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Epidemic Essentials: Small Businesses in the Food Industry

by Kristi Brooks

“Fluid situation; Unprecedented times; Ever-changing event; Lockdown; and Flatten the curve,” are all phrases we’ve grown accustomed to in the past few weeks amid the COVID-19 Pandemic (Coronavirus).  As the world struggles to adjust to new protocols and executive orders, the food industry is suffering mightily.

As of Tuesday, March 24, more than 44,000 cases have been

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Epidemic Essentials: Trucking


by Kerry Hoffschneider

As the nation closes businesses, citizens still need provisions they have come to rely upon and some that are necessary for survival.  So far, the wheels on the trucking industry have not slowed since the eruption of COVID-19 worldwide.  However, everyday truckers are already on alert for bigger changes.  We will continue to reach

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Epidemic Essentials:  Education

by Tami Sanders

For most farm and ranch kids, staying on the place for weeks at a time and “social distancing” is not a new phenomenon.  It’s more commonly known as haying, harvesting, calving, lambing, the list goes on for pages.

But this time is different.

This time we’ve been “volun-told” that while keeping our kids at home, we’ll also educate

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Epidemic Essentials: A Functioning Cattle Market

by Kayla Sargent

“Every cloud has a silver lining.”

“It’s a blessing in disguise.”

“The darkest hour is nearest dawn.”

There are multiple phrases that serve as reminders in the midst of a crisis that something better is on the other side.  It’s no question that America if facing a crisis as COVID-19 sweeps across the country.  Stocks feel it, the economy

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Epidemic Essentials: Agriculture

by Kayla Sargent

The COVID-19 outbreak has made one thing certain — Americans need the agriculture industry to remain fully functional in order to survive.  But the pandemic has come with its own set of challenges that has made it difficult to for ag operators to continue “business as usual.”

Fortunately, while producers are out on the ground continuing their

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Epidemic Essentials: The Healthcare System

by Mayzie Purviance

“Is this really that big of a deal?”

This seems to be the question on many American’s minds amid the Coronavirus (COVID-19) chaos.  According to both Dr. Kary Engle, a traveling physician’s assistant in Montana, and Emergency Physician Dr. Emily Porter of Austin Texas, it is.

“We just don’t have the resources,” Dr. Engle said.  “And we don’t

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Epidemic Essentials: Grocery Stores

by Kerry Hoffschneider

One of the employees of Grand Central Foods went into the owner’s office at the grocery store and said, “We have six cases of eggs left.  That’s all and they are all on the shelf.  We will probably be out of milk soon, too.”

Warren Thomas, owner, Grand Central Foods.  Kerry Hoffschneider photo.

Grand Central Foods

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Comments by the Publisher — “The wake-up call has been served.”

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Last week I shared the letter my brother sent to our two Montana Senators.  The packers practices have been totally criminal.

And now, there is a group of four Senators that agree.  Senator Steve Daines (R-MT), Senator John Hoeven (R-ND), Senator Kevin Cramer (R-ND) and

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USCA Statement on Efforts to Restore U.S. Cattle Markets

Following Congressional efforts to provide immediate, short-term relief for U.S. cattle producers during these historic times, United States Cattlemen’s Association (USCA) President Dr. Brooke Miller issued the following statement:

“USCA would like to recognize efforts by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to keep the U.S. agriculture system running as smoothly as possible and providing certainty in uncertain times.

“Secretary Sonny Perdue,

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The Vegan Diaries — Part V: My Carbon Footprint Did WHAT?

I don’t know about y’all but it seems like now, more than ever, social media is less original posts and status updates and more “So-in-so and four others shared an article from CNN.”  With the Coronavirus outbreak, I would predict that almost everyone’s screen time is up an hour or two (or maybe three or four).  We’re getting updates thrown

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USDA Helping with Agriculture Labor Needs

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is working to assist those in need of seasonal or temporary agriculture labor as routine visa services have been suspended at the consulates in Mexico, South Africa, and Jamaica due to the coronavirus situation.

“North Dakota agriculture relies on seasonal and temporary ag labor to help fill the gaps when domestic workers are in

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USDA Service Centers Open for Business by Phone Appointment Only

U.S. Department of Agriculture Service Centers are encouraging visitors to take proactive protective measures to help prevent the spread of coronavirus.

USDA Service Centers in Montana will continue to be open for business by phone appointment only and field work will continue with appropriate social distancing.  While our program delivery staff will continue to come into the office, they will be

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Quality Quarantined Time

Without a doubt, the Coronavirus (COVID-19) has ensued chaos, panic, and hysteria around the globe.  In times like this, sometimes a small distraction is just what you need.

In the spirit of providing some much-needed comic relief, we asked members of our small office “What would you do if you were quarantined?” Their answers are below:

“I would read a book.”

– Bailey

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North Dakota Ag Groups Underscore Importance of Food Supply

Thirteen North Dakota agricultural organizations sent a letter to President Donald Trump and other state and national leaders, thanking them for their efforts to protect the nation during the COVID-19 pandemic and underscoring the importance of maintaining a steady supply of food, fiber, feed and fuel.  In the letter, the groups urged decision-makers to be mindful of the unique challenges

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Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner. Pushes Easy At Home Cooking During Outbreak

The Global Marketing and Research team at the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, a contractor to the Beef Checkoff, along with State Beef Councils across the country, are leveraging their extensive library of content, including advertisements, recipes, cooking videos, and educational materials about beef nutrition to help consumers while they are home during the pandemic.

“We know consumers are seeking preparation and

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All Montana Counties Eligible for Economic Disaster Relief Funding During Outbreak

U.S. Senator Steve Daines recently announced the Small Business Administration (SBA) declared that all Montana counties will be eligible to apply for additional funding under the SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Declaration.

“This is about giving our counties and working Montanans additional tools for relief they need during the Coronavirus outbreak,” Senator Daines said.  “I’m glad to have voted to secure this

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A Cautious Quarantine

“A mountain lion,” she nervously mumbled.  “A real mountain lion.” 

Tuff patted Sunshine Twinkltoes on her shoulder.

“It’ll be okay,” he said.  “Don’t you worry your fluffy fur about it, not even for one minute.  I’ll take care of you.” 

The ranch crew hunkered together in the barn.  An ominous gust of wind blew through the open barn doors, and across the animals. 

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Cancelled Events Due To Coronavirus Outbreak


CFTC Agricultural Commodity Futures Conference

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission announced the following changes to previously scheduled public events due the impact of the coronavirus:

The CFTC will postpone this year’s Agricultural Commodity Futures Conference scheduled for April 1-2 in Overland Park, Kansas.
The CFTC will relocate its open meeting scheduled for March 31 at the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City to

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Livestock and Ag Auctions Must Continue Amid COVID-19

With calving season upon us, many ranchers need to move and sell other cattle due to limited feed supplies and to make room for new calves.  Others are planning auction sales for land or equipment due to financial situations or leaving the business.

“Agriculture doesn’t stop; the process of producing food and feed is a year-round job,” North Dakota Agriculture Commissioner

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Social Distance Champions

Social distancing should mean freedom loving Americans distancing themselves from socialism — but it does not.  Rather, it is the smiley faced version of quarantine.

In my younger years my family ranched eight miles from our nearest neighbor, Emanuel Johnson, and 24 miles from the nearest town, Ingomar.  We were champions of social distancing and thought we were normal.

The gumbo plains

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Guidance on Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers During COVID-19

On March 19, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) released guidance to help state and local jurisdictions and the private sector identify and manage their essential workforce while responding to COVID-19.

As the Nation comes together to slow the spread of COVID-19, on March 16, the President issued updated Coronavirus Guidance for America.  This guidance states that:

“If you work in

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‘Behold the Fowls of the Air…’

My father wasn’t a stoic.  Instead, his temperament was one of acceptance.  He simply accepted the fact that he wasn’t in complete control of most things on the southern Illinois dairy farm of my youth.

Sure, he was boss over everything in sight: hundreds of acres, 100 dairy cows, five farmhand sons, three hired men, and his unpredictable, iron-bending Uncle Honey.


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Thoughts from the Editor

When I took over as Editor here at WAR and penned my first “Thoughts” column, I quoted my Grandpa who many times said, “they might have to get hungry before they figure it out.”

I knew in my heart that was true, but I did not know, nor believe, that I would live to see that day – especially in as

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Diary of My Coronavirus Cruise

I was sitting at the kitchen table drinking coffee on the morning of March 5, 2020 when the cruise ship The Grand Princess came across the screen.  Somehow, I knew that was the ship my friends, Judy Vidack and Theresa Hopkins, were aboard.  The report said a passenger on the ship on a cruise to Mexico prior to their Hawaii

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North Dakota Agriculture Contributes to National Security

Agriculture is vital to ensuring that food continues to reach all Americans.  While coronavirus is testing our resiliency as a food and agriculture community, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue has continued to focus on service to the American people during this health crisis.  Just as the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is continuing operations, the North Dakota Department of

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The Loss of One of America’s Last Great Arena of Competition

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By Leo McDonnell
Columbus, MT

Pat Goggins, who was one of the greatest advocates for ranchers and preserving a competitive market based on market fundamentals, always said it takes a little government to maintain a free market.  I don’t think Pat was talking about

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