ELD/HOS With Some Wheels Under Them

by Kayla Sargent

 

The industry’s transportation concerns are gaining some traction in D.C.  The Modernizing Agricultural Transportation Act (MATA), introduced by Senator John Hoeven (R-ND) and Senator Michael Bennet (D-CO), would “establish a working group at the Department of Transportation (DOT) to examine the Hours of Service (HOS) regulations and the Electronic Logging Device (ELD) regulations.”  The bill would also further

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Officials from D.C. Make MSGA MidYear a ‘Historic’ Event

All horse parade at the MSGA Mid-Year Conference

by Kayla Sargent

Festivities at Montana Stockgrowers Association (MSGA) Mid Year Convention in Dillon, Montana resounded with  American pride and national involvement.  From a classic all horse parade, a concert featuring an “American Dream” band, to speakers straight out of D.C., the organization tackled major issues and provided a welcome break for Montana

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U.S. and China Launch Tariffs in Ensuing Trade War Agriculture Set to be Prime Target

By Kayla Sargent

President Trump’s promise to impose more tariffs has resulted in China quickly responded with retaliations.  On June 15, President Trump announced a 25 percent tariff on $50 billion worth of Chinese technology imports.  The tariffs are set to take effect on July 6.

In response, China also imposed a 25 percent tariff on multiple U.S. goods, including many agricultural

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USCA Herds the Hill

Kenny Graner, U.S. Cattlemen’s Association; Barry Vculek; Terry Wanzek; Secretary Wilbur Ross; tom Campbell; Congressman Kevin Cramer (R-ND), Chad Weckerley; Levi Otis; and Julie Ellington, ND Stockmen’s Asssociation

By Hannah Johlman

June 14-15, cattle producers from across the nation gathered in Washington, D.C. for the United States Cattlemen’s Association (USCA) Annual Fly-In.  Members met with their state representatives, key leaders, industry

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‘Weather’ You See It Or Not… Montana Climate Assessment Notes Changes to Agriculture

By Bailey McKay

Released in September, the 2017 Montana Climate Assessment (MCA) scientifically analyzes past and future climate trends and how they may affect the state’s agriculture, forests, and water sources.

The Fergus County Extension Agency invited Bruce Maxwell, lead author of the MCA Agriculture Chapter, and Whitney Lonsdale, co-author of the MCA Water Chapter, to discuss their findings and potential affects

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Brazil Acquires 36% Interest in U.S. Beef Despite Industry Concern Marfrig – National Beef Purchase Approved

By Kayla Sargent

 

Despite industry concerns and objections, Marfrig Global Foods announced on June 5, 2018 that it received all the necessary authorizations to conclude its purchase of 51 percent of National Beef Packing Company LLC.

 

“We are deeply disappointed that while the new Administration is systematically uncovering the very real dangers to America’s economic and national security from the indiscriminate sell-off

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A True Bipartisan Effort Senate Farm Bill Draft Praised by Industry Groups

By Kayla Sargent

 

Unlike the dramatized political battle playing out on the grounds of the House Farm Bill, the Senate unveiled the draft of their bipartisan Farm Bill on Friday.  It is scheduled for markup this week in the Senate Ag Committee and action is expected on the Senate floor as early as the following week.

 

“When Ranking Member Stabenow and I

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Stamping a Brand on Their Product States Seeking Individual Value-Added Processes

by Kayla Sargent

 

Montana, South Dakota, Wyoming, Nebraska — these states all share a recent trend.

 

Montana ranchers are seeking opportunities for packing plants and international markets.  South Dakota Senators introduced a national bill to open further markets for state-inspected meat products.  Wyoming legislators are encouraging new ag market development.  Nebraska is creating a state certified beef program.

 

Alternative market options and value

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Oregon Ranchers Freedom Awaits Trumps Signature

by Hannah Johlman

 

Oregon ranchers Dwight L. Hammond, Jr., 76, and his son Steven Dwight Hammond, 49, were charged with terrorism and sentenced to prison in 2015. Currently, a petition to release the father and son is in President Trump’s office, awaiting a decision.

 

Dave Duquette with Protect the Harvest has been promoting the online petition for the father and son, hoping

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Continued Market Consolidation Concerns Bayer-Monsanto Now World’s Largest Seed & Crop Chemical Company

by Kayla Sargent

 

A third agribusiness mega-merger was approved by the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) last week.  The $66 billion dollar deal between Bayer and Monsanto will create the world’s largest seed and crop chemical company, with control over more than a quarter of the seed and pesticide market worldwide.

 

After receiving approval from the European Union, Russia, Mexico and

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Montana CattleWomen Welcome Update on China Beef Deal

Cate Doubet Photography

by Kayla Sargent

 

As talk of trade tariffs, retaliation and even trade war run amok, Montana Stockgrowers Association (MSGA) is still progressing with their proposed beef deal with China’s internet giant JD.com.

 

The Memorandum of Agreement signed with JD.com, Bank of China, MSGA, and Fred Wacker’s Cross Four Ranch states their intent to purchase $200 million worth of Montana

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Keep on Truckin’ Bipartisan Bill May Provide Flexibility for Livestock Haulers

By Kayla Sargent

 

Finally, an issue the industry can agree upon.  A group of eleven bipartisan Senators introduced the Transporting Livestock Across America Safely Act (TLAAS) on May 23, received praise from organizations industry wide.  TLAAS would “require the Secretary of Transportation to modify provisions relating to hours of service (HOS) requirements with respect to transportation of livestock and insects,” the

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Keeping the Momentum Going MO Bill Prohibits Meat Misrepresentation

By Bailey McKay

 

On May 17, the Missouri legislation passed SB 627, sponsored by Sen. Brain Munzlinger (R-18), which prohibits “misrepresenting a product as meat that is not derived from harvested production livestock or poultry.”  This Bill is now awaiting Governor approval.

The current definition of meat in the Missouri Statutes reads “any edible portion of livestock or poultry carcass or part

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Former MHSRA Secretary Pleads Not Guilty to Embezzlement Charges Son Will Remain Competitor in Good Standing

By Kayla Sargent

 

After a challenging year, the Montana High School Rodeo Association (MHSRA) is looking forward to their finals, June 4-9 in Baker, MT, and moving away from a flurry of recent negative events.

 

In a hearing on May 22, Alesia (Lisa) Lappe, former secretary of Montana High School Rodeo Association (MHSRA), Dell, MT, plead not guilty to two separate charges

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Save Yourself from Discounted Calves Top-Notch Health and Mineral Programs a Must

By Joe Goggins

I have very seldom felt compelled to write an article in WAR, but after reviewing our 2017-2018 close outs on all our calves we purchased and fed this past feeding season, along with talking to numerous farmer feeders, backgrounding lots, and corporate feed yards, health and proper vaccination programs are a major concern in our industry today.

These calves

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Farm Bill Flop Political Polarization Dangles the Noose Immigration and SNAP at the Root of F ailure

by Kayla Sargent

 

The 2018 Farm Bill was rejected by the House on Friday with a vote of 198 to 213.  All the House Democrats opposed the bill, along with 30 Republicans.  The Democrats opposed the bill due to the SNAP reforms.

 

The 30 Republicans were mainly members of the Freedom Caucus who demanded attention to a bill introduced by House Judiciary

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The Last Drop of the Gavel Averages Up on over 30,000 WAR Territory Bulls

by Kayla Sargent

When the gavel dropped on the last sale for WAR staff this spring, 29,382 bulls yielded  $172,208,407 with a final average of $5,861 per head.  There were also 3,032 registered females sold for a gross $8,709,879 and 11,003 commercial females totaling $19,470,821.

WAR’s four field editors covered sales in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, Nebraska, North Dakota, South

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Consulting Firm Severed Ties with Madison Food Park

by Kayla Sargent

 

Madison Food Park (MFP), the proposed multi-species processing facility near Great Falls, Montana, will no longer be represented by Norsman Consulting Firm of Havre, Montana.  Todd Hanson co-founder and managing partner of Norsman Consulting Firm served as the public spokesperson for MFP for more than a year, but due to “a fundamental disagreement” the firm has “severed all

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From Two Dot to West Point Montana Sisters Each Attend U.S. Military Academy

Ally and Amanda Martin, Montana ranch girls, were consecutively appointed to the prestigious U.S. Military Academy West Point, an achievement that only a select few graduates are able to accomplish. pictured are Ally and Amanda at the formal dinner during Plebe Family Weekend.

By Hannah Johlman

Every year thousands of high school students apply for one of the most prestigious educations

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Lab-grown Meat regulation Addressed in Bill

$23 Billion Appropriations Bill Ready for Mark Up

by Kayla Sargent

The Agriculture Appropriations Bill for fiscal year 2019 was released by the House Appropriations Committee providing for $23.27 billion in discretionary funding.  The bill, $14 million over the enacted level for 2018, is now awaiting committee approval before its wayward journey to the Trump stamp

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Eastern Montana Ranchers Refreshed by Rain

Grazing Management After Lodgepole Complex Fire…

By Kayla Sargent

The ravenous Lodgepole Complex Fire, which consumed 270,000 acres during its June and July rage last summer, is making its first impact on the grazing season this year.

Bliss Livestock’s summer range, made up of deeded acreage and BLM permits, lies within the Lodgepole Complex.  The

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Farm Bill Action Expected this Week

Bipartisan Language of Major Concern

by Kayla Sargent

The House of Representatives will be in session on Tuesday through Friday working through Farm Bill amendments.  The deadline for amendments was Friday, May 11 and over 90 had been submitted at that point.

It has been reported that none of the Democrats will vote to

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Roots of Increased Beef Production ~ Local Teen Promotes Regenerative Soil Practices

by Kayla Sargent

In the year 2050, the world’s population is projected to be 9.2 billion people.  “As a whole, we – in agriculture – are expected to produce 70 percent more food on the same amount of land that we are working with now,” nineteen year old, Montana native Kate Indreland, a finalist in the General

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Sustainability from Pasture to Plate ~ Comment on USRSB’s New Framework

by Kayla Sargent

According to the U.S. Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (USRSB) – a multi-stakeholder initiative comprised of over 200 individuals – sustainable beef is “beef that is environmentally friendly, socially responsible, and economically viable. Sustainable beef is holistic; it thoughtfully balances each of these pillars while meeting the growing global demand for beef.”

So how

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Value Added Opportunity May Exist in Livestock Traceability Mandates

by Kayla Sargent

Livestock traceability was the topic at the National Institute for Animal Agriculture (NIAA) Conference last week.

In the first keynote address, Greg Ibach, USDA Under Secretary of Agriculture for Marketing and Regulatory Programs, tackled the future of Animal Disease Traceability (ADT).

Ibach explained the USDA’s “three legged stool” approach to animal disease preparedness.

Disease

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Farming and Flooding… North-central Montana Farmers Consider their Options

by Hannah Johlman

After last summer’s fire season, most Montana farmers and ranchers were looking forward to the moisture that was to come, but for north-central Montana, the snow came to stay.  That was until it all began melting at once, leading to one thing – flooding.

“It got pretty bad,” Liberty County farmer Jason Wanken said. “The amount of

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Cattle Industry Groups Weigh-In on National Beef Purchase

By Kayla Sargent

Allowing Brazil further ownership in the United States’ beef industry has some producer groups concerned.  On April 9, Marfrig Global Foods, based in Sao Paulo, Brazil, agreed to purchase 51 percent interest in National Beef Packing for $969 million.  After acquiring interest in National Beef, the U.S.’ fourth largest beef processing facility, Marfrig would

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Alternative protein companies “meat” strong opposition

by Kayla Sargent

There is still time to file official comments on the United States Cattlemen’s Association’s (USCA) petition, number 18-01, requesting USDA FSIS (Food Safety and Inspection Service) to exclude products not derived from animals raised and slaughtered from the definition of “beef” and “meat”.

On April 10, the original comment deadline, North American Meat Institute

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Party Line Vote Ushers Farm Bill to Senate

By Kayla Sargent

The House Ag Committee voted to pass the 2018 Farm Bill along to the full House on Wednesday, April 18.  SNAP reform clearly did not have bipartisan support and ignited strict party line voting.

“I told the Chairman in our first meeting in December that because of how Republican leadership handled SNAP amendments in

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Where the buffalo may roam…  Speak out on APR grazing proposal

by Kayla Sargent

Last week we published a letter from the Jacobs Ranch of Malta, Montana seeking help from fellow ranchers. The American Prairie Reserve (APR) submitted a proposal to expand bison grazing on their BLM allotments in Central and Northeast Montana.

In response, the BLM is planning to analyze all of the allotments under one Environmental Assessment

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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

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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

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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

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“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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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2018 Midland Bull Test Results

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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

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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,

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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,

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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,

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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

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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

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“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

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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

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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,

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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;

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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.

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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,

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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.

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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,

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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

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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.

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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