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

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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

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Batista brothers charged… U.S. IPO withdrawn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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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REAL Montana Class III takes part in inaugural seminar

Class III of REAL Montana (Resource Education & Agriculture Leadership) held its inaugural seminar September 7-9 in Bozeman, Montana. This was the first of ten seminars in their

The REAL Montana class toured Rocky Creek Farm in Bozeman, MT, on September 9.  Front row, L to R: Lexi Palagi, Lynda Grande, Sarah Norcott, Karen Helfrich, Walter Shaw, Jeff Welborn, and

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Chinese Beef Buyers Visit Nebraska; Tour Feedlot & Processing Facilities

Chinese Beef Buyers Visit Nebraska; Tour Feedlot & Processing Facilities

Nebraska State Ag Director Greg Ibach (center) stands with a group of ten Chinese beef buyers and their Nebraska hosts during a stop at Hi-Gain Feedlot at Gothenburg on Monday. (RRN Image/Joe Gangwish)

By Leesa Zalesky

Last week, the Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Ag Service (USDA-FAS) and the Nebraska Department of Agriculture

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JBS Saga Continues: The Plot Thickens

JBS Saga Continues:  The Plot Thickens

By Leesa Zalesky

On Thursday, September 21, Brazil’s federal police formally asked prosecutors to bring insider trading charges against Wesley and Joesley Batista, the billionaire brothers that control the world’s largest meatpacker, JBS SA.  Police authorities say they believe the Batista brothers realized at least $44 million through allegedly illegal stock and currency market dealings last

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Annie’s Project Series, Part 1

Nicole Wines lead the discussion and “Cattle Marketing 101” workshop.

Annie’s Project Series, Part 1

Creative Marketing

By Kayla Sargent

Welcome to my Annie’s Project Adventure!  If you’re not familiar with Annie’s Project, like me a few weeks ago, I hope that you will join me as I attend monthly classes and share them with you for the next six months.

Annie’s Project is

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JBS board puts elder Batista in charge of JBS SA… More arrests made

By Leesa Zalesky

 

There have been a number of developments since last week’s front-page story revealed that Joesley Batista, who together with his brother Wesley and his other siblings controls the majority of JBS SA, had been taken into custody by Brazilian authorities amid a corruption scandal in which the two Batista brothers and other JBS executives entered into

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Distance is time, and time is safety…

By Kayla Sargent

 

A long awaited rain in Montana brought plenty of ranchers to town for the second annual U.S. Cattlemen’s Association (USCA) Cattle Producers’ Forum on Saturday, September 16. Roughly 250 ranchers and industry members filled the conference room at the Bighorn Resort where they heard from industry leaders on hot topics including conservation, cattle markets, future generations,

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LMA discusses need for Dealer Statutory Trust during D.C. Fly-In

Livestock Marketing Association (LMA) members and staff traveled to Washington D.C. for the 12th annual LMA D.C. Fly-In. Approximately 45 people met with leaders in D.C. on issues that matter to the livestock marketing industry. Discussion centered on the need to create a Dealer Statutory Trust to protect livestock auction markets and producers against buyer payment default. During meetings with

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JBS update: Court orders the arrest of Joesley Batista

 

By Leesa Zalesky

 

On September 10, Joesley Batista, and Ricardo Saud, director of JBS SA’s holding company J & F Investimentos, turned themselves in to Brazil’s federal police in Sao Paulo after Brazil’s Supreme Court minister Edson Fachin ordered their temporary arrest for five days following the court’s review of an audio recording between the two men discussing potential

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10th Circuit Appellate Court: WY’s data trespass law to undergo 1st Amendment exam

By Leesa Zalesky

 

Author’s Note: Due to the number of calls and emails I’ve received from readers about the 10th Circuit Appellate Court ruling — with most folks confused about what the latest ruling means — let’s be clear: the 10th Circuit’s ruling does NOT mean that Wyoming’s “data trespass” laws are automatically assumed to be unconstitutional because of

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MT Senator Daines facilitates good trade relationship with China

By Kayla Sargent

 

Many days for an American rancher start horseback. Their biggest payday of the year, shipping, generally starts with an early morning ride. So it was only fitting that Montana’s Republican Senator Steve Daines and China’s United States Ambassador Cui Tiankai began their day on the Morgan Ranch near Belgrade, Montana, riding through the cows

All cowboyed

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Check out our new app!!

        

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While Texas floods, Montana burns

 

By Leesa Zalesky

While the nation keeps its eyes on south Texas where Hurricane Harvey wreaked disaster, another of Mother Nature’s catastrophes is unfolding in Montana where firefighters are battling blazes that have, so far, burned nearly 800,000 acres, and officials say conditions are on track for the scorching of more than 1 million acres or more before the

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Comments ~ 9/7/2017

The month of September is now upon us. The fall season is just around the corner. Labor Day has come and gone, which also means that archery season opened this past weekend, and the National Football League (NFL) opens this coming weekend. I am super happy that both seasons are finally upon us. I did get the chance to go

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Beware scams! Investigate before buying livestock feed

 

Producers need to beware of scams and to know what they’re buying because feed quality can vary. Many North Dakota livestock producers are buying hay and feed from outside the region because drought resulted in pasture, hay, and other feed shortages in the upper Great Plains.

The North Dakota State University Extension Service and North Dakota Stockmen’s Association remind producers to

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Sortin’ Pen ~ 9/7/2017

JBS USA appoints independent advisory board…

JBS USA — with production facilities in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Australia, and New Zealand — has announced the formation of an independent advisory board to assist the company with corporate governance, government and regulatory affairs, commodity risk management, and marketing. The advisory board will be comprised of four people: John Boehner, former Speaker of the U.S.

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Montana Beef Council will set budget for FY 2018

In September, the Montana Beef Council (MBC) Board of Directors will meet for their annual meeting to set a budget for the next fiscal year, which begins October 1. During this meeting, the producer-led board will hear from nearly 30 organizations and individuals primarily about Montana-based proposals to increase demand for beef. The board will apply the mission and strategic

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Zinke recommends shrinking some national monuments…

By Leesa Zalesky

On August 24, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke delivered his draft report on the Antiquities Act to the Trump administration; in that report, Zinke recommends reducing the size of several national monuments but stops short of recommending any complete eliminations.

Zinke conducted a review of 27 national monuments, as he was ordered to by President Trump through an

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NAFTA’s future…

By Gilles Stockton

The discussion over the future of NAFTA is heating up. The commodity organizations deny any problems in the existing agreement and demand no changes, a position no doubt dictated to them by the global Big Ag corporations. The reality that I lived through tells a different story.

Right from the beginning of NAFTA in 1994, Canadian cattle

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JBS second quarter income off 80%… Brazil’s state-owned bank suing

By Leesa Zalesky

JBS SA, the world’s biggest meatpacker, reported earlier this month that the company’s second quarter income had dropped 80% from the same quarter last year while net financial expenses had risen dramatically. JBS reported quarterly net income of $97.16 million (U.S.) or 309.8 million reals — far below the Brazilian company’s own income estimates of 603 million

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

 

By Leesa Zalesky

Author’s Note:  In the fight to save the Fort Keogh Range & Livestock Research Laboratory in Miles City, Montana, and the U.S. Sheep Experiment Station (USSES) in Dubois, Idaho, there is simply no room for error or misleading information. An alarming misconception appears to have emerged after Montana Senator Jon Tester’s office issued a press

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U.S. national monument review will test key land protection law

U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke will recommend on August 24 whether to eliminate or shrink nearly two dozen national monuments, creating the first major test for a 111-year-old law that gives presidents the power to protect swaths of public land. Zinke is expected to recommend that at least some of the national monuments under review — which were all created since

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Shortage of ag teachers is worrisome trend…

Arizona has been facing a shortage for several years of ag teachers that has officials concerned about its lingering impact on the industry that helps feed the nation. “Absolutely,” the state faces a shortage of qualified and certified ag teachers, maintains Dr. Robert Torres of the University of Arizona. And Arizona isn’t alone in the problem, one that has existed

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Nearly all of Montana is experiencing drought

More than half of Montana is in some stage of drought, according to weather data released August 17. The U.S. Drought Monitor lists nearly all of Montana in drought or trending toward drought, with the exception of a sliver of the southwest corner of the state. Only 2.7% of Montana is experiencing normal conditions.

Drought now stretches 680 miles west to

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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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