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M O N TA N A

GRASS ROOTS 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

“I thought it was awesome how inclusive the group was. The women who attended forged new relationships and obtained new perspectives on their roles as leaders in their families and communities. It was an unbelievable experience and I can't wait to do it again.”

WOMEN’S CONFERENCE PROVIDES UNIQUE COMMUNICATIONS & LEADERSHIP TRAINING SPECIFIC TO AGRICULTURE

- Amanda Schaub

“Several conference attendees told me it was a great conference for them and they loved the visioning posters and action sessions.” - Jan Tusick

PAID

GREAT FALLS, MT PERMIT NO. 93

NONPROFIT ORG US POSTAGE

Women came from all parts of the state to attend the 2017 Women’s Conference in February at Chico Hot Springs. The conference kicked off Friday night with a cocktail hour and dinner with keynote Audra Mulkern. Audra is a photographer; writer and speaker who sought to shine a spotlight on the hard working women of

agriculture all around the world. Audra is the founder of the “Female Farmer Project.” She shared her journey of documenting female farmers across the globe using in-depth stories, personal essays and portraits to give a voice to female farmers. Audra also led a photography workshop Saturday morning. Attendees learned

PAGE 5 AGENDA FOR THE 2017 PRODUCER CONFERENCE

PAGE 6 & 7 HIGHLIGHTS OF THE WOMEN’S CONFERENCE

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how to incorporate story telling with photography and social media. Saturday morning kicked off with an address by interim Director of the Montana Department of Agriculture Kim Mangold. Kim talked about the role of women CONTINUED PG. 2

PAGE 10 AG TECH SEMINAR/ PUBLIC COMMENT ON EIS REGARDING SAGE GROUSE


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

in agriculture, her background working for the state of Montana and ways women can get involved in their communities and leadership roles.“I encourage you to come forward and help shape policy by traveling to Helena during the legislative session,” said Kim. Attendee Lorrie Merrill was very touched by Kim’s presentation. “She started her talk with: “So you want to be the Director of Montana Department of Agriculture.” And she meant it,” said Lorrie. “Her stories of women in agriculture inspired us to let people know who we are. Because people in the city don’t know! She talked about choice and the enormous impact our choices make!”

sell directly through their farm store, grocery stores, and CSA. They also own a local food hub and restaurant Ellen owns a 6,000 square foot warehouse and has a warehouse manager. Her brother is the general manager of their restaurant Milk & Honey. Much of her presentation concentrated on how she and staff stay connected and organized. “ When you deal with your employees, good communication is key,” said Ellen.

Ellen went on to talk about time management and organizational tools she uses to operate her businesses including Google Sheets, Google Calendar and the app Splendo to manage tasks and events. “It is important to hire employees on trust and treat them as equals, it makes management of that employee much easFollowing breakfast Violet Green, ier. I think they respect you more MFU Youth Education Assistant, if you work side by side as well.” talked about education programs Ellen was also the keynote speakincluding Arrowpeak Camp and er at Sunday’s breakfast where she initiatives inside the classroom elaborated more on her successes including a workshop about co- and challenges associated with operatives. starting, growing and maintaining her businesses. Next up was a workshop on management skills led by Iowa farmer MFU Women’s Committee memand business owner Ellen Walsh- ber Lorrie Merrill presented the Rosmann. Ellen farms with her workshop: Don’t Fence Me In: A husband Daniel and his family in Discussion about Faith & Fences. Harlan, Iowa. They raise certified Lorrie told about her trip to Zamorganic beef and pork that they bia last year and what the experi-

Shelby Jo Long-Hammond talks about feminine and masculine communicatin styles

MARCH 2017

ence was like seeing a completely different picture of agriculture. Lorrie also talked about the publication, Vocation of the Agricultural Leader,” to inspire women to see how their faith impacts both their work in agriculture and stewardship of God’s creation. “Agriculture leaders are empowered by God,” said Lorrie. “We are his direct connection to the land. We are the most powerful one percent of the population.”

“We have societal expectations of how females are supposed to communicate in any type of work environment or relationship and how men are supposed to communicate.” She shared with the the group three ways to resolve conflict: first, determine who is in charge or in the power position; secondly identify who is right; however, Shelby said this approach can be damaging to relationships, and finally the most effective way according to Shelby Shelby Jo Long-Hammond, Pro- is, the act of negotiation. This is fessor of Communication Stud- where all goals are being fulfilled ies and Director of Forencis at which includes an open dialogue Rocky Mountain College, led a by all parties and ways to solve session on how to resolve con- the problem are reached. flict. Shelby’s first piece of advice was to not think of totally elimi- Following the communications nating conflict, but about ways to workshop was luncheon keynote be more constructive with it.“I speaker Laura Garber who talked want you to think about, how can about her operation, Homestead I grow from conflict and improve Organics Farm, her youth internthose relationships.” ship program and the film documentary about the internship proShelby talked about sources of gram, Cultivating Connections. conflict including interpersonal and interdependence. Interper- After lunch, Saturday afternoon sonal communication is an ex- included a workshop on self-dechange of information between fense led by Brigitte Schultz of two or more people. Interdepen- Three Rivers Defense, a vision dence communication is a mu- board workshop led by Laura tual reliance between two or more Garber and women’s committee groups. Shelby associated this members Katie Bangs and Jan with the agriculture community. Tusick. and went on to talk about the different communication character- W O M E N ’ S C O N . C O N T I N U E D P G 6 istics between men and women.

Lorrie Merrill talks Faith & Fences during her Saturday morning workshop 2


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WELCOME NEW MEMBERS!!! Mem ber

Re c r u ite d b y

Tanner & Caitlin Anderson, Dodson Mark Newby Irrevocable Trust, Dodson Patrick Bailey, Laurel Dallas & Karen Gaskill, Volborg Bill & Iva Murch, Glasgow Robert & Laurie Sazama, Glendive Harold & Carol Watts, Miles City Bruce & Kim Ferguson, Fort Peck War Canyon Ranch Inc., Billings Theodore & Robbin Guis, Bozeman Tim & Deb Cuchine, Billings Earl & Kathleen Linger, Laurel Gary Ostlund, Huntley Hughes Newford Co, Stanford Oehlke Farms Ltd, Ledger James & Carrol Lee, Sun River Kemmer & Janet Vance, Fort Shaw Steven Douglas & Janet Shear, Thompson Falls Charles Schmalz, Niwot CO Lonnie & Theresa Haack, Polson Richard & Lilly Underwood, Polson William & Donna Gentry, Glendive Donald K Johnson, Sidney Jason & Zoe Exe, Frenchtown Susy & John Benjamin, Helena Walter Schweitzer & Cindy Palmer, Helena

Shane Anderson Shane Anderson Tayler Kennedy Tayler Kennedy Del Hansen Ron Watts Ron Watts Jesse Fleming Tom McKenna Daryl Hansen Dallas Hagfeldt Jr Dallas Hagfeldt Jr Judd Long Aeric Reilly Gordon Elings Mathew Luedtke Mathew Luedtke Sally Miller Bryan Jones Andrew Luedtke Andrew Luedtke Cathy Hintz Cathy Hintz Andre Marcure MFU Office MFU Office

CAMP MEMORIAL DONATIONS

BUSINESS BOOSTER CLUB

Leonard & Myrna Stone, Geraldine (In Memory of Norm & Alice Sullivan)

Elings Insurance Agency, Conrad

IN THIS ISSUE Message from the President, Bekker named CEO/President of FU Insurance Page 4

MONTANA FARMERS UNION PO BOX 2447 300 RIVER DRIVE NORTH GREAT FALLS MT 59403 PHONE: (406) 452-6406 Toll free: 1-800-234-4071 FAX: (406) 727-8216 mfu@montanafarmersunion.com www.montanafarmersunion.com

Producer Conference Comes to Havre, Event Agenda!   Page 5

Women’s Conference Highlights   Page 6 & 7

Board of Directors: 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:

The In’s & Out’s of Lobbying, Levi Ostberg Page 8 Messages from the Delegation Page 9 Wrap up of Ag Tech Seminar/ Public Comment Regarding Sage Grouse Page 10

Jan Johnson, Office Mgr., Assistant Secretary/ Treasurer Lyndsay Bruno, Communications Director Chris Christiaens, Legislative & Project Specialist Kathryn Peterson, Youth Education & Event Coordinator Justin Loch, Membership Director Dave Snuggs, Facility Director Violet Green, Youth Education Assistant Maggie Shane, Continuing Education 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

Membership News/ Sneak Peak of the 2017 Arrowpeak Camp Season Page 11

In Memoriam John Goodmundson, Dutton

JOHN KORSBECK MEMORIAL FUND

Ellen Korsbeck, Malta

Joe & Bonee Erickson, Cascade (In Memory of Ellen Korsbeck)

Willard Cook, Great Falls 3


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A MESSAGE FROM THE PRESIDENT on the issue and if so whether MFU supports or opposes the issue. Our lobbyists represent the interests of membership using the policy book as a guide. There are well over 2,000 bills, so as you can see we cannot follow every bill.

MARCH 2017

KERRI BEKKER NAMED CEO OF FARMERS UNION INSURANCE IN MEMORY OF NORM SULLIVAN Montana Farmers Union would like to recognize the passing of Norm Sullivan of Great Falls. Norm served as President of Montana Farmers Union and also operated a family farm near Geraldine with his wife Alice and raised four sons on the farm. Norm was a dedicted member of Farmers Union and a true friend of the organization. He will be missed!

The bill transmittal date, which is the halfway point of the 2017 legislative session, has come and gone. This is where policy bills have to pass out of either the house or senate or they fail.

The time to use our policy book is well underway at the 2017 Legislative Session. We are following many bills that pertain to our policy, and other bills that generally impact agriculture. As a member of Montana Farmers Union if you have concerns on a bill, need clarification, want us to support, oppose or remain neutral on a piece of legislation, please call the office. We will use our policy book as a guide to provide direction.

If you are interested in learning more about MFU’s policy visit montanafarmersunion.com. Policy is the backbone of our organization. The policy tells exactly what the members believe and what action they want for the next year. At each convention we go over the outgoing policies and either add to the policy for that year or delete items no longer relevant or of interest to membership. Our lobbyists do not deviate from the policy book. We try to do the very best for our members, especially the members that attend our annual convention and who set our policy. This is why it is so important to attend the state convention in late October. This is the ideal time to submit policy resolutions and make your concerns heard. At the annual convention membership votes on policy for the next year that will guide MFU for all legislative action.

There is one thing for certain; we do have experience on our side in Helena. We have three lobbyists that can testify on a bill at any given time. I would like to stress that the hearing dates and times can change without fair warning and the house and senate can change the rules at anytime. So if you plan to go to Helena to listen or to testify as a member please call the MFU office to see if the hearing on your bill will be hap- On a personal note, I feel we pening that day. have very strong and comprehensive policy that fits the needs of Also I would like to recommend membership.Please attend the anthat you read the very latest up- nual convention! With your help dates on a bill to see if there are we will make sure the voice of amendments. I encourage you to membership is heard! research and compare the legislation you are interested in to determine if there is existing policy

Montana Farmers Union wants to congratulate Kerri Bekker as the new President & CEO of Farmers Union Mutal Insurance Company. Kerri has been with Farmers Union Insurance for 23 years, most recently serving as Chief Financial Officer and Secretary/ Treasurer of the companies. Kerri was raised in Havre and graduated from Montana State University—Bozeman. She is licensed as a Certified Public Accountant. Kerri succeeds Robert L. “Bob” Fields who retired on December 31, 2016, after serving 35 years within Farmers Union Insurance.

SAVE THE DATE! MFU STATE CONVENTION OCTOBER 19-21 GREAT FALLS HERITAGE INN

LEGISLATIVE FUND Tom McKenna, FU Insurance, Lewistown

YOUTH LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM Colleen Wood, FU Insurance, Libby

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MARCH 2017

REGISTER TODAY FOR THE PRODUCER CONFERENCE!

- CONFERENCE AGENDA Friday, March 24 3:00 - 4:00 pm 4:00 -5:00 5:00 - 6:00 6:30

Saturday, March 25 8:30am 9:00 - 9:15 9:15 - 10:15 Register at montanafarmersunion.com

10:15 - 10:30 10:30-11:30

The cost of the conference is $35 for members & $50 for nonmembers and includes workshops & meals.

11:40 - 12:40

Rooms are available for an additional $50 for two nights at the Havre Best Western Plus.

12:45 - 1:45

Contact Justin Loch, Membership Director, at jloch@montanafarmersunion.com or by calling: 452-6406 or toll free at: 1-800-234-4071.

2:00 - 4:15

COOPERATIVES IN THE CLASSROOM!!

4:15 - 4:30 4:30 - 5:30

6:00 - 7:00

7:00

Youth Education Assistant Violet Green & Maggie Shane, Continuing Education, give a lesson on cooperatives at Belt School.

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Registration

Risk Management: Northwest Farm Credit Services Bull Acquistion & Genetics: Chad Murnin with Bar Star Cattle Company Beef N Brews Event: in partnership with MSU Northern Collegiate Stockgrowers Breakfast Welcome Farm Bill & the Political Scene: Barbara Patterson, National Farmers Union -BREAKIntro to Pulse Crops: Jeff Winkler, Mountain View Coop Drone Technology in Agriculture: Robert Blair Lunch: Montana Farmers Union Background and Programs: Justin Loch Cattle/Crop studies: Darrin Boss Northern Ag Research Center (workshop at research center) - BREAK Hops production: A Beginning Farmer’s Success Story: Eric Sannerud, Minnesota Farmers Union Member Dinner- Cattle Crawl: at various restaurantsMSU-N Collegiate Stockgrowers Paint and Pour Party: Attendees will paint a picture with an ag related theme led by instruction


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MARCH 2017

WOMEN’S CONFERENCE CONTINUED

The vision board workshop was used as a tool to help clarify, concentrate and maintain focus on a specific life goal. Attendees then displayed their boards Sunday morning and talked about the inspiration behind their project. Wendy Samson of FutureSYNC International finished out the afternoon with the two-hour leadership workshop: the Unflappable YOU …Harnessing Influence, Communication, and Balance. One of the many takeaways from Wendy’s presentation was the concept of emotional intelligence which is defined as the ability to identify and manage your own emotions and the emotions of others. She talked about how some experts feel that emotional intelligence is far more important than ones IQ. Wendy shared her years of leadership coaching experience and inspired the women to become leaders in their own right. Carey Portell, rancher, advocate, video blogger and mother from Missouri was Saturday night’s keynote. Carey shared with the crowd her story of triumph after surviving a drinking and driving collision and now living with end-stage arthritis. Carey shared her journey of recovery and how work on the farm has helped her heal one day at a time.

Participants make a floral arrangement

Yoga Instructor Audra Bergman leads morning workshop

Self-defense workshop led by Brigitte Schultz teaches basic skills

left to right: Joellyn Clark with keynote speakers Audra Mulkern & Carey Portell

“I have good days and bad days, but for me it is a conscious choice. I know many of us here are mothers and you have so much to do and sometimes you are just like I need a day to say I am tired as long as you don’t let yourself stay there. Be your own best motivator and pick yourself up. Farming is a hard career and a lot of people have a day time job and Leadership coach Wendy Samson leads the group in a selfthen they have to come home and do farming exploration exercise afterwards. Why do we do it? Because we love it. Its hard work, but we love the hard work.” “A great weekend, venue (hot springs!) and Janet Hedges, with Raymond Financial Services, provided a workshop on financial planning. Janet pointed out that over 50% of women aren’t saving for retirement and then talked about the correlation between the wealth gap and retirement gap. She advised the women to start somewhere in saving for retirement, even if it’s $50 a month. Montana Farmers Union wants to recognize all the excellent speakers and the women’s committee who contributed their time and talents to make this conference such a success! We will see you next year!

yummy food. The sessions were well organized and executed. Thanks for an awesome line up of speakers who provided “hands on” accounts of how they made their farm, CSA and local foods efforts successful. I loved networking with women from all over Montana, and it was particularly gratifying to see so many young women enthused about farming and rural living”. -Laurie Lohrer

Laura Garber introduces the vision board exercise

The creative side comes to life at the floral workshop

“Women of Montana Farmers Union can be and should be a powerful voice for Montana agriculture! This is what the women’s conference accomplished. We celebrated who we are, enjoying artistic creation, exercise, learning how to empower our selves by being confident in protecting ourselves. We are powerful.” - Lorrie Merrill 6


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VISION BOARD TIME!

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OSTBERG TALKS ABOUT THE IN’S & OUT’S OF LOBBYING

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What it’s been like lobbying for the first time? It has definitely been a learning curve regarding lobbying this session. I knew there would be a lot of time spent doing this, however I had no idea the amount of time that would be spent in the capitol. For the most part, I spend about 6-12 hours in the Capitol with another couple hours spent reading bills or responding to people in the evening at home every night.

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Levi Ostberg is a lobbyist for Montana Farmers Union. This session Levi is providing testimony, researching and tracking bills and providing weekly legislative updates for membership. Levi took some time out of his schedule to give us some insight on what it’s like to be a lobbyist.

have been more than happy to listen to the lobbyists and seem to recognize that these individuals have a wealth of knowledge in their subject matter that they can tap. They also are even more happy to see and listen to citizens of Montana especially if they are from their district as these are the people that they are there to represent.

Recommendations on ways members can help you in your What have you learned thus far efforts? about the process? Montana Farmers Union memI have learned a lot about the pro- bers can help by paying attention cess so far, including the proper to the bills that are coming up, way to testify on bills, the process contacting their legislators about of moving a bill through both bills they are concerned about, chambers, the process of how and contacting the office to let us lobbyists can affect a bill in tes- know their thoughts on bills so timony during hearing as well as that we are sure we are adequately before and after, and the impact covering all the bills that we need that private citizens have on bill to be. outcomes. What potential contentious What has surprised you? pieces of legislation do you see I have been surprised by see- coming up in the session? ing the impact that lobbyists As of right now, I don’t know and private citizens have on the what we will see that will be contlegislature. So far the legislators entious in the near future. I had

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been told early on that the raw milk bills would be some of the most contentious bills in the entire legislature, however they seem to be working their way through the session just fine. Other contentious bills so far are the seed bill and perhaps some of the water legislation. What have you found to be some of the more effective tactics when lobbying? So far the most effective tactics I have discovered are to adequately research the bill to ensure you know what you are talking about, find out how others will be lobbying a bill so there isn’t a surprise in the committee hearing and to speak with as many legislators as possible ahead of the hearing to educate them before hand about the subject. This communication will help ensure the legislators you are working with will have the education and knowledge necessary to make informed decisions for their constituents.


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MARCH 2017

A MESSAGE FROM SENATOR STEVE DAINES Nutrition, and Forestry this Congress. Montana’s number one economic driver is agriculture and I am excited to represent your priorities on that critical committee, particularly as negotiations over the next farm bill are beginning in earnest. And as your U.S. Senator and a member of the Senate Ag Committee, I’m asking for your feedback and ideas to improve the farm bill to reflect your priorities for the future.

tana Ag Summit that will take place at the Montana ExpoPark in Great Falls on May 31-June 1. The Summit will include keynotes from U.S. Senator Pat Roberts, the Chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, United Grain’s President and CEO Augusto Bassanini, and Northwest Farm Credit Services CEO Phil DiPofi. Please stay tuned for more information.

to foreign markets, assuring Montana agriculture doesn’t face discrimination in labeling decisions, completing a new and effective farm bill by the end of FY18, and addressed opportunities to improve forest management. I look forward to working closely with Governor Perdue to grow Montana ag and create good-paying jobs for citizens around the state.

Access to these markets is critical to farmers. In 2014, Montanans exported $791 million in goods to Japan, Malaysia, Vietnam, and other TPP countries, and Canada remains our number one trading partner.

up new markets for Montana’s number one industry.

The Administration’s recent actions could put Montana farmers access to these markets at-risk.

MFU HIRES SHANE FOR CONTINUING EDUCATION

on my whole life and am a fourth generation MFU member. Throughout the years I have attended camps as a camper, junior dean, dean, and counselor. I have received both the Mildred Stoltz Award & Torchbearer Award, and was also a member of SYAC. I attended All-States Camp in Bailey, CO, the College Conference on Cooperatives, the National Farmers Union Women’s Conference, served on the MFU Women’s Committee, attended many state conventions represented MFU as a youth delegate at the National Farmers Union Convention.

T w

With a new administration in Washington, I’m hopeful that we As agriculture plays such a large Recently, I sat down with the Sec- will be successful in reducing the and critical role in the lives of retary of Ag Nominee, Governor federal footprint on Montana agIn January, I was honored to be farmers, ranchers, and Montanans Sonny Perdue to discuss Mon- riculture. selected to serve on the U.S. Sen- around the state, I would like to tana’s priorities. We discussed the ate Committee on Agriculture, invite you to join me at my Mon- importance of expanding access

A MESSAGE FROM SENATOR JON TESTER

I have been clear that TPP gave me heartburn. I was frustrated that Congress gave up its seat at the TPP negotiating table, but fair trade deals are pivotal to Montana’s economy—especially our agriculture economy.

Over the past few weeks, I have met with Montana producers of all kinds. And while everyone feeds America in different ways, Montana farmers are expressing Now I’ve met face-to-face with uncertainty about the new Ad- the President’s USDA Secretary ministration’s trade policies. nominee Sonny Perdue and the U.S. Trade Representative nomiI hear you loud and clear: we nee Robert Lighthizer. I am comneed fair trade deals. It’s my hope mitted to making sure Montana’s that the new Administration will producers get a fair shake, and I’ll help strengthen family farms and be holding them accountable. ranches, but their initial actions throwing out TPP and saying they In the coming days and weeks, will reopen NAFTA negotiations please send me your feedback on gives producers cause to pause. these nominees. I want to hear from you about how we can open

If you have questions or comments please reach out to my Agriculture Liaison Jesse Anderson at 406.449.5401.

I am a graduate of Rocky Mountain College in Billings with a degree in Exercise Science with plans to further my education in the future.

BY MAGGIE SHANE C O N T I N U I N G E D U C AT I O N

I grew up north of Great Falls on my family farm and have attended camps since a young age. I have been raised around Farmers Uni9

Maggie and Youth Education Assistant Violet Green are in the classroom teaching a lesson on cooperatives. If you are interested in having MFU come to a classroom near you, contact the MFU office to schedule a visit.

Pr 1 2 S Tr R S Pa


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AG TECH SEMINAR IN SCOBEY FOCUSES ON EMERGING TECHNOLOGIES

B Y PA U L K A N N I N G MFU BOARD MEMBER FLAXVILLE

As our members know, Montana Farmers Union’s mission is best represented by the Education-Legislation-Cooperation triangle. At the base of this triangle is education, serving as the foundation upon which the other tenets stand. Montana Farmers Union continued its rich history of educational events with an Ag Technology Seminar in Scobey on Feb 6th. The free half-day seminar focused on emerging technologies beyond those which are already widely used in the northeast corner of the state. The seminar was jointly sponsored

PUBLIC COMMENT PERIOD ON ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT STUDY REGARDING SAGE GROUSE B Y PA U L K A N N I N G

If you’ve been paying attention to the news, you know there has been a lot going on with sage grouse in the past few years. Even more importantly, there is much going on right now that needs your attention!

MARCH 2017

by Montana Farmers Union, Nemont Tele- data combines, regardless of the equipment phone Cooperative, Pro Coop Ag Center, and manufacturer. He also provided an overview the Daniels County Conservation District. of software available to analyze the yield data and then build a variable-rate prescription The seminar started off with Robert Blair of map for the next year of production. Measure. Just like at MFU’s annual convention, Robert gave another great presentation Andy Johnsrud and Brooke Johns from the on how he got started in ag drones, how he local NRCS offices then led a discussion on has used the data to change practices on his ag-related smart phone apps. They gave an own farm, and the many different types of overview of 15 different apps and detailed the drones and imagery that are available to farm- pros and cons of each. ers. Following them was Chris Heinrich of WinNext up was Dave Ahern of IntelliFarms in Field United in Bismarck ND. Chris covered Archie, MO. Dave talked about automated a wide range of technology products available grain conditioning systems that are widely through WinField, including in-season NDVI used in corn & soybean production and con- satellite maps, crop yield forecasting tools, tinue to expand into other commodities. Un- and profit mapping. like other systems which just monitor grain moisture and temperature, these systems also The final presentation was given by Justin monitor external air conditions and automati- Loch, our MFU Membership Director. Justin cally operate aeration systems to condition gave a great presentation on the many MFU the grain to parameters set by the farmer. activities and events held during the past year. He also discussed how MFU supports family Taylor Twiest of Agri-Industries in Williston, farms through all three mission components. ND then gave a presentation on remote sensing options available to farmers. These sen- Overall, it was an outstanding seminar in a resors can monitor fuel tank levels, stock tank gion of the state which hasn’t had an MFU water levels, specific field conditions, and event in many years. Approximately 60 farmfield irrigation. Through an app on a smart ers and ranchers attended. In addition to phone, farmers can also control irrigation sys- listening to the presentations, the productems and grain bin fans, and collect informa- ers were also able to observe products from tion to make management decisions. the speakers and sponsors at display tables. Thanks to our sponsors and especially to JusThe next speaker was Corrie Nygaard of Bor- tin Loch for a great MFU education event! der Plains Equipment in Williston, ND. Corrie gave a demonstration on how to merge yield

habitat. The most recent effort in this area was BLM’s release of a draft Environmental Impact Study in December to withdraw nearly 10 million acres of land from future mining claims in Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, and Wyoming. The intent of the land withdrawal is to prevent any surface disturbance which might harm sage grouse habitat. Once the EIS was published, a 90-day public comment period began which will close on March 28, 2017.

able at https://www.federalregister.gov/ documents/2016/12/30/2016-31629/notice-of-amended-proposed-withdrawal-release-of-draft-environmental-impact-statement-and-notice-of.

The primary counties affected in Montana are southern Phillips and Valley counties, along with some areas in northern Fergus and Petroleum counties. There is a detailed map available for review at: https://www.blm. gov/sites/blm.gov/files/ProgramFishWildFor background, when the U.S. Fish and A copy of the EIS is available online at lifeSageGrousePlanMineralWithdrawl_SFA_ Wildlife Service decided not to list the sage h t t p s : / / w w w. b l m . g o v / p r o g r a m s / f i s h - A m e n d e d _ P r o p o s e d _ W i t h d r awa l _ M O N grouse as an endangered species, the Bureau and-wildlife/sageg rouse/blm-sageg rouse- TANA.pdf. of Land Management agreed to implement plans/minerals-withdrawals and a copy certain measures to conserve sage grouse of the Federal Register notice is availS A G E G R O U S E C O N T. N E X T P G . 10


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MARCH 2017

MEMBERSHIP NEWS

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

who have an interest in agriculture. This conference will cover a wide variety of topics and will offer something of interest for everyone. Some of the highlights include: bull acquisition and genetics with Chad Murnin of Bar Star Cattle Company; drone technology with Robert Blair; an introduction to pulse crops with Jeff Winkler of Mountain View Coop; an update on the political scene and the next Farm Bill with Barb Patterson from National Farmers Union, and Growing Hops: A Beginning Farmer Success Story with Eric Sannerud of Minnesota Farmers Union.

S AG E G RO U S E C O N T I N U E D

get to try unique food and drinks, but will also meet new people. Saturday night we will end the conference with a dinner and fun activity. Hi-Line Paint and Pour will be putting on a painting party. Attendees will have the opportunity to paint their own agrelated canvas designed for our conference and then take it home. Don’t worry if you are not an artist, there will be instruction and assistance as needed to help you create a unique piece of art.

Please make plans to join us for this fun and educational weekend in Havre. All education, meals March will be a busy month at The Producer Conference won’t and activities are included in the MFU. We have several major be all just education. We have registration fees. Childcare will events going on and would like a couple activities planned that be on-site for those who need it. our members to be aware of and will make for an enjoyable week- Hotel rooms are available at a reparticipate if interested. Current- end and keep you entertained. duced rate. ly the Legislative Session is going Friday night we have teamed up on in Helena and the National with the MSU-Northern Colle- We hope to see you March 24-25 Farmers Union Convention and giate Stockgrowers to co-host the in Havre! Register online at monthe NFU Women’s Conference is event Beef and Brews which will tanafarmersunion.com.Please call being held in San Diego, CA. And take place at several restaurants in Justin Loch, Membership Direcmost importantly, and closer to Havre. Attendees will take a bus tor, at 945-0959 or at the state ofhome MFU is holding its annual and stop at a different restaurant fice, 1-800-234-4071. Producer Conference March 24- for each dinner course. With each 25 in Havre at the Best Western course a different wine or beer Inn Plus. will be paired from local/regional brewers. We hope this event will The Producer Conference is open be something fun and different to members and non-members for attendees. Not only will you

LEADERSHIP & COOPERATION

MONTANA FARMERS UNION 2017 SUMMER YOUTH CAMPS

Rooted

of COOPERATION • EDUCATION • LEGISLATION

Registration for the 2017 Arrowpeak Camp season opens April 11! This camp season continues our longstanding cooperative and leadership programs, as well as archery, fly fishing, agriculture, bees and more!! Camp season is rapidly approaching and we are excited to inform you of the camp dates: • Junior I Camp: June 18thJune 23, Ages 8-11 Registration Deadline: June 4 • Teen Camp: June 25th- June 30, Ages 12-15 Registration Deadline:June 11

• Junior Camp II: July 9th- July 14, Ages 8-11 Registration Deadline:June 25 • Senior Camp: July 16th- July 21, Ages 15-19 Registration Deadline: July 2 To register visit our website at: montanafarmersunion.com. Mark your calendars for the 2017 Camp Season! We’ll see you there!!!

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While the withdrawal of land is from mining claims, farmers and ranchers in the affected areas need to be aware of the EIS and voice their concerns. For example, what is a “surface disturbance”? Today the focus is on mining claims, but will that also prevent new livestock fences being built in the future? Will a rancher be able to drill a well for livestock water in these affected areas 10 years from today? BLM officials are quick to tell us that this proposed action is not intended to have any negative impact on livestock operations… but we all know that intentions and reality are often vastly different, especially 10- and 20-years down the road. Recently there was a BLM hearing held in Malta on Feb 13th over the draft EIS. BLM officials were on hand to discuss the EIS process and timeline, the draft proposal, alternative proposals, and potential impacts on mining claims (specifically for bentonite deposits in Montana). However, there was no discussion or presentation on how this may affect ranching operations in the future. Aside from reading the EIS, how else can a producer get educated on potential impacts? For starters, contact the Montana Farmers Union office! We are here to help you find information and to get informed on agriculture issues. There is also a BLM field office in Malta which is available to answer questions. They can be reached at (406) 654-5100. The MSU Extension Agents in Phillips and Valley Counties are also great resources. Get informed and get in action! Public comments are due by March 28. Submit them in writing to Mark Mackiewicz, BLM WO, C/O Price Field Office, 125 South 600 West, Price UT 84501 or electronically to sagebrush_ withdrawals@blm.gov.

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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 466.5146 Circle Kaylen Lehner 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 Froid Austin O’Dea 766-2205 Glasgow Del Hansen 228.2284 Great Falls Eric Hinebauch 453.8413 Great Falls Aeric Reilly 570-5853 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

Montana Grassroots March 2017 edition  
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