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Montanans Not Backing Down

Ted and Anna Brown (Katie and Ted’s oldest daughter) participate in Hi-Line Heritage’s fundraiser rodeo and auction, October 12.

By Mayzie Purviance

Katie Brown, her husband, Ted, and three children live on their fifth-generation family ranch located south of Malta, Montana.  In an informative and heart-felt Facebook post about the American Prairie Reserve (APR) and bison, Brown made a simple

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Deal or No Deal

by Kayla Sargent

As China and U.S. trade officials met for yet another round of trade talks, rural America held their breath.  After China’s untimely departure from the last meetings, frustration built in the countryside.

On October 11, President Trump tweeted that “good things” were happening at the most recent meetings.  He said it felt “more like the old days” and there

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Investigating the Meat Packing Giant JBS

cutting meat slaughterhouse workers in a meat factory

by Kayla Sargent

Two East Coast Senators are questioning foreign investments in the U.S. meatpacking industry.  Specifically, Brazilian meat processor JBS S.A.’s move into the U.S. market is of concern, considering its “admitted criminal conduct” and involvement in “illicit financial activities,” Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ) wrote in

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A Modern Day Boston Tea Party

by Kayla Sargent

Like a modern day Boston Tea Party, Kansas cattle producers belonging to the Kansas Cattlemen’s Association (KCA) are protesting what they see as “taxation without representation.”  Today’s situation has nothing to do with a tax on tea, but instead a tax on cattle sold.  The KCA believes the Beef Checkoff is “taxation without representation.”

After publishing a briefing paper

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California Law Could Dictate Production Practices Nationwide

by Kayla Sargent

With the enactment of Proposition 12 in November 2018, practices changed for egg, pork and veal producers across the state of California.  Commonly referred to as Prop 12, the Farm Animal Confinement Initiative established new confinement standards for certain farm animals and bans the sale of product in the state that was not produced under those standards.

By 2022,

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Montana Could See Fourteen Livestock Markets Auctions

By Sheila Hildebrand

The Montana Department of Livestock held a “New Livestock Market Public Hearing” regarding Robbie Cattle Company Inc. and Montana Cattle ConneXion’s application for a “Livestock Market Permit” on October 8, 2019 at the Park City High School.  The meeting, attended by approximately 40 livestock producers/community members, was conducted in compliance with the Administrative Rule of Montana 32.15.104 which

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Options Sought For Producers Enduring Wet Weather

The extensive wet pattern in North Dakota, topped with an early snowstorm, is creating a great deal of anxiety for farmers and ranchers.  The state is exploring all possible means of assistance and encouraging those in emotional distress to reach out for help, Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring and Governor Doug Burgum said in a joint statement.

“We recognize the challenges our

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Sheep Industry Leader Testifies Before Senate Ag Committee

Burton Pfliger, a past president of the American Sheep Industry Association (ASI), testified at the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry on September 25 in Washington, D.C.  His testimony came during a full committee hearing concerning perspectives on the livestock and poultry sectors.

Starting with the issue of international trade, Pfliger reiterated the fact that ASI supports ratification of

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Cattlemen Participate in White House Event Spotlighting Federal Overreach

Two members of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) joined President Trump at a White House event spotlighting past federal overreach by the U.S.  Department of the Interior and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).  During the event, the President signed two Executive Orders while will provide more clarity and transparency to often-daunting and complicated federal regulatory processes.
“Today’s event at the

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5-year-old Nevada Steadman of Georgetown, Idaho jumps off her horse after a long day of cowgirling.

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The Case of the Sneaky Scarecrow

“Hey! Who’s the wise guy?!” Rascal called as he tugged on the tack room door.  He looked down the barn’s alley, “That mangy dog skunked me again.”  He gave the tack room door another hard push with his shoulder to see if it would budge, but nothing…not even an inch.  Rascal turned with his paws on his hips, snoot down

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Student Leaders Preparing for 92nd National FFA Convention & Expo

In a few weeks, the city of Indianapolis will transform into a sea of blue jackets when the National FFA Convention & Expo kicks off for the 92nd time.  This time-honored tradition will be held in the Circle City October 30 – November 2, 2019.

More than 67,000 FFA members from across the U.S., representing all 50 states, Puerto Rico and

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Raising Voices Event Prepares Youth for Agricultural Advocacy

In conjunction with its Fall Legislative Fly-In earlier this month, National Farmers Union (NFU) hosted its first Raising Voices event for young agricultural leaders.  Thirty-three FFA and Professional Agricultural Student (PAS) members hailing from 14 states traveled to Washington D.C. to participate in an educational session and gain hands-on advocacy experience.

“Fly-In is always an exciting time for us in D.C.,

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Feeding Quality Forum Speakers Encourage New Thinking

By Miranda Reiman

The cattle industry needs to make some bold, creative changes to ensure its viability.

That was the wakeup call from speakers at the Feeding Quality Forum, August 27 to 28 in Amarillo, Texas.  Persistent problems may require new approaches.

“Revenue is the reward for doing the right thing,” Anne-Marie Roerink, principal at 210 Analytics, said.

The retail food expert talked of

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Slow Cooker Recipes and Sticker-Priced Bovine

This past week when we received fourteen inches of heavy, wet October snow I decided it was time to go vehicle shopping.  The “Old Farmer’s Almanac” is predicting a polar-coaster winter, and I am tired of shoveling my Ford Taurus out of my half-mile long driveway.  While we were vehicle shopping, I hit upon an innovative marketing plan for cattle.


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Don’t Be These People

I’ve been in some form of the auction business for 45 years and have viewed auctions from all perspectives, from buyer, consignor, ring man, auctioneer, clerk, sale manager, etc. So I speak from some experience when I say there are some folks we’d just as soon NOT show up at an auction. Please, don’t be any of these people:

#10- The

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Raised in a Barn

We recently motored through 1,300 miles of rural Maryland, Pennsylvania and New York.  The trophy wife and I were sporting our new “Stand Up for Betsy Ross” tee shirts and worried we might trigger the perpetually offended blue voters of the eastern states.  However, barnyard flags and numerous “Trump-Pence 2020” signs calmed our fears.  Outside the socialist quagmire of urban

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Bits & Pieces

Interior Secretary David Bernhardt Headlines PLC Annual Banquet

U.S. Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt addressed many of his greatest partners in land management and conservation – federal lands ranchers – as he headlined the Public Lands Council (PLC) Annual Banquet in Great Falls, Montana on September 27.  Secretary Bernhardt addressed economic impacts to ranchers and the importance of grazing to

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Ag’s Coming Heart Transplant

If government and private estimates are accurate, hundreds of millions of American farm acres will have new owners in the next 15 years.

For example, the National Agricultural Statistics Service, the Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) survey takers and record keepers, predicts 100 million acres of today’s farmland will be sold by its current owners by 2023.

The American Farmland Trust (AFT), a

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Joe Thomas Helle May 14, 1932 – October 8, 2019

Joe Thomas Helle, age 87, passed away in Dillon, Montana on October 8, 2019.  Joe was born to Harold and Alice Helle in Williston North Dakota, May 14, 1932.

He spent his youth enjoying the outdoors and began his destiny in the rangelands of the West while working on the Shipstead Ranch in Scobey, Montana.  His adventures included chasing wild horses,

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Late last Friday afternoon, President Trump broke the news of what he called Phase 1 of a trade agreement between the United States and China.  Soon after, my phone started blowing up with texts and calls from folks wondering if I had heard any details.

President Trump said the Chinese have agreed to buy $40 billion to $50 billion worth of

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American Sheep Industry Files H-2A Comments

The American Sheep Industry Association (ASI) offered support for comments filed by Mountain Plains Agricultural Service and the Western Range Association regarding the Temporary Agricultural Employment of H-2A Nonimmigrants in the United States.  Comments were filed on proposed rules issued by the Department of Labor intending to make the worker program more efficient for use.

H-2A workers are critical to the

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Hille Selected as North Dakota Stockmen’s Association Brand Recorder

Stephanie Hille of Mandan, North Dakota was hired as the North Dakota Stockmen’s Association (NDSA) brand recorder.  She started on September 9.

As the brand recorder, Hille’s main responsibilities will include maintaining the state’s brand records by renewing, recording and transferring brands; publishing the brand book and monthly and annual supplements; and generating missing livestock reports, permanent horse permits and other

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“The Wannabe”

By John Purviance and Chad Edwards


There’s a species on this earth

That no man can deny.


He’s found in towns throughout the West,

And easy to identify.


He’s not a special critter,

No he’s not a real exotic.


He does not hail from Kathmandu

Nor an island in the tropics.


No one seems to know

How or where he originated.


His purpose on this earth

Is a subject that’s debated.


But in

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Thoughts from the Editor

It has been a busy few weeks in the world of ag news.  Discussions about markets, trade, packer investigations, the beef checkoff and the seemingly unending battle between our trade organizations have kept journalists and readers alike on their toes.  I have noticed over the past month a new wave of producers getting involved, educating themselves and speaking out —

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The Reality of the Beef Checkoff

by Cattlemen’s Beef Board CEO Greg Hanes

In the few months since I took the helm as CEO of the Cattlemen’s Beef Board (CBB) – the governing and administrative organization of the Beef Checkoff – there appears to be many misperceptions, false rumors, and misinformation about how the checkoff works and is administered.  Let’s look at its history, what the Beef

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Minnesota Congressmen Introduce Wolf Legislation

Representatives Collin C. Peterson (D-MN) and Pete Stauber (R-MN) recently introduced the Gray Wolf State Management Act of 2019 that would return management of the Western Great Lakes gray wolves to state control in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan.

“Choosing between protecting their livelihood or complying with a federal judicial decision is a choice no farmer should have to make.  The gray

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Corteva Agriscience Commits $600,000 to Support SDSU Raven Precision Agriculture Center

Corteva Agriscience recently announced a $600,000 gift to support the South Dakota State University (SDSU) precision agriculture program and construction of the new Raven Precision Agriculture Center on campus.  The gift will sponsor the Corteva Student Atrium inside the new facility.

“We are very fortunate to have Corteva Agriscience partner with us on this groundbreaking precision agriculture facility and program,” John

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“Agriculture isn’t destroying the planet — agriculture is feeding it.”

What’s worse than an anti-ag activist?  An un-informed anti-ag activist.  This week, we’re going to focus on a heavily discussed topic: Greenhouse Gas Emissions.

For the past year or so in the anti-ag and vegan Facebook groups I’m a member of, it seems the “animal-ag-is-bad train” has derailed from the historically consistent, “we shouldn’t kill another living thing,” argument to the

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