Buy Your Piece of Montana Ag

Several years ago, we decided that ranching for fun and not profit was not really working for us.  So, we decided to lop off a few acres with a view up the creek and down the Yellowstone and make money the old-fashioned way – selling the rural lifestyle to folks determined to get out of town and return to their

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President’s Budget Shortchanges Farm Programs for the Fourth Year in a Row

President Donald Trump recently released his proposed spending for fiscal year 2021.  The $4.8 billion budget would cut both mandatory and discretionary funding for the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and other federal agencies while boosting spending on infrastructure and defense initiatives.

National Farmers Union (NFU) President Roger Johnson said the “hypocritical” proposal overlooks the economic difficulties in farming communities.

“As both

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Western Ranchers Welcome President’s Proposed Interior Budget

The President’s fiscal year 2021 budget for the Department of the Interior was recently published.  Public Lands Council (PLC) Executive Director Kaitlynn Glover said it demonstrates President Trump’s “commitment to rural America and our public lands.”

“The proposed fiscal year 2021 budget prioritizes crucial resources for active forest and rangeland management to manage fuel loads and prevent catastrophic wildfire, demonstrates clear

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Organic Grains Hold High Potential in Washington

by Jamie Henneman

Grain producers in Eastern Washington now have a new option for marketing and shipping organic grains, as a formerly shuttered grain elevator in Kettle Falls has reopened.

Red Bridge Farm Mill Foreman Josh Titmus oversees a shipment of Certified Organic soft white wheat leaving the Kettle Falls elevator and destined for a buyer in Iowa.

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R-CALF Declares Victory In RFID Lawsuit

Last week the Wyoming federal district court dismissed the lawsuit filed in October by R-CALF USA, and ranchers Tracy and Donna Hunt and Kenny and Roxy Fox, against the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS).  The court concluded that there was no longer any “case or controversy” as the agencies had officially

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Deputy Secretary of Interior Nomination Advances to Senate

The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee markup of the nomination of Katharine MacGregor to be Deputy Secretary of the Interior was recently praised by the Public Lands Council (PLC) and National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA).

“Kate MacGregor has been an exceptional advocate for multiple-use on public lands during her time with the Interior Department,” PLC Executive Director and NCBA Executive

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Vegan Q&A

In an attempt to better understand the vegan lifestyle, I reached out to various vegans (current and prior) via social media and received interview answers back from two subjects.  Below are the questions I asked with some of the answers which were provided.  Seeing that most of these answers are lengthy, I only included a portion of each answer.  To

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Change is Coming

by Kayla Sargent

They say in Montana, “if you don’t like the weather, just wait an hour, it’ll change.”  A shift bigger than the day’s highs, lows, snow flurries, and sunshine is on its way for much of the nation though, according to Dr. Art Douglas, Professor Emeritus, Creighton University.

Sitting in a cooler-than-anticipated conference center in San Antonio, Texas,

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Next Generation of Consumers Value Ethics Over Legacy

A new study on the country’s most trusted brands underscores the urgency for food companies to keep sustainability front and center if they hope to earn the trust and confidence of the generations driving food trends, according to The Center for Food Integrity (CFI).

In the first annual list of ‘The 25 Most Trusted Brands in America’ from Morning Consult, four

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CattleFax Elects 2020 Leadership

Mark Frasier of Fort Morgan, Colorado, was elected 2020 president of CattleFax at the organization’s annual meeting, held in conjunction with the Cattle Industry Convention and NCBA Trade Show in San Antonio, Texas, February 4-7.

Frasier is a cow/calf, stocker operator and cattle feeder in Eastern Colorado and is active in his community and local cattlemen’s association.  He is a past

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South Dakota Producer Elected to Lead Lamb Board

Gwendolyn Kitzan has been a promoter and industry advocate as long as she can remember.  This fourth-generation sheep producer from Nisland, South Dakota, was elected chairman of the American Lamb Board (ALB) in January 2020.  She was appointed to the board in 2016 and has served as vice chair.

Gwen, husband Dwight, son Joshua, and daughter-in-law Heather have a flock of

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Agri-Kid | February 20, 2020

Steyr-Spud, 4 years old, headed out to feed the bum calves in Faith, South Dakota.

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Comments

Sales around Reporter Country have continued to be extremely strong.  Some of these sales have been a touch lower than they were last spring, but on the other hand, many sales have been stronger than they were a year ago.  Whether they are a little higher or a little lower, one thing is for sure, there is strong demand for

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Thoughts

by Kayla Sargent

Markets, markets, markets…it seems all I have been writing about lately is cattle markets.  While the subject matter can get a bit dry from my seat behind a computer screen, it is critical that our industry bring this discussion to the forefront.

The Tyson fire seemed to blow up the discussion in a big way and sparked

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2019 NCBA Victories in Washington D.C.

by Mayzie Purviance

As 2020 began, the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) met in San Antonio for their annual gathering, Cattle Con.

Although Cattle Con was riddled with various events such as the trade show, a concert, a PBR bull riding, and numerous seminars, one session stood out: the NCBA D.C. Issues Update.  In the update, numerous industry experts gave

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Doug Benevento Nominated as EPA Deputy Administrator

President Donald J. Trump recently announced his intention to nominate Douglas H. Benevento as deputy administrator for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Doug Benevento has spent much of his career working to help protect the environment.  He served as EPA Region 8 Administrator from October 2017 through March 2019.  He then moved to EPA Headquarters where he has served as

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Fake Meat May Need Cancer Warning, According to CCF

The nonprofit Center for Consumer Freedom (CCF) recently placed a full-page ad in The Wall Street Journal revealing a hidden substance lurking in some fake meat products.  Several tests administered by an independent lab revealed the presence of the carcinogen acrylamide.  The acrylamide levels found are high enough to require Prop 65 warnings under California law.

In 1986, Californians passed a

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South Dakota Cattle Producers Unite for Fair Prices

by Lura Roti for SDFU

Fair prices.  Is that too much to ask?  More than 300 South Dakota cattle producers answered this question in unison gathering in Wessington Springs during the Foothills Cattle Producers Roundup.  Cattle producers called on D.C. leadership to support fair prices through truth in labeling.

“This is such an American issue, not a rural America issue,

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General Mills $1.65 Million Grant Promotes Regenerative Ag

The non-profit Soil Health Academy (SHA) recently announced it has received a $1.65 million grant from global food company General Mills to educate and mentor wheat and oat producers in targeted regions of the U.S. and Canada as they transition from conventional agricultural practices to soil health-focused regenerative agriculture practices.

To implement the three-year, mentoring, consulting, and evaluation components of the

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Checkoff, Check-mate Part II

by Mayzie Purviance

“Every dollar you invest in the Beef Checkoff arms the beef industry with the research capabilities and knowledge necessary to drive demand for beef for generations to come.  Your dollar helps promote beef around the world, elevate consumer trust with the latest news on nutrition and safety, supports cutting-edge innovation, and keeps beef producers informed through

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How Rural America Can Avoid ‘Another Century of Degraded Water’

Despite the presidential caucus debacle Iowa hosted Monday, February 3, the too old, too-white, and too-rural (at least to pundits who drop by every Leap Year) Hawkeye State still finished its awful week with an act of political courage rarely seen in U.S.  agriculture today.

On February 7, the Des Moines Register published a clear, sharp call to action on the

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An Eye on the Market

by Kayla Sargent 

Photo by Cate Doubet

August 9 is a day that won’t soon be forgotten by those in the cattle industry.  The Tyson plant fire in Holcomb, Kansas sent cattle prices limit down and revealed just how volatile the cattle market is.  While the effects of the fire were devastating to many in the industry, it

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A Great Escape

“Hey!” Rascal called.  

Pudge tiptoed across the white blanket of snow.  Her tracks were the only images etched into the pristine glimmer of white.

“Hey you, little cat,” he called from above. 

Pudge ignored the masked bandit.  She was on a mission to make amends.  A lightbulb clicked in Pudge’s brain when Hannah picked her up and told her she had courage. 

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Walmart’s Beef Business Not Expected to Drive Near Term Changes to Cattle Industry 

Walmart, the largest food retailer in the U.S., officially entered the beef business in January when it opened a case-ready beef plant in Georgia after establishing its own Angus supply chain.  Creating an end-to-end beef supply chain is the latest step Walmart has taken in its vertical integration strategy for food and toward its stated goal of improving the quality

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Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner. Launches New Ad Campaign

Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner., managed by the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA), a contractor to the Beef Checkoff, is addressing common questions and hot topics in the beef industry head-on with the launch of new digital and social media ads.  The ads focus on the topics of sustainability, health, and meat substitutes.

Staying true to the brand’s notable swagger, the

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Rural America Hasn’t Felt the “Great American Comeback” Touted by Trump

Citing stock market gains, recent trade deals, and low unemployment rates, U.S. President Donald J. Trump touted a “great American comeback” in his third State of the Union address.  But as rural communities lag behind in many respects, this hardly paints the whole picture of the American economy.

“President Trump’s rosy outlook for the American economy is not just inaccurate –

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Sandra Kay (Smit) Mundell | April 3, 1954 – December 24, 2019

Sandra Kay (Smit) Mundell was born April 3, 1954 in Wray, Colorado and left this life December 24, 2019 in Denver, Colorado.

She grew up with her parents, Harry and Ruby Smit, and her brother “Butch” Smit, who was injured at birth and lived at home his entire life.  Sandy was always involved with the family farm and ranch.  She took

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From Another Angle

The year I earned my pilot’s license I was also transferred embryos at our ranch in Wyoming.  My embryo equipment fit perfectly behind the seat of a Cessna 152 so the weekend prior to collecting embryos I bladed off a nice runway above the house.  Logging pilot time while cutting travel time would be a win-win.

Flush day arrived, I loaded

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Support Ag Literacy on Your Tax Form

The State of Montana has a voluntary tax check-off designation for Agricultural Literacy.  These funds have the potential to provide materials and agricultural curriculum to teachers and schools across the state providing adequate knowledge of agriculture for students.

On your 2019 Montana tax return, choose the voluntary check-off program to support ag literacy in Montana schools.  These funds have the potential

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Partnership Launched To Bring Agriculture to Net Negative GHG Emissions

Farmers, ranchers and scientists are at the center of an unprecedented effort recently announced to develop and deploy climate-smart solutions on a global scale.

The Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research (FFAR) and the U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance (USFRA) are establishing an Agriculture-Climate Partnership to unlock the climate-solving potential in farmlands.  While agriculture contributes 13 percent of greenhouse gas emissions

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Here’s a Deadline You Can’t Afford to Miss

by Lois Van MARK, State Executive Director in Wyoming, USDA Farm Service Agency

The clock is ticking… March 16 is the last day to make what is likely one of the most important business decisions you will make for your farming operation this year.

If you have not already visited your local Farm Service Agency (FSA) county office to make

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Perdue Touts Trade Wins At 2020 Cattle Industry Convention

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue addressed a packed crowd of beef producers last week at the 2020 Cattle Industry Convention and National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) Trade Show.  Secretary Perdue participated in the Opening General Session of the event and spoke with NCBA President Jennifer Houston about the state of American beef production.  He also highlighted some of the

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Florida’s Marty Smith Elected National Cattlemen’s Beef Association President

Fifth-generation Florida rancher Marty Smith was elected president of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) at the annual Cattle Industry Convention on February 8.  He replaced Jennifer Houston of Sweetwater, Tennessee, 2019 NCBA president.

Smith operates Smith Brothers-Wacahoota, LLC, a cow-calf operation in Central Florida that has been in continuous operation since 1852.  It retains ownership through feedlots in Texas, Kansas,

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More than 1,000 Attend Cattlemen’s College During 2020 Cattle Industry Convention

More than 1,000 cattlemen and women took advantage of educational opportunities at the 27th annual Cattlemen’s College in San Antonio, Texas February 4-5.

Held in conjunction with the Cattle Industry Convention & NCBA Trade Show February 5-7, Cattlemen’s College is one of the cattle industry’s most in-depth and helpful educational events, helping cattle producers make their operations more efficient and successful.

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South Dakota Releases Livestock Environmental Stress Forecast Tool

Weather conditions in the Northern Plains can present many challenges for livestock producers.  Farmers and ranchers need to be prepared for rapidly changing conditions to provide the best care for their livestock and minimize their risk of losses.  Unfortunately, most of the information on a daily weather forecast is not specifically tailored for the unique factors important to livestock producers.

To

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Rush

The peristalsis from a cow’s rectum squeezes blood from my left arm to my heart and then my brain before popping out my mouth as political chatter — it is called the preg-check effect.

Back in 1989, I was pontificating while pregnancy testing Holsteins for my friend, Mike, when he asked, “Do you ever listen to talk radio?  You should catch

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Cattle’s Positive Impact on the Gem State

According to the 2017 Census of Agriculture conducted by USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service, Idaho had an inventory of more than 2.4 million head of cattle and calves in December 2017, ranking 12th among all states.  In comparison, the U.S. Census Bureau estimated Idaho’s population to be around 1.7 million in 2017, which means there were over 700,000 more cattle

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Snowpack More Than Doubles in Western Montana During January

Abundant moisture spilled into the Treasure State from the Pacific during January, boosting snowpack in all river basins to near or above normal for February 1.  In some locations, the amount of water added to the snowpack was record setting.  Between December 30 and February 1, SNOTEL (SNOwpack TELemetry) sites west of the Continental Divide received up to 18 inches

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MTFWP’s Decision on Bison is Wrong for Montana

by Ron Poertner
Winifred, MT

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks (MTFWP) Director Martha Williams recently issued the department’s decision on the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) that moves wild bison restoration planning forward in Montana.  It was an ill-advised decision marinated in collusion with the environmental community and is viewed by prairie landowners as just another “let’s stuff buffalo down their

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National Cattlemen’s Foundation Announces CME Beef Industry Scholarship Recipients

Ten outstanding students pursuing careers in the beef industry were selected as recipients of scholarships for the next school year by the National Cattlemen’s Foundation (NCF).  The scholarships are sponsored by CME Group.

The 2019 winners of the $1,500 scholarships are:

Lauren Butler, Mancos, Colorado, High School Senior (New Mexico State University)
Madelyn Derks, King City, Missouri, University of Missouri – Columbia
Katie Gardner,

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Beef Industry To Share Historic Profits

By Kayla Sargent

The highly anticipated CattleFax 2020 Market Outlook was well received by Cattle Convention attendees in San Antonio, Texas last week.  The message offered optimism for the year to come with all segments of the beef industry predicted to be in the green.

“We estimate that there is going to be nearly $500 of profitability for the industry

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R-CALF Legal Representative Rejects USDA’s Attempt to ‘Moot’ RFID Lawsuit

The attorney for R-CALF USA and several individual rancher-plaintiffs, who alleged in October that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and its Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) violated U.S. law by attempting to force RFID technology upon the entire U.S. factcattle industry, filed a response to the agencies’ motion to dismiss.

The agencies claim that NCLA’s lawsuit on behalf

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A Once In A Generation Opportunity

By Lilly Platts

In what is being called a once in a generation opportunity, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) issued a Notice of Intent announcing the preparation of an Environmental Impact Statement on new grazing regulations.  As part of this process, the BLM is holding Public Scoping Meetings throughout the West.

The first of these meetings took place in

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 A Mopping Mishap

I share the copy machine at work with the Sweet Grass County Extension Agent Marc King.  So, one day I found an interesting email mixed in with my pile of papers off the machine.  It was a bulletin from Montana State University about a biomarker study of the effects of calving operations on osteoarthritis.  Even though it wasn’t my mail,

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Farmers Bill of Rights Introduced in Congress, Alliance Formed

With family farmers and rural communities facing unprecedented hardships, Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ), Deb Haaland (D-NM), and Chellie Pingree (D-ME) called on Congress to adopt a resolution recognizing American farmers and their rural communities’ rights.  Filing of this resolution answers the call that went out in March of 2019 when Family Farm Action and organizations rallied at Storm Lake, Iowa

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Beef Quality Assurance Online Modules Updated to Boost Realism, Ease of Use

Building on its updated National Manual launched in Summer 2019, the Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) program has updated its online training modules to make them more realistic and useful.  The new modules are now available to those who are first becoming BQA certified online and those who are getting recertified as required after three years.

First launched in 2017, the online

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Feb. 13, 2020 AgriKid

Haaken (age 4) and Dallie (age 2) Campbell are bundled up and ready to work cows. Dallie is only *slightly* excited.

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A Strong History with Herefords

by Kerry Hoffschneider

In 1952, Alfred Schutte bought his first horned Hereford which was also his last because he purchased a polled bull at the same time.  Since then, the Schuttes have raised a polled Hereford herd registered under the name Alfred Schutte and Sons.

S&S Polled Herefords of Guide Rock started with Alfred, his wife Hildred, and their two

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NCBA Announces 2020 Beef Quality Assurance Award Winners

The National Cattleman’s Beef Association (NCBA), a contractor to the Beef Checkoff, has announced the winners of its 2020 Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) Awards during the 2020 Cattle Industry Convention in San Antonio, Texas.

The National BQA Awards annually recognize outstanding beef and dairy producers and marketers.  Winners not only demonstrate high-quality animal care and handling principles as part of their

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USDA to Issue Third and Final Round of Trade Assistance

In an effort to assist farmers and ranchers affected by international trade disputes, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently announced that it will issue the third and final tranche of 2019 Market Facilitation Program (MFP) payments.

As family farmers face record levels of debt and depressed crop prices, these payments will help stem the tide of farm bankruptcies and closures.

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Pudge’s Poor Path

“Hey!” Rascal called.  “Hey you, little cat friend.” 

Pudge woke to the masked bandit hollering at her from across the room.

“It’s chilly in here.  Why don’t you go out and find some more wood and while you’re out there, scavenge up some more vittles for me,” Rascal ordered.

Pudge shook her head to wake herself.  She wondered if she was hearing him

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Comments – Feb 13, 2020

Last week I discussed lower cattle inventory numbers, and especially lower cowherd numbers.  This week, I would like to touch on the beef exports.  Last week, the United States Meat Export Federation (USMEF) released 2019 export numbers.  This report showed exports down slightly from 2018, however USMEF said demand is still very strong.  Lower total exports as compared to record

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NCBA Unveils Top Policy Priorities For 2020

This morning, the Executive Committee of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) approved the organization’s top 2020 Policy Priorities.  Approval came at the annual Cattle Industry Convention in San Antonio, Texas.

Like last year, NCBA’s top policy priorities include issues related to international trade, proper regulation of fake meat, and regulatory reform, although after a series of significant policy victories in

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University of Montana Western Colt Challenge and Sale

The University of Montana Western’s Equine Studies Department has scheduled its Fourth Annual Colt Challenge and Sale for March 27-28, 2020 with special guests from the Montana State University Equine Science Program.  The event will be held at La Cense Montana, located at 4600 Carrigan Lane in Dillon, Montana. 

The Colt Challenge, held on March 27 starting at 9:00 a.m., will showcase both

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Montana Department of Livestock Announce Johne’s Control Program

by Shelia Hildebrand

The Montana Department of Livestock announced a newly initiated program to track and provide assistance to producers dealing with rise of occurrence and concern regarding Johne’s Disease.  The development of the program is precipitated by inquiries and concerns voiced by buyers of Montana cattle; and the veterinary community tasked with diagnosis, disease mitigation, and reporting.

Is Johne’s

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Five Locations Chosen for 2020 Stockmanship & Stewardship Program

Locations have been identified for five events on the Stockmanship & Stewardship Regional Tour, with the next stop in Ontario, Oregon.  Dates for that session and sessions in Bowling Green, Kentucky; Durango, Colorado; Danville, Indiana; and Elko, Nevada have not yet been determined.

Stockmanship & Stewardship is a unique two-day educational experience featuring low-stress cattle handling demonstrations, Beef Quality Assurance (BQA)

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Thousands Gather in San Antonio for Annual Cattle Industry Convention and NCBA Trade Show

The largest annual gathering of the beef industry began February 4 in San Antonio, Texas where more than 9,000 cattle producers, industry partners, and stakeholders gathered for the first day of the 2020 Cattle Industry Convention and NCBA Trade Show.

The event, which continued through February 7, provided a platform for education, policy development, and networking.

“This week is about serving America’s

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Checkoff, Check-mate — Part I

by Mayzie Purviance

In recent years, producers have questioned the Beef Checkoff program.  Is it worth it?  What are my dollars going toward?  Can you trust the individuals controlling the money?  In a two-part series both sides of the great checkoff debate will be aired.

To fully understand this checkoff chess game, it is important to first understand the players. 

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NCBA’s Fake Meat Study Reveals Startling Information

The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) recently released survey results that show widespread consumer confusion regarding the ingredient composition and purported benefits of plant-based fake meat products.

In an online survey of more than 1,800 consumers, less than half of the respondents understood the labeling term “plant-based beef” was intended to describe an entirely vegetarian or vegan food product.  One major

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Cattlemen’s Beef Board Announces New Leadership

Cattle producers Jared Brackett, Hugh Sanburg, and Norman Voyles, Jr. are the new leaders of the Cattlemen’s Beef Promotion and Research Board (CBB).  This officer team is responsible for guiding the national Beef Checkoff throughout 2020.

Brackett, Sanburg, and Voyles were elected by their fellow Beef Board members during the 2020 Cattle Industry Convention in San Antonio on Friday, February 7,

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An Attempt To Remove Livestock From The Land

by Lilly Platts

The introduction of a bill that would allow the voluntary sale and subsequent retirement of grazing permits has raised alarm amongst ranchers and supporters of agriculture.  Congressman Adam Smith (D-WA) introduced the Voluntary Grazing Permit Retirement Act (H.R. 5737) on January 30.

Representative Smith called his bill a “common-sense solution to provide for smarter management of our

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We Have to Start Talking

This past week, my Twitter feed blew up with three major topics: the Grand Champion Steer at the Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo, Joaquin Phoenix’s Oscars acceptance speech, and last but certainly not least, the “standing broom trick.” You may be asking yourself: how on God’s Green Earth do these three things relate to one another? Well buckle up

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Thoughts From the Editor on Telling Our Story

Sustainability.  It’s been referred to as a big “buzzword” for about a few years now.  All of our consumers are looking for sustainable products when they shop.  Businesses are releasing sustainability plans to keep their companies at the forefront.  Lawmakers are introducing bills to keep America on a sustainable track.

Sustainability can have multiple definitions, but for the most part, our

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PETA Pet Shelter Kill Rate Hits 66 Percent in 2019

Virginia’s Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services has published statistics of animal shelter records for 2019, and the numbers for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) are shocking.  According to the report, PETA killed 1,593 dogs, cats, and other pets last year – a repulsive 66 percent kill rate.

Of the 2,380 pets the organization took in, only 32

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Florida’s Blackbeard’s Ranch Recognized for Outstanding Stewardship Practices

The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association announced Blackbeard’s Ranch in Myakka, Florida, as the winner of the 2019 Environmental Stewardship Award Program (ESAP).  The award was presented at the 2020 Cattle Industry Convention and NCBA Trade Show in San Antonio, Texas.

Established in 1991, by the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association to recognize outstanding land stewards in the cattle industry, ESAP is generously

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South Dakota State University to Offer Veterinary Medicine Program

South Dakota State University and the University of Minnesota (U of M) recently announced the formation of a new collaborative Professional Program in Veterinary Medicine leading to a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree (DVM).

Once students have completed their pre-veterinary requirements, the new program will allow admitted students to complete the first two years of their veterinary medicine education at South

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Going Green is About Getting Green 

One thing Big Ag has gotten very good at over the last two decades is fighting what it sees as the “green” invasion of do-good outsiders into American farming and ranching.

You know who I’m talking about: these tie-dyed, righteous interlopers of Eastern Elites and Left Coast Libs riding impossibly white unicorns into battle in defense of climate change, natural resources,

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Persuasion At Its Best

Banjo looked back and forth between the two.  Their animosity had grown so substantial that they even split to opposites sides of the barn to sleep.

“Tuff, why don’t you go get Pudge,” Banjo said.  “I just put a big log on the fire and it’s rolling.  I’ll share some stories of yester year with you all.”

Tuff got up, begrudgingly but

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Jeffrey Held Retires After 30 Years Serving the Sheep Industry

For more than 30 years, South Dakota State University (SDSU) Extension Sheep Specialist and animal science professor Jeffrey Held served as a dedicated advocate for the lamb and wool industry and an essential educator in the College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences at SDSU.

“Jeff has been an incredible land grant ambassador to the university, the state of South Dakota,

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Don’t Flush the Facts, or that Buger

by Mayzie Purviance

Picture this: you’re sitting in your favorite booth at your favorite diner.  You order a bacon cheeseburger, extra mayo.  After patiently waiting for your meal, your server finally brings your burger to you and begins to speak with a hasty grin.  While most servers may say “be careful, this plate is hot,” when setting the meal in front

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Signed, Sealed, Delivered, and Awaiting Ratification

by Mayzie Purviance

Exactly 425 days after it was introduced, the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) was passed by House of Representatives, the Senate, and signed by President Donald Trump.

USMCA is anticipated to increase agricultural exports in the U.S. by $2 billion and increase gross domestic product to $65 billion.  USMCA is also expected to create over 180,000 new jobs and help

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Comments

Over the past few months I have suggested that the nation’s cow herd expansion is coming to an end and even going the other direction.  Cow slaughter numbers have increased, the number of heifers on feed has increased, and the number of steers on feed has decreased.

The recent Cattle Report released by USDA confirms what we have discussed in recent

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The Cows I’ve Known

As the poets and pickers headed home from the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering in Elko, Nevada this past week, I was sent a poem perfectly timed to the upcoming calving season.  Trent Nelson is a cowboy poet who was born and raised in northeastern Colorado in the agricultural community of Yuma.  He has worked in farming and ranching his whole

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Just One More Step in the Process

by Kayla Sargent

After a long litigation process, summary judgement has been granted to USDA, Montana Beef Council (MBC), and the fourteen other state councils in the R-CALF USA vs. Sonny Perdue lawsuit.  This is only a step in the legal process and proceedings are sure to follow – some checkoff supporters cautiously praised the announcement and R-CALF plans to challenge

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A Film To Take the Bite Out of Foodborne Illnesses

A novel composite film — created by the bonding of an antimicrobial layer to conventional, clear polyethylene plastic typically used to vacuum-package foods such as meat and fish — could help to decrease foodborne illness outbreaks, according to researchers in Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences.

The antimicrobial lining of the film is comprised of a pullulan-based biopolymer produced from starch

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Wyoming Wild Horse Off Range Facility Could Be In The Making

by Lilly Platts

News of a possible wild horse facility being built in Laramie County, Wyoming, has raised a number of concerns amongst residents who would be near the location.  A local news outlet released a story detailing that South Dakota-based Equine Elite would build a corral space to fill the BLM’s bid for an additional wild horse and burro facility

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Thoughts From The Editor

How do we achieve one voice in the beef industry?  A question that everyone asks and if you had the answer, my guess is you wouldn’t have to sell a few extra heifers to make ends meet.  It’s a million-dollar question.

In my two articles this week, a theme I heard is, “with one voice we are stronger” and “we will

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Ask and You Shall Receive

“Ask and you shall receive,” is a phrase I’ve been told many times in my life — mostly with a sarcastic tone.  This week was no different.

If you’ll recall last week’s Activists vs. Agriculture column, you’ll see that I was, essentially, complaining that agricultural organizations weren’t using money given to them by their members to better market agriculture.  I also

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Consumers Can’t Define Pesticides, Research Shows

New research shows the online conversation around pesticides is expected to explode by 212 percent over the next two years, even though consumers aren’t sure what pesticides are.  New findings from The Center for Food Integrity (CFI) illustrate the confusion and growing concern around crop protection products and the lesson for agriculture that definitions don’t matter.

The study, which analyzed millions

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Making Markets Make Sense

by Kayla Sargent

It’s no secret that cattle markets have sent producers for a loop over the past year.  Unprecedented price swings and the ever-widening gap between the retail price of beef and the price of live cattle has made for trying and frustrating times.

“The ranchers and all of our producers that we work for are seeing historically low prices on

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Temple Grandin to Speak in Bozeman February 20

By Reagan Colyer, MSU News Service

Internationally recognized animal behavior researcher and advocate Temple Grandin will visit Bozeman, Montana next month for a pair of lectures.  She will speak February 20 on the Montana State University campus at noon and at Bozeman’s Ellen Theatre at 6 p.m.

Grandin’s visit is part of the Bair Ranch Foundation Seminar Series hosted by the Department

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When it Comes to Trade, Lucky it’s an Election Year

After the White House announced its twin trade triumphs, passage of NAFTA 2.0 and phase one of a multi-phase deal with China, readers emailed to suggest I should write a column on — to quote two — the “absolutely amazing trade deals” “only President Trump” could have done.

Before I pass judgment on so humble a request, it might be prudent to hear

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Montana Draft Teamster Hall of Fame Seeks Nominations

Nominations are solicited for the 2020 class for The Montana Draft Teamster Hall of Fame which is jointly sponsored by Montana Draft Horse and Mule Association and Big Sky Draft Horse Expo.  The Montana Draft Teamster Hall of Fame is dedicated to those individuals or other entities that have made significant contributions to

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Positive Rancher Breaks Negative Habits

by Jamie Henneman

Do the thoughts you think actually affect your health? Are there ways to “seed positivity” into our minds to create better lives?

Researchers at agriculture extension offices throughout the west think so and shared their observations with a group of farmers and ranchers at the Women in Ag event on January 25.

The Women in Ag workshop was offered through

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Stuck

It was July 1973 and we were renovating our kitchen.  I was 16, so the decision to drop a massive, two door, upright freezer into the basement was not mine but I did run the loader.  This 31-year-old appliance was built with the heaviest materials available in 1942 and it was still working when we gently lowered it into the

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MSU Undergraduate Tests Building Material Made of Crop Byproduct

by Marshall Swearingen, MSU News Service

The leftovers of the tall industrial hemp plant often languish on Montana farms because they’re difficult to till back into fields or otherwise dispose of.  But it’s because those stalks are so tough and woody that this agricultural byproduct is finding a new purpose in a lab at Montana State University.

In a research project funded

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American Lamb Board Issues FY 2019 Annual Report

The American Lamb Board (ALB) closed out a successful 2019, highlighted by branding and website updates designed to better align with today’s food and marketing trends, and continued use of social media, seasonal contests and events to put and put American Lamb in front of consumers.

ALB’s FY2019 budget of $2,478777 devoted $1,615,681 for promotion, $420,289 to communication, $187,119 to research,

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Agri-Kid

Thomas Wood and his beloved pup Cinch go for a ride in Twin Bridges, Montana.

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Important Considerations for Mineral Sale or Lease Agreements

Bethany A. Gross

The Falen Law Offices, LLC

 

Selling or leasing minerals may seem like an easy way to earn some income from the land. This may be especially true when the oil and gas company tries to entice a mineral owner with a bonus payment in the thousands or even millions of dollars.

Frequently, what appears to be a substantial sum of

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Bits and Pieces

USDA Recruiting U.S. Exporters for Trade Mission to the Philippines

Exporters of U.S. farm and food products will have an opportunity to explore new business opportunities in the Philippines during a USDA agribusiness trade mission to Manila, April 20-23.  Individuals interested in participating must apply to USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) by February 6.

“U.S. agricultural exports to the Philippines have more

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Keepin’ It Real Campaign to Launch

By Mayzie Purviance

It seemed like the entire theme of 2019 was fake: fake meat, fake news, fake people.  To combat this faux way of life, the Western Ag Reporter is launching the “Keepin’ It Real,” campaign which is set to begin February 1, 2020.

With this campaign comes many exciting additions to our publication such as a focus on consumer-facing social

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Home Sick? Try Mom or Grandma’s Cure-All

The onset of a deep chest cold recently pushed me to wander the aisles of rural America’s drug store, Dollar General, for any cure that might halt the hacking.  Three days and three placebos later, my hack weakened to a wheeze.  Time, and the lovely Catherine’s chicken soup, did the trick.

Had I been on the southern Illinois dairy farm of

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Interior Approves Keystone XL Pipeline Access to Montana Federal Lands

U.S. Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt recently signed a Record of Decision that allows the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to offer a right-of-way grant to TC Energy for a term of 30 years, allowing for the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline across 44 miles of federally managed lands in Montana.

“Today’s decision is an important milestone in constructing

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Junior Livestock Champions Sale in Denver Sets Records

The 2020 Auction of Junior Livestock Champions set record numbers again this year.  The day began with the Grand and Reserve Champion Steers making an appearance for high tea at the Brown Palace Hotel, which has been a tradition for the last 75 years.

The top eight champion animals set an unprecedented auction total of $531,000.  The Grand Champion Steer, named

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The Value of Irons in the Fire

by Brett DeBruycker

I appreciate the article in the January 16, 2020 Western Ag Reporter titled, “The Price of Irons in the Fire.”  It touches on the Board of Livestock’s October discussion for the coming brand re-record and the potential fee increase.  There will be further discussion of a likely fee increase along with conversation of the ‘roll out’ and how

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We Owe a Thank You to Dodge

The year was 2013.  I sat on the floor of my Nana and Gramps’ living room while watching the Ravens beat the 49ers in Super Bowl XLVII.  Beyonce reunited Destiny’s Child in the half time show, I stuffed my face with chips and homemade salsa, the entire house was filled with conversation and laughter… life was good.  However, every person

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Hard to Identify, Deadly Beetles Lurking in Hay Bales

By Lilly Platts

Alfalfa hay from Wyoming and South Dakota has killed at least 15 horses at a Wisconsin stable due to blister beetles.  The insects are smashed during hay harvest, releasing toxins and when horses ingest the hay, they can experience poisoning and blisters throughout the intestinal tract and liver.  Fortunately, this issue is not common, but if horses are

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Producers Encouraged to Advocate for Their Industry Online

by Shelia Hildebrand

The Beartooth Stock Association (BSA) hosted its annual business meeting and banquet in Absarokee, Montana, on January 18 at the Anipro Arena.

The BSA is a diverse group of impassioned producers who have been bestowed the privilege of stewarding cattle and sheep in some of the most beautiful country to grace God’s crowning creation.  At the foot of the

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U.S. CattleTrace Launched by Multiple State Cattlemen Associations

Multiple state cattlemen’s organizations from major beef producing regions have partnered together to form U.S. CattleTrace, a disease traceability initiative.  The goal is to develop a national infrastructure for disease traceability and encourage private industry’s use of the infrastructure for individualized management practices.

The new U.S. CattleTrace initiative combines the efforts of CattleTrace, which includes multiple partners, including the Kansas Livestock

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Walt Forsea June 28, 1924 – January 16, 2020

Walt Forsea, 95, long time Eagle Valley resident, died at his home on Thursday, January 16, 2020.  Walter John Forsea was born at Home, Oregon on the Snake River on June 28, 1924 to parents Blanche and Dan Forsea, Sr. and delivered by “Mom” Basche.  He was raised with five siblings, Harold, Bob, Margaret, Walt, and Pearl.

Walt attended the Park

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Shared Values Drive Consumer Trust More Than Facts

by Nicole Erceg

Trust: it’s a bond not easily formed, but effortlessly broken.
From Watergate to Exxon, the Clinton scandal, sub-prime mortgage crisis, BP oil spill, Lance Armstrong’s fall from glory, and today’s #MeToo movement, media narratives have conditioned us to be skeptics. Generations of headlines have told us those we thought were trustworthy can’t always be trusted.
It’s a lesson learned again

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Tenth Circuit Court Strikes Down EPA Small Refinery Exemptions

In a decision that is expected to broadly impact the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) approach to granting small refinery exemptions (SREs) under the Renewable Fuel Standard, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit recently struck down three exemptions that were improperly issued by EPA.

The court ruling stems from a May 2018 challenge brought against EPA by the Renewable

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A WOTUS Win for Farmers and Ranchers

by Mayzie Purviance

After numerous years of uncertainty, the Environmental Protections Agency (EPA) and the Department of the Army (Army) recently finalized the Navigable Waters Protection Rule under the Waters of the United States (WOTUS).  This new rule provides a clear definition for WOTUS as well as lines out federal control under the Clean Water Act.

“President Trump, EPA Administrator Wheeler, and

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Agri-Kid

Gavin Peterson, age 4, helps with morning chores in Bridger, Montana.

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New Weather Stations to Aid In Runoff and Flood Prediction

A newly updated weather station near Brookings, South Dakota is the first of over 500 stations across the five states of Nebraska, North Dakota, Montana, Wyoming and South Dakota to be upgraded or installed to conduct enhanced soil moisture and snow monitoring as part of a cooperative effort with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers led by U.S. Senator Mike

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Researchers Work To Make Cattle Fever Tick Spray More Efficient

4Ry, USDA’s Agricultural Research Service (ARS) and Texas A&M AgriLife Research have signed a collaborative research agreement to develop a means to more efficiently and effectively spray cattle and kill cattle fever ticks, according to a 4Ry Inc. announcement.

Cattle fever ticks are vectors of pathogens causing bovine babesiosis, also known as cattle tick fever, and are the focus of the

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Forget Counting Carbs, Count CarbON

By Kayla Sargent

Counting carbs is so last decade.  This decade, counting carbON could be the next big thing.

“What comes to your mind when you think of the worst carbon emitters?  Cars?  Airplanes?  Power plants?  Did you know annual carbon emissions from livestock are greater than those of all global transport?  That’s why at Quorn, we’re working to understand the

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Montana Policy Passes At American Farm Bureau Delegate Session

Resolutions originating from Montana Farm Bureau’s grassroots policy process were voted on during the American Farm Bureau Convention in Austin, Texas.  Three-hundred and forty-six voting delegates from across the country spent January 21 discussing and voting on what will become American Farm Bureau policy for 2020.

Montana Farm Bureau Federation (MFBF) Vice President Cyndi Johnson sat on the voting delegate floor

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Two Time Champ

Tuff found just what he was looking for in the tack room – a file.  He pulled out his ice skates and began sharpening them.

“This’ll show her,” he grumbled.

Tuff and Pudge were in the height of the winter games competition.  He was convinced she cheated at ice fishing and the pup patroller-in-training wasn’t about to let her beat him at

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Thoughts From The Editor

There’s an entire realm of concerns consumers have with the agriculture industry.  Animal welfare, the health of our products, GMO’s, labeling, production methods… the list is far from limited.  But I would venture to say that of the utmost concern to our consumer in 2020 is that of climate change.

Just this week we have two articles in which company’s have

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Loan Forgiveness Not Frugality

Although the Green New Deal seems to have been abandoned, there is still a lot of talk on the 2020 election trail about other brain flashes such as student loan forgiveness.  I marvel at this concept.  I grew up frugal and green because my parents were 40 years old when they got around to having me, so they were children

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Farm Bureau to Address Mental Health Concerns, Farmer Stress

Recognizing the high levels of stress affecting America’s farmers and ranchers, Farm Credit, American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) and National Farmers Union (NFU) have partnered on a program to train individuals who interact with farmers and ranchers to recognize signs of stress and offer help.

Based on the farm stress program Michigan State University Extension developed for the U.S. Department of

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Texas A&M Fights Back about Red Meat Study

In last week’s Western Ag Reporter, a front-page article discussed the tension surrounding the Red Meat Study published by Annals of Internal Medicine with some researchers hailing from Texas A&M University.  This study suggested there was no need to cut down on red meat (processed and unprocessed).  This study was highly speculated among the food and science industry and was

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Toxicosis

Our pets are poisoned by good intentions while our children suffer from toxicosis for nefarious purposes and here is how.

Pet foods and treats are a billion-dollar industry as evidenced by their shelf space in capitalist grocery stores.   Advertisers have convinced Americans their pets need a reward each time they potty outdoors, sit, stay, or look cute.  However, pet chews and

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Fake Meat Hot Headlines

Starbucks Steps On Toes

By Kayla Sargent

In an attempt to “migrate toward a more environmentally friendly menu,” Starbucks has made it a priority to add more plant-based options to their menu.  The January 21 announcement was met by a 17 percent spike in Beyond Meat shares that brought it out of a gradual decline that started in September 2019.

The details on

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The Professionals

From Canaan Land to Beartooth field and now by White Bark Pine

The Amber light and shepherd’s staff through ages intertwine.

 

‘Twas the Strobel band in Meatrack Basin I came across one day.

By rushing stream at timber’s edge a camp was tucked away.

Sheep were spread on alpine meadow in early morning sun.

A herder sat on lookout point, his day had just begun.

 

A

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Comments

The early production sales around Reporter Country have been extremely strong —check out the sale reports in this week’s paper, you will see what I mean.  There is an abundance of optimism brewing in livestock circles with bulls and females selling very well around the horn while the light calves around the United States continue to gain momentum.  Just think

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Montana Farm Bureau Members Reflect on National Convention

A delegation of 38 Montana Farm Bureau Federation (MFBF) members had the opportunity to experience the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) Convention which included seeing President Trump and Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue.  The convention, which ran January 17-22 in Austin, Texas, featured tours and a variety of meetings and workshops.

This was only the second time Carla Lawrence has been

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Thoughts From The Editor

It goes without saying the agriculture industry could use a glimpse of optimism after a long spell of difficult times.  This week, our paper has several.  Two major trade deals, despite garnering mixed opinions from our ag organizations and mainstream media, have seen major progress.  They may not be exactly what we had wished for but in an effort to

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USMCA One Signature Away

By Mayzie Purviance

After passage of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) in the House of Representatives on December 19, 2019, the deal came to a standstill while awaiting the Senate’s decision to pass the agreement.  On January 16, 2020, the Senate passed USMCA with a vote of 89 ayes and 10 nays.  As of press time, USMCA is waiting for President

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Bonnie Louise (McWhorter) Duvall November 4, 1958 – January 18, 2020

Bonnie Louise McWhorter Duvall of Greshamville, Georgia passed away Saturday, January 18, 2020 at her home, surrounded by her loving family.  She was 61.

A lifelong resident of Greensboro, she was born November 4, 1958 to the late Charlotte Maureen Culberson McWhorter and James Hamilton “Hamp” McWhorter.  She graduated from Nathanael Greene Academy in 1976 and was a graduate of the

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Bits & Pieces

left to right:  Neil Orth, Jeff Aegerter, Bruce Brooks, John Goggins, Alan Sears, Hoover Case, Bruce Bradley, Don Birk.

WAR’s Alan Sears Honored at NWSS

The Livestock Marketeers inducted three new members into its Hall of Fame on January 18th, 2020 at its annual Banquet held in conjunction with the National Western Stock Show.  This years honorees are: Hoover Case

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Olszewski Suggests Daines Withdraw New CSKT Compact Bill

By Eric Dietrich, Montana Free Press

Montana State Senator Al Olszewski and four other elected Republicans recently urged U.S. Senator Steve Daines (R-MT) to withdraw federal legislation that would finalize a long-negotiated water compact between Montana, the federal government, and the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes.

Speaking at a press event at the Montana Capitol, Olszewski and other speakers criticized Daines’ legislation

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American Farm Bureau 101st Convention Awards

President Trump Praises Farmers, Ranchers at National Address

President Donald Trump assured farmers and ranchers that a top priority of his administration is fighting for the farmers and ranchers who grow our food.  In his address at the American Farm Bureau Convention in Austin, Trump listed numerous victories of his administration in trade, regulatory reform, rural connectivity, and ag labor.

“Our recent

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Not-So Helpful Hints

I just love those helpful hint columns and books full of tips on how to remove every stain known to man or cure anything from warts to arthritis with a home remedy.  Sometimes though, I have to question the effectiveness and efficiency of the remedies and helpful hints.  I have actually had less than miraculous results with many of those

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No Path Back

A wise veterinarian once told me, “You can always go home, but you can never go back.”   I spent two decades trying to prove this adage wrong — but I failed.  My ranch life began on the gumbo banks of Blacktail Creek in Eastern Montana.  The word “creek” implies running water, but there was none.  We moved to the family

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Oklahoma State University Receives Historic $50 million Donation

Oklahoma State University and alumni Kayleen and Larry Ferguson announced a $50 million gift from the Ferguson Family Foundation that will transform the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources in a variety of ways, including a new name.  Pending approval from the Oklahoma A&M Board of Regents, the college will be renamed the Ferguson College of Agriculture in recognition

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Agri-Kid

Tibbs Boyd, a little over a year old, pays a visit to his four-legged friends at the Bar 7 Ranch in Ennis, Montana.

 

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Sustainability and New Technology Highlighted at AFBF 2020

The American Farm Bureau Federation’s (AFBF) 101st Annual Convention and Trade Show took place in Austin January 17-22.  In keeping with the theme of this year’s convention, “Sustaining America’s Agriculture,” day one workshops focused on steps farmers and ranchers can take to enhance soil health and improve water quality.  Many other workshops featured precision agriculture technology’s role in helping with

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R-CALF Warns Ranchers About Dismantled Competitive Infrastructures

R-CALF USA spoke to hundreds of Colorado and New Mexico ranchers during meetings held in Brush and La Junta, Colorado and Las Cruces, New Mexico in mid-January

The Colorado meetings were cosponsored by the Colorado Independent CattleGrowers Association and the Southern Colorado Livestock Association.  The Las Cruces meeting was sponsored by the Range Allotment Owners Association.

In opening remarks, R-CALF USA CEO

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Bad Blood Brewing

Last week, Pudge fell hook, line, and sinker into a plot to dupe Tuff with the help of Rascal.  Surprisingly, the masked bandit has a good idea up his salt and peppered sleeve.  But does his plan actually work, or will Tuff and Banjo find out Pudge is working with the masked bandit to win the ice fishing portion of

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Fake Meat Hot Headlines

By Kayla Sargent

 

Impossible Foods’ CEO Sparks Anger Clear to China   (31)

Here in the States, when agriculturalists hear the name Pat Brown, they tend to bristle up a bit.  Brown, Impossible Foods CEO and Founder, is quoted numerous times saying he wants to entirely replace animals in the food system by 2035 and boasts that in fifteen years “things will be

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Ruby Ochsner April 2,1935 – January 15, 2020

Ruby entered the gates of heaven on January 15, 2020 at Community Hospital in Torrington, Wyoming.

Ruby was born April 21,1935, to Louis Sr. and Pearl Arnold.  She was raised in Hawk Springs, where she attended all 12 years of school.  After graduation, Ruby attended nursing school in Denver and worked as a LPN for a year and a half.

Ruby became

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Brexit, Boris, and Boxing in UK Farmers

Events, like stars, can at times align just enough for you to glimpse your destiny.  If you’re lucky, that sneak peek is the critical break you need for success; If you’re unlucky, the starry view spins off into the universe unseen.

Farmers in the United Kingdom (UK) got that peek after the June 2016 vote which approved Great Britain, Scotland, and

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USDA Reminds Historically Underserved Producers of Advance Payment Option

USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) reminds historically underserved producers, who are participating in the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), of the advance payment option.  This option allows them to get conservation practice payments in advance of practice implementation.

“The advance payment option makes NRCS conservation assistance more accessible to underserved producers,” NRCS Chief Matthew Lohr said.  “It enables them to

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Red Meat Nutrition Study Questioned Once Again

By Mayzie Purviance

Funding — a word that sparks a love-hate relationship with every researcher.  The simple fact is proper research cannot be conducted without proper funding, and that funding has to come from some source.

On December 31, 2019, Annals of Internal Medicine released a correction to a previously published study titled, “Unprocessed Red Meat and Processed Meat Consumption: Dietary Guideline

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WCRA Winter Timed Events Semi-Finals

More than $394,000 was paid out to timed-event athletes as the World Champions Rodeo Alliance (WCRA) concluded its Winter Timed Event Semi-Finals at the Lazy E Arena.

The three-day event hosted 320 cowboys and cowgirls from around the globe and advanced 54 timed-event athletes to the Royal City Roundup, a one-day, $1 Million Major Rodeo, which will be held February 28

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A New Home for the National Western Collection

National Western’s lauded and growing art collection is getting a permanent new home.

The J.  Robert and Katherine Wilson Art Gallery is set to be located on the first floor of the Legacy Building at the new National Western Center, and will — for the first time ever — allow the entire National Western Permanent Collection to be available to the general public

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2019: Monumental Year for Montana Ranchers

By Fred Wacker, Montana Stockgrowers Association President

We’ve reached a pivotal moment for Montana farmers and ranchers, as three critical trade deals are finalized and implemented.  The benefits here are enormous, and I strongly believe Montana’s agricultural industry can look forward to renewed success and optimism this year.

As a fourth-generation Montana rancher from Miles City and the Montana Stockgrowers Association President,

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101st Farm Bureau Convention Wraps Up Connecting Consumers

The final day of workshops at the American Farm Bureau Federation’s Annual Convention put a focus on the role farmers and ranchers will play in connecting with consumers on sustainability in agriculture and new technologies like gene editing.  Each workshop is summarized below.

Other highlights from the 101st Convention included a keynote from President Donald Trump and an address from Secretary

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Montana Rancher Relies on Tourism to Support Century-Old Cattle Operation

Montana’s majestic mountains and open rangelands are home to abundant wildlife and herds of cattle.  Rancher Vic Anderson depends upon both to sustain Heaven on Earth, his family’s century-old ranch.

“Tourism diversifies our ranch.  In the cattle business, as everyone knows, markets vary quite a bit.  All ranchers I know have to have another source of income to keep the ranch

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Per Capita Green Cards Recently Hit Montana Mailboxes

By Sheila Hildebrand

In the mailbox of producers throughout the state lies a lime green card.  This little card is one more subtle reminder that tax season is upon us.  The card initiates the 2020 Montana Department of Livestock Reporting requirement.  If you own them, you must report them.  Yes, even the chickens.

Montana law requires all livestock owners to report the

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Comments

I sure was glad to return home last Sunday after being gone for a week.  I was given the opportunity to work the world-famous Barrett-Jackson car auction in Scottsdale, Arizona.  It was everything and more than I expected.  It was certainly a marathon, most days the sale would last for 10 to 12 hours.  But I have to admit it

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Free-Roaming Bison EIS Draws Battle Lines in Montana

by Chuck Denowh, United Property Owners of Montana Policy Director

The Montana Department of Fish Wildlife and Parks (FWP) is now formally recommending the introduction of free-roaming bison in Montana after the release of a long-awaited environmental impact statement.  It’s a move that dramatically intensifies conflict over wildlife management in Montana.

And worse, it’s a sobering message to the thousands of

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BLM Announces Public Scoping Meetings to Discuss Grazing Updates

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has published a Notice of Intent in the Federal Register to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement to consider proposed revisions to the agency’s grazing regulations.  The BLM currently manages livestock grazing on 155 million of the 245 million acres of public land and administers nearly 18,000 grazing permits and leases.

“Administration of sustainable livestock grazing

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Out Of Drought They Rise

Deborah Clark and her husband Emry Birdwell at their ranch in Clay County, Texas.

By Kerry Hoffschneider

 

When drought struck Texas in 2011, feed and water were becoming sparse for many ranchers.  Land managers had to adjust cattle herds and grazing plans in order to accommodate.  These changes, while difficult at the time, were what set Deborah Clark and her

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The Value of Irons in the Fire

by Brett DeBruycker

I appreciate the article in the January 16, 2020 Western Ag Reporter titled, “The Price of Irons in the Fire.”  It touches on the Board of Livestock’s October discussion for the coming brand re-record and the potential fee increase.  There will be further discussion of a likely fee increase along with conversation of the ‘roll out’

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Monkey See, Monkey Goes Vegan

When I was a small child, I distinctively remember wanting to be exactly like my aunt Marla Ballard (Mom’s sister), or as I call her, “Tia.”

Tia and I were two peas in a pod.  She was 20 and single when I was born and would often babysit me.  She taught me silly little (slightly inappropriate for a 2-year-old, sometimes) songs

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Phase One Down

By Kayla Sargent

“As incomes rise in China, demand for protein in diets increases as well.  Chinese demand for imported beef, pork and poultry is growing at a rapid rate, made more acute due to domestic pork supply constraints in China as a result of the ongoing outbreak of African swine fever.”

This growing demand, as stated in a fact sheet distributed

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Impossible Foods Tackles Pork

By Kayla Sargent

In an attempt to achieve their mission to remove animals from the food system by 2035, Impossible Foods recently announced the addition of plant-based pork alternatives to their product portfolio.  Impossible Pork debuted at CES 2020 (Consumer Electronic Show) in Las Vegas in early January and according to CNET reporters, made a big impact at the show.  Among

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Market Facilitation Payments Disbursed Across Montana

By Eric Dietrich, MT Free Press

As agricultural commodity prices suffer in President Donald Trump’s multi-fronted trade war, Montana farmers have received at least $114 million in 2019 payments from a federal program intended to help them weather the storm.

The Market Facilitation Program (MFP), administered by the USDA Farm Services Agency (FSA), had made payments to 8,279 unique agricultural producers in

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Bits & Pieces Part 2

North Dakota Feed Transportation Cost-share Program Announced

North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum and Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring have announced the availability of a program that will reimburse eligible producers for a portion of feed transportation expenses.  The Emergency Feed Transportation Assistance Program will help producers who have verifiable feed losses as a result of extraordinary weather conditions this fall.

The state Emergency

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SDSU Extension to Host Soil Health Workshop on February 13

SDSU Extension will host a Soil Health Workshop on February 13, at the Highland Conference Center in Mitchell, South Dakota.  The event will focus on climate, weather, livestock integration, cover crops, carbon-to-nitrogen ratios and the benefits of manure for building organic matter and carbon in soil.  Additionally, attendees can visit a variety of industry booths at the trade show.

Eric Snodgrass,

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Comments

Feeder cattle sales kicked off the new year in good fashion over the past few weeks.  Fed cattle have moved higher and thus, feeder cattle have moved to the positive side as well, both on the board and in live sales.

Calves sold extremely well in the video sales last week.  There was certainly good demand for big heavy calves ready

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Use the Numbers Correctly This Bull Sale Season

By Matt Spangler, UNL Associate Professor and Beef Genetics Extension Specialist

This bull sale season, profit-minded cattle producers will utilize expected progeny differences (EPD) and economic selection indices when selecting their next group of bulls.  These tools are far more accurate at predicting the average difference in offspring than visual appraisal or actual weights.  This is beyond contestation.

That said, it is

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Brand Renewal Fees Could See Increase

By Sheila Hildebrand

The Montana Department of Livestock (DOL) is slated to hear discussion and justification supporting a proposed increase in the Montana brand rerecord fee at its January 23 meeting.  According to Board Secretary Donna Wilham, the issue is tentatively on the agenda, and awaiting final approval.

Montana brands are renewed at the beginning of each decade.  The associated revenue is

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Northwest Market Snapshot Agriculture Report

Northwest Farm Credit Services, the Northwest’s leading agricultural lending cooperative, has released its quarterly Market Snapshot reports covering the state of major agricultural commodities in the region.  Northwest FCS industry teams throughout Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Washington monitor conditions and report outlooks for commodities financed by the co-op.

All Market Snapshots and audio highlights are posted online at Industry Insights.

Northwest FCS’ 12-month

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Kansas Rancher Recognized for Beef Advocacy Effort

The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA), a contractor to the Beef Checkoff, selected Brandi Buzzard Frobose, blogger, Kansas rancher and influencer, as the 2019 Advocate of the Year.

This honor is given annually to an outstanding Masters of Beef Advocacy (MBA) program graduate to recognize his or her success in reaching and educating consumers who want to learn more about beef

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“Stages of Change”

Here it is — a new year and new decade to boot. This could be the perfect time to change our not-so-healthful habits. Are we ready?

A poem attributed to Portia Nelson (in italics below) seems to describe the stages we go through on our way to changing unhealthy behaviors. Whether we need to eat better, lose weight or kick an

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Simple Truth Unveils Meatless Meat

By Kayla Sargent

Bittersweet, jumbo shrimp, walking dead – oxymorons often times become common phrases that aren’t given a second thought.  Recently, a new oxymoron came about when Simple Truth, America’s largest natural and organic brand, announced the introduction of a new line of “Plant Based Fresh Meats.”

In early January, Simple Truth Emerge: Plant Based Fresh Meats was launched by

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Cammack Ranch Cross-fences to Improve Rangeland Management

The Cammack family (left to right): Amy & Gary Cammack with grandson, Miles; Amber and Reed Cammack with sons, Ian and Elliott.

 

Around dusk, if you drive a 4-wheeler out to check cattle on the Cammack Ranch in northwest South Dakota, you’re bound to see herds of antelope, deer, flocks of wild turkey and even some bald eagles.

“It didn’t

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Common Sense Rarely is the Common Denominator

Before the year loses its fresh, youthful promise, let’s look at some recent research to, hopefully, address a nagging problem carried over from 2019.

For months last year, U.S.  Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue defended three proposed rule changes to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) which will remove an estimated 3.7 million recipients from the program.

The proposed changes were —

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A Recap of the Fight to Restore COOL in 2019

By Gilles Stockton

Grass Range, MT

Cattle producers now have the dubious distinction of being betrayed by the President and both political parties.  There was no Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) in the recent vote by the House of Representatives to re-do the NAFTA agreement.  This would have been the most logical place to reinstate COOL.  Unless the Senate restores COOL when

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Saddle Stripping

The most challenging cooking jobs I have ever had were my many years of wilderness camp cooking in the Scapegoat Wilderness for Brett and Julie Todd.  Every time I rode out of camp, I would marvel that I had kept all those people fed under extreme conditions for a week with no opportunity to restock supplies.  You see, at home

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A Secret Under the Surface

Rascal skittered quickly to the pond.  He hid in the leafless willows as he made his way there, all the while Pudge followed.  Once they were at the pond’s frozen edge, Rascal moved out toward the center and lifted a square chunk of ice from its middle.

“Hey,” Pudge said with hesitation.  “Are you sure you should be walking out on

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Thoughts From The Editor

This past week I took an unexpected dive into the pork industry.  Two top headlines – in not only ag news, but mainstream media – placed our fellow producers in the spotlight and frankly, in the crosshairs.

Impossible Foods announced the introduction of their next product, Impossible Pork.  The company’s CEO Pat Brown, who blatantly promotes their mission to end animal

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Trust Insurance

By Morgan Marley, Certified Angus Beef

As consumers glean more information about where their food comes from, producers need to focus on how they manage their farm or ranch.  Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) certification is a good place to start, Josh White said at the Angus convention in November.

The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) executive director of producer education and sustainability

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If I’m Stepping on Your Toes, Please Step Back

“Why do people hate vegans?” the headline read.

I was not surprised to see this gluten-free, Non-GMO project verified chip on the shoulder of many people in my Facebook groups.  I’d seen it many times before: A group member posts a link and pulls the victim card, other group members chime in, they all have a pity party and go about

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Walmart Gets One Step Closer to A Fully Integrated Model

By Mayzie Purviance

After years in the making, Walmart, the largest grocer in the United States officially opened their own 200,000 sq. ft. meatpacking plant in Thomasville, Georgia, January 10, 2020.

Construction on the plant began in August 2018 and was officially announced in April 2019.  The hopes for this new business venture include lower costs due to self-sufficient packing and transparency

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Annual Diet Cover Based on Outdated, Weak Science

The Nutrition Coalition, a group who aims to bring rigorous science to nutrition policy, responded to U.S.  News & World Report’s 2020 story on best diets by releasing the following statement from Executive Director Nina Teicholz:

“Once again, U.S.  News & World Report’s annual ‘Best Diets’ cover story favor approaches based on weak science while rejecting others backed by far more rigorous evidence. 

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Prejudice

By Barry Naugle

In 1931, when I was around 7 years old, my older brother Jay and I would go fishing for “Hook Fish.”

We lived close to Miami Beach and would often sneak off to a canal which separated a strip of land between it and the Ocean.  We would fish away the afternoons and throw the Hook Fish up on

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Agri-Kid

Clay, age 7, using the flatbed to reach his buddy on a cool fall day in Frenchtown, Montana.

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New Leadership for South Dakota Farmers Union

Four South Dakota farmers were elected to serve South Dakota Farmers Union (SDFU) members during the organization’s 2019 State Convention held in Aberdeen, December 10-11.

Conde farmer, Doug Sombke was re-elected to serve as SDFU President and Lake Preston farmer, Wayne Soren was re-elected to serve as SDFU Vice President.  Wessington Springs farmer, Scott Kolousek was newly elected to serve on

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Passing The Torch from One Ranch Generation to the Next

 

By Morgan Marley

We speak with pride about what our forebears did to build up the land and business.  But there’s more to each generation than how many have carried on the ranch name.

At the 2019 Feeding Quality Forum in Amarillo earlier this year, Rodd Welker had a room full of cattlemen laughing and reminiscing over generational characteristics.  The Ohio-based head

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More Marital Advice

The winter has been kind to western Yellowstone County and my horses are pastern deep in pasture.  Even the cheat grass is sprouting compliments of the handful of 50-degree days in December.  My ponies love that stuff when it is green.  I have plenty of hay to get through the winter even if the weather goes south as it is

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Pork Industry Slammed by 60 Minutes

By Kayla Sargent

“Tick tock tick tock tick tock.”

That familiar sound often snaps the attention of a viewer away from their phone during a commercial break back to the nation’s oldest and most-viewed investigative news segment – 60 Minutes.

On Sunday, January 5, fifteen minutes of the hour-long show was devoted to what many agriculture producers call a “hit piece” on the

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Food Fight: A Brief History of War and American Ag

by Mayzie Purviance

“As the war approached, it got worse for farmers before it got better.  Then it got very good.”

On January 8, 2020, in the wee hours of the morning, Iranian missiles struck military bases in Ain al-Assad in Irbil just northwest of Bagdad in the Kurdish region.  These bases are home to American, Iraqi, Finish and Lithuania soldiers. 

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“All American Sheep Day” At Black Hills Stock Show

The Black Hills Stock Show All American Sheep Day will be held February 6, 2020 at the Kjerstad Event Center in Rapid City, South Dakota.

“The goal of Sheep Day is to provide a total sheep industry experience for all attendees, whether or not they are sheep producers,” SDSU Extension Sheep Field Specialist David Ollila said.  “There is a long tradition

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Bits & Pieces Part 1

Conservation Easement Helps Protect Water Supply for City of Cheyenne

It’s not often that you see a hay meadow being mowed with horsepower, but that’s what happens almost every year outside of Curt Gowdy State Park in Wyoming.  The Jaw Bone Gulch Ranch landowners started using horses to cut hay in 1979 when their tractor broke down.  While waiting for parts

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Early Season Weather Patterns Hit or Miss Across Montana

After an early-season storm dropped snow in Montana’s high country at the end of September, it seemed like the new 2020 water year was off to a strong start.  The wet and cold weather patterns that dominated October boosted snowpack and precipitation totals in many basins east of the Divide by early November, with some mountain SNOTEL (SNOwpack TELemetry)

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Never Give Up

Because I have 18 grandchildren, I have begun rejuvenating my horse herd.  Raising descendants who know the difference between a basket and barrel hitch does not matter to most grandparents, but it does me.  The mini ones need the sweat-soaked, saddle blanket experiences which shaped their parents, so one year ago, I started buying horses.  Here is the story of

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The Key To The Farm

Aubrey and Mason opening the lock with their new key.

by Kerry Hoffschneider

There are cattle back on the Windler Homestead and the sixth generation holds the keys.  This is all because of the vision of Kathryn Windler whose refusal to give up has inspired her husband Donald; their children, Mason (age seven) and Aubrey (age four); her parents, Carl

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Wick Peth April 15, 1930 – December 27, 2019

Melvin “Wick” Peth, 89, passed away unexpectedly Friday, December 27, 2019.  He was born April 15, 1930 in Mount Vernon, Washing to parents John and Florence Peth of Bow, Washington.

Wick resided his entire life on their family farm and cattle ranch near Edison, where he and his brothers acquired a tough work ethic.  Wick attended Edison Elementary and Burlington-Edison High

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The Green Globes

I tried, y’all.  I tried so dadgum hard to be positive and give our anti-ag activists the benefit of the doubt going into 2020, however, I was sorely mistaken.

On January 5, 2020, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) gathered for the 77th annual Golden Globes.  The Golden Globes is a popular award show which recognizes the previous year’s talents in

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No One Turned Off the Tap: 2019 Wettest on Record

 

Abnormally wet weather has made for a difficult harvest season in South Dakota.  SDFU Photo.

by Lura Roti, for S.D. Farmers Union

Based on 125 years of South Dakota weather data, 2019 is the wettest on record, SDSU Extension State Climatologist Laura Edwards said.

“This season tells the story of a long-term climate trend we are seeing of wetter weather.  It

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Foreign Agricultural Service Builds Global Markets for U.S. Agriculture in 2019

Throughout 2019, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) continued to deliver on its promise to pursue free, fair and reciprocal trade and open markets around the world for America’s farmers, ranchers, and agribusinesses.

“Under Secretary Sonny Perdue’s leadership, and with the day-to-day efforts and expertise of the Foreign Agricultural Service’s (FAS) worldwide staff, we’ve continued to fight for freer and fairer

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Federal Land Grazers Are Losing Their Vested Water Rights

By Ron Stoneberg, Hinsdale, MT

Ranchers running livestock on federally managed lands are facing a major taking of which few appear to be aware.  The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has filed thousands of water rights with the Montana Department of Natural Resources (DNRC).  The problem is these filings conflict with the vested water rights of the allotment holders.

Montana is a

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R-CALF USA Says Importers Have Too Much Influence in U.S. Congress

On December 30, 2019, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) issued a proposed rule to reapportion the Beef Checkoff Program’s Cattlemen’s Beef Board (CBB).  The proposed rule reveals that importers control more cattle inventories than any state in the United States except Texas.

To make its calculations regarding who controls domestic cattle inventories, the USDA counts imported live cattle and converts

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Brucellosis Found in Madison County, Montana Herd

On December 30 the Montana Department of Livestock reported that a single cow on a Madison County ranch within Montana’s brucellosis Designated Surveillance Area (DSA) has been confirmed positive for brucellosis.

The brucellosis-infected cow was identified during a voluntary whole-herd test.  The animal was euthanized, and infection was subsequently confirmed at the National Veterinary Services Laboratories in Ames, Iowa when the

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Brester’s 2020 Cattle Market Prediction

by Mayzie Purviance

“I wish I knew what cattle prices would do… I wouldn’t tell you,” Gary Brester, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus in the Departments of Agricultural Economics and Economics at Montana State University said with a laugh during the 2019 Montana Stockgrowers convention in December.

With a slide show full of graphs and trendlines, Brester discussed what seemed to be at the

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Thoughts from the Editor

Frustration.

The beginning of January generally brings hope and excitement for the upcoming year.  Yes, I have some ambitious goals this year and I see a lot of progress and wins for agriculture on the horizon.

But this week, I only feel frustration.

To be frustrated, as defined by Webster, is to “feel discouragement, anger, and annoyance because of unresolved problems or unfulfilled

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Comments

Cattle markets continue to move in a positive direction as we move into 2020.  Fed cattle were a strong $2 higher again last week, and prices reported at the auction markets across the country have seen these calves moving in the right direction as well.

I would definitely say there is optimism in the air as we get ready to move

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“What We Know”

The best way to begin a new year without feeling overwhelmed by what we don’t know is to start with what we do know.

For example, we know the U.S.  Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) December World Agriculture Supply and Demand Estimate shows about 14 percent, or one in seven bushels (bu.), of the 2019 U.S.  corn and soybean crops will be

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Nutrition and Puberty in Heifers

Uncovering the mysteries of puberty in young female cattle has been the focal point of career research for Texas A&M AgriLife Research scientists Drs. Gary Williams and Rodolfo Cardoso.  Now, the two researchers have come to the conclusion that puberty is not only affected in the months prior to, but also events during pregnancy and development.  The findings also have

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A New Kind of New Year’s Resolution

by Kayla Sargent

Every New Year presents a blank canvas, a chance to start fresh, and an opportunity to set new goals.  On the first day of 2020, thousands of people set resolutions ranging from weight loss and stricter budgeting to kicking an old habit and learning something new.

This year, animal rights activists capitalized on the season of change by promoting

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“Fake Meat, Real Chemicals” Ad Placed in Major Media Outlets

The nonprofit Center for Consumer Freedom (CCF) recently placed a full-page ad in The Los Angeles Times and The Washington Examiner bringing attention to the chemicals used in various meat analogues.  Ingredients used in fake meat are also used in e-cigarettes, laxatives, and slug pesticide.

Despite being called “plant-based,” fake meats are ultra-processed foods that don’t grow on vines.  Earlier this

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Bits & Pieces

NFU Applauds Passage of Farm Workforce Modernization Act

The U.S. House of Representatives recently voted in favor of the Farm Workforce Modernization Act, a bipartisan bill to reform the agricultural labor system in the United States.

The product of negotiations between a diverse array of agricultural stakeholders and farmworker advocates, the legislation balances the interests of both agricultural employers and workers.  For

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Taking a Blind Turn

Editor’s Note: Susan, this column had me rolling.  It sounds just like my snowmobiling experience with my dad and brother, Wes.  I was having so much fun until we got to the point where Dad and Wes could have fun….  They’re good riders and make it look easy, but it’s darned tough work!  I haven’t been again since I got

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Beef.  It’s What’s For Dinner.

Two years after it was relaunched, the Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner. brand has had a reach of more than 1 billion consumers with drool worthy and informative digital marketing and social media content.

Funded by the Beef Checkoff and developed by the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA), the Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner. brand aims to inspire families to explore their culinary

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John Schurr December 21, 1940 – January 4, 2020

John L. Schurr, 79, of Farnam, Nebraska, died at Good Samaritan Hospital in Kearney on Saturday, January 4, 2020.

John L. was born December 21, 1940, to John and Estella Schurr in Farnam where he grew up on the family farm.  John graduated from Farnam High School in 1958 then attended the University of Nebraska and Colorado State University until the

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A Does Of Your Own Medicine

“Hey, did you know the Olympics are this summer?” Tuff asked.

Banjo looked at Tuff who was reading through a recycled newspaper.

“It says it right here.”

Banjo stretched and lifted to all three paws to come over and take a peek at the article Tuff was reading.

“I knew they were in 2020, but I’m not sure where they’re being held.”

Tuff pointed with

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Agri-Kid

Jerred, 6, and Jorden, 4, chew the fat with some calves.  Jerred and Jorden are the sons of Joe and Jayla Kiel, located southeast of Miles City.

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Local Rancher Not Afraid to Speak Out

 

by Kayla Sargent

When Valier, Montana rancher Trina Jo Bradley feels strongly about an issue, she isn’t afraid to step up and share her opinion.  Bradley ranches on the Rocky Mountain Front where she has been forced to deal with an expanding population of grizzly bears, but she is not suffering in silence.

“There is a big conversation right now in the

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The Reality of Ranching on the Mexico Border

by Kayla Sargent

A fresh rain during a dry summer spell, a new calf frolicking in the emerging sun – tough seasons end and small rewards can be found daily.  That’s why most ranchers keep ranching despite the difficult days.

It’s a lifestyle like none other.

Families work together each day with the ultimate goal of passing on not just a job and

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Top Three Issues: Trade, Trade, Trade

by Kayla Sargent

“Number one is trade, number two is trade, number three — trade, and trade is a close fourth,” Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue told President Trump when he inquired about ag producers.  This was evident all week at the Cattle Industry Convention and NCBA Trade Show in New Orleans, Louisiana as it surfaced to the top of media

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Loup River Flooding Changed Landscapes Overnight

By Kerry Hoffschneider

Nebraska’s flood stories are multi-layered and multi-stories deep.  Each farm, ranch, and community recently impacted by historical high flood waters are different.  The Schultz family is one of those stories whose lives changed forever overnight.

It was about noon on Wednesday and there were enough flood warnings going around that the Schultz family decided it was time to start

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The WEEK for Fake Meat

by Kayla Sargent

“It has been a WEEK (yes, the all-caps kind) for the world of plant-based meat and dairy,” Good Food Institute Content Specialist Mary Allen wrote.  A culmination of “wins” for the “fake meat” industry stacked up last week, prompting this quote that would leave anti-agriculture activists feeling encouraged and agricultural producers feeling threatened.

One of the biggest announcements came

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A Win-Win for Montana Ranchers

by Kayla Sargent

Montana ranchers have the opportunity to adjust their grazing practices in order to increase carrying capacity, and get paid to do it.  Acknowledging the critical role that livestock and grasslands grazing systems play on the environment, NativeEnergy, a carbon project developer, in partnership with Western Sustainability Exchange (WSE), has launched the Montana Grasslands Carbon Initiative.

Four ranches in Sweet

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Passionate Processing

By Mayzie Purviance

The old saying, “love what you do and you’ll never work a day in your life” is a nice sentiment, but one many fail to embrace.  Some spend years paying off student loans for a degree they didn’t want to obtain a job they don’t enjoy and wake up each more dreading the day ahead.  Ken Charfauros, on

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Transparency Is Critical In a Thinly Traded Live Cattle Cash Market

by Kayla Sargent

It was a Friday afternoon in early August and live cattle traded from $113.00 to $114.00 according to USDA reports on Monday, August 6, 2018.  Montana rancher and cattle feeder Shane Eaton was encouraged seeing cattle short and bidding active.  But then that Monday he was perplexed when an unusually large number of live cattle were traded at

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Trump, We Need Your Help to “Make Cattle Markets Great Again”

by Joe Goggins

Cow-calf producers and independent cattle feeders, it is time to be heard and it is time to fight.  Very seldom do I get the notion to write an opinion in our newspaper, however after reading these comments early this week, my blood began to boil:

An Excerpt from a Monday, September 9, 2019 Report by David Kruse, CommStock Investments,

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Miss Montana Anti-Ag

By Mayzie Purviance

“The Miss Universe Organization empowers women to realize their personal, professional and philanthropic goals through experiences that build self-confidence and act as catalysts for future success.  We celebrate beauty, all forms of it, and provide the tools that help women to feel their most beautiful: ‘Confidently Beautiful.’” That’s the official mission of the Miss Universe Organization (MUO) stated

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Labeling Dominates Industry Discussion

by Kayla Sargent

“The squeaky wheel gets the grease.”  Labeling has dominated beef industry conversations for several months and now methods of “applying grease” are being revealed.

Labeling, whether it pertains to country of origin or real versus fake product, is in nearly every organization’s policy priorities and often is paired with the term “truthful” or “transparent.”  But just because most industry

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Agri-Kid

7 year old, Anna Brown, got a dog sled for Christmas and spent the entire day outside!  Anna is from Phillips County and is the daughter of Katie and Ted Brown.

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An Open Letter to PETA (and any other Anti-Ag)

Dear PETA,

I, personally, do not have a problem with the core of your organization.  I actually admire your commitment to standing up for what you believe in: the ethical treatment of animals.  However, to be frank, your personal opinions make no difference to me.  If you want to protest animal testing — go ahead.  If you want to rescue dogs from an underground dog

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Rascal Hits the Slopes

“Look at her run!” Cowsuela said.

“I would’ve never believed it if I wasn’t seeing it.  It’s amazing,” Banjo said as he watched the heifer.  “Any chance she gets, that’s all she does is run.”

Holly was born with a crooked hoof, but over Christmas it got wedged beneath an evergreen root as she sought cover from a Montana sized snowstorm.  Tuff

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Comments

Happy New Year, everybody!

The fed cattle market is continuing in the right direction here as we enter the new year.  Even with the holiday shortened week, cattle on a dressed basis in the north moved $3 to $4 higher for the week at $195 to $196.  On a live basis, fed cattle in the south traded $2 higher at $122. 

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Real Beef Matters OR Where’s the beef?

Imagine driving up to a fast food drive-up speaker and saying, “I would like Water, Soy Protein Concentrate, Coconut Oil, Sunflower Oil, Natural Flavors 2 percent or less of: Potato Protein, Methylcellulose, Yeast Extract, Cultured Dextrose, Modified Food Starch, Soy Leghemoglobin, Salt, Soy Protein Isolate, Mixed Tocopherols (Vitamin E), Zinc Gluconate, Thiamine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B1), Sodium Ascorbate (Vitamin C), Niacin,

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Best of December 2019

Our December 2019 “Best of” pick was just published last week, December 26.  The article covered a detailed discussion held between ranchers and American Prairie Reserve staff.  Ranchers aired their concerns regarding a potential herd of wild buffalo in Central Montana, disease outbreak and more.  If you missed it, be sure to pick up last week’s issue or read online

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Thoughts from the Editor

At the end of 2018, I made a list of topics that consumed ink and inches repeatedly in our publication, and throughout much of the agriculture industry.  This year, rather than a brief list, we chose to rerun some of the top headlines from each month of 2019.  Looking back at the 52 issues we produced in 2019, I found

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 Get Rid of This Guy

When readers of this weekly effort take the time to write me a letter or email, it’s a safe bet they want to have the final word on whatever riled them to write — I’m fine with that.

In fact, because of their remarkable diligence, I turn this space over to reading writers every June and December so everyone might enjoy

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Another Look at Love of Country

America truly is the land of opportunity.   My life began on a small ranch in eastern Montana where we droughted out twice over our ten years on Blacktail Creek.   Since this was the late ‘50s, we were unaware drought was caused by inadequate taxation and regulation.   We just thought it was dry.

We moved to the family homestead at the foot

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A Year in Review at the Western Ag Reporter

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Thoughts from the Editor

Since we last talked “fake meat” numerous headlines have come across my desk.  It’s a fast moving and carefully watched industry that catches the eye of the press numerous times a day.  Brands and backers continue to tally up by offering support or testing out a fake meat product of their own.

Just in the past few weeks, Nestle announced that

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Houston Reflects on 2019 at Stockgrowers

By Mayzie Purviance

The Montana Stockgrowers Association (MSGA) held their annual convention and trade show December 10 – 12 in Billings.  With hundreds of agriculturists attending the various events, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) President Jennifer Houston delivered an update on NCBA matters and future plans.

“Our vision is to be the trusted voice of the beef industry,” Houston said in regard

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Commments

Without question, there is a fair amount of ag news to talk about this week, but I am going to step back for a moment and talk about some things near and dear to my heart before I get to the ag issues.  My mom turned 89 on December 21 and all of my sisters and brothers, and our spouses,

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Nebraska Cattlemen’s Convention

Nebraska Cattlemen Discuss and Develop Policy at Annual Convention

Nebraska Cattlemen (NC) hosted the Annual Convention and Trade Show in Kearney on December 4 – 6, 2019.  Just shy of 600 cattlemen and women walked the hallways of the Younes Convention Center those few days.  Mingling with colleagues, networking and attending council and committee meetings the week was full of opportunity.

Among

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Nebraska Farmers Union Focuses On Ethanol Usage

National Farmers Union (NFU) Senior Vice-President of Public Policy and Communications Rob Larew.  Kerry Hoffschneider photo.

by Kerry Hoffschneider

The Nebraska Farmers Union (NeFU) 106th Annual State Convention, Harnessing the Power of Organization to Serve Family Farm Agriculture Since 1913, was held December 6-7 at the Divots Conference Center in Norfolk, Nebraska.

“Public policy is a competitive process.  Farmers and ranchers

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Discovering “The Key”

Just before the snow changed, Tuff helped the heifer with the crooked hoof free herself from a tree root.  The pair decided there was enough daylight to make it back to the barn.  This week, we’ll learn about the warm welcome home.

 

Once Tuff and the heifer breached the edge of the tree grove, Tuff looked out onto the pasture.

“I can

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Experts Share Weather Outlook and Science Behind Forecasting

By Lura Roti for SDFU

As a child, Franklin Olson’s grandma told him the way to tell if it’s going to be a wet year is to look at the Big Dipper.

“If the Dipper sits on its handle, then it’s not going to rain.  If the Dipper is pouring out, then it will rain,” explained the 86-year-old Pierpont farmer and longtime

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Agri-Kid

Jhett Tamcke, 1 year old, bundled up and shipping in Horse Prairie, Montana.

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Grazing Allotment Owners Have Rights

By Jamie Henneman

If you own a grazing allotment, you have a right to graze the grass on that land that does not require a permit from a government agency, according to ranching advocate Angus McIntosh.  McIntosh, a former USDA Range Allotment Specialist, is the founder of the organization Range Allotment Owners Association (RAOA) and gives presentations throughout the West educating

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Good Fences Make Good Neighbors

close up view of bison eating dry grass in corral at zoo

by Kayla Sargent

The old saying goes, “good fences make good neighbors.”  That quote has held true in much of the ranching industry for years.  But as folks in central Montana find that their new neighbor hopes to create an “American Serengeti” out their backdoor, more than good

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Call it Anything You Want . . . Just Not Meat

COOL (Country of Origin Labeling) is the reason Gregory cattleman Brett Kenzy joined South Dakota Farmers Union (SDFU).

“SDFU is a strong supporter of COOL.  They traveled to D.C. twice in one year to lobby on behalf of COOL.  This says a lot about their strong efforts,” Kenzy, who serves as Region 3 Director for R-CALF USA and runs a cow/calf

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2020 Presidential Hopeful Booker Unveils Bill to Reform Farm System

U.S. Senator and 2020 hopeful Cory Booker (D-NJ) recently unveiled legislation to revitalize independent family farm agriculture and ensure a level playing field for all farmers and ranchers.  The Farm System Reform Act of 2019 would, among other things, strengthen the Packers and Stockyards Act to crack down on the monopolistic practices of multi-national meatpackers and corporate integrators, place a

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Count Your Blessings

It’s the Christmas season and I am choosing not to be sad, ticked, upset or annoyed.  Therefore, for the time being, I chose to not discuss the one thing that grinds my gears the most: agricultural ignorance.

Instead, in this week’s Activists vs. Agriculture column we’re going to discuss one of my favorite topics, blessings.

I am blessed with a wonderful family,

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Columnist John Phipps Shares Tough Love with Convention-Goers

For 25 years, John Phipps has been adding humor and insights to the culture of American agriculture.  Humor, however, was not part of his talk during the 2019 South Dakota Farmers Union State Convention held December 10-11 in Aberdeen.  Instead, Phipps focused on the unpredicted changes impacting today’s farmers and ranchers.

“The future we thought was going to happen, probably isn’t,”

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Johnson to Retire from Role as National Farmers Union President

After serving as president of National Farmers Union (NFU) for over a decade, Roger Johnson announced that he does not intend to seek reelection again next year.  His current term will end at the organization’s annual convention in March, at which point an election for his successor will be held.

During his eleven-year-long tenure, Johnson has led efforts to fight corporate

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American Royal Acquires Land For “Epicenter of Agriculture”

The American Royal Association is one step closer to its future home after recently acquiring 115 acres in Kansas City, Kansas.  The Association’s vision is to be the national destination for the food and agriculture industry, the Epicenter of Agriculture – a vision that will elevate the presence of the longstanding Kansas City tradition.

The American Royal purchased 47 acres earlier

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A Plan For Failed Resolutions

It is that time of year when I feel compelled to make my New Year’s resolution to eat healthy, lose weight, and exercise more.  I usually stick to that resolution for a good three days, and then I just resort to relying on my “winter clothes.”  The best part about winter clothes is that they hide weight – at least

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Christmas Shopping

A few years back, Santa gave the trophy wife a blender rather than a soft, luxurious, beaver pelt blanket for Christmas.  Times were tight at the North Pole.  Because my message was so well received, I am expanding my gift giving suggestions to children and grandchildren.  As this column hit the newsstands after the stores closed on Christmas Eve, this

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Howard’s Priceless Gift of Simple Giving

The Christmas tree was a scrub cedar hacked from the edge of the woods that bordered the farm.  Big-bulbed lights, strung in barber pole fashion, generated almost as much heat as the nearby wood stove.  Yellowed Christmas cards, saved over the years and perched like doves in the untrimmed branches, served as ornaments.

“I believe this is the prettiest tree I’ve

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Elizabeth Louise Horn November 15, 1941 – December 15, 2019

The Good Lord called home our beloved Gramma Lou December 15, 2019 while surrounded by the love of family and her loyal dog, Princess, at her home on the ranch – just where she wanted to be.  He must have needed help feeding Heaven’s chickens and kitties, pitching hay to horses and cows, and someone to ride the pastures horseback.

Elizabeth

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Meet The New Compact, Same As The Old Compact

By Catherine Vandemoer, Ph.D.  Polson, MT

The fiction that Senator Daines would like us to believe is that the Senator “solved” the CSKT Compact problem with his erroneously named “Montana Water Rights Protection Act”.  Quite the contrary, the Senator did not solve the problem.  The Senator put forth structurally the same bill that Senator Tester did: he accepted the CSKT Compact

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Climate Change Conversation to Shift Dramatically, Research Shows

Most Americans engaging online about climate change are mired in the debate as to whether it exists.  However, the focus of the conversation will shift dramatically in the next two years, according to new research from The Center for Food Integrity (CFI).  In addition, there is no evidence consumers associate or link the consumption of animal protein to climate change.

Currently,

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Blizzards and Barnyard Bands

“It’s coming down fast,” Banjo said.

The wind blew against him as he pushed a heifer forward.  He could hardly see her from the sudden wind stirring up the top layer of snow and the freezing rain.  But the heifer followed another, and the other in front of her followed Cowsuela who knew the safest path to the barn.  By the

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Could USMCA be Agriculture’s Christmas Wish?

by Mayzie Purviance

 

2019 was a big year for agriculture news.  Between the #FairCattleMarkets campaign and lobbying efforts surrounding the Endangered Species Act, one major piece of news rises to the top: USMCA.

The U.S. – Mexico – Canada Agreement (USMCA) flooded news-stands all over the country and, finally, is coming to a vote.  Although many express optimism with the fact that

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A Carolin’ We Did Go

Cowboys  enjoyed a reputation as real singers back in the days when they would croon to their Longhorns at night to keep them from stampeding.  But now days, although there are a lot of cowboy songs, there are not a lot of cowboy singers.  The only ones I can think of off the top of my mind are Sourdough Slim,

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Montana Cowboys win World Titles

By Katie Schrock

It takes 365 days to make it to the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo (NFR) and while many contestants strive to be in the Top 15 in the world come the season conclusion on the last day of September, only 124 made it in 2019.  Of those 124, were two Montana cowboys with their eyes on gold –

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A Magical Send-off From Fallon to St. Jude

Will Nielsen gives Wyatt Haas a ride on Bonanza the “unicorn” at Wyatt’s send-off celebration.  Jennifer Nielsen photo.

The world became a magical place for a special little boy and his family last weekend in Fallon, Montana.  Unicorn dreams came true as Wyatt Haas’ kindergarten class gathered for a memorable send-off for their well-loved friend and classmate.

Haas, 5, was

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Gordon SmithJune 12, 1919 – December 5, 2019

Gordon Smith, age 100, of Clyde Park, Montana, passed away on Thursday, December 5, 2019. Gordon was born June 12, 1919 to Roscoe and Edna (Gilbert) Smith, the second of three siblings, who lived on a small farm five miles east of Clyde Park, Montana.

He and his sister rode horseback to a one room schoolhouse for grade school.  He graduated

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Merry Christmas from the Western Ag Reporter!

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Thoughts from the Editor

The Christmas season can, and does, become quite hectic at times.  Last year, I paused in the hustle and bustle and took the time to reflect on the real reason we celebrate Christmas.  I wrote a column urging readers to do the same and to this day, it is still one of my “most requested” reads.  There’s a seemingly unending

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My People of the Year

Opinions… everyone has an opinion about everything and (in my opinion) it is rather impolite to disrespect others’ opinions.  However, this week, I’m going to be impolite and disrespect TIME Magazine’s opinion.

In recent years, TIME Magazine has been known for picking a not-so-well-received “Person of the Year,” and 2019 was no different with their decision to give Greta Thunberg this

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Daines and Tester Co-sponsor CSKT Water Rights Settlement

By John S. Adams, Montana Free Press

On December 11, Montana U.S. Senators Steve Daines and Jon Tester announced the introduction of a long-awaited bill that would settle a century-old dispute over water rights between the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes (CSKT) and the state and federal governments.

Tester, a Democrat, first introduced federal legislation in 2016 to ratify the CSKT-Montana compact

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Welcome to the Fight; Now Get in Line

After 38 years in journalism, some events still cause shock.  Many center on public officials holding private meetings where a “just-us-insiders” intimacy affords all a “better understanding”— read total control — of their policy initiatives.

Sorry (not sorry), but public policy doesn’t work that way.  There’s no room for secrecy when public officials spend public money to promote legislation affecting the

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Agri-Kid

Jo Beth Johnson, age 5, takes a break from working cows with her papa, Aaron Waddington, at the Hoodoo 71 Ranch in Rosebud, Montana.

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A New On the Rise Era for an Old Industry

By Sheila Hildebrand

The Montana Wool Growers Association (MWGA) hosted its 136th Annual Convention, December 5 – 8 at the Billings Hotel and Convention Center.  The convention hosted a diverse array of events and messages; all of which communicated an exuberance for what was off-handedly referred to as the world’s second oldest industry.  The convention simultaneously pushed the muscle of progression,

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Special Bulletin From Santa

I would like to wish you all a Merry Christmas filled with feasting as part of the celebration.  Even though intermittent fasting is all the rage in diets right now, I hope you will enjoy this little Christmas rhyme I wrote about the Keto Diet.

by Susan Metcalf

‘Twas the month before Christmas, and Santa was in a snit.

He had tried on

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Comments

Merry Christmas from John, Debbi (and Pip). Machaela, & Zach.

This is the last time I will get the chance to visit with all of you before Christmas is upon us so I want to take this opportunity to wish all of you and your families a very merry and blessed Christmas.  I know it is kind of cheating,

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BLM Seeks Public Comment on Wild Horse Fertility Control Study

Two government agencies are working together to reduce the overpopulation of wild horses on America’s public lands and are seeking public input to research a single-dose contraceptive vaccine.  The Bureau of Land Management (BLM), Nevada State Office in cooperation with U.S. Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service’s National Wildlife Research Center recently announced the availability of a

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M-44 Predator Control Devices Approved with Few Revisions

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently announced a more protective interim decision on sodium cyanide, the compound used in M-44 devices to control certain wild predators (primarily coyotes) as part of the re-registration review process required by the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act.

After a careful review of the available information and extensive engagement with the U.S. Department of

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Senator Daines To Introduce New Agreement To Settle CSKT Water Dispute

By John S. Adams, Montana Free Press

An agreement between the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes (CSKT) and the federal government over long-disputed water rights took a major step forward December 5 when Montana Senator Steve Daines said he plans to introduce a bill that would implement a new settlement framework.

“Today is a really important step.  We’ve reached a historic compromise

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A Shiny Distraction

“What do you suppose is in there?” Tuff asked, looking at the wrapped package.

Pudge shrugged and looked to Ben, who looked to Banjo.

“Do you still have it?” Ben asked.

Banjo pulled out the key.

“Right here,” he said.  “The last thing she said was, ‘it’s the key to Christmas.’”

“Well, it’s a key alright,” Tuff said.  “And it looks like it’s from something

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Comments

Seems like a long time ago now but think back to the time when Donald Trump threw his name in the hat to become President of the United States.  One of his earliest campaign promises was to get rid of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and touted it as being one of the worst agreements ever written.  Because

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Agri-Kid

Rhen Fuller age 7 months of Augusta Montana love hauling hay with his Nana, Papa and buddy Zoe.

 

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Battery Powered

It was October 15, the opening day of Wyoming’s big game season but rather than hunting, Tom, Steve and I were preg-checking cows.  We had summered Tom’s cows, so a third of the herd was his so he had to be part of the crew.  Steve did not have a dog in this fight but was helping anyway; a decision

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Winter on the Horizon, Hay on the Market

By Lilly Platts

After a particularly wet spring and slow start to haying season in Montana, supply and prices are following a normal trajectory before calving and heavy feeding begin.  While there is a large quantity of hay that was rained on, this moisture allowed for high enough yields to offset any loss in quantity.  However, nutrient density may be lower

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A Nightmare in the Produce Section

“GMO is a term that should’ve never left the lab,” is a phrase I overheard about a year ago.  This statement could not be truer.

Why is it that society curls up into the fetal position anytime they see or hear the letters G, M and O?  With an easy google search and roughly five minutes of free time, one wouldn’t

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Thanks For the Laughs, Gwen

Big Timber, Montana is home to celebrity cowgirl poet, Gwen Peterson.  Gwen has graced the stage at Elko numerous times, written 16 books, produced many cowboy poetry gatherings, and she was even on the “Johnny Carson Show.”  There is one and only one Gwen and she is doing mighty poorly according to her most recent blog.

Gwen wrote, “Hi!  How’s your

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More Fallout from ‘Mount Tariff’ 

No major American daily newspaper features sharper, more poisonous pens than the market-focused writers at the Wall Street Journal.  When these opinion peddlers go after you in print, they hit hard, fast, and — most of the time — with inarguable fact.

Witness the Journal’s lead editorial December 3, titled “Mount Tariff Erupts Again,” a full-frontal assault on President Donald J.  Trump’s day-before tweets

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Thoughts from the Editor

Tis the season…  Not just for Christmas festivities, but also to sneak off the ranch and partake in our state association’s multiple conventions.  Between last week and the rest of this week, myself and a handful of our freelance writers have scattered across Montana to attend the annual meetings of the Cattlemen’s Association, Woolgrower’s Association and finally the Stockgrower’s Association. 

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Kimmi Lewis March 19, 1957 – December 6, 2019

Kimmi Joan Lewis was born on March 19, 1957 in La Junta, Colorado to Kenneth and Jewell (Middleton) Clark.  She entered God’s Kingdom following her third and valiant battle with cancer on December 6, 2019 at the age of 62.

Kimmi was raised with her three older sisters on the Muddy Valley Ranch, a family cattle ranch located halfway between Kim

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Montana Grizzly Bear Advisory Council Holds Third Meeting

By Alex Sakariassen, Montana Free Press

Chad Bauer, a member of Governor Steve Bullock’s Grizzly Bear Citizen Advisory Council, expressed a sense of urgency and unease on the second morning of the council’s December 4-5 meeting in Missoula, Montana.  Bauer and Bullock sat across from each other in a crowded conference room on the University of Montana campus.  Bullock had recently

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Sealing the Deal

By Kayla Sargent

Over the past two weeks, the Japanese and European Parliaments each signed their end of respective trade deals which will improve access for American ag producers to each country’s market.  While the European Union agreement specifically increases U.S. beef exports, the Japanese trade deal will lower or eliminate tariffs on nearly 90 percent of U.S. food and agricultural

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Groups Call For Mandatory COOL Amendment in Beef Integrity Act

More than 50 farm, ranch, consumer, manufacturing, labor and other organizations sent a joint letter to U.S. Senators Mike Rounds (R-SD) and John Thune (R-SD) urging them to amend their recently introduced U.S. Beef Integrity Act (S.2744) by including it “within a comprehensive mandatory country-of-origin labeling (COOL) bill” for beef and pork.

The U.S. Beef Integrity Act (Act) is a voluntary

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A Mission to “Save Montana’s Family Farm and Rural Communities”

By Robert Sivertsen, Mission Organizer

Havre, MT

 

Our mission to address the impact that the Hutterites are having on the family farm and rural communities has created a stir.  The Hutterites are under the microscope, they are feeling the pressure, so they commissioned a study that examines the effect of Hutterite Colonies on Montana’s Economy.

The Bureau of Business and Research at U

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PACT Act Branded in the Books

By Kayla Sargent

With the stroke of President Trump’s pen, the Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture (PACT) Act become law on Monday, November 25.  The Act will make certain acts of animal cruelty a felony nationwide.  Specifically, intentional “crushing” – defined as crushing, burning, drowning, suffocating, impaling, or otherwise causing serious bodily injury – will now be unlawful, as will the

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Another Look at GRSB

In response to a recently published editorial opinion by Ethan Lane, NCBA VP of Government Affairs, ICOW (Independent Cattlemen of Wyoming) offers another side of the GRSB (Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef) issue. 

Mr. Lane said NCBA isn’t a member of WWF (World Wildlife Federation) and WWF is not a member of NCBA.  True, however, they are both on the Board

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Wildlife Corridors Open, Agriculture’s Door Closes?

By Mayzie Purviance

Conservation seems to be a highly discussed topic amongst various environmental and animal rights groups.  The general idea of conservation is widely agreed upon to impact the planet positively, but below the surface level, could certain aspects of conservation be detrimental to the agricultural industry?

On May 16, 2019, The Wildlife Corridor Conservation Act was introduced to the Senate

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NCBA Seeks Clarity and Consistency in Beef Labeling

The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) reaffirmed its policy supporting voluntary country-of-origin labeling (COOL).  Because the association takes the concerns of its members and stakeholders seriously, its Executive Committee has unanimously approved efforts to work with the U.S.  Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety Inspection Service (USDA FSIS) to address the Agency’s longstanding policy on geographic origin statements.

Specifically, NCBA seeks solutions

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European Parliament Approves U.S. Share of Beef Market

On November 28, the European Parliament voted to approve a plan granting the United States a country-specific share of the European Union’s duty-free high-quality beef quota.  The agreement, which was signed and announced in August, will nearly triple U.S. annual duty-free beef exports to the EU over the next seven years, according to the Office of the United States Trade

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Diversify with Uber

We recently returned from taking the grandchildren to Disney World in Orlando, Florida, and I came back home with a diversification idea for the ranch.  During our visit, we had several experiences with Uber which got me to thinking about starting my own version of Uber right here in Big Timber, Montana.

First of all, seven people do not fit in

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Duane Lathim July 24, 1934 – November 19, 2019

On Tuesday, November 19, 2019, Duane Lathim passed away peacefully in his sleep at his home on the family farm at the age of 85.  Duane was born on July 24, 1934 in Dayton, Washington to Art and Okal (Walker) Lathim.

At the age of 9, the family moved to a small farm along the Snake River which is now Windust

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Agri-Kid

Caitlyn and Carly Cook of Rosebud Creek, Montana celebrate the building of their new bale castle with their grandpa, Tyler.  Caitlyn and Carly are the daughters of Cole and Lindsey Cook.

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Charles Roy Gaugler September 9, 1949 – November 24, 2019

Charles Roy Gaugler, 70, of Garneill died Sunday afternoon at his home of natural causes.  He was born September 9, 1949 in Lewistown, Montana the son of Bill and Faith (Stone) Gaugler.  He was proud of his birth date: 9-9-49.  He lived his entire life at his ranch headquarters in Garneill, Montana.  Charles will be remembered by his generosity, sense

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Opportunity in The Ark Valley

A portion of the farmers and ranchers who attended the event.

By Kerry Hoffschneider

Regenerative farmer and cattle producer Curtis Sayles was one of several speakers at the “Opportunity in the Ark Valley” mini conference held November 7-8 in Lamar, Colorado.  The conference offered farmers and ranchers a wide variety of information to improve their soils and learn about the

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Don’t Missed These Keynote Speakers

Opening General Session | December 11 | 8 a.m.

Mr. Renkes is a lawyer and business professional with over 30 years of legal, corporate and senior government experience.  He has held public sector positions at both the federal and state levels of government and has assisted major national and international corporations with legal, legislative and policy challenges involving local, state and

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Comments

I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving.  I know many of you were feeding cows as a strong winter blast blanketed the majority of Reporter Country.  The weather the day of and the day after Thanksgiving got a little western.  My sales kicked in again two days after Thanksgiving and we have been going strong ever since – and

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One Hundred or Bust

As a kid at our mountain cow camps we played “one hundred or bust” after dinner to determine who did the dishes.  The cards are dealt and starting at zero, cowboy number one adds to the count by playing a card from his hand.  The count proceeds around the table until the first unlucky player busts one hundred.  They are

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Wyoming Farm Bureau Sets Policy for Coming Year

Irrigation infrastructure, taxes, private property rights, and migration corridors were among the many topics included in policies adopted at the 100th annual meeting of the Wyoming Farm Bureau Federation (WyFB).  Held November 13-15 in Laramie, Wyoming, the meeting is an important step in the grassroots policy development process of Farm Bureau.

“County Farm Bureau members start the policy development process at

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I-BAND Holds 14th Annual Meeting

On November 15 and 16, the Independent Beef Association of North Dakota (I-BAND) held its 14th annual meeting at the Ramada Wyndam in Bismarck.  Dozens of cattle producers from across North Dakota and surrounding states participated in a diverse schedule of activities during the two-day event.

“This was one of our most successful and well-attended annual meetings,” I-BAND President Dwight Keller

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CSKT Compact and Grizzly Bears In Montana Farm Bureau Policy

Voting delegates of the Montana Farm Bureau (MFBF) Convention discussed, debated and voted on policy for the coming year.  The Delegates Session is what makes Farm Bureau a unique grassroot organization; farmers and ranchers developing policy during their county annual meetings which is then voted on at the MFBF Convention.

For the sixth year in a row, the delegates reaffirmed their

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A Holiday Heist

Last week the plot thickened: Banjo and the ranch crew knew about the renegade’s plot to steal back the lynx and her kitten, even on Thanksgiving day.  Will they get caught with Rascal’s help or does he abandon the crew at the last minute, and is there an early Christmas present headed to their way?

“Just a moment,” the Mama said

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Here We Go Again: More Mistruths About the CSKT Compact

By Hertha L. Lund

Even though I would rather not engage in the CSKT Compact debate due to the nasty, vitriol of some who oppose it, I find myself again responding to unfounded arguments against the CSKT Compact.  Recently, WAR printed an op-ed by someone who moved to Montana to fight the Compact who personally will not lose anything regardless of

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Stockgrowers College Courses Offered Wednesday and Thursday

These 60-minute sessions offer attendees valuable educational tips and a chance to enjoy face-to-face talks and hands-on technology education.

1

December 12 | 3 p.m. | Double Tree Skyview 1 & 2

Major Determinants of Profit, Five Essentials for Successful Ranch Management – ideas for heifer development, selecting bulls and culling cows, grazing management, marketing and leadership.

2

December 11 | 11 a.m. | Double

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R-CALF USA 20th Anniversary Convention Available on YouTube

R-CALF USA hosted its 20th Anniversary Convention in Deadwood, South Dakota on August 15 -16, 2019.  The convention proclaimed success boasting approximately 400 attendees; the organization’s largest convention in its 20-year history.  An additional 800 guests viewed the convention through online streaming sending its message throughout cattle country as never before.

Only days before the convention, producers faced the market malady

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Food, Family and Transparency

The holiday season is here which, for me, can be summarized with two words: food and family.  Although this column usually revolves around food (I mean, it is about agriculture after all), I want to take this opportunity to focus on family — specifically farming families.

A common claim I see online is the idea that America’s farms are no longer

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Brazil’s Big Steak in America

By Kayla Sargent

Scandal runs deep in the Brazilian meatpacking industry.  JBS SA and Marfrig Global Foods, the world’s top two meat processors, have each been involved in multiple bribery schemes in order to obtain loans.  Perhaps more concerning is the fact that these Brazilian companies used “ill-gotten financing to acquire American companies,” according to United States Cattlemen’s Association (USCA) President

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Milk Shake-Up Just Beginning with Dean’s Downfall

While many in the U.S.  dairy sector focus on why the nation’s largest milk bottler, Dean Foods, filed for bankruptcy November 12, the smart money — if there is any smart money left after four years of crushingly low milk prices — is focused on what’s next.

What’s next is what’s always next when your business is built on shrinking markets,

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Montana Stockgrowers Association 135th Annual Convention Approaching

Montana Stockgrowers Association (MSGA) will hold its 135th Annual Convention and Trade Show December 10 – 12, in Billings, Montana.  In-person registration begins Tuesday, December 10 at 12:00 p.m. or attendees can register online at www.mtbeef.org/msga-events/annual-convention-and-trade-show/.

MSGA’s Annual Convention provides attendees with education, information, fellowship and decision-making opportunities for Montana’s cattle industry as well as access to the largest ranching industry

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Thoughts from the Editor

Last week I got halfway through an article published by Fast Company called “The beef industry wants you to think it has a ‘minimal’ environmental impact (it does not).”  You may recall author Kristin Toussaint citing World Resources Institute (WRI) fellow Tim Searchinger in an effort to dispel NCBA’s recently published white paper about the true, and minimal, environmental impact

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Bits & Pieces

Wyoming Farm Bureau Donates Money for 12,413 Meals

Wyoming families facing hunger received a boost mid-November with the Wyoming Farm Bureau Federation Young Farmer & Rancher (YF&R) Committee “Harvest for All” project.  The annual fund drive and raffle to benefit the Wyoming Food Bank of the Rockies raised $3,103.35 which is the equivalent of 12,413 meals for Wyoming families.

During the state

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Gather ‘Round the ‘Drool Log’ This Holiday Season

Just in time for the holidays, Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner. is releasing a new craveable Beef Drool Log video sure to “spice up” any gathering and celebration.  The Beef Drool Log is a two-and-a-half-hour video featuring a beautiful Prime Rib Roast cooking to perfection on a rotisserie over open flame.  The video pays homage to the iconic Yule Log

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Montana Grizzly Bear Advisory Council Tackles A Complex Issue

By Trina Jo Bradley

The Grizzly Bear Advisory Council (GBAC) met November 13 and 14 in Bozeman, Montana to further discuss grizzly bear issues throughout the state.  At the forefront of the conversation was distribution and connectivity, and more specifically, how those aspects apply to the management recommendations that GBAC is charged with providing by 2020.

Montana Fish, Wildlife and

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Comments – November 28, 2019

First and foremost, I would like to take the opportunity to wish all of you and yours a very Happy Thanksgiving.  I know it seems like there are a lot of “trials-and-tribulations” in our lives at times, but this is the perfect holiday to reflect and be thankful we all live in this country.  Be thankful for the freedoms and

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Hang Tight

Corbin Cass, age 5, flanks a calf for the boys to brand at his family’s ranch just south of Carlsbad, New Mexico. Corbin is the son of Jacob and Ashely Cass and said working cows is his favorite thing to do.

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A Black Friday Brawl

I am all about shopping local as the Black Friday ads overshadow the Thanksgiving holiday – especially since the experience I had the last time I ventured out on Black Friday. Although it was six years ago, it still looms large in my memory.

During a temporary lapse of sanity, I found myself caught up in the Black Friday shopping frenzy –

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Pork’s Peak Demand

by Sheila Hildebrand

At first glance, the African Swine Fever (ASF) outbreak appears to be an unfortunate opportunity for American pork producers as they face the current domestic market malaise caused by bulging supply.  Ailing today’s hog market, Kerns and Associates Analyst Steve Meyer said “it is clear that it is neither export nor domestic consumer demand.  That leaves

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“Weird flex, but okay.”

by Mayzie Purviance

 

Over time, we as humans have combined various products for better or worse.  Phrases such as “Bacon makes everything better,” and the vocal stylizing’s of the country music power couple Johnny Cash and June Carter-Cash prove that sometimes, combining two things can be beneficial.  On the other end of the spectrum lies many things which people

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Trump Administration Signals Support for CSKT Water Compact

by John S. Adams, Montana Free Press

Off-reservation water claims made by CSKT, on hold pending approval of the CSKT-Montana Compact.  Adapted from Montana DNRC.

Through two top cabinet officials, the Trump administration has signaled its support for a proposed settlement of the reserved water right claims of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes (CSKT).

First in a November

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Guard Dogs Gone Rogue

It was a Thursday. Sam slowly crept into my clinic and he was caked with mud.  Being a working Corgi, he was short in stature but usually long on enthusiasm so obviously, something was amiss.

X-rays showed Sam had torn his diaphragm and abdominal organs had herniated into his chest.  Surgery revealed his stomach had passed through the right side of his

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That’s Unreal

By Kayla Sargent

For the latest in fake meat news, Quiznos is testing out a new brand of so-called “beef.”  The fast food sandwich chain added a plant-based corn beef sandwich to their menu at their Denver locations on November 15. If the trial market is successful, the sandwich will be rolled out nationwide.

The vegan “corned beef” is made by

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We Don’t Need To Be Told What To Do

By Gilles Stockton
Grass Range, MT

I am sure that most cattle producers would embrace enhanced disease traceability if indeed it was shown that this is necessary.  But that is the point.  The need for electronic identification for cattle in interstate commerce has never been made.  Instead, like in a recent presentation by Joe Leathers at a Feeding Quality Forum

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Great Speakers On Tap for Montana Woolgrowers 136thConvention

The Montana Woolgrowers Association (MWGA) 136thAnnual Convention will be held in Billings, Montana on December 5 – 7 at the Billings Hotel and Convention Center.

The convention will kick off with the President’s Reception at the Hollenbeck Ranch near Molt, pending weather.  Dinner, drinks, and transportation to and from Billings Hotel will be provided.

Starting December 6, a great lineup of workshops

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Guard Dogs Gone Rogue

It was a Thursday.  Sam slowly crept into my clinic and he was caked with mud.  Being a working Corgi, he was short in stature but usually long on enthusiasm so obviously, something was amiss.

X-rays showed Sam had torn his diaphragm and abdominal organs had herniated into his chest.  Surgery revealed his stomach had passed through the right side of

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Hide and Go Seek…Kind Of

“Do you think there’s any leftovers?” Tuff asked.

Banjo looked at him curiously, “I’m still stuffed.  I don’t know how you can be thinking of leftovers already.”

“I can hardly wait,” Tuff said.  “We need to get these renegades off the ranch, so I can bury my nose in some more pumpkin pie.”  Banjo smiled.

“These fellows plot came at the worst possible

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Thoughts from the Editor – November 28, 2019

Two weeks ago, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) published a white paper proving what most in our industry already knows to be true – cattle are part of the climate solution, not the problem.  The research concludes that global beef lifecycle emissions, from feed production to consumer, account for 6 percent of all greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.  The white paper

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Let’s Talk About Animal Agriculture — Part III

When I was younger, one of the most important lessons Ma (my great-grandmother) taught me was about judgment.  She used an age-old expression, “Don’t make judgements unless you’ve walked a mile in their shoes.”  As time went on, I realized just how true this statement could be.  Now, I think I see it more than ever in the way we,

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Agri-Kid

Corbin Cass, age 5, flanks a calf for the boys to brand at his family’s ranch just south of Carlsbad, New Mexico. Corbin is the son of Jacob and Ashely Cass and said working cows is his favorite thing to do.

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A Closer Look At Meat Substitutes

By Barbara Quinn-Intermill, MS, RDN, CDE, LMNT

There seems to be a lot of clamoring to replace real meat in the marketplace.  Here are some things to consider:

We need protein.  In fact, experts predict that within the next 30 years, the world will need to produce 50 percent more protein to adequately feed everyone on this

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Impeachment Halts Agricultural Economic Growth

by Mayzie Purviance

Since the 2016 election, it seems many people have called and continue to call for the head of President Donald J. Trump.  On September 24, 2019, impeachment of the president officially began, leaving the fate of the United States in the hands of opposing political officials.

Impeachment, however, does not mean President Trump will be removed from

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Brazil’s Piece of American Beef Grows

Brazil recently furthered its holding in the American beef supply chain.  Marfrig Global Foods SA increased its ownership in National Beef, a member of America’s “Big Four” packers, from 51 percent to 81.7 percent.

Jefferies Financial Group announced an agreement to sell its remaining 31 percent of National Beef to Marfrig for $860 million.  The deal is set to close by

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Closing the GAP

GAP Certification Can Only Be Authorized by EarthClaims

by Kayla Sargent

Cate Doubet Photo.

“GAP certified” may be listed in the sale catalog when a set of calves comes through the ring and the auctioneer exclaims, “these have all the bells and whistles, folks.”  Global Animal Partnership (GAP) certification may be worth the

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Disguised and Disgusted

By Kayla Sargent

Burger King’s television ad mocking the “foolish cowboy” for not distinguishing between a plant-based “Impossible Whopper” and a traditional beef “Whopper” yielded much different taste test results than the trial ran at the Western Ag Reporter (WAR).  WAR Assistant Editor Mayzie Purviance hypothesized that this would be such due to Burger King’s cooking methods where seasonings,

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A Permanent Solution To Death Tax Concerns Introduced

The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) recently announced its strong support for the “Preserving Family Farms Act of 2019.”  Introduced by U.S. Representatives Jimmy Panetta (D – CA) and Jackie Walorski (R – IN), this important bipartisan legislation would expand IRS Code Section 2032A to allow more ranchers and farmers to take advantage of the special use valuation and protect

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We’re Not Crazy, the Times Are

Thanksgiving was the kickoff to a month of bookkeeping, depreciation schedules and checkbook balancing for my parents on the southern Illinois dairy farm of my youth.  It culminated in an afternoon meeting, usually the week after Christmas, where my father would detail the farm’s annual performance to his three, city-dwelling partners and lay out his plans for the coming year.

The

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Ranchers’ and Farmers’ Pockets are Hungry this Thanksgiving

According to the annual Thanksgiving edition of the National Farmer’s Union (NFU) Farmer’s Share publication, farmers and ranchers take home just 12.1 cents from every dollar which consumers spend on their Thanksgiving dinner meals.  The popular Thanksgiving Farmer’s Share compares the retail food price of traditional holiday dinner items to the amount the farmer receives for each item they grow

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Donald Everett Little Sr. | April 9, 1934 – October 9, 2019

Donald Everett Little Sr., 85, passed away dreaming of his late wife, Donna at his park model in Yuma, Arizona on October 9.

Don was born April 9, 1934 in Springfield, Illinois to James and Vera (Goodan) Little.  After spending his younger years in Livingston, Montana, Don’s father relocated the family to Clyde Park when Don was a freshman.  Story is

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Protect the Harvest Comments on PACT Act

by Mayzie Purviance

The Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture (PACT) Act passed through the Senate and the House, no questions asked.  At first glance, this sounds like a good thing, but for the everyday livestock producer, celebration is up for debate.

According to Protect the Harvest, it appears the PACT Act was not officially voted on in either the House or the

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Montana Beef Council Launches “Nicely Done, Beef” Billboard Campaign

The billboard graphic will be displayed in three locations across Montana over a six-month period.

The Montana Beef Council (MBC) is launching a new campaign to focus on the merits of their favorite protein, beef, focusing on the simplicity of one ingredient with multiple benefits.  Three billboard locations were selected throughout the state to carry a simple message, “Nicely

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Comment Open for Colstrip Pollution Cleanup Proposal

The Montana Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) is taking public comment on long-term plans to close and remediate a waste coal ash impoundment associated with Units 1 & 2 of eastern Montana’s Colstrip Power Plant.  Coal ash is the waste product of coal-fired power plants and is stored in enormous “ponds” outside the power plants.

The 1 & 2 ponds cover

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Wyoming Farm Bureau Elects Leadership at 100th Annual Meeting

Todd Fornstrom, of Laramie County, was elected to his fourth term as President of the Wyoming Farm Bureau Federation (WyFB) at the organization’s 100th annual meeting in Laramie.

“I appreciate the vote of confidence,” Fornstrom stated.  “We will keep working hard for the members of the WyFB.  Advocacy for agriculture and policy development is crucial to our future.”

Todd and his family

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High Risk Loans for Cash Grain and Dairy Producers

At its recent monthly meeting, the Farm Credit Administration (FCA) board received an update on credit conditions in the Farm Credit System.

Despite increased risk in certain segments of the System’s loan portfolio, overall System credit metrics remain favorable.  System institutions have adequate capital to handle additional stress, but some are experiencing credit quality declines.

Prices for key commodities continue to present

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Young Farmers and Ranchers Donate $8,300 to Montana Food Banks 

The Montana Farm Bureau Federation (MFBF) Young Farmers and Ranchers (YF&R) Committee presented a check for $8,300 to the Montana Food Bank Network (MFBN) at the MFBF YF&R luncheon Tuesday, November 12 in Billings.

The donation came from proceeds raised during YF&R Hoofin’ It for Hunger Race ($6900) as well as the Centennial Challenge for Change ($1400).  The race was held

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Tyson Beef Plant in Kansas to Resume Operations in December

Following the August 9 fire that disrupted operations at its Holcomb, Kansas beef complex, Tyson Fresh Meats, the beef and pork subsidiary of Tyson Foods, Inc. recently announced reconstruction of the facility is near completion.  Efforts to resume harvest operations will begin the first week of December, with intentions to be fully operational by the first week of January.

“We recognize

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The Issues Change, The Mission Remains

by Kayla Sargent

Endangered species, WOTUS and, of course trade, were the main topics of conversation raised with American Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall during his three day stint at Montana Farm Bureau Federation’s Centennial Convention.  Prior to traveling to the Wyoming Farm Bureau Convention, Duvall spent a few days in meetings, workshops, and hallway conversations with producers from across Montana

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Connecting Animals, People and Antibiotic Use in South Dakota

South Dakota One Health is a collaborative effort that promotes a deeper understanding of the connections between the health of people, animals and the environment.  SDSU Extension is partnering with the Sanford USD Medical School, the South Dakota Department of Health, the South Dakota Animal Industry Board and Area Health Education Centers to provide educational opportunities surrounding different topics important

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It’s Going to be a Long Winter 

Mother Nature turned a colorful, late fall into a bitterly cold, early winter as if to prove — after a planting, growing and harvest season marked by floods, drought and mud — that she’s still in charge and still not happy.

Not happy about what? No one can say but almost every American from Montana’s Western Slope to Maryland’s Eastern Shore

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South Dakota Stockgrowers Wrap Up 128th Annual Convention

The South Dakota Stockgrowers Association wrapped up another successful convention and trade show November 1, where Scott Edoff of Hermosa, South Dakota was elected as the new president by the membership.

Immediate past president, Gary Deering, pulled together a great convention with many highlights.

“Convention attendance was up, and everyone had a great time,” Deering said.  “After 128 years this convention continues

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Burn Up the Phone Lines

By Samuel H. Clovis, Jr., MBA, DPA

Former National Co-Chair and Chief Policy Advisor,

Donald J. Trump for President Campaign

 

I am not sure people in Congress do not need a lesson in civics and perhaps a re-read (or more likely a first read) of the Constitution.  Their ability to change rules to avoid accountability has led to a very dangerous situation for

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MSU Student Wins Montana Farm Bureau Collegiate Discussion Meet

“The customer is always right.  How do farmers and ranchers think and respond, through the lens of consumer priorities and marketing trends, to build common values and confidence in modern production methods to build consumer acceptance?”

This was the discussion topic six competitors were given at the recent Collegiate Discussion Meet held during the Montana Farm Bureau Annual Convention in Billings. 

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Holiday Decorations

While running in the pre-dawn darkness, I spotted this season’s first holiday light display.  I chuckled thinking of the meme condemning those who begin decorating for Christmas in October — “Mary hasn’t even told Joseph she is pregnant yet.”

Because I built my cattle-panel, Christmas igloo display three years ago and have neither used it nor taken it down, I might

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Make the Shot Count

by Jamie Henneman

All over-the-counter animal antibiotics will soon require a veterinarian’s prescription, according to a new guidance document released by the Federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA).  The proposed regulation is an effort to “limit medically important antimicrobial drugs in animals that are considered necessary for human health.”

Common antibiotics like tylosin, penicillin and tetracycline are some of the drugs that

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FSA Director Encourages Farmers to Schedule County Office Meetings Today

South Dakota’s farmers may think they’ve applied for all the programs they can to help mitigate some of the losses brought on by extreme weather and the trade war, but South Dakota’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) Executive Director Paul Shubeck says there may be other resources available.

“Please make an appointment to meet with your county’s FSA staff.  There are programs

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Bert Louis Hartman March 25, 1930 – November 4, 2019

Bert Louis Hartman, 89, entered his heavenly home on November 4, 2019.  Bert was always a man of God, and a hardworking cattle feeder and businessman who loved his family, his church and faith, and his work.

Born on March 25, 1930, Hartman remained a lifelong resident of Vineland, working as a cattle feeder for nearly 82 years, starting with his

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Helena Rancher Wins Polaris Ranger in Discussion Meet

Rocky Forseth, a young rancher from Helena, bested three other competitors to win the Montana Farm Bureau Young Farmer and Rancher Discussion Meet.  He got the keys to a Ranger® 570 EFI and an all-expense paid trip to compete in the national competition in Austin, Texas in January.  The three other contestants were Mark Boyd from Alder, Kim Gibbs from

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U.S. Beef Cattle Only Contribute Small Percent of GHG Emissions

A new white paper detailing the minimal environmental footprint of beef production in the U.S. was recently published by the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, a contractor to the Beef Checkoff.  The white paper, authored by Sara Place, PhD, senior director of sustainable beef production research at the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, highlights why and how the U.S. is the leader

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Making The Change

It’s come to my attention that lately there’s been an influx of dairymen into the cattle business due to low milk prices.  For many, making “The Change” has brought great joy because some dairymen felt there always was a cowboy or cowgirl hiding inside a dairyman’s body.  But for others, making “The Change” has been more difficult because it involves

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Nation’s Top Milk Processor Dean Food Company Files Bankruptcy

by Kayla Sargent

Milk consumption in the United States has been on a steady decline since 1975, according to USDA ERS data.  Per capita, America was consuming about 247 pounds of milk a year in 1975 and today, only 146 pounds — or the equivalent of approximately 17 gallons.  In the meantime, dairy consumption as a whole, including butter, cheese, condensed

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The Dune Buggy Distraction

“Alright, alright, alright!” snapped Rascal.  “I’ve had about enough of this mushy stuff!  I’m outta here.  You mangy mutts can figure out this delivery truck gang yourselves and find some tasty treats elsewhere.”

The lynx mama looked up.

“Thank you for helping me get back to him,” she said and licked the top of her kitten’s head.  “Those men are no good,”

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Milton Ranch Receives Montana Leopold Conservation Award

Milton Ranch has been selected as the recipient of the inaugural Montana Leopold Conservation Award®.

Given in honor of renowned conservationist Aldo Leopold, the award recognizes farmers and foresters who inspire others with their dedication to land, water and wildlife habitat management on private, working land.

Bill and Dana Milton of Roundup, Montana, were presented with $10,000 and a crystal award at

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Grouchy Grandma’s Holiday House Rules:

One of the nicest compliments I receive is when readers tell me that they have hung my column on their refrigerator or mailed it to someone (often anonymously) to try to make a point humorously and semi-tactfully.  Since we are going into the holiday feast season, and since several readers have asked me to rerun the code of conduct for

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Slate of Speakers Drew Crowd to Northern Plains’ 48th Annual Meeting

The 2019 annual meeting of the Northern Plains Resource Council (NPRC) was recently held in Billings, and it covered a wide range of topics important to people who care about Montana agriculture and natural resources.  Numerous guest speakers presented at the meeting.

Mike Callicrate was the opening speaker.  He is an independent cattle producer and businessman from Colorado, and a longtime

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Thoughts from the Editor

In a time when there are continually more mouths to feed and an increasing need for high-quality, nutritious sources of protein, milk consumption has been on a steady decline for more than 40 years.  Dean Foods Company, the nation’s largest milk processor, recently filed bankruptcy and cited decreased demand as a reason for financial strain.

While some say more cultured culinary

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Comments

The Fall 2019 sale season kicked off in a big way for me last week as I attended a production sale every day of the week.  The week before I had a couple of bull sales, but last week saw things kick into high gear and it will continue to be extremely steady from now until Christmas.  I have already

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McDonalds a “Moover,” Wendy’s a “Wanna Be”

by Jamie Henneman

The single largest purchaser of beef in the United States, the McDonalds restaurant chain, recently pledged to only buy beef from sources that no longer use antibiotics for prevention purposes.  The decision caused the consumer-watchdog publication Consumer Reports to give the company high ratings, praising the commitment.

“To protect public health and push the beef industry to eliminate the

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Preserving the West in a Modern World

By Mayzie Purviance

The Green River Drift located in Wyoming’s Upper Green River Valley is a historic cattle drive which is still relevant today.  The Sommers family, along with a handful of other families, has not only driven their cattle to and from the high country of the Drift, but been a part of a historic and revolutionary PBS documentary, “The

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Bits & Pieces

Montana State University Students Donate Over $26,000

The Alpha Delta chapter of Alpha Gamma Rho (AGR) at Montana State University has been very busy in the philanthropy department over the course of 2019.  The chapter came up with several new events and outlets for donations making it one of the most successful years yet.

Starting in the spring with a Horseshoe Scavenger

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Let’s Talk About Animal Agriculture – Part II

Let’s talk about validity.  Validity, as defined by Merriam-Webster, is “the quality or state of being valid.”  Valid, also defined by Merriam-Webster, means “having legal efficacy or force,” “well-grounded or justifiable: bring at once relevant and meaningful,” and “logically correct.”

In any news piece, story, movie, radio broadcast or gossip session, validity is of the utmost importance.  If a source is invalid,

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Sheep Industry Encouraged to Comment on Herder Proposal

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) recently published a policy memorandum (PM) that requires requests for temporary foreign workers for range sheep or goat herding or production be subject to the same requirements as other temporary agricultural workers.

USCIS is issuing this PM to ensure that H-2A non-immigrant sheep/goat herders may only fill temporary and/or seasonal herder positions, and that petitioners

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Here Comes Round Two

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue recently announced the second tranche of 2019 Market Facilitation Program (MFP) payments aimed at assisting farmers suffering from damage due to unjustified trade retaliation by foreign nations.  The payments will begin the week before Thanksgiving.  Producers of MFP-eligible commodities will now be eligible to receive 25 percent of the total payment expected, in addition

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Montana Farm Bureau Elects Leadership

Hans McPherson, a diversified farmer from Stevensville, was re-elected as president of the Montana Farm Bureau Federation (MFBF) during the organization’s annual convention in Billings.  Cyndi Johnson, a Conrad small grains farmer, was re-elected as vice president.

Newly elected to the board were: Kris Descheemaeker, District 3, a cattle rancher from Lewistown; Joy DePuydt, District 7, a cattle rancher from Saco;

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Tyson Breaks Ground on Utah Case Ready Beef and Pork Facility

Tyson Fresh Meats recently broke ground on the site of the company’s new case ready beef and pork facility in Eagle Mountain City, Utah.

The plant will be a case ready meat-cutting and packaging operation that converts fresh beef and pork, brought in from other locations, into steaks, chops, roasts and ground beef.  The product is placed in trays, weighed and

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Agri-Kid

McKay Brady, age 3, is the son of Erica and Randy Brady. Needless to say, McKay found himself a snack while visiting the Snapp Ranch in Lewistown, Montana.

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Success through Social Media

By Mayzie Purviance

“We decided to do it ourselves,” Mary Heffernan said at the 2019 Montana Farm Bureau Convention in Billings, Montana on November 13.  This phrase sums up Heffernan’s speech and the entire concept of her family’s operation, Five Marys Farms.

After opening several successful small businesses in the San Francisco Bay area, Mary and Brian Heffernan, along with their four

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Shut Eye

My mother told me never to talk to strange men and I should have listened to her. But when a university professor and I got into a discussion and he told me that I could make more money by weaning my calves at home I made the mistake of listening to him. From experience I can tell you that professor

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Thoughts from the Editor

When I first began this column, it was the first and easiest thing for me to write each week.  As stories surfaced each day, there was always a new topic that demanded my attention and I knew exactly how I wanted to respond to pressing issues.  Fake meat, animal activists, environmental extremists, industry division, the potential topics for a journalist

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Meat, Make Room for Mushrooms

By Kayla Sargent

Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat have dominated the new plant-based protein markets.  Now, the race is on to create plant-based “meats” that go ‘beyond’ the old ground products and replace whole muscle cuts like the beef industry’s prized possession — steak.

While research has been taking place overseas to “grow” cells on structures in a lab that resembles meat,

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Angus Legend S A V RESOURCE 1441 Dies

During his lifetime, the Angus bull 1AN01238 RESOURCE made an impact on the global beef industry with progeny located around the world.

1AN01238 S A V RESOURCE 1441, a bull that has graced the pages of the GENEX Beef Genetic Management Guide since 2013 and ranked in the top ten for USA Angus sire registrations for the past four

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Merlyn Altha Kirk Robinson September 5, 1926 – July 10, 2019

Merlyn Altha Kirk Robinson, 92, a longtime local Heppner area resident, passed away, July 10, 2019, at Pioneer Memorial Hospital in Heppner, Oregon.  She was born September 5, 1926 and grew up on the local wheat and cattle ranches of her parents, Merle N. Kirk and Altha Devin Kirk.  Merlyn and her descendants became the third, fourth and fifth generations

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Elias “Eli” D. Stahl October 27, 1948 – November 1, 2019

With heavy hearts, we announce the passing of Reverend Elias Stahl.  He passed away peacefully at home with his family by his side after a short period of colon cancer.  He was born October 27, 1948 at the Deerfield Colony where he lived all his life.

Eli was elected minister in 1987 and was ordained in 1995.  He lived a dedicated

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A Warming Reunion

By the time the sliding side door was pulled open, Rascal had scooted out of the crate.  He watched from the shadows of the many packages, as the delivery driver pulled the crate out of the box truck and slid the door snuggly closed.  The masked bandit took a deep breath of relief, but quickly changed his focus when he

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Let’s Talk About Animal Agriculture – Part I

This week, I subjected myself to watching the film, “Cowspiracy.”  Although I have many scholarly thoughts and statistics to share, this week, we’re not going to do that — this week, we’re just going to talk.  No crazy facts and figures, just logical thinking.

Cowspiracy is a 2014 documentary which was produced to shed light on animal agriculture’s environmental impact.  If

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The Future of Agriculture is Bright and, Hopefully, Sustainable

By Mayzie Purviance

The future, especially for the agricultural industry, can bring forward some concerns.  However, events such as the Youth Ag Summit (YAS) shed some light on a younger generation of cultivators.

“It’s an awesome way to network with other people who are interested in your passions for wanting to make a difference in ag around the world and in our

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U.S. Meat Export Federation Examines Trade Challenges

The U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) recently concluded its Strategic Planning Conference in Tucson, Arizona, where Asian trade deals and alternative proteins were heavily discussed and new officers were elected.

On the final day of the conference USMEF members also received an informative breakdown of the trade landscape in Asia from Wendy Cutler, vice president of the Asia Society Policy Institute. 

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Comments

This week’s column is one I have been contemplating for several months.  It seems like every time I turn around I hear the word “sustainability” in agricultural circles.  Most conventions or meetings I attend, many articles and opinion pieces, and multiple speakers all center around sustainability and how it pertains to the U.S. agricultural industry.

The definition of sustainability, according to

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If You Like Your Water Right, You Can Keep It

By Catherine Vandemoer, Ph.D.

Polson, MT

 

Once again, the proponents of the CSKT Compact are flooding the airwaves, newspapers, and mailboxes with threats of “endless litigation” and “having to hire your own lawyer” if the CSKT Compact is not passed by Congress.  They claim that if the CSKT Compact is passed, Montanans will not have to go to court to defend their

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Why Sustainability?

By Ethan Lane, Vice President, Government Affairs, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA)

 

When the topic of sustainability comes up in conversation in cattle circles, it’s common to see heads shaking.  It’s not a topic we like to discuss in our industry – primarily because it’s so often raised with bad intentions and worse information.  We bristle because we’ve been doing things

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Educational Symposium Will Highlight Marketing in Cow-Calf Sector

All cattlemen and women are invited to attend the American Gelbvieh Association’s (AGA) fifth annual commercial cattlemen’s educational symposium titled Cattlemen’s Profit Roundup sponsored by National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) and National Corn Growers Association (NCGA).

Cattlemen’s Profit Roundup will be held Thursday, December 5, 2019, beginning at 3:30 p.m. MST at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel in Billings, Montana.  Cattle

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J is for Jackalope

A book review by Linda Grosskopf

Looking for a wonderful book for a Western-raised child?  If so, then here is a suggestion just in time for Christmas – “J is for Jackalope”, written and illustrated by Teal Blake.

I am a great fan of the artist Teal Blake.  I wasn’t aware, however, that his sizeable warbag of skills and talents included competent

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New Study Delves Into Management Factors Affecting BRD Risk

Animal welfare, sustainability and economics are affected when beef cattle suffer from bovine respiratory disease, or BRD.

“BRD is hard to simplify as there are multiple risk factors and pathogens involved, but it is one of the biggest health issues facing the beef and dairy industries,” Sarah Capik, D.V.M., Ph.D., assistant professor of ruminant animal health with Texas A&M AgriLife Research,

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Callicrate Discusses Rebuilding a Broken System

By Mayzie Purviance

Mike Callicrate joined the Northern Plains Resource Council at their 2019 annual meeting November 9, 2019 as their Saturday morning speaker.  Callicrate holds many titles: Cattleman, political activist, author, founder of the farm advocacy group, Organization for Competitive Markets (OCM), and the lead plaintiff in a class action lawsuit again the world’s largest meat packer IBP (now part

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Bits & Pieces

Animal Agriculture Alliance Announces New Leadership

Last week, the Animal Agriculture Alliance announced a new chair-elect and six new board representatives.

The Alliance welcomed Sarah Novak, vice president of membership and public relations at American Feed Industry Association (AFIA), as its new board chairperson in May.  AFIA was a founding member of the Alliance and has held a seat on the board

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Study Places Value on Montana Hutterite Colony’s Economic Impact

By Eric Dietrich, Montana Free Press

An economic study commissioned by a law firm representing Montana’s Lehrerleut Hutterite communities has concluded that the religious group’s collective business operations contribute $365.3 million annually to the Montana economy.

The study, billed as the first of its kind, was conducted by the University of Montana’s Bureau of Business and Economic Research and Montana State University’s

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The Restoration Begins with You

Last Friday, I spoke to the South Dakota Stockgrowers; ranchers who have persevered through recent, repeated, catastrophic weather events.  Like the twisted I-beam, makeshift flagpole jutting from the rubble of the World Trade Center, when the dust settles and the snow melts there are always a few determined cowboys still standing.  Such describes the cattlemen of South Dakota.  It was

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Hereford Hall of Fame Inductees Honored

Four Hereford producers including George and Harry Tjardes, Gibson City, Illinois; Denny Hoffman, Thedford, Nebraska; Guy Colyer, Bruneau, Idaho; and Mark Cooper, Three Forks, Montana, were inducted into the Hereford Hall of Fame.  The inductees were honored during the Hereford Honorees awards ceremony at the American Hereford Association’s (AHA) Annual Membership Meeting and Conference, October 25, in Kansas City, Missouri. 

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Considerable Risks Could be Associated with Hemp Production

The wait is over and the first look at the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s interim final hemp production rules are now available.  The rules were published in the Federal Register on October 31 and public comment will be allowed for 60 days on the USDA website.

These rules do not, however, grant anyone the right to begin planting hemp in Texas. 

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MSU Northern Ag Students Tour IX Ranch

Montana State University Northern Ag Operations Technology (AOT) Assistant Professor Brianna Bernhardt took her Range Livestock Production class to visit the IX Ranch near Big Sandy to observe how they conduct a pregnancy test on 800 cows in 8 hours.  Also on the trip was the Director of Industry Relations Mary Heller who has been working on this trip for

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China Plays the Long Game; U.S.  Keeps Getting Played 

Several years ago, when Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Tom Friedman was asked to choose which rising Asian nation, China or India, he’d bet the farm on, Friedman didn’t hesitate to pick India.

The reason, he explained, was that while both nations were on an expressway to the future, India (the world’s largest democracy) had an open road in front of it and

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The Devil in the Details

By Kayla Sargent

Readers may recall a WAR article about animal welfare versus animal rights titled “A Wolf In Sheep’s Clothing.”  Cavalry Group founder Mindy Patterson warned us that animal “rights” is merely a political agenda while animal “welfare” is what ranchers know best — the animal’s health and wellbeing.  The recently passed PACT Act is the utmost example of “a

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Predicted Bacon Shortage May be Exaggerated

Amid popular reports of a possible bacon shortage, many consumers wonder what the future holds for their favorite cut of pork.  The future of U.S. bacon supplies isn’t clear enough for consumers to panic about a potential shortage in 2020, according to a Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service economist.

David Anderson, Ph.D., AgriLife Extension economist, College Station, quoted Taylor Swift, saying

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The Modern-Day Waltons

I have a whole new respect for the television family, the Waltons, after this past month of living with three generations under one roof.  I remember watching the Waltons back in the 70’s and loving the family togetherness it portrayed.

When our daughter, Brooke, and her husband, Doug, sold their house and decided to move in with us until their new

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Agri-Kid

Paisley Lusk, age 4 of Malad, Idaho, lined her mother out for gathering mama cows and calves for weaning. While gathering cattle, Paisley sang to them to “make them happy.” Paisley is the daughter of Andy and Bailey Lusk and, as one Facebook user commented, is “The Cow Boss.”

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Me Madre

By Barry Naugle

The first thing I noticed that morning was that the troop transport ship’s engines were quiet.  The ship was at dock.  The ship’s speakers told every soldier to stay in his assigned quarters.  Finally, our names were called and filed off the ship as an officer checked us onto American soil, once again, at the bottom of a

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NCBA Supports Effort to Combat Antimicrobial Resistance

The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) believes that responsible use of antimicrobial drugs will aid in preserving the future effectiveness of antimicrobial agents against common pathogens in both human and animal species.

In 2018, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) set forward a challenge to combat antimicrobial resistance, the AMR Challenge.  Since its launch, the AMR Challenge has been one

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Correcting the Crown

Last week, I wrote a feature story titled “Miss Montana Anti-Ag.”  For my column this week, I want to explain the back story because I believe it truly embodies the whole concept of Activists vs. Agriculture.

Now, bear with me here, I know nothing about pageants other than what I’ve seen on Toddlers in Tiaras or the smash-hit Netflix movie, “Dumplin.”

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2020 Sage Grouse Status Review

By Ron Stoneberg  Hinsdale, MT

It doesn’t seem possible that 2020 is just around the corner.

“What is the problem with that?” you might ask.

Well, just when you thought the sage grouse would follow the spotted owl into oblivion, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) plans to review the sage grouse status in 2020 to determine whether it should be listed

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Noxious Weed Education Reaching More Montanans Than a Decade Ago

Farmers and ranchers in Montana are often intimately aware of the dangers posed by noxious weeds, but the general public’s knowledge of invasive species has also increased due to education and outreach efforts over the past 25 years, according to a recent survey.

An initial survey was conducted in 1994 to gauge public knowledge and pinpoint education needs.  The 2019 survey

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Four Sixes Ranch Manager Leathers Discusses Traceability

By Abbie Burnett

It’s been 16 years since the “cow that stole Christmas,” shut down exports from North America and cost the beef industry an estimated $9 billion.  Those were the days when terrorists also threatened to infect U.S.  herds with anthrax.

All these years later and still no national traceability program? Four Sixes Ranch manager Joe Leathers let some exasperation show

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Hacking Through Hemp Regulations

By Lilly Platts

The USDA announced an industrial hemp program on Tuesday, October 29, which is a long-awaited clarification to the legalization of growing the crop, which passed in the 2018 Farm Bill.  Since the legalization, Montana has been operating under its own approved hemp guidelines, and the announcement of the program will allow the state to further improve and clarify

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End of Trade War Looks Like Beginning of Cold War

If China agreed to purchase “$40 to $50 billion,” of U.S.  farm goods in “the next two years,” as President Donald J.  Trump announced October 11, the futures market — where market reality is quickly sorted from political talk — literally wasn’t buying it.

In fact, November soybean futures, the nearby contract, opened Monday, October 14 at $9.405 per bu.  and

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Tips to Improve Cow Performance While Consuming Low-quality Forages

Rob Ziegler, UNL MS Animal Science Student

Travis Mulliniks, UNL Beef Cattle Nutritionist, Range Production Systems

Low-quality range pasture and cold wet winter left cows in thinner than normal condition coming into spring this year.  The challenges of last summer and winter may have resulted in lower than average pregnancy rates in replacement heifers and young cows this fall, which may be

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Animals Are People Too

Contrary to her name, Happy is a not-so-cheerful 47-year-old elephant who is being held in captivity against her will, at least according to the Nonhuman Rights Project (NRP).  If you believe the NRP, Happy is being illegally held in the Bronx Zoo against her wishes and is being segregated from her “multi-generational social group,” which means “family” in English.

The goal

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Promoting Beef Quality Assurance to the General Public

About 85 percent of U.S.  beef today comes from Beef Quality Assurance (BQA)-certified farmers or ranchers.  But do American consumers know that? Just as important, do they know what BQA is — and what it stands for?
Those are the kinds of questions a new Beef Checkoff-funded campaign from the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, a Beef Checkoff contractor, is addressing.  Its

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Four Packers, Four Lawsuits

by Kayla Sargent

They say bad news travels in threes, but for the Big Four packers, the lawsuits didn’t stop there.  A fourth punch has been thrown in a court-bound battle against consolidation and alleged price fixing in the beef packing industry.

When R-CALF USA filed what they called a “historic” lawsuit against JBS, Tyson Foods, Cargill and National Beef they said

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Delivery Day Dilemma

From the back of the delivery truck Rascal leapt with pawfuls of candied fruit he’d pilfered from a gift basket.  The truck pulled away from the drive and the masked bandit waited until the dust settled and skedaddled to the barn.

“I should tell that mangy dog,” he said and took a bite of the fruit.

“I shouldn’t tell that mangy dog,”

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Packers Implement Beef Quality Assurance Requirements for Livestock Haulers

By Sheila Hildebrand

January 1, 2020 marks a deadline in which Cargill will fully implement Beef Quality Assurance Transportation (BQA-Transportation; or BTQA) requirements and certification for drivers delivering fed cattle to its plants.  Tyson implemented the same requirement in January 2019.

Cargill’s website explains that “BQA is a stewardship certificate program created by the NCBA, and includes training for cattle producers in

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Checkoff-Funded Masters of Beef Advocacy Program Reaches Major Milestones in 2019

Just 10 years after its inception, the Beef Checkoff-funded Masters of Beef Advocacy (MBA) program celebrated its 15,000th graduate in August.  The program was created to equip and engage beef industry advocates to communicate about beef and beef production.  It is one of the strongest beef advocacy efforts in the industry.

A self-directed online training program managed by the National Cattlemen’s

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Thoughts from the Editor

Just since our list of major chain restaurants selling or testing out Impossible Foods or Beyond Burger was published two weeks ago, a few more have jumped on the bandwagon.  The most recent include Pizza Hut and Denny’s.  Denny’s will initially offer the Beyond Burger in Los Angeles then expand to nationwide restaurants by 2020.  Pizza Hut is doing a

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Enjoy Every Minute

I turned sixty this week, so I thought I would try to write something astute to honor the milestone, but everything I wrote seemed rather cheesy.  I have always been flattered when readers call me things like “a cowgirl Erma Bombeck,” so I decided that no one said it better than Erma, so I would just share her thoughts.

It is

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Bullard Tells South Dakota Ranchers to Demand mCOOL

Speaking on October 31 to the 128th Annual Convention and Trade Show of the South Dakota Stockgrowers Association, R-CALF USA CEO Bill Bullard told the crowd that restoring mandatory country-of-origin labeling (COOL) for beef was one of four core principles that independent cattle producers cannot compromise.

“Every industry has certain core principles that cannot be compromised under any circumstance, and for

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Montana’s Mamie Hertel Makes History

by Kayla Sargent

Truly living out her life motto, “There’s always more to it all,” Mamie Hertel became the first Montana female to earn a position on the National FFA Officer Team.  On November 2 at the conclusion of the 92nd Annual National FFA Convention in Indianapolis, Indiana, six FFA members from across the region were selected to lead the organization

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Bits & Pieces

NRCS Chief Headlines Conservation Convention

Matt Lohr, Chief of the United State Department of Agriculture Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) will provide the keynote address at the Wyoming Association of Conservation Districts 74th annual convention.  Lohr serves as the 16th Chief of the agency and provides leadership for NRCS and its mission to support America’s farmers, ranchers and forest landowners in

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TREAD with Some Traction for Livestock Hauling

by Kayla Sargent

While the industry works to find a permanent solution to grant livestock haulers some flexibility from burdensome regulations, the Senate managed to kick the can down the road for another year.  An appropriations bill passed on October 31 delayed the electronic logging device (ELD) mandate for agricultural trucking.

“I’m pleased to see that after months of hard work, we’ve

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Snakebite

I have a 3.1 mile running path north of my house and because it winds through the sage brush while climbing over three buttes it has been tagged as the Kerns Killer 5K.  It is mowed to allow snake surveillance and we ran the course all summer without spotting a rattler.  Mike, a fellow runner from Laurel, was looking for

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Labeling Dominates Industry Discussion

by Kayla Sargent

“The squeaky wheel gets the grease.”  Labeling has dominated beef industry conversations for several months and now methods of “applying grease” are being revealed.

Labeling, whether it pertains to country of origin or real versus fake product, is in nearly every organization’s policy priorities and often is paired with the term “truthful” or “transparent.”  But just because most industry

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Creating a Sustainable Food Future

By Kerry Hoffschneider

“Can we feed 10 billion people without destroying the planet?”

This is the question the World Resource Institute (WRI) report Creating a Sustainable Food Future seeks to answer.

“I have been working on this for 20 years,” lead author Tim Searchinger said from his office in Washington D.C.  “I grew up in New York City and got interested in agriculture

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Comments

The time has finally come that I can say, “Bull Sale Season is in full swing around Reporter Country.”  From now until a few days before Christmas, there are few days where I don’t have a sale to attend.  A high percentage of these sales of all breeds will also be offering registered and commercial bred females as well.  We

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South Dakota Producers Offer Support for Eaton’s Comments at Testimony

South Dakota Farmers Union (SDFU) supports the September 25, 2019 testimony of cattle producers who testified before the U.S Senate Ag Committee.

“Across the United States, cattlemen and women are facing unprecedented challenges to their livelihood.  As these threats rise, and cattle prices fall, more and more families have come to the realization that they simply cannot keep their bottom line

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Reporter attends Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner. Top of the Class Program

By Markie Hageman

With the divide between producers and consumers growing larger every day, it is pertinent to bridge the gap in agriculture. One way the beef industry is working to create a better relationship with audiences is creating better advocates.

Through the National Cattleman’s Beef Association (NCBA) program, Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner. brand, producers and industry allies are encouraged to

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Speaking the Royal Truth

By Mayzie Purviance

Editor’s Note:

Last week I wrote about the current Miss Montana.  Miss Montana is a contender for the Miss USA pageant, not Miss America — Miss USA and Miss America are represented by different individuals.  Miss USA is part of the for-profit Miss Universe Organization.  Winners of Miss USA go on to compete in the Miss Universe Pageant.  The

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The Dakotas Ring a Bell for R-CALF Fundraising

By Sheila Hildebrand for R-CALF USA

R-CALF USA leaves behind a robust fall campaign with a myriad of success.  R-CALF USA hosted South Dakota and North Dakota meetings in Faith, Lemmon, Mobridge and Mandan.  In combination, over 500 members and guests attended the events, which resulted in 74 new memberships and $46K raised to support R-CALF’s work.  The monies and memberships

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Properly Placing Your Poppy

Author Unknown

Adapted by Bailey McKay

 

Ever wonder why Veterans Day is on the 11th of November and does not change?

 

World War I ended in armistice on the eleventh day of the eleventh month at the eleventh hour.

 

Today I saw a gentleman selling poppies stop a lady and ask if he could re-position he poppy. While doing so he told the lady

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Agri-Kid

Chancin Schmitt, age 1, gets ready to punch cattle with his family in Chinook, Montana.

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House Representatives Propose Bill to Modernize Farm Workforce

A bipartisan bill to reform the agricultural labor system was presented by U.S.  Representatives Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), Dan Newhouse (R-WA) and several other house members.  The bill is called “The Farm Workforce Modernization Act,” and is the product of negotiates between a diverse array of agricultural stakeholders and farmworker advocates.

“Many family farmers and ranchers rely on hired farmworkers to help

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Montana Ranch Ladies Stand Up For Their Industry

Dear Miss USA and Miss Universe Organization,

We are writing you from the heart of rural America as a collective community of ranchers, farmers and agricultural industry supporters to voice our belief that Miss Merissa Underwood is unfit to serve as Miss Montana USA.

With heavy hearts we want to inform you that we do not support Miss Merissa Underwood’s newly appointed

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Miss Montana Anti-Ag

By Mayzie Purviance

“The Miss Universe Organization empowers women to realize their personal, professional and philanthropic goals through experiences that build self-confidence and act as catalysts for future success.  We celebrate beauty, all forms of it, and provide the tools that help women to feel their most beautiful: ‘Confidently Beautiful.’” That’s the official mission of the Miss Universe Organization (MUO) stated

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American Farm Bureau President to Speak at Montana Farm Bureau Centennial Convention

American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall will headline the 100th Montana Farm Bureau Convention.  Duvall plans to attend the entire convention, allowing him time to network with members, provide updates on national ag issues and motivate and inspire members to lead Farm Bureau into the next 100 years.  American Farm Bureau Federation is celebrating its centennial this year, having

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Walking in the Shadow of Hope

The first obvious sign of the season-long flood is a perfectly level, three-foot high ring of dried mud on the machine shed’s siding.  Nature put it there and, in time, will likely wash it away.

Across the road, 100 feet behind a noticeably tilting mailbox, stands the empty, sagging farmhouse of my youth.  It sports no mud ring because it sits

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American Beef Production is A Climate Change Solution

South Dakota cattle producer Todd Wilkinson recently told a U.S. Senate subcommittee that contrary to the claims of some environmental and anti-animal-agriculture activists, “American beef production and consumption is a climate change solution.”

“Climate policies that unfairly target cattle producers fail to recognize the positive role of cattle and beef in a healthy, sustainable food system,” Wilkinson told members of the

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William T “Bill” Bennett November 28, 1927 – October 21, 2019

William T. (Bill) Bennett of Connell, Washington passed on to the great cattle ranch in the sky on Monday October 21, 2019 at the age of 91, he was one of the greatest cattlemen of all time.  Bill was born November 28, 1927 at their family ranch outside of Winona, WA the first son of John W. and Marie (Gribbin)

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Identifying the Right ID Program

By Kayla Sargent

As much of the industry was gearing up to implement radio frequency identification (RFID) in their cattle programs, the USDA signaled late last week that the agency may have jumped the gun.  A “factsheet” released in April 2019 by USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) provided an implementation timeline with three significant dates to achieve the

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Gathering Women for the Common Good In Agriculture

By Mel Burke

Despite an early-season snowstorm moving through the area, nearly 60 ladies attended the 2019 South Dakota Women in Ag conference held October 10 and 11 at The Lodge in Deadwood,  South Dakota.

This conference is held every fall and is dedicated to women who want to better themselves and the future of agriculture. It is not restricted to women

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Just Another Day At The Office

The general rifle hunting season started this past week, so hundreds of optimistic out-of-state hunters poured into Montana to fulfill their dream of shooting a big bull elk.  Few of those hunters’ dreams come true, but the statistics on success rates do not deter avid hunters from booking hunts or trying it on their own.

In general, the average hunter does

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A Silver Dollar

Note: This first appeared in the September 5, 1956, Western Livestock Reporter.

Money wasn’t so plentiful when I was a boy and everyone had a lot of respect for a dollar. I remember one time when I was staying with my grandparents in North Platte, Nebraska, that a silver dollar caused me a lot of grief. I can’t remember exactly how

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Common Calf Marketing Questions Answered by Experts

By Morgan Marley

Cattle buyers often know your calves by their history and connect that to your name.  Sometimes it’s all they know about you, good or bad.  With a “good name,” you can make deals by phone, sealed with a handshake.  Not preparing or knowing how calves perform after weaning keeps a lid on sale prices.

“It takes several years to

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Agri-Kid

Eight month old Max Robison, son of Haley Jo and Max Robison, sits next to his best bud, Sheila the bottle calf from Scranton, ND.

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The Word We Are Looking For is Colonialism

By Gilles Stockton, Grass Range, MT

I was happy to ignore the American Prairie Reserve (APR) until they petitioned the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to convert their grazing permits from cattle to bison and from summer-only to year-round.  Just previous to petitioning the BLM, the APR had purchased the Two Crow Ranch in northern Petroleum County, which is directly adjacent

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Farm Bureau Convention Workshops Tackle Challenges and Current Issues

Montana Farm Bureau members are set to attend the organization’s 100th Annual Convention, November 11 through 14 in Billings, Montana.  The convention will have a variety of informative workshops for attendees to.  These workshops will cover current topics of interest to farmers and ranchers including employment, rural broadband, mental health, estate planning, social media marketing and leadership.

Bob Milligan, professor emeritus,

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Comments

October marks the second straight month of year over year decline in total feedlot inventory, according to the Cattle On Feed Report released last Friday.  Total feedlot inventory for October came in at 11.3 million head, down 1.1 percent as compared to the same month last year.  September placements were up 2 percent and marketings were up 1.1 percent as

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Wyoming Farm Bureau Federation 100th Annual Meeting Approaching

“Honoring Our Past, Growing Our Future” is the theme of the 100th Annual Meeting of the Wyoming Farm Bureau Federation (WyFB).  The meeting will be November 13-15, 2019 in Laramie at the Hilton Garden Inn/UW Conference Center.

“We are about to celebrate a century of improving our way of life in farming and ranching by way of policy development,” WyFB President

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Hoofin’ it for Hunger Race Provides Great Competition, Fights Hunger

The Montana Farm Bureau Young Farmers & Ranchers Hoofin’ it for Hunger Race in Miles City on October12 drew runners from across the country to compete in an event which raised money to fight hunger in Montana.

This was the ninth year for the race which originated in Missoula in 2011.  The race, now held at USDA ARS Fort Keogh Range

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Stay Away from the Desert Tray

Preg-checking season used to be my favorite because herd work at a family ranch usually meant a noon time feast dwarfing Thanksgiving.  In my early years, I would devour a heaping, three-helping meal before attacking the desert counter.  After lunch, I felt like a Shetland pony who had stuffed himself on grass clippings and was pacing, looking for a comfortable

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The Money in Numbers

By Lilly Platts

Actual carcass data is extremely valuable but can be difficult for many producers to obtain.  South Dakota State University’s (SDSU) Calf Value Discovery program gives regional producers a reliable place to gather such data.  Beef producers can consign a minimum of five weaned and vaccinated steer calves between 500 and 800 pounds to be finished at the University

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South Dakota Cattle Producers Call for Fair Prices to Save Future of Cattle Industry

By Lura Roti for SDFU

Every year, Aberdeen, South Dakota cow/calf producers Jeff and Rachel Kippley visit their local Kessler’s grocery store and pick up prime rib for Christmas dinner.

Since they began the tradition four years ago, the couple has paid the same price per pound for this holiday delicacy – $10.99.  However, the price they receive for the 1,000-pound calves

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This Hunting Season, Thank a Private Landowner

By Brian Yablonski and Whitney Tilt

We hear a lot about the value of Montana’s public lands these days — and for good reason.  The region’s vast public lands are what draw many of us to the state.  But often overlooked are the tremendous contributions of Montana’s private landowners, who are the little-thanked stewards of many of the things we enjoy

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An Open Letter to PETA (and Any Other Anti-Ag)

“WTF?  Announcing you’re pregnant by putting your partner in a Cow rape rack…  This couple found the sexual violations cows endure for dairy somehow amusing.  The glove he’s got on is what farmers wear when they shove their arm all the way inside a cow to forcibly impregnate her.” – PETA, Facebook Page Post, October 22, 2019

Dear PETA,

I, personally, do

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Joshua Solomon Dykes August 4, 1972 – October 17, 2019

Joshua Solomon Dykes (47) went to be with Jesus on October 17, 2019.  Josh died while doing what he loved; moving cattle back to his ranch.

Josh was a dedicated disciple of the Lord Jesus, a faithful and loving husband, devoted father, cattle rancher, cowboy and owner of 9-Mile Ranch in Walla Walla County, Washington.

He was born August 4, 1972 in

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Thoughts from the Editor

This early, bitterly cold, windy and snowy, winter storm that set in throughout much of Reporter Country sure has put a damper on fall cattle work.  Producers in the midst of weaning, shipping and preg-checking are facing nasty weather that makes it tough on cattle, trucks and people alike.  The markets aren’t where we’d like them to be, our industry

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Curiosity Saved the Cat

“Is he still sulking?” Ben asked.

“Yep,” Banjo said.  They both looked at Tuff laying his head in the new fallen snow.  Portions of his snoot and side of his jowls were still missing its fur.

“Looks like a roll of duct taped attacked him,” Ben said.

“Ha, ha, or a glue trap,” Banjo said.  “Who would’ve known those would stick as well

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Bits & Pieces

Mike Callicrate to Speak in Billings, MT on November 9

Mike Callicrate, independent cattle producer, entrepreneur, and family ranching advocate, will speak at the Northern Plains Resource Council 2019 Annual Meeting on November 9, 2019.  Callicrate is an outspoken commentator addressing the rural, social, and cultural impacts of current economic trends in agriculture.  Callicrate is the author of the No-Bull Food

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Defining “U.S. Beef”

By Kayla Sargent

Consumers prefer U.S. beef and are willing to pay a premium for it.  In fact, a 2016 Consumer Reports study found that 87 percent of consumers want country of origin labels on their meat and 60 percent would like further information on where the animal was born, raised and harvested.

Today, strolling down the meat aisle in any given

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House Members Defend the Term “Beef” With REAL Meat Act

By Mayzie Purviance

In a world where food products are falsely advertised with a NON-GMO verification sticker and labeled as “Anti-Biotic free,” the word “beef” seems to be up for debate.  However, have no fear, the Real Marketing Edible Artificials Truthfully (MEAT) Act of 2019 is here to save the meat industry.

The Real MEAT Act was recently introduced to the U.S. 

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Raymond L. Stokes March 24, 1939 – October 16, 2019

Pastor Raymond L. Stokes, age 80, of Sidney, Nebraska went home to be with his Lord and Savior on Wednesday, October 16, 2019.  He was a loving dad, grandpa and friend who touched many lives with his old west, mountain man, historian way of life.  He will be greatly missed.

Raymond Lloyd Stokes was born to Harold R. and Leona Mae

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Nutritional Comparison

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Fake Meat Offered at these Chain Restaurants

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Panelists Say Rise Of Plant-Based Products Are A “No-brainer”

By Jamie Henneman

The industry who brought you margarine, diet soda and gut-twisting ingredients like the fat-substitute Olestra are now enthusiastically backing the new trend of plant-based meats.  In a recent convention hosted by The Good Food Institute, a panel of food industry experts weighed in on the future of plant-based products, noting the growing public interest.

In a discussion titled, “Why

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Communication is Key

Over the weekend, I got on Twitter and was blown away by the responses I saw regarding a video of someone sitting with a Holstein steer/bull (I couldn’t tell from the video) and preaching that people should “Meet your meat.”  To match the original tweet, the same user tweeted, “Male dairy cows don’t produce dairy guys…  They’re sent off to

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Mock-Meat Market as told by Experts

By Mayzie Purviance

The Center for Food Integrity hosted a webinar in September titled “The Protein Play: Emerging Trends and Consumer Appetites for Protein Alternatives.” This webinar contained a panel of four key players in the alternative protein (fake meat) game, two of which were David Ervin, Vice-President of Alternative Proteins for Tyson Foods, and Ujwal Arkalgu,creator of big data ethnography

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A Look At Impossible Foods’ Founder and CEO Pat Brown’s Point Of View

By Kayla Sargent

At a recent conference titled, “The Future of Meat,” the Good Food Institute rounded up scientists, entrepreneurs, investors, policymakers and companies creating plant-based and cell-based proteins to discuss ways to progress the new industry in the coming years.  The event, which sold out for the second year in a row, gathered about 900 people to discuss alternative proteins

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Comments

I know everybody was holding their breath last week when news broke about the explosion at one of the Cargill plants — I definitely was.  Like I mentioned before, I wondered how long it would be until another “event” took place at a packing facility in an effort to demolish the fed cattle market again.  I was upset when I

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Diary of a Hunting Camp Cook

Hunting season has begun, which means I feel I should run a zig zag pattern between my house and my car when I head to work about daylight.  I am hoping we have some nice fall weather ahead, but I am pretty sure hunters are wishing for snow and cold.  I do remember hunting seasons that were not nice such

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Impossible Burger’s Successful Retail Launch

The Impossible Burger debuted on Gelson’s Markets store shelves on September 20 and immediately became the number one selling product, according to an Impossible Foods (IF) press release.  IF reported that Gelson’s has sold more Impossible Burger than all types of real ground beef based on both revenue and pounds sold.

As of October 1, the product remained in the number

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Dorothy Eileen Ketchem February 25, 1946 – October 15, 2019

Dorothy Eileen Ketchem, 73, of Billings, Montana was unexpectedly called home on Tuesday October 15, 2019.

Dorothy was born February 25, 1946, in Greeley, Colorado, and was the daughter of Lawrence and Eldora Stroh. Dorothy grew up in Greeley  with 6 siblings.

Dorothy met the love of her life, Tom, in 1962 and was later married on September 9, 1967.  The pair

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Fake Meat Industry Fights State Labeling Laws

By Markie Hageman

The Good Food Conference, held in San Francisco, California September 4-6, 2019, refers to itself as “the world’s leading event focused on accelerating the marketplace for plant-based and cell-based meat.”  Scientists, policymakers and all parties involved in the fake meat industry are encouraged to attend this annual event that focuses on the most current technologies, strategies and insights

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Fake Out 

It seems like everything is fake these days: fake news, fake ice cream, fake money, fake teeth, fake knees, fake hips and fake identities.  Bald guys are wearing toupees, women are getting fake boobs and fake people pester me on the phone with robo-calls from fraudulent folks.  Fake “reality” TV show stars in Hollywood are even creating fake grades and

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Drainers versus Sustainers

Not two miles from my central Illinois home, a farmer’s next crop — a dozen rolls of eight-inch, black plastic drainage pipe — wait to be planted several feet deep in this year’s browning corn stubble.

It’s tiling season in much of the Midwest, that post-harvest period when earth-chewing machines fight weather, mud and daylight to bury thousands of miles of

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