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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The Wrangle over Country of Origin Labeling

By Gilles Stockton

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

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Highlights from the 98th annual MT Farm Bureau convention

By Kayla Sargent

 

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

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Keystone pipeline ruptures in SD

By Leesa Zalesky

 

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

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Workshop helps producers navigate upcoming challenges

by Kayla Sargent

 

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

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

By Leesa Zalesky

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

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Montana… From 0 to 2 packing plants?

By Kayla Sargent

 

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

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Livestock trucking disaster looming

By Leesa Zalesky

 

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

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

By Kayla Sargent

 

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

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MT Supreme Court upholds CSKT Water Compact

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

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JBS completes Vigor Alimentos sale to Grupo Lala

By Leesa Zalesky

 

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

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Sam Clovis withdraws from top USDA post

By Leesa Zalesky

 

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

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

By Linda Grosskopf

 

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

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WAR’s own Dwayne Dietz honored…

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

 

Dwayne Dietz of Billings, Montana, was inducted

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MT Beef Council sets tentative work plan

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

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

By Leesa Zalesky

 

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

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The JBS Saga… From bad to worse

By Leesa Zalesky

High-stakes game of chicken…

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

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Lawsuit: Bighorn sheep threatened by domestic sheep grazing

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

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JBS’ latest version of shuffleboard…

By Leesa Zalesky

 

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

Selected as

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

By Leesa Zalesky

 

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

 

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

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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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