Farmers, Ranchers, and Property Owners Need to be Bear Aware 

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

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.


Montana Cooperative Interstate Shipping Program Q & A Sessions:

Monday, May 16th from 1-3 pm
Fraternal Order of Eagles
124 W Main St.
Lewistown, MT 59457

Wednesday, May 18th from 1-3 pm
Hampton Inn
1140 U.S. Hwy 2 W.
Kalispell, MT 59901

Thursday, May 19th from 1-3 pm
Carroll College
1601 N Benton Ave.
Helena, MT 59625

No registration required.

USDA-Agricultural Research Service and Weed Science Society of America Collaborate to Present Weed Science Webinar Series

USDA – ARS and the Weed Science Society of America (WSSA) are co-hosting 10 webinars on weed science and research. Beginning April 5, presentations will be given by ARS weed science research experts.

The webinars will occur every Tuesday from 2-3p.m. Eastern Time (ET) and include an interactive Q&A session.

April 5 – ARS Weed Science: Past, Present, and Future
ARS Weed Science: Past, Present, and Future: Steve Duke, Principal Scientist at the National Center for Natural Products Research at the University of Mississippi, Steve Young, National Program Leader – Weeds and Invasive Pests, WSSA Representatives and ARS Administrators

April 12 – Integrated Weed Management in Cropping Systems
Integrated Weed Management in Cropping Systems: Marty Williams, Ecologist at the Global Change and Photosynthesis Research Unit in Urbana, IL

April 19 – Non-Crop Systems: Advancements in Weed Biocontrol Tools
Non-Crop Systems: Advancements in Weed Biocontrol Tools: Melissa Smith, Research Ecologist at the Invasive Plant Research Laboratory in Fort Lauderdale, FL

April 26 – New Technology for Weed Identification and Control
New Technology for Weed Identification and Control: Steven Mirsky, Research Ecologist at the Sustainable Agricultural Systems Laboratory in Beltsville, MD

May 3 – Role of Plant Physiology in Weed-Crop Competition
Role of Plant Physiology in Weed-Crop Competition: Dave Horvath, Research Plant Physiologist at the Sunflower and Plant Biology Research Unit in Fargo, ND

May 10 – Molecular Basis for Controlling Invasive Plant
Molecular Basis for Controlling Invasive Plants: Matt Tancos, Research Plant Pathologist at the Foreign Disease-Weed Science Research Unit in Fort Detrick, MD

May 17 – Addressing Herbicide Resistance with Alternative Chemistries
Addressing Herbicide Resistance with Alternative Chemistries: Scott Baerson, Molecular Biologist at the Natural Products Utilization Research Unit in Oxford, MS

May 24 – Spread and Distribution of Invasive Plants
Spread and Distribution of Invasive Plants: John Madsen, Research Biologist at the Invasive Species and Pollinator Health Unit in Albany, CA

May 31 – Climate Change Effects on Weeds and Management
Climate Change Effects on Weeds and Management: Dana Blumenthal, Ecologist at the Rangeland Resources & Systems Research Unit in Fort Collins, CO

June 7 – Restoration for Managing Invasive Plants
Restoration for Managing Invasive Plants: Roger Sheley, Ecologist at the Range and Meadow Forage Management Research Unit in Burns, OR

These debates will have live audiences and will be broadcast on television and radio statewide. Content and questions will focus on issues related to agriculture and rural communities. Tune in to watch the 2022 Congressional Primary Debates!

Date April 21st April 28th May 6th May 20th
District District 2 District 2 District 1 District 1
Location Miles City Havre Bozeman Whitefish
Moderator Jim Sargent Jim Sargent Jim Sargent Jim Sargent


Broadcast LIVE with ABC Fox Montana Right Now & Northern Ag Network

Phillips County Livestock Association Spring Meeting

May 13, 2022  | 2:00 pm | First State Bank

Direct questions to Marko Manoukian at [email protected]

MASGD 2022 Annual Meeting

The Montana Association of State Grazing District invites all members to attend the association’s annual meeting.

The Montana Association of State Grazing Districts and the Montana Public Lands Council will hold a joint-board meeting at 10 a.m. – noon. The Montana Grass Conservation Commission will hold their board meeting from 8 a.m. – 10 a.m.

Monday, May 16, 2022

1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Elks Restaurant-Pine Meadows Golf Course
320 Country Club Ln, Lewistown, MT 59457

Questions? Contact Raylee Honeycutt at (406) 442-3420 or [email protected]

Southwest Stockgrowers Association Spring Meeting

May 17, 2022
2:00 pm

Beaverhead Search and Rescue Building
1000 MT-Hwy 41
Dillon, MT

Questions? Contact Dan Johnson at [email protected]

Montana Grazing Lands Conservation Initiative Kickin’ Grass Ranch Tour 

Wednesday June 1st, 2022 8:00am-5:30pm 

Haughian Ranch, 447 Road 155, Kinsey, MT 59338 (25 miles northeast of Miles City) 

Join us for a tour of the Haughian Ranch to learn about the Haughian Ranch’s history and management, as well as hear from the industry speakers listed below: 

  • Terry Haughian 
  • Whit Hibbard 
  • Miles City Veterinary Service 
  • Ft. Keogh Livestock and Range research update 
  • Kevin Good, Cattle Fax – Fall Price Outlook 

Tickets are $20 each, lunch and dinner provided.

For registration, please visit Eventbrite.com and search “Kickin’ Grass” or contact Ben Hauptman at (406)-544-5090 

406 Grazing Academy

Ranchers wanting to hone their grazing management skills are encouraged to register for this year’s 406 Grazing Academy. The 3-day, hands-on workshop is offered by the Rangeland Resources Program in the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation (DNRC), Montana State University (MSU) Extension Range Management, and MSU’s Dan Scott Ranch Management Program. Additional partners include the Montana Grazing Lands Conservation Initiative and Winnett ACES.

Participants will gain practical information to help them make strategic decisions for their ranch. Topics include economic optimum stocking rates, diverse grazing strategies, range monitoring, extending the grazing season, livestock-wildlife relations, targeted grazing, and coping with drought, wildfire and poisonous plants. Successful Montana ranchers and other range managers from across the state will share their expertise and complement presentations by the educators.

The workshop will be held June 7-9, 2022. Classroom activities will occur in Lewistown, MT at the Yogo Inn with field activities held on working ranches near Winnett, MT.

Registration is $150/person or $250 for two people from the same ranch. Registration covers educational materials, noon and evening meals. Participants are responsible for travel and lodging expenses.

Registration closes May 16 and space is limited. Early registration is encouraged. To register, contact Teresa at [email protected]  or call 406-599-2311 ext. 107. To learn more, contact Stacey Barta at 406-594-8481 ([email protected]), Jeff Mosley at 406-994-5601 ([email protected]), or Rachel Frost at 406-994-3724 ([email protected]).


Day 1

  • Healthy Plants, Healthy Soils (plant growth and development, mineral cycle, energy flow, water cycle, soil health)
  • Balancing Forage Supply with Livestock Demand
  • Stocking Rate and Stock Density (including economic optimum stocking rate)
  • Grazing Concepts (timing, intensity, frequency, selectivity)

Day 2 – Field day

  • Reading the Range: Identification of Indicator Plant Species (small groups)
  • Reading the Range: Range Health Checklist (including hands-on practice
  • Utilization Monitoring (including hands-on practice)
  • Photo Monitoring for Range Trend

Day 3

  • Gathering Time
  • Review and Looking Forward
  • Rangeland Analysis Platform and Other Technology Tools Grazing Decisions for Drought and Wildfire
  • Coping with Poisonous Plants
  • Riparian Area Grazing
  • Targeted Livestock Grazing for Weed Control
  • Can Livestock and Wildlife Coexist?

Evenings of day 1 and 2, we will have our campfire discussions where Montana ranchers will describe their operations followed by open discussion with workshop participants

MSU Agricultural Research Center Field Days

Date Time Research Center Location
Wed, June 22 8:30 a.m. Central Agricultural Research Center Moccasin
Thurs, June 23 3:00 p.m. Northern Agricultural Research Center Havre
Thurs, July 7 8:00 a.m. Post Farm Bozeman
Tues, July 12 9:00 a.m. Eastern Agricultural Research Center Sidney
Thurs, July 14 11:30 a.m. Northwestern Agricultural Research Center Creston
Tues, July 19 10:00 a.m. Western Triangle Agricultural Research Center Conrad
Thurs, July 28        4:30 p.m. Western Agricultural Research Center Corvallis

2022 Fish and Wildlife Commission Meetings

The seven-member Commission is appointed by the Governor from the FWP administrative regions. The appointments are to be made without regard to political affiliation and to be made solely for the wise management of the fish and wildlife of the state. At least one member must be experienced in the breeding and management of domestic livestock.

The Commission is a quasi-judicial citizen board whose general authority and duties are further defined and shaped by specific responsibilities in the statutes.

The Department is an executive branch agency under the Governor. The Director of the Department is appointed by the Governor and reports to the Governor. The Department has duties and responsibilities as provided by statute.

In summary, the Department administers the day-to-day activities of the Department under the executive branch with specific statutory duties and the Commission sets fish and wildlife regulations, approves property acquisitions, and approves certain rules and activities of the Department as provided by statute.

More info at www.fwp.mt.gov/aboutfwp/commission

The following is the proposed schedule for the Elk Management Citizen Advisory Group meetings. Please note FWP will send the Zoom Links and Elk Management Citizen Advisory Group members may meet independently outside of these scheduled meetings.

Date Time
April 14, 2022 8-12:00 pm
April 28, 2022 8-12:00 pm
May 10, 2022 1-5:00 pm
May 25, 2022 8-12:00 pm
June 7, 2022 1-5:00 pm
June 21, 2022 1-5:00 pm
July 7, 2022 1-5:00 pm
July 13, 2022 1-5:00 pm
July 26, 2022 1-5:00 pm


To forge new relationships among stakeholders and collaboratively develop new and creative ideas and recommendations for issues surrounding elk management in Montana to balance hunter and landowner interests.

In light of some 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, Montana needs new ways to manage elk, and the people most directly affected must be involved in developing solutions. The advisory group represents a variety of stakeholders who are interested in moving past old debates that have not significantly improved elk circumstances for hunters or landowners, and revisiting old issues with fresh eyes to identify new solutions.

News Releases

If you have questions please contact:


Conservation Reserve Program (CRP)

CRP is a land conservation program administered by the Farm Service Agency (FSA). In exchange for a yearly rental payment, farmers enrolled in the program agree to remove environmentally sensitive land from agricultural production and plant species that will improve environmental health and quality. Contracts for land enrolled in CRP are from 10 to15 years in length. The long-term goal of the program is to re-establish valuable land cover to help improve water quality, prevent soil erosion, and reduce loss of wildlife habitat.

Signed into law by President Ronald Reagan in 1985, CRP is one of the largest private-lands conservation program in the United States. Thanks to voluntary participation by farmers and landowners, CRP has improved water quality, reduced soil erosion, and increased habitat for endangered and threatened species.

2022 Signups

The Grassland CRP signup runs from April 4, 2022 to May 13, 2022. The signup for CLEAR30 runs from April 1 to Aug. 5, 2022. The Continuous CRP Signup is ongoing. Producers interested in enrolling in CRP should contact the FSA office at their local USDA Service Center. The General CRP signup ran from Jan. 31, 2022 to March 11, 2022. Read more in our Grassland CRP signup news release and our CLEAR30 signup news release.

2021 Enrollment

Producers and landowners enrolled 5.3 million acres through CRP signups, including nearly 2.6 million in the Grassland signup, nearly 1.9 million acres for the General signup, and 902,000 acres for the Continuous signup (as of September 10, 2021). This year’s signup surpassed USDA’s 4 million-acre goal.

For Grassland CRP, producers and landowners submitted offers for nearly 4 million acres, the highest in the signup’s history. Read more in our September 10, 2021 news release.

Meanwhile, Continuous CRP was highly successful in large part because of a recommitment to incentives and partnerships, including the expansion of the Clean Lakes, Estuaries, and Rives Initiative 30-year (CLEAR30) from two regions to nationwide as well as moving State Acres for Wildlife Enhancement (SAFE) practices from the General to the Continuous signup. Read more in our August 23, 2021 news release.

Improvements to CRP

In 2021, FSA introduced higher payment rates, new incentives, and a more targeted focus on CRP’s role in climate change mitigation. To learn more about updates to CRP, read our “What’s New with CRP” fact sheet or our April 21, 2021 news release.

CRP and Climate Mitigation

Through the CRP Climate Change Mitigation Assessment Initiative, FSA will further quantify program benefits to better target CRP toward climate outcomes and improve existing models and conservation planning tools.

In October 2021, USDA awarded a total of $10 million to three partners that will monitor and measure how key CRP practices impact soil carbon. These practices include perennial grasses, tree plantings and wetlands.

To learn more, read the October 12, 2021 news releaseMay 25, 2021 news release or visit our page on CRP Monitoring, Assessment and Evaluation projects.

CRP Resources

USDA Extends to May 11 the Application Deadline for Meat and Poultry ProcessingExpansion Program Funding

BOZEMAN, Mont., March 25, 2022 – U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced the Department is extending to May 11, 2022, the application deadline for the Meat and Poultry Processing Expansion Program (MPPEP), which provides funding to expand meat and poultry processing capacity.

The decision to extend the deadline comes after Rural Development heard directly from applicants about challenges with System for Award Management (SAM) registration, which must be completed prior to filing an application.

“Strengthening our food supply chain is a top priority of the Biden-Harris Administration,” Vilsack said. “The new deadline should ensure that all interested and eligible meat andpoultry processors have ample time to complete their applications.”

Background: MPPEP

USDA Rural Development is making $150 million of American Rescue Plan Act funding available through the MPPEP. USDA is offering grants of up to $25 million each to expandprocessing capacity through a variety of activities, including but not limited to construction, expansion of existing facilities, and acquisition of equipment.

USDA encourages applications that benefit smaller farms and ranches, new andbeginning farmers and ranchers, Tribes and tribal producers, socially disadvantaged producers, military veteran producers and underserved communities.

For additional information, applicants are encouraged to visit the MPPEP website: www.rd.usda.gov/mppep. Questions may be submitted through the website or sent to [email protected].

All application materials can be found at www.rd.usda.gov/mppep or at www.Grants.gov.  Applications must be received by 9:59 Mountain Time // 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on May 11, 2022, through www.Grants.gov.

Meat and Poultry Processing Technical Assistance  

USDA also announced the launch of the Meat and Poultry Processing Capacity Technical Assistance Program (MPPTA) to provide technical assistance to meat and poultry grant applicants and grant-funded projects. Processors and applicants involved with the Meatand Poultry Inspection Readiness Grant (MPIRG) program and the Meat and PoultryProcessing Expansion Program (MPPEP) can access this technical assistance.

Please see the announcement from USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service for information on additional resources to increase and expand meat and poultry processing capacity.

For information about USDA’s other Meat and Poultry Supply Chain Initiatives, visit www.usda.gov/meat.

To learn more about investment resources for Montana’s rural areas, contact Montana’s Business and Cooperative Programs Director, Lad Barney, at (406) 309-3350 or [email protected]

USDA Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities, create jobs and improve the quality of life for millions of Americans in rural areas. This assistance supports infrastructure improvements; business development; housing; community facilities such as schools, public safety and health care; and high-speed internet access in rural, tribal and high-poverty areas. For more information, visit www.rd.usda.gov/mt.. If you’d like to subscribe to USDA Rural Development updates, visit our GovDelivery subscriber page.

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

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.

“Any time we can keep a family ranch in family hands, that’s a win for Montana agriculture,” said MDA Director Christy Clark. “The Student Loan Assistance Program aims to relieve some of the financial stress facing our young producers so that they can focus their energies on raising some of the world’s best ag products and carrying on Montana’s agricultural heritage.”

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 May 23, 2022 and can be submitted through Amplifund. 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.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) announced an extension to the Hours-of-Service Emergency Declaration until May 31, 2022 at 11:59 P.M. (ET).

This declaration includes:

  1. Livestock and livestock feed (transporters of feed ingredients are ineligible.)
  2. Medical supplies and equipment related to the testing, diagnosis, and treatment of COVID-19.
  3. Vaccines, constituent products, medical supplies, and equipment including ancillary supplies/kits for the administration of vaccines, related to the prevention of COVID-19.
  4. Supplies and equipment necessary for community safety, sanitation, and prevention of community transmission of COVID-19 such as masks, gloves, hand sanitizer, soap, and disinfectants.
  5. Food, paper products, and other groceries for emergency restocking of distribution centers or stores.
  6. Gasoline, diesel, jet fuel, and ethyl alcohol.
  7. Supplies to assist individuals impacted by the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic (e.g., building materials for individuals displaced or otherwise impacted as a result of the emergency).

As a reminder: Motor carriers that voluntarily operate under the terms of this extension and amendment of Emergency Declaration No. 2020-002 are to report within 5 days after the end of each month their reliance on the Declaration.  To report, motor carriers will access their portal account at https://portal.fmcsa.dot.gov/login, log-in with their FMCSA portal credentials, and access the Emergency Declaration Reporting under the Available FMCSA Systems section of the page.

FMCSA is trying to collect more data on who is using these emergency exemptions in order to make decisions in the future.  According to FMCSA, they appreciate the participation from our industry and have found the information reported to be useful.


Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks is currently accepting applications for 2022 Elk Hunting Access Agreements (formerly 454 agreements).

Applications are due June 1. 

This program will provide landowners with an elk permit, license or combination thereof in exchange for access for three public hunter – one chosen by the landowner and two chosen by FWP. The program allows for permits for landowners, their family member or a full-time employee, in exchange for the public access.

For more information and to apply, please look online at https://fwp.mt.gov/hunt/landownerprograms/public-elk-access-agreements or call your local FWP office.

PLC Opportunities for Grant Funding

Federal grazing permittees face unique political, environmental, and economic challenges that set them apart from livestock producers in other regions of the country. They are also uniquely positioned at the nexus of many of the most pressing policy concerns of our time – wildfire mitigation, water access and quality, rangeland and soil health, carbon sequestration, wildlife conservation and management, safeguarding the future of multiple use on federal lands, to name just a few. Public lands ranchers form the backbone of many rural communities and local economies, play a vital role in our national food supply chain, and lead the way in innovative and responsible stewardship of landscapes across the West.

The Public Lands Council grant program offers funding on a competitive basis to projects that can help equip PLC with the tools to advance and improve the future of grazing on public lands. Priority areas for funding are identified each year by the Board of Directors, and can include scientific research, communications campaigns, and business development projects.


PLC is currently accepting applications for Fiscal Year 2023 grant awards, which will support projects from Sept. 2022-Sept. 2023.

Click here to view the full Request for Proposal, which includes application instructions, this year’s research questions, and important dates. Please review the whole document thoroughly.

In addition to the Request for Proposal, applications should download and review the rubric that PLC will use to evaluate proposals and the guidelines for distribution of awards. Please note: administrative costs should not exceed 7.5% of the total funding request.

Important Dates

Applications and supporting documents must be submitted no later than Monday, June 6, 2022 at 11:59 p.m. ET.

Other dates to make note of:

  • April 11, 2022: RFP opens.
  • May 11, 2022: Applicant webinar. Time TBA; please check back on this page frequently!
  • June 6, 2022: Applications due.
  • July 27, 2022: Presenter invitations issued.
  • August 24, 2022: Presentations at the PLC Board Meeting in Cody, Wyoming.
  • August 31, 2022: Notification of award status.

What Are We Looking For?

PLC’s specific needs change from year to year in response to emerging issues our members are seeing on the ground, new legislative or regulatory proposals in Washington, changing ecological conditions, etc. Both new and returning applicants should review this section carefully; do not assume that everything is the same as last year.

Competitive proposals will address the following questions, that speak to how the project aligns with our goals for the PLC grant program.

Our Program Priorities

  • How, in your view, does this project support PLC’s goal of defending and advancing the future of grazing on public lands, and working cooperatively with federal agencies and other stakeholders toward that goal?
  • What form will the finished product of this project take?
  • Do you plan to leverage the finished product outside of your collaboration with the Public Lands Council? If so, how?
    • For scientific papers, please describe your plan for getting this work published.
    • For scientific papers and other research products, please describe any potential collaborations, presentations, or other sharing of this work that you hope to do outside of PLC.
    • For commercial products, please describe whether you intend to sell the product in the private sector and whether you would be willing to negotiate royalties
  • All PLC grants, without exception, are for one fiscal year of funding. We do consider, and have awarded grants in the past, to applicants who clearly explain the single-year PLC funding as part of a multiyear project. PLC welcomes reapplication in subsequent years of a multiyear project but will not provide funding for multiple years in a single application. Please speak to the realistic timeline of your project.

Additionally, competitive proposals will demonstrate their ability to meaningfully address one or more of the questions below.

FY23 Questions

  • How do healthy rangelands contribute to carbon sequestration? Is rangeland health (resiliency, biodiversity, etc.) directly correlated with carbon storage?
    • Conversely, what is the impact on carbon sequestration when a rangeland ecosystem is dominated by annual invasive plant species?
  • What impact is the increased occurrence of catastrophic wildfire having on:
    • The ecological health, resiliency, and biodiversity of public lands – particularly in unique ecosystems like riparian areas?
    • The economic health and sustainability of rural communities?
    • The public health of rural communities and residents in the wildland-urban interface?
  • To what extent, if any, could the impact that catastrophic wildfires have on people and landscapes across the West be mitigated by rapid initial contact in firefighting, increased prevention efforts, improved post-fire restoration efforts, or other improvements to federal agencies’ fire protocols?
  • What ecological impact is increased recreation on public lands having on other uses such as grazing and wildlife conservation?
  • What socioeconomic impact is increased recreation on public lands having on ranching communities and rural counties?
  • What gaps in personnel or policy need to be filled at the federal agency level in order to adequately manage the side effects of the increase in recreational use of public lands?
  • What is the holistic economic impact of increased recreation on both the federal tax base and on the local rural communities who experience this increase in recreational traffic?
    • What portion of revenue from recreational use of public lands is ultimately spent or invested within the municipality or county where the recreation took place?
  • What is the holistic economic cost of listing a species under the Endangered Species Act?
  • What is the holistic economic cost of designating a National Monument or expanding the footprint of an existing Monument?

In addition to these specific research questions, PLC will also consider proposals related to promotion, marketing, or other industry-related needs on a case-by-case basis.


If you have any questions, please contact Sigrid Johannes ([email protected]) or Justyn Tedder ([email protected]). The PLC staff is also reachable at (202) 347-0228.

Montana FSA: USDA To Compensate Drought-Stricken Ranchers for Above Normal Costs to Haul Livestock to Forage Assistance also available for feed and water hauling expenses

Assistance also available for feed and water hauling expenses

BOZEMAN, Montana, April 07, 2022  Due to the persistent drought conditions in the Great Plains and West, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is offering additional relief through the Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees and Farm-raised Fish Program (ELAP) to help ranchers cover above normal costs of hauling livestock to forage or other grazing acres. This policy enhancement complements previously announced ELAP compensation for hauling feed to livestock.  ELAP livestock and feed hauling assistance is retroactive for 2021 and will be available for losses in 2022 and subsequent years.

“Stakeholder input matters. After we rolled out updated ELAP policy last year to help cover the cost of hauling feed to livestock, thankful producers across the country expressed their appreciation for the expanded assistance and made suggestions to further improve the program,” said Zach Ducheneaux, FSA Administrator. “The additional update we are announcing today to help ranchers cover above normal costs of hauling livestock to forage reflects our commitment to meet our producers’ needs, whenever we have the flexibility and authority to do so.”

“Unfortunately, drought conditions across the U.S. continue and, in many states, have worsened. In response, we continue to find ways to help livestock producers alleviate some of the financial strain,” said Les J. Rispens, Acting State Executive Director for FSA in Montana. “This most recent ELAP program update recognizes that, for some ranchers, hauling livestock to forage rather than feed to livestock is easier and makes more sense financially.”

ELAP Assistance Overview  

ELAP provides financial assistance to eligible producers of livestock, honeybees and farm-raised fish for losses due to disease, certain adverse weather events or loss conditions as determined by the Secretary of Agriculture. In addition to ELAP covering feed transportation costs where grazing and hay resources have been depleted, ELAP now also covers transportation costs associated with hauling livestock to feed sources This includes places where:

  • Drought intensity is D2 for eight consecutive weeks as indicated by the U.S. Drought Monitor; or  
  • Drought intensity is D3 or greater.

Additionally, FSA has updated ELAP policy to also cover water hauling in areas experiencing D2 for eight consecutive weeks, lowering the drought intensity threshold (previously D3) triggering the availability of this financial assistance.


To be eligible for ELAP assistance, livestock must be intended for grazing and producers must have incurred feed or livestock transportation costs on or after Jan. 1, 2021. Although producers will self-certify losses and expenses to FSA, producers are encouraged to maintain good records and retain receipts and related documentation in the event these documents are requested for review by the local FSA County Committee.

Payment Calculations  

USDA will reimburse eligible ranchers 60% of livestock transportation costs above what would have been incurred in a normal year. Producers qualifying as underserved (socially disadvantaged, limited resource, beginning or military veteran) will be reimbursed for 90% of the feed transportation cost above what would have been incurred in a normal year.

USDA uses a national cost formula to determine reimbursement costs that will not include the first 25 miles and distances exceeding 1,000 transportation miles. The calculation will also exclude the normal cost to transport hay or feed if the producer normally purchases some feed.  For 2021, the initial cost formula of $6.60 per mile will be used (before the percentage is applied).

Online Decision Tool 

Producers can use the updated ELAP Feed Livestock Transportation Producer Tool to help producers document and estimate payments to cover both feed and livestock transportation costs caused by drought. The tool (a Microsoft Excel workbook) and other resources are available at fsa.usda.gov/elap. Final payments may vary depending on eligibility.

Eligible ranchers should contact their FSA county office to apply for ELAP assistance. To simplify the application process, ranchers can print or email payment estimates generated by the online tool for submission to FSA. The deadline to request ELAP assistance for hauling livestock to forage in 2021 is June 30, 2022.  The deadline to request all ELAP assistance for 2022 calendar year losses will be Jan. 31, 2023.

More Information 

Additional USDA disaster assistance information can be found on farmers.gov, including USDA resources specifically for producer impacted by drought and wildfire and the Disaster Assistance Discovery Tool, Disaster-at-a-Glance fact sheet and Farm Loan Discovery Tool. For FSA and Natural Resources Conservation Service programs, producers should contact their local USDA Service Center. For assistance with a crop insurance claim, producers and landowners should contact their crop insurance agent. 

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 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, visitwww.usda.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”.

USDA Working with Cooperative Development Centers to Expand Economic Opportunities for Rural Montanans

BOZEMAN, Mont., April 6, 2022 – U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development Under Secretary Xochitl Torres Small today announced that the department is accepting applications through the Rural Cooperative Development Grant (RCDG)program to help Cooperative Development Centers improve the economic condition of rural areas by assisting individuals and businesses in the startup, expansion, or operational improvement of rural cooperatives and other mutually-owned businesses.

In Montana, USDA Rural Development has worked closely with Mission West Community Development Partners and the Montana Cooperative Development Center to provide funding through the RCDG program which, in turn, has been used to provide expertise and technical assistance to Montana businesses.

As a Regional Economic Development Organization, Mission West Community Development Partners provides community and economic development efforts to help businesses in Lake, Mineral and Sanders counties, as well as the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes, grow and prosper.

“Our Cooperative Development Center is a key part of how we’re working to support and sustainably develop the economies of rural western Montana,” noted Mission West Community Development Partners Cooperative Development Center Director, Kaylee Thornley. “Through the USDA Rural Cooperative Development Grant program, Mission West has been able to provide technical assistance and training to 33 cooperatives in starting or expanding their business in the last two years.”

Rural Cooperative Development Grants may be used by Rural Cooperative Development Centers to fund operations such as conducting feasibility studies, developing business plans, providing leadership and operational improvement training, and facilitating strategic planning.

“As an example, through RCDG funding, Mission West assisted the Ronan Cooperative Brewery in successfully opening as Montana’s first cooperative brewery in 2020, contributing to the revitalization of Ronan’s rural Main Street,” added Thornley. “And, earlier this year, Mission West continued to assist the co-op brewery after its opening by providing technical assistance to expand its digital marketing presence to increase sales.”

The Montana Cooperative Development Center (MCDC) works with new and existing cooperatives and other groups to evaluate cooperative business models and strategies to meet their objectives.

“Montana Cooperative Development Center has proudly received RCDG funding for several years,” stated Montana Cooperative Development Center’s Executive Director, Tracy McIntyre.  “Our work across Montana shows the vastness of how cooperatives can address community and economic needs. We are working on developing cooperatives to address critical issues facing our state, including (but not limited to) childcare, housing, food and meat processing, food distribution, and workforce conversions to employee ownership.”

MCDC is the only statewide resource for cooperative development.  With financial assistance from state and federal sources, including previous USDA Rural Cooperative Development Grants, MCDC is able to offer services at little or no cost to project groups across the state.

“MCDC also works with all existing cooperatives and supports the work of the Montana Telecommunication Association and telecommunication cooperatives on broadband adoption and deployment. And, through the Socially Disadvantaged Group Grant, which is another USDA Rural Development program, MCDC is providing technical assistance to our Indigenous communities,” McIntyre added.

To learn more about business investment resources for Montana’s rural areas, contact Montana’s Business and Cooperative Programs Director, Lad Barney, at (406) 309-3350 or [email protected]

Additional information on the required materials and how to apply for the RCDG program are available on page 19842 of the April 6, 2022, Federal Register.

If you would like to subscribe to USDA Rural Development updates, visit our GovDelivery subscriber page.

USDA to Provide Payments to Livestock Producers Impacted by Drought or Wildfire

New Emergency Livestock Relief benefits to be delivered through two-phased approach; compensation for 2021 forage losses

WASHINGTON, March 31, 2022 – The U.S Department of Agriculture (USDA) today announced that ranchers who have approved applications through the 2021 Livestock Forage Disaster Program (LFP) for forage losses due to severe drought or wildfire in 2021 will soon begin receiving emergency relief payments for increases in supplemental feed costs in 2021 through the Farm Service Agency’s (FSA) new Emergency Livestock Relief Program (ELRP).

“Producers of grazing livestock experienced catastrophic losses of available forage as well as higher costs for supplemental feed in 2021. Unfortunately, the conditions driving these losses have not improved for many and have even worsened for some, as drought spreads across the U.S.,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.  “In order to deliver much-needed assistance as efficiently as possible, phase one of the ELRP will use certain data from the Livestock Forage Disaster Program (LFP), allowing USDA to distribute payments within days to livestock producers.”

On September 30, 2021, President Biden signed into law the Extending Government Funding and Delivering Emergency Assistance Act (P.L. 117-43). This Act includes $10 billion in assistance to agricultural producers impacted by wildfires, droughts, hurricanes, winter storms and other eligible disasters experienced during calendar years 2020 and 2021. Additionally, the Act specifically targets $750 million to provide assistance to livestock producers for losses incurred due to drought or wildfires in calendar year 2021. ELRP is part of FSA’s implementation of the Act.

For impacted ranchers, USDA will leverage LFP data to deliver immediate relief for increases in supplemental feed costs in 2021. LFP is an important tool that provides up to 60% of the estimated replacement feed cost when an eligible drought adversely impacts grazing lands or 50% of the monthly feed cost for the number of days the producer is prohibited from grazing the managed rangeland because of a qualifying wildfire.

FSA received more than 100,000 applications totaling nearly $670 million in payments to livestock producers under LFP for the 2021 program year.

Congress recognized requests for assistance beyond this existing program and provided specific funding for disaster-impacted livestock producers in 2021.

ELRP Eligibility – Phase One 

To be eligible for an ELRP payment under phase one of program delivery, livestock producers must have suffered grazing losses in a county rated by the U.S. Drought Monitor as having a D2 (severe drought) for eight consecutive weeks or a D3 (extreme drought) or higher level of drought intensity during the 2021 calendar year, and have applied and been approved for 2021 LFP. Additionally, producers whose permitted grazing on federally managed lands was disallowed due to wildfire are also eligible for ELRP payments, if they applied and were approved for 2021 LFP.

As part of FSA’s efforts to streamline and simplify the delivery of ELRP phase one benefits, producers are not required to submit an application for payment; however, they must have the following forms on file with FSA within a subsequently announced deadline as determined by the Deputy Administrator for Farm Programs:

  • CCC-853, Livestock Forage Disaster Program Application
  • Form AD-2047, Customer Data Worksheet.
  • Form CCC-902, Farm Operating Plan for an individual or legal entity.
  • Form CCC-901, Member Information for Legal Entities (if applicable).
  • Form FSA-510, Request for an Exception to the $125,000 Payment Limitation for Certain Programs (if applicable).
  • Form CCC-860, Socially Disadvantaged, Limited Resource, Beginning and Veteran Farmer or Rancher Certification, if applicable, for the 2021 program year.
  • A highly erodible land conservation (sometimes referred to as HELC) and wetland conservation certification (Form AD-1026 Highly Erodible Land Conservation (HELC) and Wetland Conservation (WC) Certification) for the ELRP producer and applicable affiliates.

ELRP Payment Calculation – Phase One 

To further expedite payments to eligible livestock producers, determine eligibility, and calculate an ELRP phase one payment, FSA will utilize livestock inventories and drought-affected forage acreage or restricted animal units and grazing days due to wildfire already reported by the producer when they submitted a 2021 CCC-853, Livestock Forage Disaster Program Application form.

Phase one ELRP payments will be equal to the eligible livestock producer’s gross 2021 LFP calculated payment multiplied by a payment percentage, to reach a reasonable approximation of increased supplemental feed costs for eligible livestock producers in 2021.

The ELRP payment percentage will be 90% for historically underserved producers, including beginning, limited resource, and veteran farmers and ranchers, and 75% for all other producers.  These payments will be subject to a payment limitation.

To qualify for the higher payment percentage, eligible producers must have a CCC-860, Socially Disadvantaged, Limited Resource, Beginning and Veteran Farmer or Rancher Certification, form on file with FSA for the 2021 program year.

Payments to eligible producers through phase one of ELRP are estimated to total more than $577 million.

ELRP – Phase Two   

Today’s announcement is only Phase One of relief for livestock producers.  FSA continues to evaluate and identify impacts of 2021 drought and wildfire on livestock producers to ensure equitable and inclusive distribution of much-needed emergency relief program benefits.

Emergency Relief Program (ERP) Assistance for Crop Producers 

FSA is developing a two-phased process to provide assistance to diversified, row crop and specialty crop operations that were impacted by an eligible natural disaster event in calendar years 2020 or 2021.

This program will provide assistance to crop producers and will follow a two-phased process similar to that of the livestock assistance with implementation of the first phase in the coming weeks. Phase one of the crop assistance program delivery will leverage existing Federal Crop Insurance or Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program data as the basis for calculating initial payments.

Making the initial payments using existing safety net and risk management data will both speed implementation and further encourage participation in these permanent programs, including the Pasture, Rangeland, Forage Rainfall Index Crop Insurance Program, as Congress intended.

The second phase of the crop program will be intended to fill additional assistance gaps and cover eligible producers who did not participate in existing risk management programs.

Through proactive communication and outreach, USDA will keep producers and stakeholders informed as ERP implementation details are made available.

Additional Livestock Drought Assistance 

Due to the persistent drought conditions in the Great Plains and West, FSA will be offering additional relief through the Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees and Farm-raised Fish Program (ELAP) to help ranchers cover above normal costs of hauling livestock to forage.  This policy enhancement complements previously announced ELAP compensation for hauling feed to livestock.  Soon after FSA announced the assistance for hauling feed to livestock, stakeholders were quick to point out that producers also were hauling the livestock to the feed source as well and encouraged this additional flexibility.

It is important to note that, unlike ELRP emergency relief benefits which are only applicable for eligible losses incurred in the 2021 calendar year, this ELAP livestock and feed hauling compensation will not only be retroactive for 2021 but will also be available for losses in 2022 and subsequent years.

To calculate ELAP program benefits, an online tool is currently available to help producers document and estimate payments to cover feed transportation cost increases caused by drought and will soon be updated to assist producers with calculations associated with drought related costs incurred for hauling livestock to forage

More Information  
Additional USDA disaster assistance information can be found on farmers.gov, including USDA resources specifically for producer impacted by drought and wildfire and the Disaster Assistance Discovery ToolDisaster-at-a-Glance fact sheet, and Farm Loan Discovery Tool. For FSA and Natural Resources Conservation Service programs, producers should contact their local USDA Service Center. For assistance with a crop insurance claim, producers and landowners should contact their crop insurance agent.

USDA touches the lives of all Americans each day in so many positive ways. Under 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.

WASHINGTON, May 4, 2022 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture has updated three key crop insurance options for livestock producers: the Dairy Revenue Protection (DRP), Livestock Gross Margin (LGM), and Livestock Risk Protection (LRP). USDA’s Risk Management Agency (RMA) revised the insurance options to reach more producers, offer greater flexibility for protecting their operations, and ultimately, better meet the needs of the country’s swine, dairy, and cattle producers. The updates were published last week for the 2023 crop year, which begins July 1, 2022.

“Great and sound customer service is the most important thing we can provide our nation’s producers, making sure the programs and products we offer give them the most useful tools for covering their risks,” said RMA Administrator Marcia Bunger. “Agriculture is not a static industry, and these updates reflect the importance we place on always knowing the evolving needs of producers and offering the most people the best risk management tools we can.”

DRP is designed to insure against unexpected declines in the quarterly revenue from milk sales relative to a guaranteed coverage level; LGM protects against the loss of gross margin (or livestock’s market value minus feed costs); and LRP provides protection against price declines.

Producers will now have more flexibility for DRP, LGM, and LRP, when indemnities are used to pay premiums, which can help producers manage their operation’s cash flow. With these updates, producers can now have both LGM and LRP policies, although they cannot insure the same class of livestock for the same time period or have the same livestock insured under multiple policies.

Additional updates by insurance option include:

Dairy Revenue Protection

  • Dairy producers are now able to continue coverage even if they experience a disaster, such as a barn fire, at their operation.

Livestock Gross Margin

  • Cattle, Dairy, and Swine coverage has been expanded, making it available in all counties in all 50 states.

Livestock Risk Protection

  • Insurance companies are now required to pay indemnities within 30 days, rather than the previous 60 days, following the receipt of the claim form.
  • Head limits have been increased:

oFed Cattle: 12,000 head per endorsement and 25,000 head per crop year

oFeeder Cattle: 12,000 head per endorsement and 25,000 head per crop year

oSwine: 70,000 head per endorsement and 750,000 head per crop year

  • The termination date under LRP has been extended from June 30 to August 31
  • Location reporting requirements have been relaxed to list only state and county, instead of the precise legal location.

Learn more on RMA’s Livestock Insurance Plans webpage. Crop insurance is sold and delivered solely through private crop insurance agents. A list of crop insurance agents is available at all USDA Service Centers and online at the RMA Agent Locator.

More Information

These improvements to livestock insurance options build on other efforts by USDA to improve programs for livestock producers. Recently, USDA expanded the Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees, and Farm-raised Fish to cover transportation costs of livestock to feed as well as feed to livestock. And USDA expanded Dairy Margin Coverage to enable dairy producers to enroll supplemental coverage.

USDA touches the lives of all Americans each day in so many positive ways. Under 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.

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:


Montana CattleWomen Inc. offer $1,000 Memorial Scholarship for the 61st Consecutive Year

For the sixty-first consecutive year, Montana CattleWomen, Inc. is offering a $1,000 scholarship to a student from a Montana home that is enrolled in one of the state colleges or universities. Preference will be given to an applicant majoring in a field beneficial to the livestock industry.

To qualify for this award, a student must currently be at least a sophomore in college and have a grade point average of 2.7 or better. The scholarship will be awarded to the student who is determined to have the best balance of grades, citizenship, and financial need. The winner will be announced after May 2022.

Application forms are available at college Financial Aid Offices throughout Montana.  Interested students may contact the scholarship chair, Dawn Schooley by phone at (406) 633-3003 or by email at [email protected].

Applications must be submitted no later than May 14, 2022.

Please contact your local school personnel and members of your local CattleWomen/ CowBelle group, as they may know of a student from your local area who qualifies for the scholarship and wishes to apply. These students should be contacted and informed of the scholarship.

This scholarship is supported by a memorial fund, separate from the general fund of Montana CattleWomen. Tax deductible donations from individuals and CattleWomen locals are the only source of income for the fund. We would encourage you to consider making a donation to the scholarship fund. Most gifts are sent in memory of an individual. The family of that person is notified that the gift was made. It is also acknowledged at a memorial service during the annual state convention in December.  This scholarship was established in 1963 and has been awarded to worthy students since that time.

Thanks for your help by supporting our young people and our industry through this scholarship.

The NILE is offering an internship you’ll never forget!

The Northern International Livestock Exposition is searching for college students that can keep up with the fast-paced environment of the NILE Stock Show and Rodeo. From early mornings checking in livestock exhibitors to late nights posting barrel race results, there’s no doubt you’ll be tired by the end of it. But, you’ll leave with some lifelong friendships, industry connections and memories that will make the early mornings and late nights absolutely worth it.

You’ll have an incredible team of NILE staff and NILE interns with you along the way to guide you through the multitude of duties throughout the duration of the NILE. We’re looking for individuals that are flexible and can adjust to changes on the fly, individuals that can comfortably talk with nervous exhibitors as they’re about to enter the show ring, and most importantly, individuals that are committed to embracing the western way of life.

We understand that the timing may not be ideal as the NILE takes place during school months, but trust us, the experience is worth it! While the NILE is still months away, it’s never too soon to start thinking about your future. And besides, we know some of you college kids like to procrastinate, so here’s your chance to overcome that weakness and apply way before the deadline!

Something to make note of if you’re interested in the media internship is that it’s a semester-long opportunity. This will allow the selected intern the chance to gain a deeper knowledge of the media side of the NILE. Plus, you can receive full college credit for your efforts and walk away with some great work samples!

All applications must be in the NILE Office by August 1, 2022, and interns will be announced shortly thereafter.

Have questions? Give us a call at (406) 256-2495 or email [email protected]

Position: Fall Internships – Multiple Positions available

Location: Billings, Montana – MetraPark
Dates: October 13-23, 2022

Complete guidelines and applications are now available! Please see the information below.

**DEADLINE: AUGUST 1, 2022**

2022 NILE Internship Guidelines & Application

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!


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.



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