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“February Places” Lorrie Merrill Congratulations to Merrill of Big Sandy!


This cover picture “February Places,” won a National Farmers Union photo contest.




A big thank you to Lorrie for sharing this remarkable winter sunset with us!

PAGE 2 Highlights of the 2017 Women’s Conference

PAGE 7-10 Montana Beef Council Annual Report

PAGE 14 MFU Hosts Legislative Mock Hearing

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Montana Farmers Union Women’s Conference speaker lineup #2017MFUWOMENS Montana Farmers Union is hosting its annual women’s conference February 10-12 at Chico Hot Springs. The conference will focus on leadership training, the role of women in agriculture, a communications course on ways to resolve conflict, workshops on organic and conventional farming, self-defense, floral design, yoga and more! We will also have four powerhouse keynote speakers! The cost is $85/members; $125/nonmembers. Online registration ends January 8. An additional fee may be applied after the January deadline, so register early at

Wendy Samson, CEO & Founder of FutureSYNC International MFU is pleased to have expert leadership consulstant Wendy Samson lead a two-hour leadership workshop Saturday afternoon at the 2017 Women’s Conference. Wendy was paying attention over 22 years ago when she launched FutureSYNC International on April Fools Day. Although a few doubted her plan, Wendy turned her focus and energy toward creating one of the most successful

consulting businesses in the Pacific Northwest with clients located in all parts of the United States. Highly respected and accomplished as a Leadership Development Consultant and Executive Coach, Wendy Samson is a strategic, visionary thinker. She has a passion for inspiring people — at all levels — to optimize their full potential, while maintaining a focus on accomplishing everything with graciousness.

Wendy’s presentation style is often humorous and always engaging. Participants in Wendy’s sessions leave ready to grow personally and professionally. They confidently know that they will succeed if they follow the lessons presented and do the “thought work” after.

Associate Professor Long-Hammond joined the faculty at Rocky Mountain College in 2006 after finishing her degree in Communication Studies at the University of Montana. Before her master’s study in Missoula, she graduated from Carroll College with a study abroad trip to Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland. Professor LongHammond worked as the Parliamentary debate coach at Lewis

and Clark College in Portland, Oregon, for three years before returning to Montana to continue her education. their national championship year in 1999 and also participated in debate societies at Trinity College in Dublin. She worked at Lewis and Clark College and University of Montana as a debate coach before settling into the Director of Forensics position at Rocky Mountain

College in 2006. Debate has taken her, and the debate team, to Bosnia, Ireland, Slovenia, and all over the United States. She also travels through Montana as part of her Tribal College Debate Program Grant. This program takes debate education workshop programs to tribal colleges.

supported agriculture program, Saturday Hamilton Farmers Market, twice weekly Farm Stand, tours, youth programs, organic egg and meat bird production, Laura runs Homestead Organics and more. Laura is also involved Farm with Henry Wuensche on with the Montana Poultry Growtheir family farm located in Ham- ers Co-op and was instrumental ilton, MT. They serve the local in getting a poultry processing community through a community facility up and running, which

operates on her farm. Laura has a passion for blending education and agriculture by offering the youth internship program Cultivating Connections. The program is a 11-week farm based internship. Laura also hosts a variety of summer camps and other opportunities for youth to learn about agriculture hands on.

Shelby Jo Long-Hammond

Laura Garber/Homestead Organics Farm Laura will be Saturday’s luncheon keynote and will co-facilitate a planning session at the 2017 Women’s Conference.


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Legislative Fund


Bryan Jones, FU Insurance, Hamilton Barbara Mothershead, FU Insurance, Circle

Registration open for NFU’s Women’s Conference & Annual Convention Page 4

Youth Leadership Development Program Tom McKenna FU Insurance, Lewistown Charles Monroe FU Insurance, Kalispell Barbara Mothershead FU Insurance, Circle Cindy Schubert FU Insurance, Havre

Tips to be successful when testifiying in front of the legislature Chris Christiaens   Page 5

Camp Scholarship Memorial Fund

Washington Corner National Farmers Union   Page 6

Donation by Cottonwood Local of Hill County ( In Memory of Llyod & Audrey Kaercher, Havre)

In Memoriam Lloyd Kaercher Havre Mrs. Lloyd (Audrey) Kaercher Havre Mrs. Allan (Shirley) Schillinger Vida H. Arthur Tomsheck Cut Bank

MONTANA FARMERS UNION PO BOX 2447 300 RIVER DRIVE NORTH GREAT FALLS MT 59403 PHONE: (406) 452-6406 FAX: (406) 727-8216 Board of Directors:

Beef Council report Page 7-10 Message from the delegation Page 11


Donald & Amber McDonald, Jordan Rakes Farm LLC, Fallon Del Gackle Inc, Brockway Marlenee Farm & Ranch Inc, Laurel S & H Farms Inc, Wolf Point John & Jane Fowler, Wyola Holly Higgins, Hardin Mari Shore, Choteau Angela Wells, Valier James & Cathy Palmer, Missoula David & Tammy Blackburn, Libby Niles & Janet Severy, Troy Leighton Family Trust, Ronan

Membership News Justin Loch Page 12

Recruited by Ron Watts Ron Watts Barbara Mothershead Jesse Fleming Jesse Fleming Melissa Wacker Melissa Wacker Gordon Elings Gordon Elings Pam Jacobsen Colleen Wood Colleen Wood Andrew Luedtke


MFU holds mock legislative hearing Page 13

Alan Merrill, President Rollie Schlepp, Vice President, Conrad Erik Somerfeld, District 2, Power Bill Courtnage, At-Large director, Geraldine Brett Dailey, District 4, Jordan William Downs, District 5, Molt Ben Peterson, At-Large director, Judith Gap Kelly Rutledge, District 1, Big Sandy Sig Rudie, Fairview, At-Large director Paul Kanning, Distric 5, Flaxville Jan Tusick, District 6, Ronan State Office Staff: Jan Johnson, Office Mgr., Assistant Secretary/ Treasurer Lyndsay Bruno, Communications Director Chris Christiaens, Legislative & Project Specialist Kathryn Peterson, Youth & Event Coordinator Justin Loch, Membership Director Dave Snuggs, Facility Director Copyright © Montana Farmers Union, 2016. Montana Grassroots is the official publication of the Farmers Educational and Cooperative Union of America, Montana Division. MFU reserves the right to reject any advertisements. Third Class bulk postage paid at Great Falls MT 59401. Membership: $50.00 per year Montana Grassroots is published 10 times each calendar year with two combined issues. Article submissions are requested by the 15th of the month. Advertising space is available. Copy Editor: Jan Johnson Editor/Designer: Lyndsay Bruno Staff Contributors: Justin Loch, Chris Christiaens, Kathryn Peterson & Alan Merrill

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National Farmers Union Women’s Conference When: March 3-5, 2017 Where: The Catamaran Resort Hotel & Spa San Diego, California NFU holds an annual conference aimed at providing women farmers the resources they need to enhance their knowledge of their family farm operation and learn the value of leadership in rural communities and cooperatives. The conference builds on NFU’s experience in offering adult education classes specifically designed for women in agriculture and provides participants with important leadership and management skills, as well as networking opportunities. Visit: for details and to register.

National Farmers Union Convention When: March 5-8 Where: The Catamaran Resort Hotel & Spa San Diego, California NFU's 115th Anniversary Convention will gather family farmers and ranchers from across the country, industry professionals and notable speakers at the Catamaran Resort Hotel in San Diego, Calif, in March 2017. The convention provides NFU members and attendees the opportunity to learn, collaborate and grow through thoughtful discussions, breakout sessions and farm tours. We are pleased to offer attendees new learning opportunities this year while maintaining a focus on the issues that matter most to our family farmers and ranchers, such as the economy and defending the farm safety net. The state of the farm economy and the upcoming Farm Bill will be a primary focus for the convention’s keynote speakers and panel discussions, while an agricultural tour day will focus on local agriculture and cooperative learning. Register at:


Have you ever thought about installing solar panels on your roof but thought it was cost prohibitive? Would you like to control your future energy costs by investing in clean energy. Find out how community solar works and how you can participate at a free informational seminar Wednesday Feb 22, 2017 at the Community Center at 307 W Watson Street, in Lewistown. The seminar will explain the basics of community solar and introduce the new community solar program planned by

Fergus Electric Cooperative. Reg- MSU Fergus Extension.This event istration, coffee and refreshments is free and open to the public. begins at 4pm with the presentation at 4:30pm. There will be a question and answer period at WELL WISHES TO A the end of session.


Community solar installations are centrally located solar panels to subscribers or in this case, co-op members. Members can purchase the output from the system, with electric credit coming off their FEC electric bill. This public seminar is free with pre-registration by Feb 15. Call MSU Fergus Extension at 535-3919 or email to register. The seminar is sponsored by Central Montana Resource CounAs the new year begins, Montana cil, Fergus Electric Cooperative, Farmers Union wants to take this Montana Farmers Union and opportunity to recognize a true 4

advocate for Montana agricul ture and an excellent ambassador of our state, Ron de Yong. Ron has always had Montana’s best interests at heart and worked tirelessly to foster diversity in the agriculture industry and promote the production of locally-grown food. Ron has served as director of the Montana Department of Agriculture since July 2007. Most recently, Ron was gracious enough to moderate a panel on pulse crops at our annual convention this past October. Ron, thank you for being such a great friend to Montana Farmers Union! We wish you all the best!

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questioned, do not panic. You don’t have to know everything about the organization or the issue to be effective. • Be sure to listen to the quesnicating with legislators: tions and refer those you cannot answer to an organization 1.) PERSONAL VISIT: or individual who can handle Face-to-face meetings are the it. most compelling ways to make • If a legislator disagrees with your point. This method leaves you, don’t argue. However, a lasting impression and are genbe prepared to politely restate erally fairly easy to schedule, by your position. calling the message center at the • Finally, REMEMBER TO SAY capitol and leaving a message at “THANK YOU.” Everyone’s 406-444-4800 or by going to the time is valuable, and nothing website of Many is more gratifying than exof the legislators have personal pressing your appreciation. e-mails and once the directory for the 65th Legislative Session A reminder: legislators are pubis available, the numbers will be licly elected officials, and any listed. communications with them may be considered public record. As BY CHRIS CHRISTIAENS P R O J E C T & L E G I S L AT I V E 2.)THE PHONE CALL: such, an e-mail sent or received, SPECIALIST A phone call is also effective and its sender and receiver, and the eoften more convenient than the mail’s contents and attachments, The Montana Legislature con- face-to-face meeting. You can ask may be subject to public disclovenes at noon on January 2nd, to speak to a legislator directly or sure. 2017 at the state capitol in Hel- if they are not in, state why you ena. Perhaps as high as 2000 bill called and request a call back. You drafts will be submitted to be should receive a message or call drafted and introduced for this back. OSTBERG TO SERVE biennial session. Many will be AS LOBBYIST FOR considered placeholders and may 3.) LETTER OR E-MAIL: or may not be introduced or acted Letters from constituents get at- THE 2017 SESSION on. One needs to be aware that tention. They are a top priority. any bill with funding attached When writing a letter, always in- Levi Ostberg will be representing will go through the appropriation clude a return address and phone Montana Farmers Union as a lobprocess and starts in the house number and ask for a response. byist for the 2017 legislative sesof representatives. All house bills sion. must be acted on before the 45th HERE ARE SOME TIPS FOR legislative day and those intro- COMMUNICATING: Levi and his wife Kristen raise duced in the Senate must be acted malt barley and beef on the on by the same transmittal date • Get to the point. The quicker Greenfield Irrigation District bethat is generally the end of Februthe better. A handwritten note tween Fairfield and Power. They ary, depending on the legislative works better than a lengthy farm cooperatively with Levi’s calendar. letter. parents Ron and Carol Ostberg, • USE the following format: say and Levi’s oldest brother Chris Timing for hearings is required by who you are and if you live in and family. rule stating a 24 hour notice be the legislator’s district, say so; posted. • State your support or opposi- Levi worked for the Montana Detion for a particular issue or partment of Agriculture in the If you are planning to attend and organization and request a re- pesticide program doing case reprovide testimony please do not sponse. view and investigation of chemihesitate in asking for assistance. • For additional impact, tell cal drift/misuse. Levi also ran the There are three basic types of how the issue or the organiza- waste pesticide disposal program messages to utilize when commu tion affects you personally. If and the pesticide plastic recycling



program. He then accepted a position as program specialist with the commercial feed and fertilizer program. During this time the department amended the Commercial Fertilizer Act. Levi was elected to the national board of directors of the Association of American Plant Food Control Officials. “I believe that Montana’s farmers and ranchers need a voice in the legislature to let the legislators know how the bills they are reviewing affect our everyday lives,”said Ostberg. “We are pleased to have him on board,” said President Alan Merrill.“Levi has the experience and knowledge necessary to successfully advocate for Montana Farmers Union members. He will serve us well.” Montana Farmers Union will be sending out weekly legislative updates. If you are interested in receiving these updates, email lbruno@montanafarmersunion or call the state office at 452-6406. Also, follow us on Facebook,(@ M F U f a r m e r s ) Tw i t t e r ( @ M F U farmers) & Instagram(mfumt) for updates!

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Congress ended with the passage of legislation that will fund the federal government until April this year. The measure contains some positive provisions and a fair amount of disappointment for the agriculture sector. While it includes important funding for the Farm Service Agency (FSA) to address expected backlogs in FSA's loan portfolio, the bill did not extend tax credits for biofuels and renewable energy, nor did it offer financial support to dairy farmers. Additionally, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) published the Farmer Fair Practices Rules, which will address fraudulent and anti-competitive practices in the livestock and poultry sectors. National Farmers Union (NFU) supports these measures, and encourages the public to review and comment on the Federal Register. NFU also applauded the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) 2017 Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) volume obligations, which will support the use of biofuels to mitigate climate change. In December, NFU’s new online conference, Growing for the Future, brought together more than 1,000 producers from 48 states and three countries.

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which will go into effect immediately after the to enter fiscal year 2017 with a $215 million comment period. backlog in farm operating loans. The two proposed rules focus on the economic conditions in poultry growing contracts. One will undertake unfair practices and unreasonable preference, prohibiting contracts between packers and producers that create pricing preferences. Similarly, the other will limit the tournament payment system, setting requirements for companies to determine growers' payment.

Economic conditions in the agricultural sector have weakened credit conditions. As demand for loan renewals and extensions have increased and loan repayment rates have decreased, agriculture bankers have fewer funds available for financing.

As financial stress increases for farmers and ranchers, access to low-interest operating credit is critical to keeping producers afloat. The interim final rule, a commonsense “com- Providing additional funding to FSA before petitive injury” provision, will codify a simple the next fiscal year will help alleviate producbut meaningful interpretation of the original ers waiting on direct and guaranteed loans intent of the Packers and Stockyards Act. and allow more applicants to access capital. In the past, as part of the litigation process, farmers were required to provide evidence Though the stopgap spending package prothat an integrator’s practices manipulated vided some relief for family farmers and competition in the entire marketplace, not ranchers, NFU is disappointed the bill did not just on their operation. In contrast, this rule encourage a greater investment in renewable will allow farmers to sue packers for unfair energy and biofuels, or contain additional reand discriminatory practices without proving lief for farmers and ranchers. NFU is particuharm to competition across the entire indus- larly disappointed that direct dairy assistance try. was not contained in the bill for producers. NFU pressed congress over the last year for NFU is happy to see these rules published, help to be included in the spending package and encourages the public to review, under- in order to provide immediate relief from stand, and offer feedback on all three rules. persistently low milk price and an unsuccessTo read and respond to the rules, visit the ful dairy safety net program. Farmer Fair Practices Rules Published Federal Register at EPA Renewable Fuel Standard AnnounceThe U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) ment published a set of protections for poultry FSA Funding Included in Congressional growers and livestock producers, called the Spending The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Farmer Fair Practices Rules (FFPR), formerly (EPA) announced the 2017 Renewable Fuel known as the Grain Inspection, Packers and The U.S. Senate voted to pass a $1.1 trillion Standard (RFS) volume obligations, setting Stockyards Administration (GIPSA) rules. If stopgap spending package, sending the bill to conventional renewable fuels at the 15 billion adopted, these rules will address some of the President Obama’s desk to fund the govern- volume level established by Congress. fraudulent and anti-competitive practices that ment through April 28, 2017. are all too common in the highly concentrated NFU is appreciative that EPA has raised the livestock and poultry sectors. NFU is pleased the bill includes a provision to RFS volume obligations from their initial proensure that the U.S. Department of Agricul- posal to meet the 15 billion volume obligaFFPR contains three rules – two proposed ture Farm Service Agency (FSA) can keep up tions set by Congress. The action shows a rules, which are open for public comment with the mounting demand for loans given the before approval, and one interim final rule, state of the farm economy. FSA is estimated C O N T I N U E D O N PA G E 1 2


20 Montana Beef Council Reflections 16

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The Montana Beef Council is organized to protect and increase demand for beef and beef by products through state, national and international promotion, research and education, thereby enhancing profit opportunities for Montana beef producers.


Family & Consumer Science Teachers educating about beef...................................................................80 Women learning about beef in a heart healthy diet with American Heart Association.....................275 Creating ambassadors for ranching with the Environmental Stewardship Award Program since.....1991 Montana elementary students educated through classroom and experiential farm fairs.................4,021 Team Beef ambassador athletes................................................................................................ ...............75 Montana Registered Dietitians educated about beef in a healthy diet................................................116 Montana high school and junior high students cooking and learning about beef benefits............3,056 Montana healthcare employees educated about beef nutrition.............................................................250

Investor Relations


BBQ fans gathered for one day of tasting professionally prepared brisket.....................................4,000 MSU Bobcat fans receiving interactive tailgate tips for every game.............................................52,000 Radio spots shared with Montana consumers.................................................................................... ...833 Runners exploring Montana ranching through trail running..................................................................55 Consumers receiving tasty beef samples and recipe inspiration in-person......................................2,755 Magazine circulation in Japan of ‘Beef in Big Sky Country’ tour.................................................156,701 Beefed-up Montana meat case displays............................................................................................ .....165 Social media followers near and far.......................................................................................... .........5,647 Culinary classes, tradeshows and foodie events............................................................................... .......42

Montana Beef Council Board Members................................12 All cattle in Montana...............................................2,650,000 People in Montana...................................................1,024,000

American Heart Association Cherry Creek Radio City of Billings Fourth Grade Farm Fair Montana State University, Bozeman MT Association of Family & Consumer Science Teachers



Cattle brought into BQA care.......................................56,000 Informational radio spots for producers...........................358 Producers reached at NILE Rancher’s Day........................600 Agriculture students trained for media interviews...........170

MT BBQ Cook-off MT Beef Quality Assurance MT CattleWomen MT FFA Foundation MT Meat Processors Association MT Stockgrowers Association Foundation Northern Broadcasting 7



FY2016 Budget


Northern International Livestock Expo U.S. Meat Export Federation Wentana Western MT Stockmen Wheat Montana Young Ag Leadership Conference ZooMontana


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Net in-state revenue.................................................................. $924,798 Interest and other income............................................................... $4,313 Total Revenue........................................................................$929,111


International Marketing Programs...............................................$112,435 Domestic Marketing Programs................................................... $278,873 Retail Programs............................................................................. $17,496 Food Services................................................................................ $10,547 Promotional Programs.................................................................$50,999 Advertising..................................................................................... $10,771 Beef Safety................................................................................... $20,879 Education........................................................................................$41,411 Producer Communications........................................................... $32,493 Administration*............................................................................ $312,787 Total Expenses....................................................................$888,691 Excess of Revenue Over Expenses.................................. $40,420 Fund Balance Beginning of Period............................................................$265,456 End of Period...................................................................... $305,876 * Administration includes: insurance, office lease, equipment, office supplies, postage, telephone, board expenses, travel, salaries and payroll taxes.

The board is comprised of 12 appointed volunteers, representing various segments of the industry. L to R: Shane Flowers, Kiley Martinell, Richard Anderson, Kathy Creighton-Smith, Linda Swanz, Jim Taber (Vice –President), Jan Allen, Eric Moore, Kristin Larson (President), Bruce Lee, Brett Dailey and Bill Cok.


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Chaley Harney, Executive Director Lisa Murray, Director of Nutrition Sue Broyles, Business Manager Tammy Bridges, Director of Collections and Compliance


“The 2016 World Food Championship (WFC), held in Orange Beach, AL, was an amazing experience for me and for my family. First of all, a huge thank you to the Montana Beef Council for bringing the Zoofari qualifying event to Billings. The Burger Dive has had its eye on WFC for a couple years, but never before had a nearby qualifier. I found the event itself to be very professionally run. The staff at WFC is very helpful and pleasant to work with. Our experience was extra special because not only did we get to test ourselves against the best chefs and cooks in the world, we did it as a family. My wife, Andi; son, Brendan; daughter, Ashlyn; and dad, Gary made up our team. The competition itself was intense. We had two hours to complete our first two rounds of burgers, then we waited to hear if we made it to the finals. The top 10 out of 50 go. We did, and after a nerve racking announcement of finalists that counted down from ten to one, we were announced in 1st place going into the finals. The finals were two days later and we needed to feature Jim Beam Double Oak Bourbon. The barbeque sauce we created featured Jim Beam Bourbon, dates and Coke which we named it “The Date with Jim Beam and Coke Burger” it was enough to clinch the title for us and we won the World Burger Championship that night. That was a dream come true in itself. The next step was to go to final table and compete against the other world championship winners from the week for the title World Food Champion. We stumbled a bit here, ending up 8th which isn't bad considering nearly 500 teams started the event a week earlier. The win and the experience has meant so much. WFC is a nationally televised show and we're looking forward to it airing. Our business has exploded off of the publicity, and I even have a publicist who is working with me as one of the champions. As a champion, we're qualified for the next five years and have already begun thinking about how to get over the top at the final table. Thank you for opening this door for us.” -Brad Halsten, The Burger Dive Owner

CATTLEMEN’S BEEF BOARD REPRESENTATIVES Leo McDonnell, Columbus Ross Racine, Billings Lyle Peterson, Custer

FEDERATION REPRESENTATIVES Kathy Creighton-Smith, Chinook Kristin Larson, Sidney Kiley Martinell, Dell Linda Swanz, Judith Gap

Brad Halsten and the Burger Dive Team for the 2016 World Food Championships


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When you load the truck bed with feed and turn on the ignition in your pickup, there’s a good chance you know your destination ahead of time. When you invest in your Beef Checkoff Program, that knowledge of destination is just as important. The Beef Industry Long Range Plan 2016-2020 provides beef producers an important sense of direction and purpose. Its 2020 Strategic Objective – to Increase the Beef Demand Index measure by 2 percent annually over the next five years – delivers a goal that allows industry leaders and the staffs of contracting organizations to measure their progress for the work they are doing. It also gives producers a key tool to help them determine how well their checkoff dollars are working to build demand for beef. State beef council and national leaders are already working toward the goals it presents. The four areas you will read about below give us focus to deal effectively with the myriad of issues with which we struggle as an industry. They are a thoughtful, serious effort to make sure our work as an industry has tangible results. As we struggle with limited budgets and increasing needs, this kind of focus is crucial. There’s no question that within our states we have varying priorities and different sets of needs. With an eye toward better management of checkoff dollars, though, our Beef Industry Long Range Plan is a way to get everyone headed toward the final destination. Yours Truly, Steve Hanson, Chairman Federation of State Beef Councils


Promote unique attributes of U.S. Beef in foreign markets. Example: With the support of the Beef Checkoff Program, the U.S. beef industry is finding exciting new opportunities in Japan, one of the most important export markets for its products. In fact, the popularity of U.S. beef in Japan is well-illustrated in the 2016 beef export results. June exports to Japan were the largest in nearly two years, up nearly 30 percent year-over-year. January-June exports climbed 12 percent in volume and 5 percent in value. Japan’s import data also show a strong rebound in market share for U.S. beef at 38.5 percent – up from 33 percent in the first half of 2015. One key focus of this effort is to educate retail and foodservice buyers about the wide range of U.S. beef cuts that appeal to their customers. While Japan has traditionally been known as a destination for forequarter cuts and “thin meats,” consumers are responding very positively to high-quality U.S. middle meats as well as barbecue cuts such as brisket, chuck roll and short ribs. The U.S. Meat Export Federation’s (USMEF) checkoff-supported Urban BBQ campaign is designed to show Japanese consumers that American-style barbecue meals can easily be prepared without large smokers or other professional equipment. Through the campaign, the organization explain that preparing American-style barbecue is fun and easy, widening the range of U.S. beef cuts that appeal to Japanese consumers. Beef tongue also continues to be a mainstay item for Japan. About two-thirds of the tongues harvested from U.S. fed cattle go to that country.


Develop crisis management plans and attract, develop and enable the next generation. Example: The beef industry faces many issues not of its own making that could have a negative impact on beef producers and their livelihoods. Playing good defense in cases where bad publicity might impact our industry has been recognized as a crucial element of the Beef Checkoff Program. In the fall of 2015 the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer issued a report that identified red meat as “probably carcinogenic to humans,” and processed meats as “carcinogenic to humans.” Sensational headlines naturally followed, and significant media exposure assured it would be one of the biggest news days in red meat history. What could have turned out negative ended up balanced, however, thanks partly to experienced preparation and management of the issue by the beef checkoff. Through spokesperson appearances, releases, fact sheets and many other forms of outreach, the industry responded, and these checkofffunded efforts were combined with consumer reactions and skepticism that resulted in a stunning occurrence – the WHO clarified its position by saying “the latest IARC review does not ask people to stop eating processed meats” and that it was a “shortcoming” of IARC’s classification process that led to its original report. The efforts did not go unnoticed in the agricultural community. In recognition of the beef industry’s checkoff-funded work, the Agricultural Relations Council presented the beef checkoff top honors in the Golden ARC Awards, including first place in the Issues Management category and the Golden ARC de Excellence, the organization’s highest honor recognizing excellence in agricultural public relations. 9

A.W. Baack Farm celebrates centennial


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Revolutionize beef marketing and merchandising, research and communicate beef’s nutritional benefits, and connect and communicate directly with consumers. Example: Beef isn’t just for lunch and dinner anymore. And the beef industry has research to back up that statement. Research conducted by Heather Leidy, Ph.D., of the University of Missouri found that daily consumption of a higher-protein breakfast that included two eggs and 1.5 ounces of beef was superior to both a normal protein breakfast featuring milk and cereal or skipping breakfast altogether, in terms of improving appetite control, curbing food cravings and reducing unhealthy snacking in overweight or obese teenage girls who routinely skip their breakfast meal. The research was featured in both the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition and the Nutrition Journal. “Protein at breakfast appears to be a good target to increase protein intake,” Leidy says. “A high-protein breakfast seems to reduce food craving-based neural signals, and improve overall diet quality.” Other research funded through the Beef Checkoff Program verifies the benefit of balancing protein intake throughout the day. This kind of independent research helps the industry promote healthy diets and optimal protein intake and is used in promotions such as the checkoff-funded 30-Day-Protein Challenge provides sound scientific support for programs that encourage consumers to include beef in their meals throughout the day. Thousands of consumers have become active in the Challenge, thanks to both state beef council and national efforts to promote it.





Consumer Information


Industry Information


Foreign Marketing


Producer Communications


Program Evaluation


Program Development


USDA Oversight




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Ensure beef safety, protect beef’s image and engage beef advocates. Example: The checkoff-backed Beef Quality Assurance program delivers to producers a set of best practices for generating quality beef. It does this by supporting practices that focus on good record keeping and protecting herd health, all the way from raising and feeding through transportation, for both traditional beef and dairy operations. BQA manuals provide straightforward information to U.S. beef producers and a framework for national consistency. At the same time, BQA is state-administered, allowing individual states to determine the best programs that will meet the needs of that state’s producers. The BQA program also gives consumers positive assurances about the beef they eat. It delivers a positive message about the common sense husbandry techniques, founded on accepted scientific knowledge, used in cattle raising today, and reinforces a message about the already strong safety and wholesomeness of the U.S. beef supply. The premise of the program is that when better quality cows leave the farm and reach the marketplace, the producer, packer and consumer all benefit. BQA is a widely accepted and broadly adopted routine throughout the beef industry. It’s estimated that 90 percent of the fed cattle being raised for beef are produced under BQA management practices. Throughout the past, year BQA has worked to grow its resources and tools for beef producers, including revisions and updates of the Feedyard Assessment and a partnership with the dairy industry on the widely accepted Farmers Assuring Responsible Management (FARM) program. The updated Feedyard Assessment, originally developed in 2009, brings the industry accepted-document upto-date and draws producers’ attention to industry topics of importance, including antibiotic stewardship practices. By partnering with FARM the BQA program will now be able to deliver to dairies throughout the United States important husbandry techniques that can improve the quality of beef coming from the ,dairy sector.


TOTAL EXPENSES $39,720,766 Unaudited Numbers *This total also includes CBB's costs associated with Freedom of Information Act requests and legal fees associated with lawsuits. 10



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with, and in the coming months, I will work with the new administration to move the ball forward on other ag priorities like wheat grading, trade, and ensuring the next farm bill works for Montana producers. As always, please reach out if you are in need of anything.


2017 is off and running and those of us in agriculture need some good news after a long year of depressed ag markets in nearly every commodity. So I am excited to share that, after a two-year fight with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), the proposed cut to the hours at the Port of Raymond in northeast Montana has been put to bed, and now producers and businesses that need a 24-hour port can rest easy. They say the squeaky wheel gets the grease and after writing many letters and making many calls, I have personally receiving assurance from the CBP Commissioner that the Port of Raymond will continue to stay open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. This is big news for folks, both in northeast Montana and throughout state. The CBP’s shortsighted proposal to cut hours would have forced folks to drive hundreds of miles to the next closest 24-hour port—not to mention the economic impact that the reduced commerce would have had on surrounding communities. Keeping one of Montana’s few 24-hour ports is critically important for family farmers and ranchers, who use the Port of Raymond to transport their products to and purchase equipment in Canada. This is great news to kick off the new year

to prioritize research and advancements that help Montana’s farmers feed the world. Agriculture research conducted in Montana – including through our universities – is important not only to farmers in our state, but their findings will benefit agriculture all over the world. I’m continuing to find ways to increase research and job creation in the agriculture industry, including sustained funding for the Agriculture Research Service (ARS) Insect Unit Research Laboratory in Sidney which was recently targeted for closure. This lab conducts essential research into pests and diseases impacting crops nationwide, including the wheat stem sawfly, grasshoppers and Mormon crickets. Or securing funding for the U.S. Wheat Barley Scab Initiative to help producers fight Scab and the profit losses that come with it.

As we look to the future of Montana farming, I’m always looking for new ways for our state’s agriculture industry to expand. One way to do so would be by taking advantage of the $630 million industrial hemp market. While the Montana Legislature has voted to legalize industrial hemp, the federal government is lagging behind and the U.S. is currently the only major industrialized country that bans the farming of hemp. I’ll continue to be a strong supporter of the Industrial Hemp Farming Act, which would allow states, If you ask a kid in Washington, D.C. where including Montana, to decide whether or not the bread in his sandwich comes from he will to legalize hemp cultivation. likely answer the grocery store. But if you ask a Montana farm kid the same question, there I’m also working to find ways to create new is a chance that their family farm grew the job opportunities across our state by creating grain that is in that very bread. incentives for military veterans to explore career opportunities in agriculture production. One of the greatest privileges I have in the At a time when so many veterans are unemU.S. Senate is standing up every day on behalf ployed, working to ensure that all veterans of Montana’s farmers and ranchers. There are have a job is one of my top priorities. This more than 25,000 farms and ranches across includes urging the United States DepartMontana which are the foundation of our ment of Agriculture (USDA) to expand the economy, and make up our number one in- Bridges to Opportunity partnership with the dustry: agriculture. U.S. Chamber of Commerce Hiring Our Heroes program to help veterans find meaningWhen the new Congress convenes, I will re- ful work in agriculture. main committed to advocating for agriculture in the new administration. Many of Montana’s As an advocate for Montana agriculture in farming and ranching families have been the U.S. Senate, I will work with the incoming around for generations. But the tools they use administration to ensure that our state has a to grow and harvest crops have been, and will strong voice in Washington, D.C. continue to be, refined through research and technology to improve the efficiency and yield of their crops. It’s important that we continue 11

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ranchers a priority in the Farmers Union organization. By building clear commitment to achieving an educational network for beginthe environmental benefits inher- ning farmers and ranchers to learn ent in conventional ethanol and to about farm business management protecting the future of advanced and other important issues, NFU biofuels in the market. is laying the foundation for the future success of the agriculture Though farmers and ranchers are industry. particularly vulnerable to climate change, they are also in a unique The Washington Corner can also position to mitigate its impact be found at . through management practices and producing biofuels. The RFS promotes investment in renew- MSU TO HOST MALT able fuels and advancement in BARLEY & SUGARbiofuels, giving the agriculture BEET community an important role in SYMPOSIUM establishing climate resilience. W A S H I N G T O N C O R N E R C O N T.

More Than 1,000 Attend NFU Online Conference


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the agricultural industry from the point of view of farmers, will speak, as well. Pesticide applicator credits will be available. Symposium registration and a full agenda is available online at http://www.msuextension. org/pspp/. Pre-registration is $20 per day or $40 for both days. On-site registration is $25 per day. A special hotel rate of $89 is available before Dec. 26. For more information, contact Jessica Rupp, MSU assistant professor of plant sciences and plant pathology and Extension plant pathologist specialist, at jessica. or (406) 9945572.

BOZEMAN – Montana State University, in conjunction with NFU brought together more the University of Wyoming, will than 1,000 beginning farmers host a malt barley and sugarbeet Contact: Jessica Rupp, jessica. and ranchers from 48 states and symposium Jan. 10-11 at the Big, (406) 994three countries for “Growing for Horn Resort in Billings. 5572. the Future,” the first online-only conference focused exclusively on The first day of the event will education for the next generation focus on barley production, preof agriculture. cision agriculture techniques, reducing tilling practices and farm- EPA ANNOUNCES Attendees virtually joined educa- ing business issues. The keynote PRELIMINARY RULE tional sessions focused on begin- speaker will be Wade Malchow, ning farmer and rancher issues, sourcing manager for barley, CHANGES AFFECTING including mentorship, business malt and elevator operations with MT PESTICIDE planning, USDA programs, wom- MillerCoors. The second day will APPLICATORS en and veterans in farming, and focus on sugarbeet production, conservation. The conference with Luther Markwart, executive B Y L I N D A J O H N S , M T D E P T. also featured farmer-to-farmer vice president of the American O F A G R I C U L T U R E , webinars, live question and an- Sugarbeet Growers Association, Helena, Mont. – On December swer sessions, a discussion board as the keynote speaker. 12, 2016, the U.S. Environmental and a resource center. Protection Agency (EPA) AdminAdditional speakers include Ju- istrator signed the Federal RegRecognizing the need for accessi- liet Marshall with the Idaho Falls ister document titled, Pesticides: ble educational resources to help Research and Extension Center; Certification of Pesticide Apbeginning farmers and ranchers Mark Boetel, North Dakota State plicators (RIN 2070-AJ20). The succeed, NFU also launched the University Research and Exten- final action will update requireNFU Beginning Farmer Forum, a sion entomologist; Don Mor- ments for state programs and for web-based community and educa- ishita, superintendent of Kim- applicators obtaining licenses and tional resource for those starting berly and Twin Falls Research and permits. Many states already have a farm or ranch business. Find re- Extension Centers; and Andrew in place some of the stronger resources, blogs, and more info on Kniss, associate professor of quirements of today’s action, inthe NFU website: plant sciences at the University cluding Montana. of Wyoming. Rebecca Larsen of “The final rule includes flexibilNFU continues to make educa- Western Sugar and the Women of ity for states to continue portions tion for beginning farmers and Biotech, who serve to promote of their existing programs that


are equivalent to the revised rule. EPA will work with states to review and approve updated certification plans,” the EPA stated. Today’s release had no publication date and therefore could be rolled back by the new administration. However, if the rule is not rolled back, a grace period would allow Montana to comply with the rule during the 2019 legislative session. On August 5, 2015 the EPA issued a proposal to revise the Certification of Pesticide Applicator Rule (40 CFR 171) that would establish stronger training and certification standards for pesticide applicators certified to apply restricted use pesticides (RUP). The EPA accepted public comments on the proposal through January 22, 2016. The finalized Certification of Pesticide Applicator Rule (40 CFR 171) can be viewed at https:// The Montana Department of Agriculture’s mission is to protect producers and consumers, and to enhance and develop agriculture and allied industries. For more information on the Montana Department of Agriculture, visit

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I’m sure most of you have noticed the extreme change in temperature and weather conditions across Montana and the Northwest. Winter weather and severe cold temperatures can be hard on machinery, water hydrants and pumps, animals, roadways, and much more. While we tend to pay attention to many things during cold weather, people tend to forget, that they need to pay attention and take extra caution to care for themselves when taking on the winter elements. This month I am going to give you some tips on ways to prepare and take care of yourself during the harsh elements. 1. ) Bundle up! Wear extra layers to keep your core temperature up. Try wearing an extra shirt or sweater under your winter coat. Worried about too much bulk? Many clothing companies have designed cold weather gear that is slim and designed to wear under work clothes. Long underwear is designed to keep you warm, and dry quickly so you won’t get damp or chilled. 2.) Eat foods that keep you warm! Eat healthy foods higher in fat to speed up your metabolism, which in turn heats up your body. Try soups, spicier foods, hot coffee and teas to fend off the chill.

3.) Avoid alcohol! Alcohol might make you feel warm while consuming it, but it actually lowers your core temperature and can be dangerous. Alcohol reverses some reflexes that control body temperature, especially the body's ability to shiver. Alcohol can also make you sweat, even when it is cold, which can lower core temperatures even more. 4.)Wear Sunglasses- This will protect your eyes from the bright and harmful glare of snow and ice. 5.)Three-Foot Rule- Keep all heaters, fires and flammable objects at least three feet from each other. Never leave a heater unattended if you are not home to avoid a potential disaster. 6.)Attend to Furry FriendsEven though our pets may have long hair coats, they need attention as well. Provide adequate bedding and insulated shelter for outside pets. Don’t leave inside pets outside for long periods of time. Always make sure they have access to food and fresh water. Make sure water is kept open and not frozen. 7.)Don’t leave cars unattended while warming up! This will prevent potential accidents such as rolling or sliding in icy areas and theft. 8.)Assemble an emergency car kit- Ensure you are prepared should you have an emergency or breakdown in cold weather. 9.)Set your thermostat at the same temperature day and night- this will prevent pipes from freezing or bursting. If you are going to be away from your home for an extended period of time keep your thermostat at or above 55 degrees. 10.)Protect Pipes- Insulate all exposed pipes. Provide adequate heat source in areas where pipes

are located to prevent freezing. You may have to allow faucets to drip in order to keep them from freezing. 11.)Check Road ConditionsCheck all road reports when inclement weather occurs. Make sure there are not restrictions and above all, the roads are safe for travel. Only travel if necessary in inclement weather. These are just a few tips to help you get through the cold weather. If you are out in the elements, bundle up and always let someone know where you are and when you plan on being back. Stay safe this winter and holiday season. Enjoy time spent with family and friends!


B Y T E R RY W H I T E S I D E / W H I T E S I D E & A S S O C I AT E S

Good news for shippers. In December, Ann Begeman was confirmed by the senate to serve a second term at the STB.

The Alliance for Rail Competition has been working with Ann the last five to six years and look forward to working with her in the future. She is very sharp and Be on the lookout for MFU at a good communicator with a upcoming trade shows across the strong background in the workstate. ings of Congress and now the STB Board. • MAGIE: January 19-21, Great Falls Ann’s recent confirmation means • Winter Grazing Seminar: we will have just two Republican February 2-3, Missoula nominations to deal with early • Circle Farm Show: February next year, and the President could 4 decide to make Ann chair or ei• GATE: February 12-13, Glen- ther of the two new nominees dive which probably would be picked • MATE: February 16-18, Bill- by the new President. ings • MonDak Ag Days: March 3-4, Sidney • NE Montana Farm Expo: March 18-19, Plentywood A couple of reminders: Don’t forget the MFU membership drive, where members can earn $500 each quarter for recruiting the most members. Contest details were announced in last month’s newsletter, and can be found on our website, or by calling the office.


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On December 14 at the Montana Expo Park Family Living Center, Montana Farmers Union hosted a mock legislative hearing coordinated by Chouteau County Farmers Union, Teton CountyWide Local Farmers Union and Cascade County Farmers Union. Area legislators who served on the committee included Brad Hamlett of Cascade, Bob Mehlhoff of Great Falls, Rob Cook of Conrad, Mary Moe of Great Falls, Casey Schreiner of Great Falls and Tom Jacobson of Great Falls. The mock hearing was an educational opportunity to do a dry run in anticipation of the upcoming legislative session. The hearing examined a bill on agritourism drafted by Cort Jensen with the Montana Department of Agriculture. Proponents and opponents testified on the bill. Proponents included Farmers Union members Eric Bergman, Levi Ostberg and with the MFU state office Chris Christiaens. Opponents who pro-

vided mock testimony included local attorney Anders Blewett of Hoyt and Blewett and MFU Board member Erik Somerfeld. The draft bill would add agritourism to the list of Montana recreational activities in which participants assume the liability for inherent risks of these activities. Eric Bergman, owner of Groundworks Farm in Fort Shaw and President of the Cascade County Farmers Union spoke on behalf of the bill. He testified that agritourism can be a great revenue opportunity for farmers and ranchers especially with low commodity prices. “If you want to render a fee for people to come on your farm or ranch then the protection is not there,” said Bergman. “Agritourism is a great educational opportunity for youth and others to learn about farming and ranching.”

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integral part of any sport or recreational activity and that cannot be prevented by the use of reasonable care.”

Association, brought up what could be a potential argument against the bill including the constitutionality of the bill. “These folks want to be exonerated in Chris Christiaens, Special Proj- advance therefore I ask that you ects Specialist with Montana oppose this bill.” Farmers Union, used the example of Montana’s ski safety statute Levi Ostberg, lobbyist for Monwhich states that: “an operator tana Farmers Union, clarified and owes certain warning, marking answered questions brought up and notice duties to skiers con- by the committee. sistent with the duty of reasonable care owed.” The law also After conclusion of the hearing, says that skiers assume all “risks committee members provided inherent” in the sport including feedback on the mock hearing incollisions with other skiers and cluding ways to successfully comavalanches, except on open, des- municate. Suggestions offered by ignated ski trails.” the committee included: avoiding vague language, keeping testiChristiaens said the number one mony as tight as possible, having activity the public wants to do is testimony well- crafted and using pet farm animals and to interact narratives or compelling stories with livestock. To clarify inher- to emphasize their given position. ent risk and what would be considered negligence he provided If you are interested in testifyan example. “ If a farmer fails to ing at the 2017 legislative session shut a gate or encourages kids to contact Chris Christiaens at the enter the corral and doesn’t take MFU state office at 452-6406. reasonable safety precautions or lets a visitor stack bales of hay, Montana Farmers Union wants to but fails to provide the needed thank the legislators and Anders safety instructions, than you get Blewett who took time to particiinto the area of negligence.” pate in the mock hearing.

The cornerstone of the hearing was that of the definition of inherent risk, which according to the draft bill means: “those dangers or conditions that are char- Attorney Anders Blewett, a memacteristic of, intrinsic to or an ber of the Montana Trial Lawyers

Eric Bergman testifies in support of the agritourism bill

MFU lobbyist Levi Ostberg fields questions from the committee on how a bill on agritourism can benefit farmers and ranchers 14

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W O M E N ’ S C O N F E R E N C E C O N T.

Audra Bergman/Groundworks Farm & Certified Yoga Instructor

Audra Bergman resides in Fort Shaw, MT, where she lives and works on a small farm with her husband and lively little boy. The roots of what began Groundworks Farm grew from a desire to strike a balance between growing healthy bodies, blossoming communities, and productive land. Part of that balance also includes incorporating yoga and other principles of sustainability into their home life. After 10+ years of practicing yoga, Audra earned her RYT200 level certification in early 2016.

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Jan Tusick, Director of the Mission Mountain Food Enterprise Center

Jan Tusick is the Center Director for Mission Mountain Food Enterprise Center and serves on the Montana Farmers Union Board of Directors and serves on the MFU women’s committee. At the 2017 conference, Jan will co-faciliate a planning session. Jan received her certification as a Cooperative Development Specialist and completed the National Development Council Economic Development Finance Professional training in 2005. Jan holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Agricultural Science from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, CA. and is HAACP certified.

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Katie Bangs, Bangs Family Farms

Katie lives with her husband Jeff on the Bangs Family Farm near Inverness. Katie is originally from Iowa and earned a Bachelor of Science from Iowa State University. Katie is very active with Montana Farmers Union as a member of the women’s committee. At the 2017 Women’s Conference she will co-facilitate a work session with Jan Tusick and Laura Garber. Katie has served as a delegate representing Montana at the National Farmers Union Annual Convention. Katie and her husband Jeff host 5K on the Farm.

Rebecca Knotts/Wildwood Floral

Rebecca Knotts owns Wildwood Floral of Dillon. Rebecca will lead a floral workshop Friday night. Wildwood Floral & Gifts is Montana owned and operated and located in Dillon. The business has served southwest Montana for over twenty years.

Online registration closes January 8. After that date there will be limited availability. To register and to find a full conference agenda visit


Anaconda Stefanie Thompson 563.5991 Belgrade Craig Parker 388.6774 Billings Jim Mathews 656.2323 Billings Steve Plaggemeyer 294.9491 Billings Judd Long 252.9391 Bozeman Dean Derby 556.0893 Bozeman Trent Leintz 551.2163 Bozeman Art Hoffart 586.6230 Bridger Wesley Schwend 662.3930 Chester R. Gordon Elings 759.5065 Choteau Mathew Luedtke 466.5146 Circle Barbara Mothershead 485.3303 Conrad R. Gordon Elings 271.7047 Dillon Judy Siring 683.2365 Dutton Matt Luedtke Agency 476.3444 Fairfield Matt Luedtke Agency 467.3444 Fort Benton Robert Nelson 622.5053 Glasgow Del Hansen 228.2284 Great Falls Eric Hinebauch 453.8413 Great Falls Aeric Reilly 570-5853 Great Falls Faith Cardwell 268.0077 Great Falls Scott Walsh 761.2087 Great Falls Jeff Thill 452.7283 Hamilton Bryan Jones 363.6583 Hardin Melissa Wacker 665.1867

Havre Cindy Schubert 265.2693 Havre Susie LaSalle 265.3346 Helena Todd Crum 443.4630 Kalispell Randy Bloom 257.1252 Kalispell Charles Monroe 756.7720 Laurel Dallas Hagfeldt, Jr. 628.6649 Laurel Jeff Seborg 628.6649 Lewistown Tom McKenna 538.8736 Lewistown Raleigh Heitzman 538.8736 Libby Colleen Wood 293.6228 Livingston Daryl Hansen 222.7151 Malta Shane Anderson 654.1589 Miles City Tayler Kennedy 874.2560 Miles City Ron Watts 874.1804 Missoula Brad Bowman 721.2540 Missoula Pam Jacobsen 721.0599 Missoula Andre Marcure 543.7184 Plains Sally Miller 826.4633 Plentywood JR Johnson 765.2051 Ronan Andrew Luedtke 676.0173 Ryegate Audrey Stoican 568.2336 Sidney Cathy Hintz 488.8326 Terry Blayne Watts 635.5782 Thompson Falls Sally Miller 827.3221 Whitefish Rial Gunlikson 862.4700 Wolf Point Jesse Fleming 653.2200

January 2017 Montana Edition  
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