Front Page Stories

At the recent Silver State Stampede Rodeo in Elko, Nevada, Tomas Garcilazo, a native of Mexico City, performed his family heritage and tradition of “La Charreria,” a highly developed combination of horsemanship and roping abilities, demonstrating maguey rope artistry and horsemanship. His performances brought audiences to their feet applauding in appreciation of his skills. Lee Raine photo.

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Heads Up! Fort Keogh & Dubois Sheep Station on federal hit list

Heads Up!
Fort Keogh & Dubois Sheep Station on federal hit list

By Leesa Zalesky

“It’ll never happen.”
That seems to be the prevailing attitude among Montanans about the listing of the USDA-ARS (USDA’s Ag Research Service) Fort Keogh Range & Livestock Research Laboratory at Miles City on the Trump administration’s list of federally-operated ag research facilities scheduled for complete shutdown. In contrast, others

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Hay lottery will expand into MT & SD…

Hay lottery will expand into MT & SD…
Producers, don’t miss 8/31 deadline!
Care to lend a hand?

North Dakota’s hay lottery will expand to include Montana and South Dakota, with each state to conduct its own drawing beginning in early September. ND Ag Commissioner Doug Goehring credited Ag Community Relief, a Michigan organization, and North Dakota State University for making the relief

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MFU requests disaster relief after drought and fire…

MFU requests disaster relief after drought and fire…

In June, drought emergency was declared in 19 of Montana’s north-central and eastern counties by Governor Steve Bullock. In response to drought conditions in Montana, North Dakota, and South Dakota, the USDA authorized emergency CRP grazing in those states. Montana Farmers Union (MFU) joined forces with other drought-affected Farmers Union states to support

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Who REALLY owns America’s farmland?

By Leesa Zalesky

The New Food Economy is out with an article on just who really owns American farmland, and it’s a stunner. Let these statistics sink in for a moment:

~  In the next five years, 92 million acres of U.S. farmland will change hands. That’s roughly the size of Montana.

~  The USDA estimates that roughly 25 million acres of U.S. land —

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Livestock trucking issues

Montana farmers and ranchers who move their own cattle or hire truckers are keeping a close watch on the Farm Bureau-backed ELD (Electronic Logging Device) Extension Act of 2017 (HR 3282). That recently introduced bill would provide a two-year delay to the problematic ELD mandate for certain drivers, set to go into effect December 18. The extra time would allow stakeholders

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A “flash” drought… It spreads and intensifies across the Northern Plains

 

The drought plaguing eastern Montana and much of North and South Dakota came on quickly and is intensifying, leading ranchers to sell their cattle and farmers to harvest early whatever crops that have grown so far this summer. Just three months ago, no areas of moderate drought were recorded in the Northern Plains region by the U.S. Drought Monitor at

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Work Ethic 101 in spades… Out of the bad comes the good… Collegiate Stockgrowers respond to Lodgepole fires

MSU-Northern Collegiate Stockgrowers help local ranchers rebuild highway right-of-way fence destroyed by the Bridge Coulee fire along Highway 200 west of Sand Springs, Montana.

Work Ethic 101 in spades…
Out of the bad comes the good…
Collegiate Stockgrowers respond to Lodgepole fires

Montana’s massive 270,000-acre Lodgepole Complex fires were still raging at 0% contained when Barry Francis, a student at MSU-Northern, was on

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Japan to hike tariffs on U.S. frozen beef

Japan to hike tariffs on U.S. frozen beef

By Leesa Zalesky

On July 28, Japan’s Ministry of Finance announced that the country will raise tariffs on frozen beef imports from the U.S. and other countries beginning this month in order to “protect domestic producers.” Tariffs on U.S. frozen beef will jump to 50% from the current 38.5% — effective August 1 until

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Fire on the Plains, Hell on Earth… Out of the bad comes the good

Fire on the Plains, Hell on Earth…
Out of the bad comes the good

By Leesa Zalesky

Along the stretch of Montana Highway 200 from Jordan to Winnett, the earth is scorched, and the landscape is black as far as the eye can see. An acrid smell of smoke still hangs in the air. In most places, the disastrous fire that became known as the

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Lodgepole Complex Fire

Lodgepole Complex FireGarfield County, MontanaStarted: July 18, 2017279,000 acres, 62% containedThe official donation page for both Petroleum & Garfield Counties is:https://m.facebook.com/groups/1121253751340663Please feel free to share!!(Music hey brother)Made by (zak Clifton)

Posted by Zak Clifton on Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Lodgepole Complex Fire
Garfield County, Montana
Started: July 18, 2017
279,000 acres, 62% contained

The official donation page for both Petroleum & Garfield Counties is:
https://m.facebook.com/groups/1121253751340663

Please feel free

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WAR Lodgepole Complex Fire Update 7/27 9:30 a.m.

WAR Lodgepole Complex Fire Update 7/27 9:30 a.m.: At 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, July 26, the Type 2 Interagency Management Team in charge of the Lodgepole Complex Fire reported that the fire has now burned 270,200 acres and is 62% contained. They’re gaining on it! Firefighters continue to provide protection for threatened structures, will provide initial attack if resources are requested,

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Newsflash!

We are proud to announce that at the Livestock Publications Council awards ceremony on Tuesday morning in Utah, we received three awards: First Place for Leesa Zalesky’s series on Jack Yantis in the “In-Depth Reporting – Multiple Articles” category; Second Place for Lisa Schmidt’s series on the Montana Department of Livestock in the “In-Depth Reporting – Multiple Articles” category; and

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NAFTA objectives are a missed opportunity

The U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) this week released its Summary of Objectives for the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) Renegotiation, a document that will guide talks with Canada and Mexico expected to begin in mid-August. In response to the objectives, National Farmers Union (NFU) President Roger Johnson issued the following statement:

For too long, our nation’s trade negotiators have prioritized

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Praying for rain… Drought is mauling big chunks of ND, SD, & MT

By Leesa Zalesky

After a tough High Plains winter, severe drought is now plaguing parts of the same region, and it’s worsening as daytime temperatures soar into the triple digits with no rain clouds in sight. According to the Drought Monitor report, more than 35% — nearly the entire western half — of North Dakota, more than 10% of

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Fire on the Plains, Hell on Earth… MT’s Lodgepole Complex Fire decimates 250,000 acres… so far

By Leesa Zalesky & Linda Grosskopf

One man can only do so much with a shovel. BLM photo.

Note: Pictures from the fire tell the awful story. We’ve included in this small summer paper as many photos as possible that we either received directly or captured on social media. We’ve done our best to give appropriate credit to the photographers. Forgive us

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Markets largely unaffected by “atypical BSE” announcement

By Leesa Zalesky

The cattle industry held its collective breath on Tuesday, July 18 after the USDA announced that an 11-year-old beef cow in Alabama had been diagnosed with atypical bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) after markets had closed for the day. The industry exhaled after live cattle futures closed higher on Wednesday and slightly lower on Thursday and fed cattle

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Interagency relationships & responsibilities…

Editor’s note: The frustration and high emotions that naturally accompany a disastrous fire sometimes result in hostility directed towards interagency firefighting teams. That is unfortunate, and it’s usually due to a lack of understanding and communication. Garfield County’s Department of Emergency Services Public Information Officer Anne Miller offered some helpful information on her Facebook page this week regarding

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Montana beef producers… Take action NOW to keep half your checkoff money instate

On June 21, 2017, U.S. District Court Judge Brian Morris granted Ranchers-Cattlemen Action Legal Fund (R-CALF) a preliminary injunction enjoining USDA from continuing to allow Montana Beef Council (MBC) to use the assessments that it is qualified to collect under the beef checkoff program to fund its advertising campaigns, unless a cattle producer provides PRIOR affirmative consent authorizing MBC to

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Lodgepole Complex Fire

Update 8:00 a.m. 7/24: At 9 p.m. on Sunday, July 23, the Bureau of Land Management Type 2 Incident Management Team in charge of

Posted on Facebook by Brilyn Steadman. Photos of the Mussellshell River near Winnett, MT at 8:30 p.m. On Sunday, July 23.

the Lodgepole Complex Fire in east-central Montana reported that the fire has now reached 226,000 acres

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Fire in Montana!

Fire in Montana! Monday, 7/24 8:00 a.m.:  The Lodgepole Complex Fire — currently affecting Garfield, Petroleum, and Rosebud Counties — is a true disaster for this drought-stricken area of Montana. Western Ag Reporter’s editor Linda Grosskopf is establishing a Lodgepole Complex Fire Relief Fund, 100% of which will be used to support residents and volunteer fire departments involved in this

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MT Cowboy Hall of Fame runs into serious difficulties…

Statement from the Montana Cowboy Hall of Fame & Western Heritage Center Board of Directors:

After five years of good faith effort to develop our cultural center in Big Timber, Montana, the Montana Cowboy Hall of Fame & Western Heritage Center’s land contracts have been terminated by action of the landowners. Rather than remedy the previously undisclosed and presently unmitigated wetland

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USDA authorizes emergency grazing in drought-stricken Montana, North Dakota, and South Dakota…

Editor’s Note: It’s amazing how many groups and/or politicians are patting themselves on the back about being THE entity that persuaded Ag Secretary Perdue to allow emergency grazing on CRP in certain areas of the drought-stricken plains. How classless it is to try to use someone else’s misery to create your own bragging rights and pander for votes

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Montana Cowboy Hall of Fame pulls out of Big Timber site because of wetlands issues

By Holly Michels

Billings Gazette, 7/16

The Montana Cowboy Hall of Fame is stepping back from plans to open a large facility in Big Timber, Montana, after years of planning, saying undisclosed wetlands on part of the properties leased by the organization swamped their plans. Back in 2012, the non-profit picked Big Timber for its first physical location

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Emergency haying…

Due to the drought across most of the Northern Plains, FSA has authorized emergency haying on CRP lands beginning July 16 through August 30 for counties designated as D2 or greater on the U.S. Drought Monitor. In June, Secretary Sonny Perdue authorized emergency grazing of CRP acres in counties designated as D2 or greater on the U.S. Drought Monitor. This

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Triple-digit heat kills thousands of California cattle

By Leesa Zalesky

A state of emergency has been declared in certain areas of California’s Central Valley after a triple-digit heat wave baking the state has killed an estimated 4,000 to 6,000 head of cattle and thrown the state’s dairy industry into turmoil. The staggering number of carcasses has overwhelmed California’s remaining rendering plants, which typically do daily pickups

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Crop Progress & Condition… Week ending July 16

Montana. Another week of hot, dry, windy weather with very limited precipitation occurred for a majority of the state. High temperatures ranged from the lower 90s to middle 100 degrees, and low temperatures ranged from 37 degrees in West Yellowstone to the lower 60s. The highest amount of precipitation was recorded in Pompey’s Pillar with 0.55 of an inch of

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The latest in the JBS saga… Lakeside Feeders sold

 

By Leesa Zalesky

Scandal-ridden JBS SA has reached a deal to sell its Lakeside Feeders in Brooks, Alberta, Canada, the company has announced. The $50 million Canadian ($39.5 million U.S.) Lakeside sale to MCF Holdings, Ltd., includes the 75,000-head capacity feedlot and JBS-owned adjacent farmland. MCF Holdings is a subsidiary of Nilsson Bros., Inc., a livestock-based business in Alberta,

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Atypical case of BSE found in Alabama cow… Should NOT affect our import status or markets

On Tuesday, July 18, the USDA announced that an atypical case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) has been diagnosed in an 11-year-old Alabama cow. The case was discovered through routine surveillance of cattle at an Alabama livestock market. The animal was not processed and did not enter the food chain. Testing performed by the USDA Animal & Plant Health Inspection

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Crop Progress & Condition…

– South Dakota. For the week ending July 2, mostly dry conditions continued to lower soil moisture ratings and stress in crops. Scattered showers and thunderstorms moved across the southeast and west early in the week. Rainfall amounts were light, with the driest parts of the State receiving no rainfall. Producers began winter wheat harvest, while second cutting of alfalfa

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Wheat prices jump on Montana drought news…

A recent jump in spring wheat payments have been a light at the end of a tunnel for grain farmers, except in northeast Montana, where it’s become a drought-driven train. Crops are withering in northeastern Montana where the nation’s worst drought now stretches more than 200 miles. Half the state’s spring wheat crop was rated poor to very poor on

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Montanans… Understand Your Exempt Water Rights

The Montana Farm Bureau is urging landowners to PAY ATTENTION to a notice received recently from the state regarding the opportunity to file on an Exempt Water Right. The 350,000 notices were the result of legislation passed by the 65th Montana Legislature that placed a deadline of June 30, 2019, to file a claim.

Prior to 1972, there was no requirement

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US Drought Monitor

 

USDA Summary for the week of July 4: In the Southern Plains, some improvement in drought conditions occurred in southeastern Oklahoma where 4 to 11 inches of rain fell during the past week. In the drought-stricken Northern Plains and eastern Montana, rainfall accumulations were generally less than 1 inch, providing little relief. Early this week, temperatures in eastern Montana

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NFU applauds USDA decision to allow for emergency haying in Upper Great Plains

U.S. Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue authorized the release of Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) land in Montana, North Dakota, and South Dakota for emergency haying. The announcement follows urgent requests from National Farmers Union (NFU), state Farmers Union divisions, ag groups, and legislators for the USDA to address severe drought conditions in the Upper Great Plains.

In response to the decision, NFU

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Ag-Gag laws in jeopardy…

On July 7, the U.S. District Court of Utah declared Utah’s Ag-Gag statute unconstitutional. This is the second time a state Ag-Gag statute has been struck down as unconstitutional, both rulings the result of lawsuits led by the Animal Legal Defense Fund. This victory follows a landmark decision from August 2015, when the U.S. District Court of Idaho ruled that

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JBS Saga continues… Joesley Batista testifies

By Leesa Zalesky

On June 21, Joesley Batista is reported to have confirmed to Brazil’s federal police that he made periodic payments to an account abroad at the request of former Minister Guido Mantega, the finance minister in impeached Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff’s administration and former president of the state-owned National Economic and Social Development Bank (BNDES). Batista’s

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MBC: Montana beef promotion in jeopardy

On May 2, 2016, a national organization — Ranchers-Cattlemen Action Legal Fund-United Stockgrowers of America (R-CALF USA) — filed a complaint in the District Court for the District of Montana-Great Falls Division, seeking declaratory and injunctive relief against Sonny Perdue, Secretary of Agriculture for the USDA. R-CALF alleges that the current administration of the federal beef checkoff program in Montana

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MT Beef Council injunction… CBB weighs in… Producers must continue to pay checkoff

Polly Ruhland, CEO of the Cattlemen’s Beef Promotion & Research Board (CBB), sent out a press release on July 3:

On June 21, 2017, a U.S. District Court in Montana granted a preliminary injunction regarding the Montana Beef Council’s use of federal checkoff dollars collected in Montana. While this injunction affects the Montana Beef Council, ALL producers and

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Crop Progress & Condition…

– Wyoming.

Near normal temperatures for the week ending June 25 — 16 of the 34 stations reported above average temperatures for the week with the high temperature of 97 degrees recorded at Torrington and a low of 27 degrees at Lake Yellowstone. Fourteen stations reported no precipitation, and Sheridan had the most precipitation with 0.07 inches. All 34 stations

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How outsiders view the recent checkoff ruling…

Last week, the U.S. District Court for the District of Montana issued a decision that could have major implications for the beef industry inside the state and beyond. Judge Brian Morris upheld a lower court’s decision that the beef checkoff program, as currently operated, violates the First Amendment rights of the state’s cattle ranchers. As a result, the Montana Beef

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Federal Judge’s ruling: Montana Beef Council’s use of checkoff funds is unconstitutional

By Leesa Zalesky

In R-CALF USA v. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), U.S. District Court Judge Brian Morris for the District of Montana ruled June 21 that the Montana Beef Council’s (MBC) use of beef checkoff funds violates free speech. In tandem, Judge Morris issued an injunction preventing MBC from retaining any portion of checkoff funds for its use without

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NE Montana is in extreme drought…

Farmers across a 200-mile swath of the northeastern part of Montana have seen just a half-inch of rain in the past two months. This trend after scant winter snows has farmers from Jordan to Plentywood nervous about the 2017 harvest. “It looks like August and September here already,” said Tanja Fransen, meteorologist for the National Weather Service station in Glasgow.
In

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MSGA waiting but ready…

The Montana Stockgrowers Association supports building beef demand through ranchers’ investments into the beef checkoff. We are waiting to see what the logistical implications of the ruling are to Montana’s beef checkoff collection process. If, after the court’s full hearing, Judge Morris determines that changes to the program must be made, we are ready to roll up our sleeves and

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MSGA applauds news of Yellowstone Grizzly Bear delisting

On June 22, the Montana Stockgrowers Association released the following statement in response to Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s announcement that the Yellowstone Grizzly Bear is being delisted under the Endangered Species Act (ESA):__”The Montana Stockgrowers Association applauds the action taken by Secretary Zinke and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service to delist the Yellowstone Grizzly Bear,” noted Errol Rice, Executive

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Drought’s effects on agriculture

Maps highlighting the effects of drought on six ag commodities across the continental U.S. are now available on a website (http://agindrought.unl.edu) hosted by the National Drought Mitigation Center (NDMC) at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. The maps are a collaboration between the USDA Office of the Chief Economist and the drought center. The maps, produced at the drought center in cooperation

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JBS SA’s South American assets are frozen…

By Leesa Zalesky

Last week, at the request of the Brazilian Attorney General, a federal judge in Brazil blocked JBS SA’s sale of beef plants in Argentina, Paraguay, and Uruguay to Minerva SA, citing the ongoing corruption investigation involving JBS SA’s Batista family, which owns 42% of JBS. Under the terms of the request, the attorney general is seeking to guarantee

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Crop Progress & Condition…

– Montana. For the week ending June 25, dryer conditions across the state made for excellent haying in the northwestern part of the state, while dryland crops and pasture conditions continued to decline in the rest of the state. High winds in the eastern half of the state exacerbated drought conditions, where grains were being harvested for feed due to

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LMA meetings… P&S changes, dealer trusts, ADT, ELDs, and more…

By Linda Grosskopf

It was a busy three days in Billings, Montana, when hundreds of out-of-staters rolled into town to take part in the activities and festivities associated with not only the 70th annual Livestock Marketing Association (LMA) meeting but also the 54th annual World Livestock Auctioneer Championship (WLAC) contest. The meetings took place in downtown Billings on June 15 and

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Heads up, MT landowners… New legislation offers chance for property owners to file claims on exempt water rights

As part of its work to implement House Bill 110 (HB110), which was passed by the 65th Legislature, the Montana Department of Natural Resources & Conservation (DNRC) is notifying all property owners in the state of their opportunity to file a claim for their exempt water rights. Not all property owners who receive a notification letter will find it necessary

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Two Options: Win or Keep Fighting… Nebraska landowner among those in lawsuit against Keystone XL

By Kerry Hoffschneider

Jeanne Crumly said there are two outcomes when it comes to the future of the current lawsuit that she and

Crumly said the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline would impact two quarters of ground, including the quarter of land their home is on and also an area about 400 yards north of their house by an irrigation well,

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Karen Budd-Falen potential BLM pick

By Leesa Zalesky

Cheyenne, Wyoming, attorney Karen Budd-Falen is a possible Trump administration nominee to run the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), according to multiple sources. A Wyoming native, Budd-Falen — who has an extensive record representing ranching, farming, and local-government interests on property rights, land use, and natural resources — has advocated for major changes in federal land policy for

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Brucellosis is expanding

The brucellosis eradication program that began in the 1930s was wildly successful. On the human front, it took a zoonotic disease that infected roughly 6,000 people annually in the 1940s down to roughly 160 cases annually today, with nearly all of those infections being contracted abroad. On the cattle front, all but three states – Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming –

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Brazil’s Culture of Corruption Part II

By Leesa Zalesky

Housekeeping Notes: JBS SA is listed with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) as the Foreign Parent Company for the JBS USA LLC political action committee (PAC) in the U.S. To avoid redundancy, we’re simply referring to it as JBS in this piece. There’s not enough space in the paper to run all the political contribution figures I’d like

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2018 farm bill… NYFC goes to DC to make the case for millennial farmer support

Fighting for the future of agriculture, young farmers flew 13,000 miles, held 44 legislative meetings, and debated

The National Young Farmers Coalition (NYFC) went to Washington D.C. on June 7 to urge legislators to support young farmers in the 2018 Farm Bill. L to R: NYFC Southwest organizer, Cassidy Tawse-Garcia; Senator Jon Tester (MT); and farmer Nate Powell Palm of

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Front Page Photo 6-15-17

Branding season! John L. Moore drags a heavy one in on his gelding, Simon, while Cooper Austin applies the Nord Fork. Watching with her own Nord Fork is Rylee Penrod while Tom Peila supervises. A Doug Hudson photo from the recent Lazy T L Ranch branding north of Miles City, Montana.

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Jerky recall causes review of state inspection program…

By Kayla Sargent

A recent recall on jerky products at Project Meats, a locally-owned and -operated plant near Shepherd, Montana, has caused careful review of all aspects of the state inspection program. Beyond the jerky issue, both parties have used this as an opportunity to research some of the underlying issues in the state inspection program.

Recall…
The recall was issued on all

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Brazil’s Culture of Corruption – Part I

By Leesa Zalesky

Jose Batista Sobrinho, father of Joesley and Wesley Batista and four other children, launched his family’s food empire in the early 1950s as a one-man show on his small farm in Brazil by slaughtering one or two oxen a day, boning the meat, and selling it to a local butcher. In 1956, when Brazil’s new capital, Brasilia, was

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Montana Ag Summit

U.S. Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue & Northern Broadcasting System’s Taylor Brown.

By Lisa Schmidt

On June 1, for the first time, the Secretary of Agriculture and the chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition & Forestry stood together on a Montana stage, ready to discuss the future of agriculture. They came to Great Falls, Montana, to listen to ag

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President Trump’s first budget has two themes: Redistribution & innumeracy

President Trump’s first budget has two themes:
Redistribution & innumeracy

Let’s start with the redistribution. The budget calls for shifting many billions of dollars a year from the middle class and the poor to the very richest Americans. The very rich would receive this money through tax cuts. The rest of the country would lose out, thanks to cuts in government

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Trump budget lands with a THUD in Rural America…

Trump budget lands with a THUD in Rural America…

Editor’s Note: I think we all have some preconceived notions about certain programs that need some re-examination. We can’t depend on the crap that floats around social media and otherwise on the internet to form our opinions… but too many of us do. I know plenty of people on food stamps, WIC

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Producers speak out… Let’s hope somebody’s listening

Producers speak out…
Let’s hope somebody’s listening

By Kayla Sargent

One of the most important jobs ranchers have is making sure their voices are heard when it comes to proposed changes to their industry and their livelihood. The Animal Disease Traceability (ADT) Outreach Meeting in Billings, Montana, on May 24 was a perfect opportunity to share thoughts and ideas with government officials on

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Clear message: NO Mandatory ID of Feeder Calves

Clear message:
NO Mandatory ID of Feeder Calves

By Gilles Stockton

The message was VERY clear. NO ONE at the ADT Regional Outreach Meeting in Billings, Montana, on May 24 thought that adding feeder calves to the Animal Disease Traceability (ADT) requirements was a good idea. This message was delivered by producers in the audience and echoed by panel presenters, who were chosen

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Dirty meat & dirty money plunge Brazil into political crisis

By Leesa Zalesky

Dirty meat thrust JBS S.A. onto the front pages of newspapers around the world in March, and now dirty money has the company right back in the spotlight. JBS is owned and controlled by siblings Joesley and Wesley Batista, who now appear to be at the center of two ongoing and massive corruption probes that merged and boiled

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A few more details…

From an article “Canada, Mexico, & U.S. meat industries unite on NAFTA talks” written by Aidan Fortune and published May 19 by globalmeatnews.com:

The Trump administration’s notification to “modernize” NAFTA has spurred the Canadian, Mexican, and U.S. beef industries to join forces. Following the notification by U.S. Trade Rep Robert Lighthizer to Congress that President Trump wants to renegotiate the trade

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MFBF: Stop water rights extortion!

Federal agencies managing Western lands are increasingly demanding that ranchers with grazing permits on federal lands surrender their water rights to the government or get off the range. The Montana Farm Bureau Federation (MFBF) believes this is extortion and is not an acceptable practice of the “people’s government.” MFBF strongly supports what’s being called the Water Rights Protection Act, which

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Mexico preparing export push if NAFTA fails

The Mexican government has begun preparing for a “negative outcome,” should the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) crumble, according to Rabobank. Throughout his election campaign, U.S. President Donald Trump labeled NAFTA a “disaster” and threatened to “break it,” should renegotiation talks fail. Planning for the worst, Mexico — a NAFTA member along with the U.S. and Canada — is

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NFU: Trump's budget… An assault on agriculture

President Donald Trump issued a detailed fiscal year 2018 federal budget proposal on May 23, recommending drastic cuts to agricultural and rural related agencies and programs. The proposal would cut Farm Bill programs by nearly $230 billion and slash the USDA annual budget by 21%. In response to the proposal, National Farmers Union President Roger Johnson issued the following statement:
“The

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NCBA joins Canadian & Mexican partners in Presidential letter: "Don't jeopardize our success under NAFTA"

On May 18, the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association joined its cattle industry partners in Canada and Mexico in sending a joint letter to the leaders of those two nations and to President Trump, urging the three leaders to not “jeopardize the success we have all enjoyed as partners of the North American Free Trade Agreement.” The letter to President Trump,

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U.S. & China ink 10-step trade plan… U.S. beef imports to resume

By Leesa Zalesky

On May 11, U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross announced during a media briefing in Washington D.C. that the U.S. and China have inked a trade arrangement that encompasses beef, poultry, the financial world, and energy… among other things. Ross said the two nations have agreed to take action by mid-July to increase access for U.S. financial firms and

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Satisfaction in beef checkoff slips…

Among the events scheduled during the 2017 Cattle Industry Convention (held earlier this year) in Nashville, Tennessee, were meetings involving members of state beef councils and the Cattlemen’s Beef Board (CBB), the group of beef producers and importers tasked with directing investment of beef checkoff dollars toward national programs for research, education, and promotion. The convention agenda included a meeting

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Exploring the "my" in "my beef checkoff"

By Vaughn Meyer

In 1984, U.S. cattle producers voted to establish the beef checkoff program as a means to promote their own product, U.S. beef. From the very beginning, the beef checkoff was touted as a producer self-help program financed by all producers through a dollar per head assessment on every animal sold. And from the very beginning, cattle producers began

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Deductive reasoning… Or is it inductive reason? Whichever it is, it IS a legitimate question…

On the “Brownfield: Ag For America” website, an article written May 9 by Julie Harker carried the title: “NCBA says R-CALF is wrong on COOL.” Following is the article in its entirety. Following the article is a question or two I have, followed by some well-placed comments by Leo McDonnell.

The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association dismisses the call from R-CALF USA

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Alarming GAO report: Part II USDA's FMD evaluations need improvement & transparency

 

By Leesa Zalesky

In an effort not to bore readers with too many details, let’s see if I can boil the evaluation process down…
APHIS conducts animal health system evaluations of foreign countries seeking to export beef to the U.S. The requesting country provides a detailed description of the export region for which it is seeking an FMD evaluation, along with a

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When you get too much precipitation…

By Lisa Schmidt

All wealth originally comes from natural resources, so restoring and enhancing those resources creates more wealth. The crew at the Montana Salinity Control Association (MSCA) works with private landowners to restore and enhance soil and groundwater that has collected so much salinity that vegetation will no longer grow.
MSCA recommendations improve both the environment and the economy. “Salinity problems

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Alarming GAO report: Part I USDA's FMD evaluations need improvement & transparency

By Leesa Zalesky

A new Governmental Accountability Office (GAO) report, requested by several congressional members, serves up a stern warning that the USDA processes and protocols for reviewing and evaluating the animal health systems of foreign nations wanting to export beef products to the U.S. but having confirmed foot and mouth disease (FMD) infections are full of flaws. The GAO audit

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Water in the West… MT Senate Bill 248

By Kayla Sargent

After extensive discussions on a controversial topic, Montana Senate Bill 248 has passed the legislature. Should it become law, this bill will allow exempt wells to be developed on family land transfers. As with all controversial topics, there are pros and cons to this bill, and agriculturalists have varying opinions of it.
SB 248, introduced by Senator Mark Blasdel

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Is the Keystone XL Route in the public interest? NE PSC holds hearing to help answer that question

By Kerry Hoffschneider

The Nebraska Public Service Commission held the public hearing.

Since 2008, TransCanada, an Alberta-based company, has been attempting to build a 36-inch pipeline (the Keystone XL) that could ship up to 830,000 barrels of oil per day from the “tar sands” in Canada to the Gulf Coast. The nearly 1,200-mile project still needs final approval in Nebraska, which

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Heads up! Educate yourself about Powassan, a life-threatening virus carried by ticks NO vaccines and NO treatments!

Summer is nearly here, and it’s bringing fears of a rare tick-borne disease called Powassan. This potentially life-threatening virus is carried and transmitted by three types of ticks, including the deer tick that transmits Lyme disease. Over the past decade, 75 cases have been reported in the northeastern states and the Great Lakes region, according to the U.S. Centers for

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Community College Series: Part 11

Community College Series: Part 11College of Western Idaho

By Leesa Zalesky & Linda Grosskopf

Location: Nampa, Idaho; with a Boise campus, too, and satellite classrooms in various service area communities.Web Address: cwidaho.ccFounded: 2007Academic Programs: CWI offers 26 academic transfer programs of study, 33 career and technical education programs, 34 workforce development programs, and 6 basic skills programs. CWI offers 7 degrees fully

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Moving forward… Grizzly Bear Reintroduction Plan for Northern Cascades

Moving forward…Grizzly Bear Reintroduction Plan for Northern Cascades

By Leesa Zalesky

The public comment period on a controversial proposal by the National Park Service (NPS) and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS) is set to close on April 28 after having been extended for an extra 45 days following numerous requests from public and local officials to expand the comment period.

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Community College Series: Part 10

Community College Series: Part 10
Minnesota State Community & Technical College

By Leesa Zalesky & Linda Grosskopf

Location: Fergus Falls, MN, with additional campuses in Detroit Lakes, Moorhead, and Wadena
Web Address: minnesota.edu
Founded: MSCTC was established in 2003 with the merger of Fergus Falls Community College and the three campuses of Northwest Technical College
Academic Programs: More than 70 career and liberal arts

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Best attend one of these meetings! Do we really need animal disease traceability tags in feeder calves?

Best attend one of these meetings! Do we really need animal disease traceability tags in feeder calves?

By Gilles Stockton

Coming soon to a city near you will be a listening/workshop session convened by USDA-APHIS to make the case for identifying feeder calves in interstate commerce. The current Animal Disease Traceability (ADT) regulations require identification of cattle over 18 months of

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Supreme Court will hear WOTUS issue…

Supreme Court will hear WOTUS issue…

By Leesa Zalesky

On March 31, the U.S. Supreme Court (SCOTUS) denied the Trump administration\’s request to pause its consideration of a specific issue in National Association of Manufacturers v. Department of Defense, a lawsuit surrounding what\’s known as the Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) rule. The Trump administration opposes the Environmental Protection Agency\’s (EPA)

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Timeline: The beef checkoff's legal troubles Part II

Timeline: The beef checkoff’s legal troubles
Part II

By Leesa Zalesky & Lisa Schmidt

January 31, 2014: OIG issues a corrected final report, some 36 months after the initiation of the audit. This corrected final report withdrew OIG\’s conclusions that NCBA had properly expended all beef checkoff funds and that the relationship between the Cattlemen\’s Beef Board (CBB) and NCBA complied with the

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Big Data lawsuit settlement… A win for farmer/rancher privacy

Big Data lawsuit settlement…

A win for farmer/rancher privacy

By Leesa Zalesky

A federal judge has approved a settlement agreement between the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) and the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that will help limit the amount of private information the agency can release regarding U.S. livestock and poultry producers in 36 states.

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Community College Series, Part 8

Community College Series, Part 8 Highland Community College  By Leesa Zalesky & Linda Grosskopf

Location: Highland, KSWeb Address: highlandcc.eduFounded: 1858Academic Programs: 63 degree fields & 18 certificate programs; with online possibilities, HCC offers over 80 programs of study.Mission: “HCC, the first college in Kansas, provides lifelong learning opportunities and contributes to economic development to enhance the quality of life in the

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