Page 1

V O L U M E 2 7

J U LY / A U G U S T 2 0 1 6

GRASS ROOTS M O N TA N A

F E E D I N G T H E F U T U R E T H R O U G H F A R M E R S U N I O N E D U C AT I O N A P U B L I C AT O N B Y M O N TA N A F A R M E R S U N I O N

SCOTT & MISTY LEFURGEY NAMED 2017 FUE COUPLE B Y LY N D S AY B R U N O C O M M U N I C AT I O N S D I R E C T O R

Each year Montana Farmers Union nominates a Montana couple to participate in the Farmers Union Enterprise Couples Leadership Program. The 2017 FUE couple for Montana is Scott and Misty LeFurgey of Loma. The FUE leadership program includes couples from North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana, Wisconsin and Minnesota. The participating couples receive hands-on training on issues important to National Farmers Union such as advocacy and leadership. Scott and Misty LeFurgey work alongside Scott’s mom and dad who are the owner/operators of the family farm in Loma. The farm hasbeen in the family for generations. In fact Scott’s great grandparents homsteaded not too

far from where the LeFurgey’s currently farm. Scott and Misty met during college at MSU Northern. They have been married for eight years and have two children. Misty grew up in Lewistown while Scott went to school in Fort Benton and grew up working on the family farm. Scott has hopes of taking over the family farm when the time comes.“It’s in my blood, farming,” said Scott.“I never left the farm, maybe physically, but my hope was always to return.” Scott and Misty are active members in Chouteau County Farm Farmers Union. According to Misty, the policies and work of Montana Farmers Union is just as relevant today as it was decades

NONPROFIT ORG US POSTAGE

PAID GREAT FALLS, MT PERMIT NO. 93

Scott & Misty LeFurgey with daugther Bailey & son Garrett

ago when Scott’s grandparents joined. “Montana Farmers Union provides excellent education opportunities,” said Misty. “ That is one of the main reasons we decided to get involved. Misty says now more than ever, with the increasing challenges facing young farmers.” Misty and Scott both have personal goals for participating in the FUE program. “ Considering we are pretty much in a wheat crop state it will be very interesting to learn about agriC O N T I N U E D O N PA G E 4

1

Beginning Farmers Institute Selects 2016-2017 Class PAGE 3 LeFurgey’s Chosen as FUE Couple PAGE 4 Grand Opening of the Golden Yoke Creamer y PAGE 5 Programs for Beginning Farmers PAGE 6


V O L U M E 2 7

J U LY / A U G U S T 2 0 1 6

C E N T E N N I A L F A M I LY

IN THIS ISSUE

Is your farm or ranch celebrating 100 years of heritage? If so we would love to honor you as a centennial family! Your family will be recognized at the annual convention in Great Falls at the Heritage Inn, October 21-22 .

MFU Announces BFI participants/ Ostberg Hired as Lobbyist for Legislative Session Page 3

Simply submit a family biography & pictures to: lbruno@montanafarmersunion.com or mail the information to: PO Box 2447, Great Falls, MT 59403.

Mrs. Arthur(Doris) Habel, Dutton James Orcutt, Conrad

Member Profile - The LeFurgeys   Page 4

WELCOME NEW MEMBERS!!!

Golden Yoke Grand Opening   Page 5 Membership News   Page 6 Summer Fun in the Classroom   Page 7

Me m b e r Recr uited by Donna Quick, Circle Wesley Vine, Vida R J & Louise Bischke, Billings Donald Gervais, Billings James & Carol Sutton, Bozeman Janet Ronan, Joliet Aasheim Land & Livestock, Reserve Kemph Farms Inc, Pompeys Pillar Skye McLennaghan, Shepherd Klayton Lohr, Shelby Riley Styren, Brady Clifford (Kip) Lybeck, Joplin Cory & Beckie Marquis, Belt Brian & Cynthia Roeder, Troy Hughes Family Revocable Trust, Whitefish J W Tenzer, Darby Shirley Brown Revocable, Oklahoma City OK Bar MZ Ranch LLC, Virginia City Carolynn Swalling, Tucson AZ Dr Earl & Betty Wharton, Charlo Dennis P Anderson, Missoula Kayla & Dan McAvoy, Bozeman Nikki & Bryan Guckeen, Great Falls Heath & Tracy Heggem, Great Falls Carey & Sara Linder-Parkinson, Power Todd & Amie Salisbury, Carter Lindsey & Ryan Schlicting, Bozeman Cathy & Alan Frohberg, Great Falls Tonya & Rick Crago, Ulm Yuri & Lana Kadoshnikov, Great Falls Vida & Jason Gange, Great Falls Dee Anderson, Farifield Trevor & Tracy Lewis, Vaughn Darin & Noel Osterman, Belt Dustin & Misty Erickson, Dutton Jim & Senya Jensen, Power Sue McDonald, Floweree Ryan & Mandy Rominger, Floweree

In Memoriam

Resolutions to Consider in Anticipation of Upcoming Convention/Message from the President Page 8

Barbara Mothershead Jesse Fleming James Mathews Steve Plaggemeyer Craig Parker Dallas Hagfeldt Jr. J R Johnson Melissa Wacker Judd Long Gordon Elings Gordon Elings Gordon Elings Scott Walsh Colleen Wood Bryan Jones Bryan Jones Bryan Jones Art Hoffart Andrew Luedtke Andrew Luedtke Ed Marcure MFU Camp MFU Camp MFU Camp MFU Camp Elsie Tuss MFU Camp MFU Camp MFU Camp MFU Camp MFU Camp MFU Camp MFU Camp MFU Camp MFU Camp MFU Camp MFU Camp MFU Camp

Senator Tester Awarded the Golden Triangle Page 9 2016 Convention Highlights Page 10 WFO Trip to Zambia is an Eye-Opening Experience Page 12 Meet Your 2016-2017 FFA Officers Page 13 Washington Corner Page 14 All-States Camp Brings States Together Page 15 MFU Member Champions for Community Solar Project Page 16 Arrowpeak Camp Highlights Importance of ‘Kids Just Being Kids’ Page 17 Montana Delegation Talks About Issues Important to Montanans Page 19

2

MONTANA FARMERS UNION PO BOX 2447 300 RIVER DRIVE NORTH GREAT FALLS MT 59403 PHONE: (406) 452-6406 FAX: (406) 727-8216 mfu@montanafarmersunion.com www.montanafarmersunion.com

Board of Directors: Alan Merrill, President Rollie Schlepp, Vice President, Conrad Erik Somerfeld, Secretary/Treasurer, Power Bill Courtnage, Geraldine, at-large director Brett Dailey, Jordan Ben Peterson, Judith Gap, at-large director Kelly Rutledge, Big Sandy Sig Rudie, Fairview, at-large director Paul Kanning, Flaxville Jan Tusick, Ronan

State Office Staff: Jan Johnson, Office Mgr., Assistant Secretary/Treasurer Lyndsay Bruno, Communications Director Chris Christiaens, Legislative & Project Specialist Delisa Protsman, Education Director 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


V O L U M E 2 7

J U LY / A U G U S T 2 0 1 6

LOCH & SCHAUB CHOSEN FOR THE 2016-2017 BFI CLASS B Y LY N D S AY B R U N O C O M M U N I C AT I O N S D I R E C T O R

gram,” said Justin. “It's a great program and will certainly help Montana Farmers Union is myself and the other participants pleased to announce two mem- with skills and education to enbers from Montana have been sure a stronger and more successchosen to participate in the 2016- ful future in Agriculture. I hope 2017 Beginning Farmers Institute to bring back new skills and inprogram. formation that I can share with members of MFU, but also apply Seventeen beginning farmers and them to the success and future ranchers from across the country of my family's farm and ranch to are participating. The two chosen help ensure a strong future." from Montana are Justin Loch, from Great Falls and Amanda The BFI program concentrates on Schaub of Havre. building confidence in beginning farmers and farm couples, expos“We are honored to have two es them to resources available for outstanding beginning farmers beginning farmers and provides chosen to participate in the BFI leadership training which encourprogram,” said President Alan ages participants to get involved Merrill. “They are the future of in their community. Montana agriculture and will represent our state well.” Amanda Schaub, the second Montanan selected to particiAccording to National Farmers pate in the BFI program, is from Union agriculture diversity con- Havre. She says she is elated to tinues to be a focus of the BFI be chosen. “This is an amazing program. Participants come from opportunity to grow through aga diverse background including riculture. I look forward to sharfarmers who do direct market- ing what I learn with others,” ing and participate in Community said Amanda. Supported Agriculture, and also farmers who are either starting One of Amanda’s main goals is from the ground up or are part to sharpen her financial skills to of a succession plan. prepare and plan for the future. “Farming and ranching requires Justin Loch is originally from some pretty intimidating input Dutton, the location of his family costs especially for beginners. I farm which is still operated pri- want to obtain a solid grasp on marily by his mom and dad with the reality of farm finances and help from Justin, his wife and sis- succession planning.” ter. Justin’s dad, also works for Mountain View Co-op. His fam- MFU wants to congratulate Jusily has strong ties to agriculture tin and Amanda for this remarkin Montana. He now lives with his able accomplishment, and wishes wife Brandi near Great Falls and them the very best in their jouris the Membership Director for ney participating in the BFI proMontana Farmers Union. gram! “I'm honored to be chosen to represent Montana in the BFIpro-

Justin Loch, 2016-2017 BFI participant) & wife Brandi

Amanda Schaub, 2016-2017 BFI participant

LEVI OSTBERG HIRED AS LOBBYIST B Y LY N D S AY B R U N O C O M M U N I C AT I O N S D I R E C T O R

doing case review and investigation of chemical drift/misuse. Levi also ran the waste pesticide disposal program 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 says this was the perfect opportunity to learn about the legislative process.

Levi was elected to the national board of directors of the Association of American Plant Food Control Officials. He says the lack of federal oversight of the Levi Ostberg will be joining Ja- fertilizer industry led to the decob Cowgill as a lobbyist in the velopment of this board. upcoming legislative session. Levi and his wife Kristen raise “I believe that Montana's farmers malt barley and beef on the and ranchers need a voice in the Greenfield Irrigation District be- legislature to let the legislators tween Fairfield and Power. They know how the bills they are refarm cooperatively with Levi’s viewing affect our everyday lives. parents Ron and Carol Ostberg, I also want to help educate some and Levi’s oldest brother Chris of the legislators that don't come and family. Levi worked for the from a farming background on Montana Department of Agri- what issues really affect rural culture in the pesticide program Montana.”

3


V O L U M E 2 7

L E F U R G E Y S C O N T I N U E D F RO M PA G E 1

culture in different parts of the country,” said Misty. She said she is also looking forward to meeting other women to learn about their role on the farm, and to develop leadership skills she can bring back to her community. Scott’s goals are similar in that he also wants to network with others in the industry and learn tangible leadership skills.“I agree with Misty in that it will be worthwhile to learn about other farming practices,” said Scott. “I think we will gain some valuable skills in leadership that we can apply to the farm and our community.” Scott and Misty attended their first FUE retreat at the Bluefin Bay Resort in Totte, Minnesota. Misty said they met four other couples selected for the prorgram and had the opportunity to hear from cur-

J U LY / A U G U S T 2 0 1 6

rent FUE couples. Misty said the diversity of farms in Minnesota came as a surprise.

POP UP FOOD COURT A BIG HIT IN GREAT FALLS!!

“Participating in the program will be a great experience. “We will get to see the different aspects of ag and meet other couples who know where we are at and what the lifestyle is like. One of the biggest things is advocating for policy such as fair trade that impacts the price we get for our product, and seeing if we can get things to change to help the family farm.” The 2017 FUE couples will meet throughout the year including at the National Farmers Union Annual Convention in San Diego, the National Farmers Union fly-in, and as keynote speakers at the FUE Leadership breakfast at next year’s annual convention A big thank you to Scott and Misty for providing a tour of their farm!

The Pop-Up! Food Court just celebrated its first month of operation with a variance in menu depending on the month. “What makes the Pop-Up Food Court so unique is the constantly changing menus being showcased,” said Facilities Director Dave Snuggs. “By rotating restaurants and food vendors the community gets to experience a variety of flavors.” Here is a list of the featured restaurants at the Pop-Up! Food Court for July: Mondays & Tuesdays – “Say-Cheese!”; What’s New Wednesdays Thursdays – Golden Corral! Fridays – Philly Fridays The Pop-Up! Food Court is located at 525 Central Ave on the corner of Central Avenue and 6th Street and is open 11 AM – 2 PM Monday – Friday. If you are interested in participating as a vendor call Dave Snuggs at 231-8690. Visit http://popupfoodcourt.com for details or on Facebook!

Garrett & Bailey LeFurgey

LeFurgey Farms near Loma

The “Say Cheese” crew serves up gourmet cheese sandwiches at the Pop Up! Food Court Misty and Scott have worked on the family farm for about three years alongside Scott’s parents 4


V O L U M E 2 7

J U LY / A U G U S T 2 0 1 6

SIMPLE, FROZEN JOY

A DREAM REALIZED;THE GOLDEN YOKE OPENS IN ST. IGNATIUS

B Y LY N D S AY B R U N O C O M M U N I C AT I O N S D I R E C TO R

On the Corner of Highway 93 and Mountain View Road in St.Ignatius you will find the Golden Yoke Creamery owned and operated by Laura Ginsburg and her partner Connie Surber. Laura and Connie served their first customers Memorial Day weekend. Everything is made from scratch with three simple ingredients: milk, cream and sugar.

us teaching each other what we are passionate about and truly know as we go along,” said Laura. love because while the excitement sticks around, sobering issues do As to be expected with starting arise particularly around funding, any business, Laura says there regulations, sales and projections. have been challenges in starting Also, keep your head up and build the dairy farm and creamery. It a support network of like-minded took Laura and Connie about 18 folks. We never wanted to give up months to work through all of our dream during the really tough the licensing. Laura said financ- times, but it sure helped having ing was also a big hurdle to cross. people who believed in us.” Montana Farmers Union and The Golden Yoke purchases milk the Red Ants Pants Foundation When not at work, you will find from Darigold or Meadowgold helped Connie with the finan- Laura on the farm tending to the and tries to support local dairy cial resources to attend formal animals. They have 15 cows in the farmers when able. ice cream production training at herd with a mix of milkers, young Penn State University. Laura also stock and steers. “Our cows know The journey says a Growth Through Agricul- their names and have distinct perture grant partly paid for their sonalities. We have some that are Laura says the dream of opening pasteurizer and freezers. high-strung and others that are a farm to creamery started about very low-key,” said Laura. eight years ago when they were Laura continues to work full-time living in Vermont. Laura is not away from the farm and creamery Plans for the future from a farming background, but while Connie focuses solely on dehas experience with food service. veloping and operating the cream- As for the future, Laura says Connie does have a dairy back- ery and farm. She says striking a they have plans to build a certiground. “Connie’s love is making balance with off-farm income and fied milking facility in the next incredible ice cream, and I love on-farm income has really helped. year to 18 months with the ultithe cows, so it has been a lot of “You should do something you mate goal of producing seasonal,

5

grass-based ice cream. The Golden Yoke will be open Friday to Sunday 12-9 every weekend until Labor Day. Visit http://www.thegoldenyoke.com/ for updates on the creamery and farm and follow the Golden Yoke on Facebook for frequent updates on their products and mouthwatering pictures of ice cream deserts!

Connie Surber at the Golden Yoke

.


V O L U M E 2 7

MEMBERSHIP NEWS BY JUSTIN LOCH M E M B E R S H I P D I R E C TO R

I hope everyone is enjoying their summer. Things have been busy in my department attending field days, visiting Farmers Union Insurance agents across the state, doing PR work across the state and various other activities. Recently I attended a Montana Ag Leaders meeting in Bozeman put on by Northwest Farm Credit Services. At this meeting I was asked to speak on a panel and discuss challenges and opportunities for young producers and beginning farmers. Many of the challenges I am going to discuss affect all producers, not just young or beginning producers. As many of you know low prices on commodities and livestock are making it difficult for any producer, let alone a young producer or beginning farmer, to succeed. This may raise several questions: What do I do to make it through the tough times? How do I do more with less next season? Is trying a new crop too big of a risk? How can I access more capital to upgrade equipment or take care of outstanding bills? How do I get greater access to land with the goal of producing more crops or running more livestock? Each producer’s situation

J U LY / A U G U S T 2 0 1 6

varies but, at the end of the day keeps the producer’s interest in it’s still a struggle. mind. Their staff comes from ag backgrounds so they understand While I don’t have great an- producers and what they are swers to these questions, there working towards. Farm Service are some opportunities that may Agency through the USDA has be of some help. First and fore- several programs and funds availmost, being a member of Mon- able to help producers out. tana Farmers Union is a great It’s important to remember that first step. Through MFU there funds are limited and producers are programs and opportunities need to get into the office ASAP that can be valuable to you as a and develop a relationship with member. staff in order to get enrolled in a program that best fits your needs. Education is provided throughout the year which can help mem- In closing, I can’t stress enough to bers. Some recent areas MFU has get involved with MFU and other worked on include climate change, agencies. In doing this you as a water rights, alternative energy, producer will have a support sysalternative crops, the farm bill, tem that can give you direction. crop insurance, livestock handling MFU supports family farms and and other hot agriculture topics. is invested in helping our member succeed. Today one farmer feeds Our Young Producers Conference 167 people. We need producers provides producers up-to-date in- of all backgrounds to help put formation on several areas such food on our tables today and in as finance, technology, succes- the future. I wish everyone a good sion planning, new cropping and rest of the summer and bountiful pulses, soil health and livestock. and safe harvest season. MFU works at the state and national level to create policy driven Membership Benefit by members. Changes

bership when they become available. 2. From the General Ag Group at Montana State Fund. Please call the MFU office with any questions regarding this and we will do our best to help you.

ACCIDENTAL DEATH & DISMEMBERMENT INSURANCE BENEFIT DISCONTINUED National Farmers Union has informed MFU that it recently discovered an IRS ruling which states that 501(c)(5) general farm organizations are prohibited from purchasing individual benefits for its membership.

NFU has advised state organizations that have been purchasing AD&D insurance through NFU’s group policy, or directly to check with their financial/legal departments about compliance with this From developed policy MFU lob- We now have a discount for MFU IRS determination to avoid any bies on behalf of members to members through Verizon Wire- potential jeopardy of 501(c)(5) work on tough issues for the ben- less. This discount is good for tax status. efit of all our producers. Through up to 20 percent off your monthMFU, NFU, and CHS there is the ly bill. To get this discount you Based on this information, MFU Beginning Farmers Institute. This need to be the primary person is no longer able to provide this is a year-long program designed on the account. Take your MFU benefit. to educate and provide support membership card into any Verifor producers. This program cov- zon store and ask them to apply ers a variety of educational topics this to your account. If you have while also focusing on leadership questions please feel free to call LOSS PREVENTION and creating a successful working me at the MFU office. GRANT MONEY operation. Due to a ruling by the state in- The Livestock Loss Board is anOutside of MFU producers need surance commission members nouncing the availabity of grant to be informed and check into will no longer be able to receive funds through the state that can other programs and agencies the 4 percent State Fund policy be used for wolf and grizzly bear for assistance. Northwest Farm premium. However members will loss prevention projects. Credit Services(NWFCS) has loan be able to receive dividends from programs with low interest that two sources in the future: The board is accepting grant apare designed to help the producer plications through August 12. Apaccess capital and gain education. 1.Members can participate in an plications are available at www.llb. This can help set a producer up Agri-Safety Program. Dates and mt.gov. for success early on. NWFCS locations will be given to mem-

6


V O L U M E 2 7

J U LY / A U G U S T 2 0 1 6

SUMMER EDUCATION PROGRAMS BENEFICAL TO STUDENTS OF ALL AGES B Y D E L I S A P ROT S M A N E D U C AT I O N D I R E C T O R

Agriculture is a big, bewildering word for adults, let alone children. Technically speaking, the lessons are centered on agriculture topics. However, through a second-grader’s eyes, he is learning the lifecycle of a butterfly and how they help to grow our food through a process called pollination. A fifth-grade girl learns how plants are grown without soil using hydroponics.

new topic each Wednesday courtesy of the Montana Farmers Union. This program offers free lunch for kids so they don’t have to go hungry while school is out. Lunch is served in several parks throughout the city as well as at East Middle School.

Weekly lessons are also being provided to preschool children in response to the Farm to Early Childhood Education Initiative. These types of lessons have been This grants the opportunity to occurring the last two years and reach kids even earlier than we the programs continue to grow. have before. In an attempt to expand the reach Educational lessons were providof the youth programs, MFU ed to 1,850 elementary and middle Participants in these summer proeducational lessons have been school students during the 2015- grams will learn about the butterperformed in classrooms and af- 2016 school year. And a number fly lifecycle and how they help to ter school programs for a couple of great opportunities will contin- pollinate our food. In another lesof years now. These lessons have ue throughout the summer. These son, they will learn how bees polprovided valuable information to programs are likely to expand that linate and make a beeswax candle. school aged children throughout reach upwards of 3,500 kids be- They will learn how to grow food the school year. They have given fore school resumes this fall. The hydroponically and make their children a clearer understanding participants of the summer lunch own system. They will learn the of agriculture as it relates to their program through the Great Falls process of how wheat is grown Public Schools will learn about a until it becomes bread. They will world. Hole Sponsors: Blackfoot Telephone Co-op, Missoula; BryantArrotta Insurance, Great Falls; Bud Daniels Family, Great Falls, Douglas Wilson & Co., Great Falls; Farmers Union Insurance, Great Falls; Flathead Electric Coop, Kalispell; GTO Farms, Big Sandy; Hill County Electric/Central MT Communications, Havre; Montana Farmers Union; Mountain View Co-op, Great Falls; MSU College of Ag, Bozeman; MT Council of Co-ops; MT Electric Cooperatives’ Association, Great Falls; MT Federal Credit Union, Great Falls; MT Telecominception which has been desA Special thank you to the folmunications Association; Northignated for the co-op curriculm west Farm Credit Services, Great scholarship program.The results lowing sponsors: Falls; RBC Wealth Management, of the tournament are as follows: Eagle Sponsors: 3 Rivers Tele- Great Falls--Steve Yanuszka/ phone Co-op, Fairfield and Steel Amy Strom; Sun River Electric Flight 1: 1st place: Tom Barker, Etc. of Great Falls Co-op, Fairfield; Teton BanksKevin Good, Robbie Ekins, Brian Olson; 2nd place: Tony Clark, Chas Patterson, Andy Passmore, Spencer Ratliffe; 3rd place: Reggie Voiles, Gary Swartz, Jack GilThe 24th annual Ralph Park- lespie, Wally Berry er Memorial Golf Tournament was held June 18 at the Harvest Flight 2: 1st place: Everett Hills Golf Club. The tournament Koivisto, Patti Koivisto, Nanraised $5,000 in scholarship funds nette Kangas, Lee Kangas; 2nd for students enrolled in the Co- place: Jack Anderson, Dean Anop Curriculum at Montana State derson, Randy Howard, Pete Balzarini; 3rd place: Bruce Kempf, University. Dale Thomas, Rick Fenton, Carla This brings the total raised to Wood Jack Howard, Jeff Howard, $126,000 since the tournaments Jerry Anderson, George Lane

GOLF TOURNAMENT RAISES FUNDS FOR CO-OP EDUCATION

7

make their own butter, learn about seed growing patterns and how to make mozzarella cheese. Most importantly they will have a more intimate picture of where their food comes from and the factors important to food production. In turn, they will be planting the seed for food advocacy. As you can see, momentum is gaining quickly as more kids learn about where their food comes from and word spreads about MFU’s valuable educational programming. If you know a group that might be interested in a lesson, please feel free to contact the office to schedule a lesson. Lessons can be altered to suit varying groups, venues, and age levels. All supplies are also included. We provide everything needed as well so there is no cost to the group. Please contact me should you have any questions or would like to schedule a visit.

Fairfield/Choteau/Sun River Valley; Thomas Kopp, Great Falls; Triangle Telephone Co-op, Havre. Additional sponsors: Ameriprise, David Milkovich A big thank you to the organizations and individuals on the Parker Golf Planning Committee who support this cooperative effort: Flip Zeren, Northwest Farm Credit Services; Karl Dorr, Thrivent Financial; Bob Fields and Kerri Bekker, Montana Farmers Union Insurance; Ryan Hall, Montana Electric Cooperatives’ Association; Jan Johnson, Montana Farmers Union; Jim Parker and Ethel Parker.


V O L U M E 2 7

A MESSAGE FROM THE PRESIDENT.... PLANNING FOR THE FUTURE IS KEY TO SUCCESS FOR PRODUCERS

The price the farmer and rancher receives for commodities today makes rural living very interesting to say the least. I did not think that we would ever see below three dollar winter wheat or cattle prices bouncing all over the place like we are seeing today. This was something that has happened in the past, something I never wanted to see again, but today there is no stability to show our next generation of famers and ranchers why they should pursue this way of life. I don’t want to sound negative in this article, but instead my hope is to point out some of the ramifications of agriculture instability. This way you can plan for the future knowing what will happen if commodity prices stay low for long. A downturn in the agriculture economy affects the state and national economy as agriculture is still Montana’s number one industry. When commodity prices

J U LY / A U G U S T 2 0 1 6

are down farmers and rancher hunker down and try to weather the storm of poor prices. So, why would an educated young person want to go into farming or ranching with these huge obstacles in their way?

The poor farm economy has hit the dairy industry in catastrophic ways. Wisconsin is losing a dairy farm each day and California is losing two dairies a week. The dairy industry needs help now, not next year. NFU and MFU support a dairy summit to gather The trickle down effect of low support for some kind of disaster prices on the rest of the agricul- payment to prevent farms from tural community has an even larg- going out of business. er impact. Farmers and ranchers will buy minimum products and What really cuts deep is the fact equipment to run their opera- that for some small family farms tions. They will make due with that have been in existence for just getting by. Machinery dealers, generations the future is grim. fertilizer dealers, auto dealers and Their family’s history is on that the whole agriculture industry will land and for some it will be hard feel the pinch. People will be laid- to hold onto the farm. Both the off and there will be large con- husband and the wife have to solidations of dealerships. This work off the farm to make a livwill mean less competition. Farm- ing and help with the up-keep and ers and ranchers will pay what is business of the farm/ranch with demanded of one company. the possibility that these efforts may not be enough to save their The banking industry will demand farm forcing a sale. This hapmore from the farmer and ranch- pened in the 80’s with low comer in order to receive an operat- modity prices and high interest ing loan to run your operation. A rates. Despite low interest rates young farmer/rancher will need on operating capital, the contina co-signer or a guaranteed loan ued low prices and limited finanfrom FSA in order to complete cial support create a bleak future. the operating loan. Always remember the farmer/ In today’s world the money for rancher does not set the price he guaranteed loans or even a direct needs to operate his farm/ranch. loan runs out of funding because Supply and demand does. We at of the high demand, as is the case Montana Famers Union are stayright now. If the bank lends you ing on point of these drastic times an operating loan to run your farm in agriculture. We are on top of in today’s market you will end up legislation at the national level to with only 60-70 percent of what help secure more funding for FSA you actually need. Now emotion- loan programs. We are doing evally you begin to wonder why you erything possible to keep the famwant to be a farmer/rancher. The ily farmers/ranchers on the land. pressure impacts family life and the welfare of each member. We do not want to see members forced to sell a farm or ranch that Currently in some of the biggest has been in the family for generawheat states the winter wheat tions or allow out-of-state corpocrop was excellent running 80- rations to buy up these operations. 90 bushel per acre, but with 7-8 Montana Farmers Union remains percent protein. The famers were committed to family farm agriculoffered $1.75 per bushel. This is ture. We will continue to fight for nice production, but the price is you! like a slap in the face.

8

RESOLUTIONS AT FOREFRONT OF CONVENTION BY CHRIS CHRISTIAENS L E G I S L AT I V E & S P E C I A L P RO J E C T S

Somehow the first six months of the year have evaporated and we are looking forward to the upcoming 101st Cnvention of Montana Farmers Union. Be sure to save the date as October 2122 at the Heritage Inn in Great Falls. When noting this on your calendar, consider the meeting of your county or local to discuss resolutions for submission to the Resolutions Committee. Chairman Paul Kanning and members will be holding a phone conference within the next few weeks to consider new policies to be presented at the convention. There are a number of potential topics to consider during your local meeting such as the following: • Agriculture Tourism • Pollinators: As there are growing issues in Montana and nationally as there continue to be die-offs of bees and loss of habitat. In Montana beekeepers have found it difficult to protect their hives from bear populations and have found it an expensive extra cost to put up electric fences to fend off the bruins. • Water: Montana will always be important and vary from one part of the state to the other. Water rights, exempt wells and tribal compacts are important wanter issues. The state’s water plan and status of the St Mary’s Canal system may be a top priority as the water makes its way across the Hi-Line and the Milk River. C O N T I N U E D PA G E 1 5


V O L U M E 2 7

J U LY / A U G U S T 2 0 1 6

CHOUTEAU COUNTY FARMERS UNION PRESENTS GOLDEN TRIANGLE AWARD TO SENATOR TESTER

G

Join us September 17 in Inverness at Bangs Family Farms for 5K on the Farm! New this year is the addition of a 10K race, family/team group rates and more prizes and awards! Lunch will be provided. There will also be the option of doing a virtual run. Register at runsignup.com & follow 5K on the Farm on Facebook. A big thank you to the Bangs family for organizing this event!

BUSINESS BOOSTERS A big welcome to our newest business booster:Graphix Boss of Great Falls & a big thank you to RBC Wealth Management Steve Yanuszka and Amy Strom, Lewistown Honda & Jim Taylor Motors for their continued support!

Senator Jon Tester accepts Golden Triangle Award from Chouteau County Farmers Union President Tom Clark Chouteau County Farmers Union President Tom Clark presented Senator Jon Tester with the coveted Golden Triangle Award in Fort Benton at the Grand Union in June. The event was well attended by the community which included members of the Chouteau County Farmers Union.

son for it,” said Senator Tester. “I very much respect Farmers Union’s perspective on issues in agriculture because they come in and talk about issues that are real. That makes it a lot easier when we are advocating for policies in Washington D.C.”

The Golden Triangle Award is presented to members of Congress who have demonstrated leadership and who support policies that benefit America’s family farmers, ranchers, fishermen and rural communities. The Golden Triangle Award is National Farmers Union’s highest legislative honor. Senator Tester has received the honor eight times. “I was a Farmers Union member before I was elected to any office along with my grandparents and parents, and there is a rea-

The Golden Triangle Award is based on NFU’s symbol – a triangle with legislation and cooperation forming the sides and education as the base. The Golden Triangle Awards have been presented every year since 1988.

Senator Tester talked about his “As the number of farmers has work on the Senate Agriculture decreased so has our voice in Committee and issues he sees Washington,” said Tom. “It’s so as important including a labelimportant to have someone in ag- ing system, agribusiness, research riculture who stands up for us, it’s and Canada’s current wheat gradreally beneficial.” ing system.

9


V O L U M E 2 7

J U LY / A U G U S T 2 0 1 6

SAVE THE DATE!!!

Oct. 21-22 in Great Falls

Mark your calendar for the Montana Farmers Union Annual Convention Oct. 21-22 in Great Falls at the Heritage Inn. This year’s theme is: “Cultivating Healthy Communities.” The convention will offer a variety of workshops including the use of drones in agriculture, water rights, pulse crops and a market forecast, to name a few. Dr. Joe Outlaw with Texas A & M University will be the Farmers Union Insurance luncheon keynote. The Plowed Under Band will be Friday night’s entertainment, and triathelete Eric McElvenny will be the youth luncheon keynote speaker on Saturday. Registration details to come! Follow us on Facebook, Twitter & Instagram for convention updates!

Dance to the Plowed Under Band Friday night!

ERIC MCELVENNY TO BE KEYNOTE AT SATURDAY’S YOUTH LUNCHEON

Montana Farmers Union is pleased to announce former marine and triathelete Eric Mcelvenny will be the keynote speaker at this year’s youth banquet.

niques he used to reach the finish line could be used against the challenges we all entertain. Visit Eric’s website at ericmcelvenny.com for more on his story and clips of his speeches!

Eric is an endurance athlete now living in San Diego, California. He earned a mechanical engineering degree from the United States Naval Academy while preparing for his service as a Marine Corps Infantry Officer. Eric deployed three times as a Marine and on his final tour, an incredible experience in Helmand Province, Afghanistan, was wounded after stepping on an IED. Eric suffered the amputation of his right leg below the knee, a life-changing opportunity that began his next journey. Faced with a physical challenge and an uncertain future, Eric made a promise to himself to run an Ironman Triathlon. On his journey from the hospital bed in southern California to the finish line in Kona Hawaii, he realized that the challenge and adversity he was up against and the tech-

10

Eric lives with his wife Rachel and three children in San Diego, CA.


V O L U M E 2 7

J U LY / A U G U S T 2 0 1 6

why wheatwhy works wheat works

re is a simple There science is a to simple why we science chosetotowhy make we cat chose to make cat r from 100 percent litter from wheat. 100 When percent the wheat. wheatWhen is ground, the wheat is ground, manufacturing the process manufacturing exposesprocess starch and exposes enzymes starch and enzymes t contribute to that ourcontribute sWheat product. to our sWheat The 100 product. percentThe 100 percent degrad-able wheat biodegrad-able enzymes wheat neutralize enzymes odor while neutralize the odor while the ch helps with starch clumping. helps So, withwith clumping. wheat, So, we with havewheat, we have naged to make managed life better to make for cats, lifepeople, better for andcats, the planet. people, and the planet.

ps fast

t blink.

give yourself the gift of sWheat Perks

Signing up for sWheat Perks means you receive a monthly e-newsletter with exclusive promotions, coupons, and expert advice from our resident veterinarian Dr. Justine Lee. It’s free, full of natural lifestyle articles; cute cats, an inside look at new products, contests and more!

all-natural cat litter

clumps stops odors fast clumps fast

Smell that? Don’tNeither blink. do we.

chemical-free stops odors powerful odor Smell Nothat? ick toNeither make usdo we. control sick.

chemical-free biodegradable biodegradable

To sign up, visit sWheatScoop.com/sign-up today. biodegradable

Now Noyou ick see to make it, now usyou sick.don’t. Now you see it, now you don’t.

©2016 Pet Care Systems. sWheat Scoop is a registered trademark of Pet Care Systems. SS3283. sWheatscoop.com

no chemicals, no chemicals, no clay, no no worries clay, no worries sWheat Scoop’s natural sWheat wheat enzymes Scoop’s neutralize natural wheat odorenzymes on neutralize odor on contact, and its wheat starches contact,clump and itsfirmly wheat forstarches easy scooping. clump firmly for easy scooping. Add that it’s biodegradable, Addchemical-free that it’s biodegradable, and clay-free, chemical-free and and clay-free, and 1 1 of. you’ve got yourself the litter you’ve dreams got yourself are made theof. litter dreams are made

eat©2016 ScoopPet is aCare registered Systems. trademark sWheatof Scoop Pet Care is a registered Systems. SS3283. trademark sWheatscoop.com of Pet Care Systems. SS3283. sWheatscoop.com


V O L U M E 2 7

A MESSAGE FROM THE PRESIDENT....

WFO TRIP HIGHLIGHTS SIMILARITIES & DIFFERENCES IN AGRICULTURE

Alan Merrill, Montana Farmers Union President; Darin Von Ruden,Wisconsin Farmers Union President; Roger Johnson, National Farmers Union President; Mark Watne, North Dakota Farmers Union President; Doug Peterson, Minnesota Farmers Union President In May I had the pleasure of attending the 6th General Assembly of the World Farmers’ Organisation(WFO) in Livingstone, Zambia along with Farmers Union presidents from Minnesota, Wisconsin, North Dakota and the national office. The fourday event concentrated on many of the challenges farmers face on a daily basis including market access, technology, climate change, women in agriculture, food insecurity and access to land for producers. The theme of the assembly was “Partnership of Growth,” by which delegates evaluated WFO’s current challenges and potential future actions by the organization on timely issues facing agriculture all across the world. The event was attended by many high-level officials including the Minister of Agriculture of Zambia and senior UN officials. In addition farmers and policy makers from all over the world came together for the four-day event. Director General of the Food and Agriculture Organization ( FAO) Jose Graziano Da Silva outlined a strategic plan and the partnership between WFO and FAO. In addition to a variety of workshops

J U LY / A U G U S T 2 0 1 6

on many of the WFO mandates including land tenure, access to land, and ways to adapt to the changing climate, I was afforded the opportunity to visit villages which provided a great perspective on how different agriculture is in developing countries like Zambia compared to the United States. In developing countries priorities of farmers is much different. Instead of producing for the masses there is greater concentration on producing for the family. It is a major cultural difference in agriculture when talking about developed verses developing countries. All in all, the experience was an eye-opening one. I thought the participation from local farmers created balanced discussions and a great exchange of differences while all the while maintaining on a real focus on the issues that affect farmers all over the world. I found that although there are many differences between the farmland of our great state, we also share a lot of challenges. It is my hope that events like this one will help pave the way for greater dialogue and collaboration between WFO partners.

A well put in & paid for by a tourist works during the wet season.When it dries villagers walk four miles for water; photo credit Lorrie Merrill

Home and courtyard of a goat farmer; photo credit Lorrie Merrill

Many families sell food right outside their huts for income; photo credit Lorrie Merrill 12


V O L U M E 2 7

J U LY / A U G U S T 2 0 1 6

MEET YOUR 2016-2017 FFA OFFICERS!! Montana Farmers Union wants to congratulate the 2016-2017 FFA Officers! The Montana FFA Association is represented by eight state officers who travel across the state with the goal of promoting leadership and career success by meeting with stakeholders in agriculture. A big thank you to Ashley Koenig, Albert Koenig and Brock Reiner for sharing their story with us!

Ashley Koenig - Belgrade What will be your focus as an officer? As an officer, I would like to focus on increasing opportunities to all members, and making sure that there is a place for every student and chapter to thrive. In addition, I would like to increase sponsorships of the Montana FFA, as it truly is an investment into the future of Agriculture. These sponsorships don't necessarily have to be monetary, as time and experience are equally as valuable to FFA students. I hope to implement an internship or work study type of program for high school students with agricultural companies. What do you like best about being involved in FFA Leaders FFA has allowed me to get to know myself and my strengths and weaknesses through high school, and now I am honored to play a part in helping others discover who they are. FFA has allowed me the opportunity to grow, improve, learn, travel, serve, and shine. Opportunity comes in unique forms for every individual, and I am proud to call my FFA experience my own. I like the diversity in FFA, even though we are all brought together by a common passion for agriculture.

Convention in the Horse Evaluation Contest as well as the FarFFA Officers, left-right: Jake Michels, Brock Reiner, Albert Koenig, Ashley Koenig, CJ Stevenson, Kacie Cummings, Jon Andres and Josh Meyer What do you see for the future of Montana agriculture? The future of Montana agriculture is bright, as more students are choosing to be involved in Ag Education and FFA. I think that the importance of all types of talent needs to be shown in agriculture, as farming is not nearly the whole realm. Computers and technology continue to play an an increasingly large role in agriculture, as well as scientific discoveries in genetic engineering and mechanical engineering. I see Montana agriculture continuing to thrive and remain a large employment opportunity within the state. What has been your biggest accomplishment, whether in or outside of FFA? Inside of FFA, I have had the honor of competing at National

Business Management Competition. This fall, I will go back again to compete in Extemporaneous Speaking after winning the state competition at the 2016 FFA State Convention.I am looking forward to competing in the national convention. That it is quite an accomplishment considering that there were so many outstanding speakers at state convention that I was up against. Outside of FFA, I am proud to say that I have trained and competed in rodeos with my horse, Sage, one most noteable was winning the Fast Calf Series in the Breakaway Roping in 2015. What advice would you give to youth considering agriculture as a career field? Agriculture is a sustainable and stable industry. Agriculture plays

a large role in the economy, and allows residents to stay in the state to work. Agriculture is a diverse industry, so there is something available for people of all talents and skill sets. Today's youth are the future of agriculture, and I would highly encourage them to pursue a career in agriculture.

Albert Koenig – Belgrade What will be your focus as an officer? I would like to focus on improving agricultural education and FFA programs in our state that are not currently realizing the full potential of what our organization has to offer. I want to ensure that every member has ample opportunity to develop themselves in order to make their programs and their communities stronger. C O N T I N U E D O N PA G E 1 8

13


V O L U M E 2 7

RO G E R J O H N S O N PRESIDENT N AT I O N A L F A R M E R S U N I O N

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has once again proposed Renewable Fuel Standard target obligations below their statutory levels, undermining the Administration’s climate agenda. The U.S. International Trade Commission released a highly anticipated economic assessment of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) in May, forecasting minimal economic gains and an increase in the U.S. trade deficit. NFU, along with the American Antitrust Institute and Food & Water Watch are calling on the U.S. Department of Justice to challenge the merger of Dow Chemical Co. and DuPont Co. The U.S. Department of Agriculture is coming to the relief of cotton producers by providing $300 million in costshare assistance payments.

J U LY / A U G U S T 2 0 1 6

are often overstatedly positive, which is why it is striking that the USITC’s “optimistic” results only project minimal economic gains for TPP. The commission’s asry volume levels set by Congress. sessment that the U.S. GDP will increase just 0.15 percent over NFU is deeply disappointed tosee the next 16 years, while at the the EPA undermine the RFS once same time increasing our massive again by falling significantly short trade deficit, should raise serious of the statute with their pro- alarms about the proposed beneposed volume obligations, which fits of this trade agreement. Even does not track with other admi- agriculture, which is often touted rable, important advances on cli- as the most beneficially impacted mate that the Administration has sector of the economy, is only esmade. timated to see a half percent gain over 15 years if the deal is passed. Farmers and ranchers understand Read the Washington Corner in the impacts that climate change its entirety by visiting nfu.org. has on the planet, environmental resources, and their ability to feed a growing world population. USING A HOMESTEAD The investments made in renewDECLARATION TO able fuels and advanced biofuels have helped bridge a divide be- PROTECT tween agriculture’s current envi- YOUR HOME FROM ronmental impact and the climate CREDITORS goals that the Administration has set forth – goals that the U.S. M O N T G U I D E E X C E R P T A R T I C L E B Y M A R S H A A . G O E T T I N G , P H . D. , cannot meet without the partici- C F P ® , C F C S , P R O F E S S O R A N D pation of our family farmers and E X T E N S I O N F A M I LY E C O N O M I C S ranchers. S P E C I A L I S T ; K E R I H AY E S , P U B L I C A Unfortunately, this action by the T I O N S A S S I S TA N T ; M S U - B O Z E M A N EPA comes at a time when economic distress is increasing in In Montana, up to $250,000 in asfarm country, and the half-heart- sessed value of a home or ed proposal from EPA will add to mobile home can be protected that distress. NFU is urging the against most creditors’ claims if Administration to return the vol- the owner files a homestead decume obligations to their statutory laration. After the homestead levels in the final rule. Comments declaration form is completed, to the EPA’s proposed rule were signed and notarized, it should be filed in the office of the clerk due July 11. and recorder in the county in which the home or mobile home is USITC: TPP To Increase located. If married, both spouses Trade Deficit should sign the declaration.

EPA Proposes Low RFS Target The U.S. International Trade Levels Commission (USITC) released their highly-anticipated economic The U.S. Environmental Protec- assessment of the widely contion Agency (EPA) has proposed tested Trans-Pacific Partnership Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) (TPP) trade agreement in May, renewable volume obligations predicting minimal gains for the (RVOs) for 2017 at 18.8 billion overall economy and an increase gallons, which fall more than 5 in the United States’ already masbillion gallons below the statuto- sive trade deficit. These reports

What is a homestead? A homestead is the house or mobile home that a person lives in and land on which it sits. The property must be a person’s primary residence for it to be eligible for a homestead declaration. Homestead declaration form The State of Montana Law Libr 14

ary has forms available for download at http://www.courts. mt.gov/library/topic/end_life. mcpx. An attorney can also help a person execute a homestead declaration.

HEADS UP, MONTANA... DO YOU NEED TO FILE ON YOUR WATER RIGHTS? B Y DA N A E L I A S P E P P E R

In the 1980s and 1990s, farmers and ranchers across Montana filed Statements of Claim with the Department of Natural Resources & Conservation (DNRC) on their pre-1973 water rights. Water Users who failed to file Statements of Claim by the filing deadlines lost their water rights. An exception to this filing requirement was that water users could voluntarily, but were not required to, file on their individual domestic or stock water rights from instream or groundwater sources.

SB 355...

Senate Bill 355 was passed in the 2013 legislative session. This bill opened up another filing period for individual domestic or stock water rights from instream or groundwater sources. In other words, if you have individual domestic or stock water rights from instream or groundwater sources that were put to beneficial use prior to July 1, 1973, NOW is the time to file on them. Here are two important advantages to filing on these rights: • First, by filing your claims, you are able to enforce your rights. • Second, you will be entitled toreceive notice of various water right proceedings in your basin. C O N T I N U E D O N PA G E 1 9


V O L U M E 2 7

RESOLUTIONS CONTINUED F RO M PA G E 8 • TPP ( Trans Pacific Partnership) • Montana Department of Livestock funding • Veterinary diagnostic laboratory • Farm safety including use of off road vehicles • Drones and the use of same as applicable to agriculture • Commodity prices • Financial difficulties for producers • GMO labeling • Climate changes • Specialty crops and pulse check-off • Pesticide handling and training for applicators • Beginning farmers and veterans • Healthy soils and cover cropping • Coal production and oil and gas exploration issues. It is important to remember that the policies of Montana Farmers Union come from the grassroots members across this broad and diverse state. The policy statements are presented to the members attending the annual convention and direct any and all comments and lobbying efforts during the 2017 session of the Montana Legislature. Our policies which are posted on our website are easily read by the public at large and when media call for statements, we go directly to the current policy adopted by you the members or we do not comment. Please assist in developing the policies by which we operate for the year 2017. Those potential points mentioned above are meant as a starting point for you to consider in addition to those specific to your locale.

J U LY / A U G U S T 2 0 1 6

ALL STATES CAMP FOCUSES ON COOPERATION AND TEAM WORK

camps a little bit. This gives us and our states a presence at these camps even when we can’t be there in person.

Cooperation was also a big part of our week, as it always is in Farmers Union. We all worked I didn’t know a single person that I would be together to help camp flow smoothly. I always spending the week with when I showed up had someone there encouraging me and buildat All-States. This type of situation is typi- ing me up, helping me to be a better version cally intimidating, but this time it was differ- of myself. We all need people like this in our ent. The people who walked into my life at All life, and people like this are easy to find in the -States were not strangers. They were part of Farmers Union family. my Farmers Union family. It was kind of like finally getting to meet the extended family I Alex Farber, a member of this year’s National always knew I had, but was never able to put Youth Advisory Council, shared a quote from a face to. I knew that I could be my true and Miriam Adney. “You will never be completely honest self and they would still be my family at home again, because part of your heart will at the end of the day. always be elsewhere. That is the price you pay for the richness of loving and knowing peo“Broadening Horizons” was the camp theme. ple in more than one place.” This quote could We had lots of in-depth conversations about not have been more fitting for our time at All stepping outside our comfort zones. Coming States. The love we developed for each other to camp was a step outside of the comfort after only a few short days was incredible, but zone for many, myself included. We really dove it also made saying goodbye incredibly hard. into this topic and reflected on how leaving Going home was also leaving home. Knowing our comfort zones helps us grow as people that it is unlikely that we will all be together and leads to us living fuller lives. Through- in the same place at the same time again is out the week we practiced traditions that we a sad reality, but that doesn’t mean that we all shared, learned about those of other state won’t ever see each other again. The bonds we camps, and shared the ones that were unique formed throughout the week are deep-rooted to our own camps. Some were serious, others and real. We won’t all stay in the same places were silly, and all were cherished. Every time I forever; many of our paths will cross again heard the words “I’m bringing this back to my and we will pick up right where we left off, camp,” it made me feel like we were all a little just like you always do with family. more connected. Through the sharing done at All-States, we all influenced each other’s BY ANNIE SHANE

ATTENTION MEMBERS!!! Each year MFU takes members to Washington D.C. for what is referred to as the National Farmers Union fly-in. This is where Farmers Union membersfrom all over the country come together to advocate for policy by meeting with members of congress. You don’t have to be an expert in policy, just a desire to make your voice heard! If you are interested in learning more, contact the MFU office today!

All-States Camp; Bailey, Colorado; NFU Education Center

15


V O L U M E 2 7

J U LY / A U G U S T 2 0 1 6

COMMUNITY SOLAR PROJECTS GROWING IN POPULARITY B Y LY N D S AY B R U N O C O M M U N I C AT I O N S D I R E C T O R

Laurie Lohrer and her husband Roger moved to Montana several years ago from Seattle in search of a slower pace of life. In 2003, they purchased a farm 15 miles NW of Lewistown. Both were born in Seattle and worked in the commercial fishing industry. Now retired, the couple is involved in numerous organizations. Laurie is chair of the Central Montana Resource Council which is a local affiliate of the Northern Plains Resource Council. One initiative of the local grassroots organization is to advocate for clean energy which includes supporting the development of a possible community solar project. Last year the Central Montana Resource Council held a free community seminar in Lewistown on solar energy. The event was sponsored by Montana Farmers Union, MSU Fergus Extension and Northern Plains Resource Council. Attendees learned how solar fits into today’s rural communities and the long-term benefits of clean energy. Laurie’s commitment to clean energy extends beyond her work with the Central Montana Resource Council. She and Roger installed a 66 panel solar array on their steel building roof three years ago. Laurie says it was the best business decision they ever made.” It was important to us,” said Laurie. “We wanted solar panels because we thought it made economic sense to control energy costs and reduce our carbon footprint.” Laurie and Roger purchased and paid for the installation of the 15K watt system and signed an interconnection agreement with Fergus Electric Cooperative. In the summer months the Lohrer’s produce more electricity than they can use. The excess is transmitted back to Fergus Electric and banked for use in the winter months using a net metering system. Laurie and Roger use propane to supplement during the cold months and installed a geothermal heat pump using well water fed by a nearby creek that is 68 degrees year round. Laurie and Roger are very pleased with their system and feel great about the positive contribution they are making to further the mission of clean energy, but have their sights set

on the bigger picture of supporting development of a possible community solar project with Fergus Electric Cooperative. First Community Solar Project in Montana The trend and benefits of solar energy are catching on. Montana now has three electric co-ops that operate community solar projects. Flathead Electric Co-op in Kalispell is the first to do so. Their program, known as the Solar Utility Network or (SUN), provides members with the opportunity to purchase a panel or panels located on property owned by Flathead Electric. Members then receive a Lohrer in front of her garage where solar monthly credit on their electric bill for elec- Laurie panels cover the structure’s roof tricity generated by their panel(s) purchased. For members who rent, or don’t have the environment necessary to generate solar energy, “For us, the system was worth the initial inthey can purchase panels located on Flathead vestment. The price of panels has come down significantly in the last few years, but we still Electric’s property. don’t regret installing them,” said Laurie. It’s our hope that the co-op and its members can Advantages of Solar Energy develop a solar community project. It would Laurie says one of the greatest benefits of in- make a real difference for farmers and ranchvesting in on-site solar panels (those installed ers. It just makes sense. In the long run you at your residence or ranch) is the one-time 30 will save money and are helping the environpercent federal tax credit . Another benefit of ment at the same time.” solar is there are no moving parts, so the panels require little to no maintenance. The To learn more about solar energy and comLohrer’s produce more electricity than they munity solar projects visit: northernplains.org use, but Laurie has plans for the excess solar or flatheadelectric.com. electricity. Her dream car is an electric car to be powered by the couple’s solar panels.

Ribbon cutting event, Flathead Electric Co-op, photo credit Flathead Electric Co-op 16


V O L U M E 2 7

CAMP, A FAMILY TRADITION FOR KELLY

J U LY / A U G U S T 2 0 1 6

busy world, where kids are lost and coming and going, in one moment they get to just be kids.” New to camp this year is a folf course, designed by the senior campers, archery and rock rappelling. Cory says right now all the kids have on their minds is fun, but he said as they keep attending summer after summer they will be more likely to grasp the impact camp has had. The friends you meet here become family. You rely on each other. It really helps you become a better person and a better friend.” Senior Camp

Cory Kelly has attended camp for over a decade Since the age of seven Corey Kelly has been coming to camp. His brothers attended as well. In fact, attending camp is a family tradition.Cory says it’s more than just a summer camp to him.“It’s always fun no matter how old you are,” said Cory. In 1957, Montana Farmers Union bought Arrowpeak Lodge in the Highwood Mountains. Since then thousands of kids have attended camp, learning about cooperatives, developing leadership skills and making lifelong friendships. And let’s not forget about the dancing. “ Learning how to dance has been one of my farvorite parts of camp,” said Cory. “Camp offers a way for kids to learn about themselves through activities like dancing.” For Camp Director Kathryn Peterson, her first season has been a great one so far.“These kids continue to inspire me,” said Kathryn.“It actually gets me overwhelmed with joy. “In this

Junior Camp I

New to camp this year is archery

Dancing, a very popular activity at camp

It’s all about creativity & teamwork

17


V O L U M E 2 7

J U LY / A U G U S T 2 0 1 6

bridge the gap between producer and consumer so that even those who are far removed from agriculture may know the true principles that we stand for as agriculturists and realize How did you become involved in FFA? that all the different segments of the indusI have always been very competitive by nature, try are ultimately working toward a common and in my freshman year I just happened to goal: feeding the world and making an earnest be taking an introductory agriculture course living in the process. in which the first unit was focused on animal husbandry and livestock selection, and What has been your biggest accomplishcoincidentally concluded with our district’s ment, whether in or outside of FFA? livestock judging contest for FFA. Never one I would say that possibly my greatest (butto miss out on a field trip, I was excited to definitely my favorite) accomplishment was go test my knowledge while participating in placing 7th in the National FFA Farm Busian activity for a club that I technically wasn’t ness Management competition last fall at the even a member of yet! I had a lot of fun at National FFA Convention in Louisville, Kenthe event and ended up seeing many friends tucky. A high ranking was nice for sure, but that I already knew from other towns who had what made this achievement special for me joined FFA, so I was sold. was that I had convinced each of the other three members of my team (including my own What do you see for the future of Montana sister!) to join FFA in the first place, and that agriculture? because of my effort to reach out to them, I think that the future brings a great deal of we were eventually able to enjoy one of the challenge, but also a whole new world of op- greatest successes ever had by our chapter toportunity for Montana agriculture. If the past gether. and present are any indicator of the future, Montana’s agricultural producers will contin- What advice would you give to youth conue to be faced with adversity in the forms of sidering agriculture as a career field? sluggish or volatile commodity markets, un- Whether you want to be an agricultural engi predictable natural phenomena, governmental neer or a producer, you have the capability to interference, inflation, consumer distrust, and do what nobody else ever has. We have more so much more. As formidable as these cir- technology at our disposal, more knowledge cumstances may be, I am confident that we about the world around us, and more opporwill overcome them with ingenuity. I think tunity to succeed than any generation that has that we must come together as an industry to come before us. F FA C O N T I N U E D F RO M PA G E 1 3

CHESTER DAY CAMP TEACHES VALUABLE LESSONS ON COOPERATIVES

Brock Reiner- Kalispell What will be your focus as an officer? I want to focus on reaching out to those kids who are the unsung heroes of the FFA who don’t get recognized for all they do. What do you see for the future of Montana agriculture? I see that the future of agriculture in Montana is going to be bright. I know that people are going to realize how important agriculture is to everyday life. I believe technology is going to really kick in and make farming and ranching way more efficient and productive. What has been your biggest accomplishment, whether in or outside of FFA? My biggest accomplishment I would say besides my State FFA Office was receiving the position of Flathead FFA chapter president. It was big deal for me since our chapter is larger than most in Montana and you have more responsibilities with that. The thing that makes it one of my biggest accomplishments is that I really wanted that position, I made it a goal and I achieved it. What advice would you give to youth considering agriculture as a career field? I heard this once from a really great speaker I went and listened to and he said when choosing a career, pick a career that uses or is your passion. Agriculture is great because there are always so many opportunities for employment.

show on electricity safety. The day was closed by everyone telling what they liked best during the day. A big thank you to Lela for sharing!

BY LELA DIDIER

Chester Farmers Union Day Camp was held May 31 at the St. Mary’s Youth Center in Chester. Thirty campers attended. The day started with campers putting their names on bags to take home with all the things they made during the day. The first lesson was on flag etiquette. Diana Adamson gave a lesson on cooperatives. The campers made lady bugs out of golf balls before they were shown the Soil Conservation River Trailer by Gail Cicon and Dan Kultgen. They also played fun cooperative games and made butterfly houses to take home. Hill County Electric gave a great

Chester Farmers Union Day Camp, photo credit Lela Didier 18


V O L U M E 2 7

A MESSAGE FROM SENATOR STEVE DAINES

J U LY / A U G U S T 2 0 1 6

A MESSAGE FROM SENATOR JON TESTER

W AT E R R I G H T S C O N T I N U E D F RO M PA G E 1 4 Right now, I bet some of you are saying to yourselves something like: “Did I already file a Statement of Claim on my stockwater rights?” There may be some faint memory in the back of your mind of having filed a form with the DNRC on your rights. You mayvery well have filed a Statement of Claim.

Form 627...

Many of Montana’s farming and ranching families have been around for generations. But the tools they use to grow and harvest crops have been, and will continue to be, refined through research and technology to improve the efficiency and yield of their crops. It’s important that we continue to prioritize research and advancements that help Montana’s farmers feed the world. The Senate Appropriations Committee recently overwhelmingly passed an agriculture funding bill which included many important measures for Montana that I fought for. One important provision 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. I also secured increased funding for the U.S. Wheat Barley Scab Initiative to help producers fight Fusarium Head Blight, or Scab, and the profit losses that come with it. This is becoming a more serious problem for Western states like Montana.Both of these programs are important to not only agriculture in Montana, but their findings will benefit agriculture all over the world. And that’s something that we should all be extremely proud. Keep up the great work, and know that I will keep fighting for you in Washington, D.C.

As the Senate’s only working farmer, I know how important it is that laws passed in Washington support our state’s number one industry. So after hearing from producers across the state, I fought to include some important things in this year’s Agriculture Appropriations bill. This bill, which recently passed the Senate Appropriations Committee, increases investments in agricultural research by more than $70 million.This will support research into crop scourges—like Wheat Stem Sawfly and Barley Scab—that cost Montana farmers tens of millions of dollars in crop damage each year. Back in March, the Administration proposed some damaging shifts in priorities for agricultural research, which would have significantly affected Northern Plain Research Lab in Sidney—a leader in Sawfly and Scab research. I don’t have to tell you folks that these are a serious threat our bottom lines. So after grilling USDA Secretary Vilsack about his proposal and securing his commitment that the lab will remain fully staffed and operational, I worked with Montana farmers to include a provision in the bill that guarantees the research on crop pests and diseases will continue. This research will help support Montana’s $4.2 billion agriculture economy. That’s why these kinds of investments are so important, it’s not just about Montana’s producers, it’s about our economy, our western way of life, and feeding the next generation. As you’re getting ready for this year’s harvest, don’t hesitate to reach out to Jesse Anderson, my Agriculture Liaison, at (406) 449-5401 if I can help.

19

You should also be aware that you may have been one of the people that filed a 627 Form. 627 Forms were used by the DNRC for a period of time as a way of getting these claims (individual domestic or stock water rights from instream or groundwater sources) entered into the DNRC database so the water users could receive notice of water right proceedings in their basin. These 627 Forms have NOT been recognized as a proper mechanism for filing on these claims. Thus, if you filed a 627 form, you NEED TO REFILE these claims.

The process...

Like all pre-1973 water rights, these claims will be examined by the DNRC and may go through judicial proceedings at the Water Court before they are included in a Final Decree. Thus, it is important that your filings and their supporting documentation be accurate and consistent.The Montana legislature has given water users the opportunity to file on individual domestic or stock water rights from instream or groundwater sources. NOW is your time to take advantage of this opportunity and file on your rights with the DNRC. Note: Dana Elias Pepper served as a Water Master at the Montana Water Court for six years prior to starting a private practice. Pepper can be reached by phone at 406-599-7424 or by email at dana@pepperlawfirm.com

Youth Leadership Development Program Rial Gunlikson FU Insurance Whitefish Charles Monroe FU Insurance Kalispell E L Peterson Ranch Judith Gap


OUR AGENTS LIVE AND WORK NEAR YOU.

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 4 66.5146 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 65.2051 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

www.fumico.net

20

July/August edition of Montana Grassroots  
Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you