A Note from the Publisher…

I seldom address our readership in any other form than through my weekly column, Comments. However, this week is an exciting and transformational week at the Western Ag Reporter as we are pleased to introduce our new Editor, Kayla Sargent. Kayla’s fresh perspective, industriousness, and her knowledge of the industry has me beaming with excitement and optimism.

Following her resignation

Read More

Mother Nature Reminds Us Who’s Boss

by Kayla Sargent

In the agricultural industry, we are accustomed to having to adapt to the challenges of uncontrollable variables. And we have become resilient in many ways. But when Mother Nature turns on her fury, it is nearly impossible to be prepared.

Producers in Western Oklahoma are battling wildfires while ranchers in South Dakota, Nebraska, Minnesota

Read More

2018 Farm Bill Draft Released by House

by Kayla Sargent

A much anticipated draft of the 2018 Farm Bill was released by the House Ag Committee on Thursday afternoon. The committee announced the highlights of the farm bill with enthusiasm.

“I’m excited to share our vision with the American people and eager for people to see the details of a proposal that offers people real

Read More

“Boots on the Ground” in Washington D.C. ~ ELD on the Front Burner

by Kayla Sargent

Over 200 cattlemen from across the nation convened in Washington D.C. last week for the NCBA 2018 Legislative Conference.  The forum provided the opportunity to have input on critical issues impacting the cattle industry.

“Modernizing the Endangered Species Act and finding a permanent fix for electronic logging devices/hours of service rules were on the top

Read More

China-U.S. trade dispute could complicate $200M MT beef export deal

A brewing trade war between China and the U.S. comes at an inopportune time for Montana ranchers, who are seeking to close a multi-year deal to export up to $200 million of beef through China’s largest online retailer, industry representatives said April 5. The export agreement between the Montana Stockgrowers Association and Chinese e-commerce giant JD.com was touted as a landmark agreement when it

Read More

NCBA files official comment on USCA petition

by Kayla Sargent

On April 10, the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) submitted official comments to the USDA in response to Petition Number 18-01, filed by the U.S. Cattlemen’s Association (USCA) requesting the Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) to define beef and meat. NCBA’s official response stated that they do not support this petition. “We do not believe it will adequately

Read More

Trump’s tariffs and China’s retaliation…

By Leesa Zalesky

On April 4, 2018, the People’s Republic of China’s Ministry of Commerce and Ministry of Finance separately announced a proposal to levy retaliatory 25% tariffs targeting approximately $16.5 billion in Chinese imports of agricultural, food, and other products from the U.S.  The announcement, said the Chinese, was a response to the U.S. Section 301 Trade Announcement of

Read More

National Beef Packing purchased by Marfrig Global Foods

By Leesa Zalesky

On April 9, Leucadia National Corporation, the owner of National Beef Packing Company, announced it has entered into a definitive purchase agreement to sell controlling interest in National Beef Packing Company to Brazil’s Marfrig Global Foods S.A.  Under the terms of the agreement, Marfrig will acquire 48% ownership interest in National Beef from Leucadia for approximately

Read More

MT Governor issues EO to aid winter hay hauling

Due to the effects of Montana’s severe winter conditions, Montana Governor Steve Bullock has waived certain hay transportation requirements. On March 28, Governor Bullock signed an Executive Order that allows for the movement of vehicles that may exceed size and weight limits when it is necessary for responding to emergency situations brought on by weather or other natural events. The

Read More

In defense of the Public Lands Council…

By Ethan Lane
Executive Director, Public Lands Council

I had a great piece written for this space. It has been an exceptionally busy week here in DC, and we thought it a good time to tout some of the latest battles we have waged on behalf of ranchers around the West.

Following the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and American Sheep Industry conventions

Read More

The risk of African Swine Fever in feed…

If African swine fever virus reaches the U.S., it could cause more than $16.8 billion in economic losses to swine and other industries. It would devastate trade and international markets, researchers say. Megan Niederwerder, Kansas State University (KSU) assistant professor of diagnostic medicine and pathobiology in the College of Veterinary Medicine, wants to prevent that.
Her latest research has found that

Read More

Trade war threats have ag industry on edge

by Kayla Sargent

President Trump’s recent tariff announcement is already being reciprocated with tariff threats from China, some of them aimed at agriculture. The industry is on edge with mention of heightened tariffs on pork, fruit, nuts, soybeans, and other goods. China, America’s number two export market for ag products, has no plans of backing down. “China does not

Read More

Omnibus Bill is seen as a win by most agriculturalists

by Kayla Sargent

The $1.3 trillion Omnibus Spending Bill quickly made its way through Congress and was signed by President Trump just hours before a government shutdown this past Friday. While Trump made threats to veto the bill due to the “abandonment of DACA recipients” and lack of funding for the Border Wall, this bill contained some major wins

Read More

WY Legislature approves funding for ag conservation…

The Wyoming Legislature has approved an allocation of $1.95 million—from the Wyoming Wildlife & Natural Resource Trust Fund (WWNRT) to the Wyoming Stock Growers Land Trust—to help conserve over 6,300 acres of ag land in the state. The funding was originally granted in 2017 by WWNRT’s Board of Directors.

Founded in 2005 by the Wyoming Legislature, WWNRT is funded by interest

Read More

2018 Midland Bull Test Results

Read More

Grizzly predation… WY ranchers win the right to be heard

On March 14, a federal judge agreed that Wyoming ranchers add an important voice to the discussion over how to deal with the rebounded grizzly bear population around Yellowstone National Park. For decades, ranchers such as Charles C. Price and Mary E. Thoman have dealt with the deadly and dangerous effects of the growing grizzly bear population in their backyards. Now

Read More

Salute! 125 Years of Agriculture at Montana State University 

By Charles Boyer
MSU Vice President of Agriculture

One hundred twenty-five years ago, the Agricultural College of the State of Montana opened its doors to the sons and daughters of Montana’s working families. Tuition was $10 a year, and courses included agriculture, applied science, ladies’ courses, music, and academy. Students could request a course catalog in writing.

That same year, 1893,

Read More

Producers… It’s time to make your voices heard in the fake meat battle

By Kayla Sargent

“The time is now to voice your support for labeling definitions that reinforce what consumers already know to be true: that ‘meat’ –and particularly ‘beef’ –come from the flesh of a bovine animal,” said Lia Biondo, Director of Policy & Outreach, United States Cattlemen’s Association (USCA). “Producer comments make a real impact. We need every producer,

Read More

MT ranchers’ complaint over beef advertising tax reaches 9th Circuit Court…

Lawyers for the federal government and a Montana beef growers’ association argued in federal appeals court recently about the constitutionality of requiring ranchers to pay for the advertising campaign behind the slogan “Beef: It’s What’s for Dinner.”

The Ranchers-Cattleman Action Legal Fund, United Stockgrowers of America, a political advocacy and trade organization representing independent cattle producers in the United States, sued

Read More

Water in the West… Willow Creek Dam 

By Kayla Sargent

 

We recently reported (front page, March 1 issue) on an ongoing conflict between the Willow Creek Water User’s Association (WCWUA) near Harrison, Montana, and the Montana Department of Natural Resources & Conservation (DNRC) and the Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks (FWP). While all parties involved await a court-scheduled mediation date, we have been asked by WCWUA

Read More

Setting legal precedent… The Rio Grande water lawsuit

By Leesa Zalesky

 

On March 5, the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) ruled unanimously on narrow parts of a complex water lawsuit brought by Texas against the states of New Mexico and Colorado over water in the Rio Grande River, one of the longest rivers in North America. Overall, the suit seeks to resolve decades-old disputes that consistently

Read More

The making of fake meat

By Leesa Zalesky

Editor’s note: This issue is so important and so critical that I have put two of my best on it, bringing different perspectives and facets of the issue to you. LG

Fake meat is coming, folks… like a freight train loaded with synthetic suppers.

What that will mean for the real cattle industry depends largely on

Read More

Taking advantage of recent tax reform

by Kayla Sargent

After selling two record-breaking bulls in the month of February, auctioneer Joe Goggins said that he thinks the recent tax reform, passed on December 20, 2017, is already showing effects on the market. “I think the tax advantage has something to do with these high-selling bulls. We are in a situation now where there’s almost no

Read More

Education is key in the battle against “fake meat”

By Kayla Sargent

Cattle producer organizations across the country are preparing to defend beef against synthetic protein products that are entering the market. Two major industry groups have started by seeking federal regulation in the labeling of these products.

The United States Cattlemen’s Association (USCA) filed a petition with the USDA-FSIS to federally define “beef” and “meat” in early February,

Read More

Water in the West…

Editor’s note: “Whiskey’s for drinking. Water’s for fighting.” When I googled that famous quote, I found this material on a Bureau of Reclamation page about Arizona water fights. It fit the following situation so well that I borrowed the opening paragraph: “‘Whiskey’s for drinking. Water’s for fighting.’ This quote is attributed to Mark Twain, but has been repeated

Read More

New horse-hauling laws…

New federal transportation regulations have frustrated and confused many horse owners and equine professionals in recent weeks. Much of it centers around requirements for obtaining a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) while hauling livestock. Below is a press release issued February 16 by the American Horse Council (AHC):

The American Horse Council met with Department of Transportation (DOT), Federal Motor

Read More

“Ringing the Bell” reaches new heights in Angus bull sales

by Kayla Sargent

Coleman Angus of Charlo, Montana, etched its name at the top of Montana’s bull sale records at its annual production sale at Missoula Livestock Exchange on February 20. Coleman Bravo 6313 sold for $450,000 to Sandford Ranches in Greenwood, Texas. “We couldn’t ask for better partners on him,” Larry Coleman said. “They’ve got somewhere between 3,000

Read More

Former Secretary of the Interior asks Supreme Court to approve WY land grab

The Wyoming Farm Bureau Federation learned February 16 that a former top official of the Obama administration, now with one of the nation’s most prestigious law firms, joined with another preeminent Washington D.C. law firm in an effort to overturn the Farm Bureau’s successful challenge to an edict from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). “We are disappointed our client must face

Read More

Angus bull sets all-time auction record

A 14-month-old Angus bull became the highest-priced bull ever sold at public auction last week, fetching $800,000 from two ranchers based in Missouri and Oklahoma. The previous record, set just last year, was $750,000. The bull, SAV Elation 7899, was produced by Schaff Angus Valley of Saint Anthony, ND, and purchased by Square B Ranch & Cattle Company of Warsaw,

Read More

Beef is Beef… It’s NOT a science project  

By Leesa Zalesky

On February 9, the U.S. Cattlemen’s Association (USCA) delivered to the USDA a petition, asking the agency to establish certain beef labeling requirements. The petition is based on growing concerns about synthetic meat—let’s just go ahead and call it “fake meat” … or you can use my personal favorite “Frankenmeat”—products being introduced to the market without proper

Read More

Rural America in Crisis:  The Opioid Epidemic

By Leesa Zalesky

On February 12, OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma’s head of medical affairs, Monica Kwarcinski, notified prescribers that the drug-maker’s field representatives would no longer be visiting medical providers’ offices to engage in discussions about Purdue’s opioid products, effective immediately. Purdue said that it’s slashing its sale staff by more than 50% and that its remaining 200 sales reps

Read More

Groups allege OH beef checkoff abuses 

By Leesa Zalesky

On February 15 at the Ohio Statehouse, the Organization for Competitive Markets (OCM) and Ohio Farmers Union (OFU) released a new report outlining how federal and state beef checkoff funds in Ohio are “propping up a trade and lobbying entity that works against the very interests of the farmers who are forced to pay into the

Read More

February 15, 2018 Front Page Photo

Brrrr, hasn’t it been one cold day after another in cow country this winter? Yep, this is yet another wonderful example of Work Ethic 101 in progress! This time it’s 8-year-old Colton Lane and his 12-year-old sister Hayden breaking ice for the cows. Note their good Border Collie helper Riv, who is doing the supervising. Thanks to Bill Lane

Read More

Yantis Case update… Liability insurer sues Adams County prosecutor 

By Leesa Zalesky

 

It should surprise no one that Adams County, Idaho, taxpayers are now facing what could be millions of dollars in liability surrounding the killing of Adams County rancher Jack Yantis by two county law enforcement deputies. In the latest development, the county’s liability insurer has gone to court to clarify precisely who should represent the county in a wrongful

Read More

Oklahoma Beef Council’s $2.6 million checkoff recovery problem

By Leesa Zalesky

On December 11, 2017, the Oklahoma Beef Council (OBC) filed suit in the District Court of Oklahoma County against Edmond, OK-based accounting firm Arledge & Associates, P.C., which performed external audits of OBC finances during a portion of the time frame that former OBC internal accountant Melissa Morton embezzled a total of $2.6 million in checkoff

Read More

Heads up, producers… Fake meat has formidable supporters for alternative meat labeling

By Kayla Sargent

 

Cattlemen are accustomed to fighting turf wars in order to maintain beef’s territory in the market place. These battles have ranged from defending beef’s integrity as a healthful protein source; showing that cattle production can enhance environmental, economic, and social venues; and constantly educating consumers about superior characteristics that beef has over other traditional meat protein

Read More

Pork checkoff funds… Court halts “abusive misuse”

By Leesa Zalesky

On February 1, a federal judge in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia halted payments by the National Pork Board to the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) for the sale of the now-mothballed “Pork. The Other White Meat” trademarks. NPPC is the pork industry’s largest lobbying group; the National Pork Board, together with the

Read More

Virginia Legislature’s bill to hike state checkoff triggers controversy…

Editor’s Note:  If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times over the years:  Cattle producers MUST be given the right to vote on any proposed increases (statewide or nationwide) in their beef checkoff assessments. Period. Further, I couldn’t agree more with Eddie Shelton about how the beef checkoff should be used exclusively to support U.S.A. beef. If we’re

Read More

Wheat growers take on Washington D.C. … Advocating for trade, the Farm Bill, & vital research

Trade, the 2018 Farm Bill, and crop insurance top the list of priorities leadership and staff of the Washington Association of Wheat Growers (WAWG) will focus on during their advocacy trip to Washington D.C. The wheat growers will be meeting with many of Washington state’s federal delegation, as well as several of the USDA’s agencies and key leadership in the

Read More

The killing of Jack Yantis update… Wrongful death lawsuit 

By Leesa Zalesky

 

Editor’s Note: Readers might remember that Leesa wrote an award-winning series published in WAR titled “The Killing of Jack Yantis,” which depicted all of the facts and details surrounding the incident. I’m not a fan of litigation, but in this case, I believe that a court needs to examine the liability involved in this tragedy and

Read More

DACA, Dreamers, & Illegals: Myth v. Fact

By Leesa Zalesky

 

Congress is currently trying to find solutions for the so-called “Dreamers,” and that has brought about a plethora of misinformation and downright meanness on the internet, especially on social media, where reposted memes and other declarations are fueling ignorance on the subject while adding nothing productive to the debate. In today’s digital age, it takes very little

Read More

And then there were 11… TPP to be signed without the U.S.

By Leesa Zalesky

The 11 remaining countries involved in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade pact, which is planned to eliminate 98% of tariffs in a marketplace worth close to $14 trillion, are expected to sign the amended agreement on March 8 in Chile—without the United States. Japanese Trade Minister Toshimitsu Motegi confirmed last week that all 11 member countries will

Read More

Rural America in crisis:   #FarmTownStrong & the opioid epidemic

By Leesa Zalesky

 

In November 2017, the towns of Huntington, Charleston, Kenova, and Ceredo, West Virginia—the state with the nation’s highest drug death rate—did something highly unusual. In their effort to battle the opioid epidemic, the towns filed a class-action lawsuit against the Joint Commission, a U.S.-based non-profit organization that accredits more than 20,000 health care facilities, organizations, and programs;

Read More

Rural America in crisis: The Opioid Epidemic

By Leesa Zalesky

 

From the beaches of New Jersey to the apple orchards of Washington State, cities, counties, and states grappling with the opioid epidemic overtaking America have had enough, and they’re taking significant steps to get the crisis under control. For many of those entities, one of the steps includes suing the pharmaceutical companies peddling prescription opioids using what’s

Read More

JBS completes sale of Five Rivers Cattle Feeding

By Leesa Zalesky

On January 17, JBS SA issued a “material fact statement” to shareholders, updating them on the company’s implementation of its “Divestment Program,” which was approved by the board of directors and originally announced to the market in a material fact dated June 20, 2017. (Editor’s note: A “material fact statement” is a document that public companies use

Read More

Heads up… Reporting animal waste & emissions may soon be reality

By Leesa Zalesky

 

On December 18, 2008, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published a final rule that exempted most farms from certain release reporting requirements under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, & Liability Act (CERCLA) and the Emergency Planning & Community Right to Know Act (EPCRA). The two laws require facilities to report releases of hazardous substances that are

Read More

Pinnacle Asset Management to Acquire JBS USA Five Rivers Cattle Feeding

By Kayla Sargent

Pinnacle Asset Management, L.P., a private, New York – based commodities and natural resource investment firm, has just announced that it has entered into an agreement to acquire Five Rivers Cattle Feeding from JBS USA for approximately $200 million. Under the agreement, Pinnacle would acquire 11 feed yards in Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas

Read More

Donald Trump has sold out family farmers…

Has Donald Trump been good to America’s family farms? He certainly seems to think so: “Oh, are you happy you voted for me? You are so lucky that I gave you that privilege,” the President told members of the American Farm Bureau Federation in Nashville on January 8, where he gave his first major address of the year. Trump clearly enjoyed himself.

Read More

The REAL ID Act affects nine states… Passports, everyone?

By Leesa Zalesky

 

Check your passports, dear readers, to make sure they haven’t expired because it’s possible that, before long, you will need one to board domestic commercial flights or access federal facilities if you’re a resident of one of nine states. Currently, the states where residents will need identification other than a driver’s license to fly are these: Kentucky, Maine,

Read More

Rural America in crisis: The opioid epidemic

By Leesa Zalesky

Author’s Note: Last week we reported, under this headline, the roll-out of the #FarmTownStrong campaign by National Farmers Union (NFU) and American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) during the AFBF convention held recently in Nashville, TN. The campaign was initiated by the two national ag groups to address the opioid epidemic throughout rural America. This week we’re expanding

Read More

Nevada Judge dismisses charges against Cliven Bundy and sons

By Leesa Zalesky

 

On January 8, U.S. District Court Judge Gloria Navarro ruled from the bench that the federal government’s missteps in withholding evidence against Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy, his sons, and one supporter were so serious that the indictment against them would be “dismissed with prejudice,” meaning the government may NOT retry them in the existing case surrounding

Read More

President Trump addresses AFBF national convention… No task too great, no goal too large, and no dream beyond our reach

by Kayla Sargent

 

January 8, 1815, is etched into history books as the date of the Battle of New Orleans. Exactly 203 years later, President Donald Trump wrapped up his speech at the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) annual convention in Nashville, Tennessee, by recalling this famous victory. “In the words of Andrew Jackson, farmers are the basis of

Read More

The anti-science of ‘sound science’

By Alan Guebert

 

For more than 20 years, farm and ranch groups, Congress, and Big Agbiz have used the phrase “sound science” like a sharp shovel to undermine ag policy they want to alter or bury. Ask them to define “sound science,” however, and you’ll get no clear explanation. That’s because “sound science” is a political weapon, NOT a

Read More

Sophistry… On the road to contract serfdom

By Gilles Stockton

 

According to the Merriam Webster Dictionary, sophistry “… is reasoning that seems plausible on a superficial level but is actually unsound or is used to deceive.” Sophistry is a fancy word for a certain type of lying.

Wes Ishmael, Contributing Editor of Beef Magazine, is engaged in sophistry in a December editorial, “Focus On Consumer-Based Value, Quality

Read More

The three factors putting Brazil beef sector under pressure

Political turmoil, pressures from non-meat protein, and the rotten meat scandal have weighed heavily on the Brazilian beef sector in 2017, and there will be further challenges afoot for the world’s largest commercial herd.

In an exclusive interview with Farmers Guardian, Ian Hill, chief executive of one of the country’s most successful enterprises Agropecuaria Jacarezinho, said the sector was failing to

Read More

USDA to survey livestock operations

Starting in late December, the USDA’s National Ag Statistics Service (NASS) began measuring sheep and goat inventories and wool and mohair production during a nationwide survey. In January, NASS will survey about 43,000 cattle operations nationwide to provide an up-to-date measure of U.S. cattle inventories. “Interest in sheep and goat data continues to grow with increased diversification in ag and

Read More

Extreme cold causes widespread winterkill in U.S. wheat belt

Extreme cold continues to grip most of the central and eastern U.S.  Lows on New Year’s Day bottomed out to -30 to -40 degrees in the Northern Plains. Snow cover was sufficient in the northern Plains and the northern Midwest to protect wheat from damage; however, snow cover was very thin in the central and southern Plains and southern Midwest.

Read More

Mistrial declared in Bundy trial

By Leesa Zalesky

U.S. District Judge Gloria Navarro, the presiding judge in the lawsuit known informally as the “Bundy Trial,” declared a mistrial in the case on December 20, finding that the federal government improperly withheld evidence from the defense. “A mistrial in this case is the most suitable and only remedy available,” Navarro said. The suit surrounds charges brought against

Read More

Keystone XL pipeline… Nebraska PSC denies TransCanada’s request

By Leesa Zalesky

On December 19, in a 5:0 vote, the Nebraska Public Service Commission (PSC) denied TransCanada Corporation’s request to amend its route application for its proposed Keystone XL pipeline through the state. In late November, the PSC issued its approval for the pipeline, but not for the route TransCanada had outlined on its application. Instead, the PSC approved an

Read More

Trump commutes sentence of Iowa meatpacking mogul

By Leesa Zalesky

On December 20, President Trump commuted the prison sentence of Shalom Rubashkin, whose kosher Iowa meatpacking plant was the target of a massive immigration raid in 2008 after which Rubashkin was accused of employing illegal immigrants for commercial gain and helping them secure fake documents. In November of the following year, Rubashkin was convicted of 86 counts

Read More

Cow-only elk hunt proposal has some MT landowners concerned

by Kayla Sargent

A recent proposal by Montana Fish & Wildlife Commission has some Montana landowners uneasy. At a meeting on December 7, Nick Gevock, conservation director for the Montana Wildlife Federation, said: “We think it’s time for cow-only elk hunting in the general season … in districts significantly over objective.”

Dan Vermillion of Livingston, who is the chairman of

Read More

MSGA convention participants focus on proposed packing plants

By Kayla Sargent

At the 133rd annual Montana Stockgrowers Association (MSGA) convention this past week, the buzz was all about the ongoing negotiations with China and the developing Great Falls Madison Land Park (MFP) project. Attendees of the second general session got a chance to partake in an interactive question and answer session with the organization’s leaders.

On November 8,

Read More

Pore space as a property right… What is it, who owns it, & what is it worth?

 

By Bethany Gross

Budd-Falen Law Offices

 

With the rising concern over global warming and climate change during the early 2000s, carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) and increased use of natural gas have received much more focus as viable options to reduce the amount of greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere. Consequently, energy industries have increasingly been looking to

Read More

The importance of offering what CUSTOMERS want…

By Lisa Schmidt

 

“Building on Wheat’s Legacy.”

What a great theme for the 62nd Montana Grain Growers Association convention. I raise cattle and sheep so I changed it to “Building on Agriculture’s Legacy.” After all, we want to be inclusive.

Agriculture is Montana’s biggest industry by far. We harvest renewable resources that are the foundation of our state. We feed people.

Read More

MCA Convention Brings Controversy to Great Falls

By Kayla Sargent

The Montana Cattlemen’s Association (MCA) Annual Cattlemen’s Day took a dramatic turn when welcoming Todd Hanson of Norsman Consulting Group and spokesperson for the Madison Food Park (MFP) Project in Great Falls, Montana. Hosting the meeting, open to the public, in the projected hometown of this multi-species processing facility opened the door to concerned citizens.

Fortunately, Hanson

Read More

Rising woe in rural America

By Alan Guebert

The gap between America’s rural poor and non-poor, like in urban America, continues to widen. The difference in rural America, however, is that the gap is widening faster than in any of the nation’s grittiest cities or suburban counties.

That’s the conclusion of two recent reports by the USDA and the University of New Hampshire’s Carsey School

Read More

ELD Update: It affects the horse industry, rodeo, & livestock showing, too

 

By Leesa Zalesky

Author’s note: Linda and I had the opportunity to attend the 2017 Range Beef Cow Symposium in Cheyenne, WY, last week and we learned more details about the ELD (electronic logging device) mandate. To our surprise, we learned that this mandate covers far more than trucking livestock to sale barns, feedlots, or packing plants. This far-reaching rule

Read More

NE Farm Bureau: NAFTA withdrawal will hurt state economy

By Leesa Zalesky

 

The Nebraska Farm Bureau (NFB) released a new report on December 4, finding that a U.S. withdrawal from the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) will harm the state’s economy and its ag industry in a big way. NFB’s report—“North American Free Trade Agreement and Nebraska Agriculture”—puts a dollars-and-cents economic value on Nebraska exports to Mexico and

Read More

Death Tax Repeal… Call your Congressmen and women now!

 

By Joe Goggins

There is a great opportunity upon us all to finally remove an onerous tax that affects many small business owners, including farmers, ranchers, and feeders. As one of six kids, I watched my dad work hard to grow our business and to provide opportunity for both our customers and our employees. Now, all six of us

Read More

Nebraska regulators approve Keystone XL pipeline

By Leesa Zalesky

On November 20, the Nebraska Public Service Commission (NPSC) approved the Keystone XL pipeline, but ONLY IF it is constructed on a different route than preferred by the developer, TransCanada Corp. In a 3:2 vote, the commission green-lighted the pipeline on a more easterly route that runs partially alongside the original Keystone pipeline. The approved route enters Nebraska at

Read More

The Wrangle over Country of Origin Labeling

By Gilles Stockton

The wrangle over Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) has gone on for over twenty years. After it was finally passed and implemented, our COOL law was disallowed by a World Trade Organization (WTO) tribunal prompting Congress, at the bidding of the meat packing cartel, to rescind COOL. But most cattle producers think COOL is a good

Read More

Highlights from the 98th annual MT Farm Bureau convention

By Kayla Sargent

 

About a year ago, the New York Times published an article titled “Doubts about the Promised Bounty of Genetically-Modified Crops.” The article explained a researcher’s comparison of the European Union’s crop yields (where GMOs are banned in cropping systems) versus the yields of the United States. After reading this article, retired Montana State University Economics Professor

Read More

Keystone pipeline ruptures in SD

By Leesa Zalesky

 

On November 16, state officials in South Dakota reported that TransCanada’s Keystone pipeline had leaked an estimated 210,000 gallons of oil in Marshall County, South Dakota, which is located in the northeastern part of the state. TransCanada officials said crews shut down the pipeline on the morning of November 16 and initiated an emergency response after a

Read More

Workshop helps producers navigate upcoming challenges

by Kayla Sargent

 

After a drought- and fire-stricken summer, Montana ranchers filled the Pioneer Memorial Hall in Miles City on the afternoon of November 15, eager to gain useful advice from the five speakers. The Montana Stockgrowers Association and the Southeastern Montana Livestock Association hosted “Navigating the Challenges Following Fire & Drought” with presentations by professionals in accounting, insurance,

Read More

Critical Brucellosis research in MT and CO being “decommissioned” …

By Leesa Zalesky

Editor’s Note: Leesa and I have worked hard (she writing and me editing) to boil this comprehensive issue down to layman’s terms that I, and you the reader, can understand. This isn’t an easy story to read and comprehend as it’s beastly long, but I’d advise you first to pay close attention and then

Read More

Montana… From 0 to 2 packing plants?

By Kayla Sargent

 

Montana, void of a large scale livestock processing facility for the past 33 years, now has two potential plants in the making. Regardless of the recent news of the new slaughterhouse the Chinese have proposed in conjunction with the Montana Stockgrowers Association, plans have NOT wavered for the Madison Food Park (MFP) Project, a multi-species processing

Read More

Livestock trucking disaster looming

By Leesa Zalesky

 

On December 18, the federal Electronic Logging Device (ELD) rule—promulgated and regulated by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT)—is set to go into effect for commercial motor vehicles. The new regulations will, in all likelihood, cause disruptions in how cattle are hauled and are full of potential minefields when it comes to animal welfare issues and biosecurity

Read More

An in-depth look at China’s deal with MT Beef Producers

By Kayla Sargent

 

In our September 14, 2017, issue, one of our front-page stories reported Fred Wacker, owner and operator of Cross Four Ranch and MSGA’s First Vice President, had presented a multi-faceted proposal to the Chinese trade coalition. Wacker, along with Senator Steve Daines, met at a roundtable discussion on a Belgrade, Montana, ranch on September 9, 2017,

Read More

MT Supreme Court upholds CSKT Water Compact

The Montana Supreme Court has issued a decision upholding the constitutionality of the CSKT Water Compact in the Flathead Joint Board of Control v. State of Montana case. Early in 2016, the Flathead Joint Board of Control contended that a small part of the Compact was unconstitutional and that this portion of the agreement required the Compact to be passed

Read More

JBS completes Vigor Alimentos sale to Grupo Lala

By Leesa Zalesky

 

Last August, JBS SA communicated to its shareholders and to the market in general that it was selling its 19.43% shareholding interest in Vigor Alimentos S.A, a dairy company, to Grupo Lala for roughly $1.84 billion. JBS told shareholders it intended to use a portion of the proceeds from this transaction to further reduce debt in

Read More

Sam Clovis withdraws from top USDA post

By Leesa Zalesky

 

Sam Clovis—President Donald Trump’s nominee for the USDA’s Undersecretary for Research, Education & Economics—has withdrawn his name from consideration for the agency post amid revelations that he is now caught up in the special counsel’s Russia investigation into the Trump campaign. Court documents unsealed last week revealed that Trump’s foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos pled guilty in early October

Read More

Montana’s beef producers need to step to the plate…

By Linda Grosskopf

 

It’s been brought to my attention that there are some misunderstandings and also some questions out in the country about the lawsuit that has affected our Montana Beef Council (MBC). With background help from Chaley Harney at the Montana Beef Council, I will be authoring several articles to set forth the facts and to provide some

Read More

WAR’s own Dwayne Dietz honored…

Dwayne Dietz of Billings, Montana, and Eddie Sims of Elgin, Oklahoma, were inducted to the Hereford Hall of Merit on October 27 at the American Hereford Association (AHA) Hereford Honorees Reception during the AHA annual meeting in Kansas City, Missouri. Hall of Merit inductees have greatly influenced the Hereford breed and cattle industry.

 

Dwayne Dietz of Billings, Montana, was inducted

Read More

MT Beef Council sets tentative work plan

The Montana Beef Council would like to invest $860,000 into programs of beef promotion, education, consumer information, industry information, foreign marketing, and producer communications in fiscal year 2018, which began October 1. Programs approved could be funded through Montana’s 50-cent in-state portion of the $1 per head beef checkoff, after Montana producers provide affirmative consent to Montana Beef Council to

Read More

Canada will require electronic ID tags on U.S. breeding cattle

By Leesa Zalesky

 

According to the USDA’s Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA-APHIS) update published October 24, U.S. breeding cattle being exported to Canada must be identified with an NAIS-compliant (National Animal Identification System) 840 Radio Frequency (RF) tag and a tattoo. Under this new requirement, the option of the official USDA “metal” tag will no longer be accepted

Read More

The JBS Saga… From bad to worse

By Leesa Zalesky

High-stakes game of chicken…

On October 6, a federal judge in Brazil froze $500 million in assets belonging to J & F Investimentos, the primary holding company of the Batista family, which is the founding and controlling owner of JBS SA, the world’s largest meatpacker and cattle feeder. The asset freeze was related to a new investigation into

Read More

Lawsuit: Bighorn sheep threatened by domestic sheep grazing

The U.S. Forest Service is illegally jeopardizing a small herd of bighorn sheep with deadly diseases by allowing thousands of domestic sheep to graze in eastern Idaho as part of ag research activities, environmental groups have said in a lawsuit. Western Watersheds Project (WWP) and WildEarth Guardians in the lawsuit filed October 27 contend the grazing of sheep owned by

Read More

JBS’ latest version of shuffleboard…

By Leesa Zalesky

 

On October 19, JBS SA informed stakeholders through a securities filing that the board of directors had elected a new chairman—its third in five months—and had unanimously elected four new members to the board as well. The JBS SA board will now be composed of nine members, including four independent members, as required by securities regulators.

Selected as

Read More

The killing of Jack Yantis update: Family files wrongful death case

By Leesa Zalesky

 

Editor’s Note: Readers may remember that we published an extensive series—The Killing of Jack Yantis—last year, covering details of the fatal shooting of Idaho rancher Jack Yantis. For that series, WAR and writer Leesa Zalesky were recognized by the Livestock Publications Council this past July. LG

 

On October 13, the family of 62-year-old Idaho rancher Jack Yantis—who was fatally

Read More

House Committee marks up National Monuments bill

By Leesa Zalesky

 

Last week, the U.S. House Natural Resources Committee moved forward the National Monument Creation & Protection Act (H.R. 3990), which is aimed at modernizing the century-old Antiquities Act. The Farm Bureau-backed bill is supported by Natural Resources Committee Chairman Rob Bishop (R-UT), who says the bill will fix loopholes in the Antiquities Act that do not restrict hard

Read More

ELD or Me… Do or die on December 18

By Leesa Zalesky

 

Truckers from around the country gathered October 6 – 8, some in the nation’s capital on Constitution Avenue, to protest the ELD (electronic logging device) rule that goes into effect for the trucking industry on December 18. Independent truckers, particularly those involved in hauling livestock and other ag products, say the federal mandate being imposed by the Trump administration

Read More

Batista brothers charged… U.S. IPO withdrawn

By Leesa Zalesky

 

In a Friday, October 13 filing with the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC), JBS Foods International, a subsidiary of JBS SA, pulled the plug on its plans to list its U.S. unit in an initial public offering (IPO). JBS Foods International, whose assets include beef brand Swift and Pilgrim’s Pride, said in its public filing with U.S. regulators

Read More

Montana fingerprints needed…

Standing next to Joe Goggins, Greg Gianforte talks to the BLS crowd.

By Kayla Sargent

As a nice set of heifer calves left the ring at Billings (MT) Live Stock Commission on Monday afternoon, Joe Goggins handed the microphone over to a special guest, Montana Congressman Greg Gianforte, who addressed the crowd with an update on ag legislation and took the

Read More

Sage grouse fight redux

By Leesa Zalesky

 

The Trump administration has undertaken a review and potential revision of the 2015 plan to protect the greater sage grouse. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) review of the conservation plan covers California, Colorado, Idaho,  Nevada, Oregon, Wyoming, North and South Dakota, Utah, and Montana. The BLM has also announced that it is reversing proposed sagebrush protections on 10 million

Read More

Judge: BLM plan for wild horse herd broke the law

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management violated environmental law in its plan to sterilize a herd of wild horses in southwestern Idaho, according to a recent ruling from a federal judge. U.S. District Judge Edward Lodge ruled September 29 that the BLM failed to analyze consequences of the action and ordered the agency to reconsider its decision. “The BLM’s decision

Read More

Multi-species slaughter plant proposed in Montana

By Leesa Zalesky

 

Friesen Foods—an Alberta, Canada livestock production and animal nutrition corporation—has filed an application with Cascade County, Montana, to develop what would be the state’s largest slaughter and meat processing plant near Great Falls. Public documents show that the proposed “Madison Food Park” could employ up to 3,000 people and export thousands of tons of beef, pork, and poultry to

Read More

Wild horse overpopulation update

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM)’s National Wild Horse & Burro Advisory Board will meet October 18-19 at the Grand Vista Hotel in Grand Junction, Colorado, to discuss the pressing challenges of wild horse and burro overpopulation on public lands and the impacts they are having on the range.

The meeting will be live-streamed from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mountain

Read More

Brazilian federal judge freezes Batista assets 

By Leesa Zalesky

 

On October 6, Reuters broke the stunning news that an order, signed on September 26 by a Brazilian federal judge, blocks assets owned by Wesley and Joesley Batista, majority owners and controllers of JBS SA, and their companies. Federal Judge Ricardo Leite wrote in his order that the measure was necessary to guarantee restitution to the Brazilian Treasury

Read More

JBS and J&F Oklahoma share the risks

By Leesa Zalesky

When JBS SA acquired Smithfield Beef Group in October 2008, the company also acquired 100% ownership in Five Rivers Cattle Feeding, an operator of 10 cattle feedlots in the Midwestern U.S.  Prior to the acquisition, Five Rivers was an integrated business that operated both as an owner of livestock and as a “hotel” for the cattle fed in

Read More

Brazil’s Ag Minister says U.S. ban on Brazilian beef is ending

By Leesa Zalesky

 

At an event in Sao Paulo on September 26, Brazil’s ag minister Blairo Maggi said he welcomed news from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) that Brazil could re-establish exports to the U.S. for thermally-processed meat from five slaughterhouses, and he predicted that the U.S. ban on fresh Brazilian beef will likely be lifted later this month. Maggi said

Read More

© 2017 Western Ag Reporter. dba: Western Livestock Reporter | All Rights Reserved.

Website Design by EDJE  |