to take over their digital properties, such as Google Business.

To help beef farmers and ranchers protect their digital assets, such as Google Business, Yelp, social media and others, they should be sure to claim the accounts associated with their businesses. Resources include:

As always, farm and ranch security is paramount. In this case, it is best to ensure that ranchers are equipped with tools to claim their digital presence.

THE RANCHERS' VOICE PODCAST

The Ranchers’ Voice presented by Montana Stockgrowers Association (MSGA) is a place for conversations surrounding policy, and issues that matter most to ranching families in Montana.

From the Capitol to the countryside, we’ll be the connection point between local ranchers and legislative decision makers, cattle producers and general consumers, and between all cattle ranchers across Montana.

CALENDAR OF EVENTS

RECORDINGS

Price Transparency and Discovery in Live Cattle Markets: Is There a Role for Regulation?

Presented by Montana State UniversityInitiative for Regulation and Applied Economic Analysis (IRAEA) 
This workshop brought together a small group of experts and stakeholders that will evaluate the relative benefits and costs of proposed market interventions and offer alternatives. MSGA’s President, Jim Steinbeisser, was included on this panel.

Find the event page at https://www.montana.edu/regecon/events_outreach/cattlemarkets/index.html

The Cow Calf Operator in the 21st Century: Remaining Relevant in the Future

Boehringer Ingelheim Logo

Presented by Boehringer Ingelheim & Montana Stockgrowers Association

Join us as we explore the relevance of the cow calf producer and his relationship with the consumer as we operate in the 21st Century.
Our goal is to investigate the knowledge that retail has to understand the desires of our consumer today. As we look forward to new marketing strategies and how to strengthen the current strategies the consumer can offer a great deal of insight into the direction that our products are being pulled.
We hope to give producers ideas and thoughts to consider as they continue to develop their marketing plans in the future. Today the beef industry has strong demand and is very resilient, therefore we as producers need to see that and continue to evolve as leaders in this industry.

Initiative 191 would subject stretches of the Madison & Gallatin Rivers, and their tributaries, to the same strict regulations currently only found in national parks and wilderness areas. The effect would be to shut down many currently-allowed activities, including diversions for irrigation and stock water. If successful, I-191 would set a precedent that could be used to shut down agricultural activities near other water bodies.

Hosted by Montana Stockgrowers Association, Montana Farm Bureau Federation, Montana Grain Growers Association, and The Association of Gallatin Agricultural Irrigators.

Paid for by No on I-191. Walt Sales Treasurer. PO Box 5391, Helena, MT 59604