MSGA Policy Find out what policy MSGA has been working on| 2
Diversion Dam MSGA submits comments on Yellowstone River EIS | 3
Grizzly Bears MSGA continues its work on grizzly bears| 6
STOCKGROWERSUpdate AUGUST 2016
Update from the President Gene Curry MSGA President
he North Countr y is busy this time of year, as most of our beef producers also have small grains. We finished harvesting winter wheat last week and will try some barley today. East of I-15 most of the grain is in the bin and in our country a lot of the winter wheat is in and some of the spring crops as well. We have been getting some rain and that has eased the water crisis and greened up the pasture--VERY WELCOME. I’m still on the road to Helena a lot as is Wayne Slaught, lately working with Fish Wildlife and Parks and last week a meeting with both the Montana Wildlife Federation, the National Wildlife Federation and Farm Bureau discussing both Grizzly delisting and ways to mitigate the impact the bears are having in our area. We are discussing ways to reduce the chance of human-bear contact and depredation of livestock. We hope to have something to implement in the near future.
Montana Range Tour
The 2016 Montana Range Tour will be held Sept 7 & 8 in Big Timber, MT. A few of the highlights of this year’s tour include ranch tours, an elk issues discussion, and a tour of the Derby Fire site (10 years after
A beautiful image of Billie Jo Holzer roping captured by Heather Fryer Jack Holden, Tim Todd, Errol and I had a chance to meet with Congressman Zinke and Congressman Mike Conaway of Texas, the Chairman of the House Ag Committee. We discussed issues affecting our ability to navigate through the federal rules affecting our everyday life and ability to make a living. Chairman Conaway will also be working on the new Farm Bill next year and asked for input from MSGA. This was a great opportunity for our organization to be heard and enter into
the fire). For more information please contact Guelda Halverson 406.932.5160 ext. 101 or Stacey Barta 406.930.0693.
The Ranch Run
The Montana CattleWomen are hosting their 2nd Annual Ranch Run on September 17th. This run is designed to introduce
discussion on the new Farm Bill. Chairman Conaway said that this will not be a total rewrite, but they will be making adjustments where they are appropriate. Any of you who have comments or suggestions for the bill should contact the office and we will make sure they get submitted. We are getting ready for the T-bone classic banquet and golf event at Big Sky the 25th and 26th of this month. Your board will meet the afternoon of the 25th and then attend Continued on next page
runners to the beauty of Montana’s farms and ranches as well as educate them about the importance of agriculture and land stewardship. For more information or to sign up for the race please visit their Facebook page.
Montana Angus Tour
The Montana Angus Tour will be September 20-22 in Lewistown, Montana. The registration fee includes all tour meals, bus transportation and the banquet. Any questions can be directed to 406.366.0511 or centralmontanaangus@outlook. com
President continued from page 1
the banquet that evening. Golf will start with a breakfast Friday morning and should conclude midafternoon with the awards ceremony. Thursday night at the banquet, Montana Stockgrowers Foundation (formally known as REEF), will have a Calcutta auction of the golf teams with part of the proceeds going to the Foundation. I would like to thank Fred Wacker, Cross 4 Ranch, and Tyson in
Policy at work
A monthly feature of MSGA policy and the work MSGA has done on behalf of its membesr. LU 047 - BLM Grazing Leases This policy was revised at the Annual Convention in 2015 opposes conservation groups such as American Prairie Reserve that purchase tracts of private range. These purchases remove cattle/sheep from these lands and the adjacent Bureau of Land Management managed public grazing lands that have been historically leased to ranchers for grazing by cattle/sheep. POLICY in ACTION: • APR requested a change of use on the Flat Creek Allotment from cattle to bison. They proposed removing all interior fencing and allowing the bison to roam free on the allotment. • MSGA adamantly opposed this change and submitted comments and formally protested the BLM decision. • APR vacated the original request and followed it with a temporary change of use from cattle to bison (one year) after receiving much opposition. • MSGA once again submitted comments opposing the change of use. Grizzly bears remain a growing presence on the Front. Marias River Livestock Association (MRLA) brought and passed an interim policy at MidYear 2016 to address the increase in grizzly bear/human interactions. Since MidYear, MSGA has taken several steps to help address concerns. POLICY in ACTION: • MSGA Director of Natural Resources, Jay Bodner, Western District Director, Wayne Slaght of Ovando and MSGA President Gene Curry of Valier have held several meetings with Fish Wildlife and Park officials to look at a range of options that would help with the numerous bear/livestock interactions and also increase public safety measures for a number of local communities. • Jay, Wayne and Gene have also met with U.S. Fish and Wildlife services and several other organizations to further discuss increased grizzly bear/human interactions. • MSGA is also working with stakeholders to find assistance on preventative measures that are effective at reducing livestock/bear conflicts, such as electric fence. As an organization, we fully understand the importance of getting programs in place this fall and next spring, to help alleviate some of the problems faced by livestock producers and the local communities.
advance for the wonderful steaks. Anyone who has not yet attended this event is missing out on a great event in a beautiful setting. I hope this finds you all healthy and looking forward to a good shipping season and great fall. It seems that summer is slipping away rapidly!
Treasure State Resources Association Annual Meeting
n September 12th -13th, the Treasure State Resources Association (TSRA) will hold its annual meeting at the Best Western Great Northern Hotel in Helena. MSGA is a member of this diverse group of industry, labor, agriculture and recreation working together on issues that affect land use and resource development in Montana. The 2016 TSRA Annual Meeting is an opportunity to hear the very latest from experts and decision makers on important topics that impact natural resource industries. The program highlights include: -Keynote Speaker John Mingé, Chairman and President of BP America Inc. -Special Guest Speaker Cecile Conroy, Director of Government Affairs – Political and Legislative Departments, International Brotherhood of Boilermakers -A “practitioner’s guide” to how the electrical grid works -Legislators outlook for the 2017 session -Alan Joscelyn, Office of the Attorney General with a legal update on WOTUS and the Clean Power Plan -An “insiders look at the Western Education Foundation for Resources (WEFR) “Coal Works for Me” education project For more information or to view the agenda, check the MSGA website.
Dates to Remember August 25-26 T Bone Classic; Big Sky
September 7-8 MT Range Tour; Big Timber 7-9 National Public Lands Council meeting; Boise, ID 17 CattleWomen Ranch Run; Lennup 20-22 Montana Angus Tour; Lewistown 30-1 Young Ag Leadership Conference; Great Falls October 6 North Central MT Stockgrowers Meeting; Havre 9 Cattle Crawl; Billings Have an event you want on the MSGA Calendar? Email email@example.com
MSGA Attends Fish & Wildlife Commission Meeting
n August 11th, MSGA attended the MT Fish and Wildlife Commission meeting. The agenda included approval of the tentative “Brucellosis 2016 Work Plan Review and Proposed 2017 Annual Work Plan.” In 2013, a citizen working group was convened to develop recommendations for elk management in areas with brucellosis. The group consists of various stakeholders and includes MSGA members John Anderson, Ray Marxer and Dick Raths. The work group met on July 5th to review past efforts and make additional recommendations. MSGA, along with our members that sit on the work group, have focused on strategies to reduce the eminent threat of brucellosis to cattle and any expansion of the DSA boundary. The proposed 2017 annual work plan represents the fifth iteration of annual plans and builds upon the previous 2013 - 2016 plans. The proposed 2017 plan largely restated the 2016 plan to include hazing, limited fencing, limited lethal removal of elk, habitat modifications,
and other efforts to adjust elk distribution at small scales to mitigate the risk of brucellosis transmission from elk to cattle. Based on recommendation from the work group, FWP proposed some limited hazing to separate elk exposed to brucellosis from elk not exposed in areas near the DSA boundary. During the meeting MSGA expressed our support for the continued work of the citizens group and also looking at other options that reduces the spread of brucellosis. There was significant opposition to the hazing proposal and the Commission ultimately removed the language from the proposed tentative Plan. This Brucellosis work plan will still go out for public comment until September 12th, with a final decision at the October Commission meeting. For questions or further information, please contact the MSGA office.
MSGA submits comments on diversion dam EIS
n July 28th, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) and Reclamation, as joint lead agencies, closed the comment period for the Lower Yellowstone Intake Diversion Dam Fish Passage Project Draft Environmental Impact Statement (Draft EIS). The Draft EIS analyzes the proposed action to improve passage for endangered pallid sturgeon and other native fish at Intake Diversion Dam in the lower Yellowstone River while continuing the effective and viable operation of the Lower Yellowstone Project. Due to the critical importance of this Intake Dam modification project to the agricultural community, MSGA submitted comment on the Draft EIS that supported the Bypass Channel Alternative. MSGA
evaluated this alternative as a balanced approach to improving conditions for migration of pallid sturgeon and at the same time ensuring the water delivery system for the Intake Diversion Dam is protected. MSGA focused the comments on the importance of evaluating the economic impacts the selected alternative will have on the affected area, the ESA consultation with the Cooperating Agencies and weighing the operating costs, which proved the Bypass Channel alternative being one of the best conservation options and one of the most cost effective. If you have questions about the comments or Yellowstone Intake Diversion Dam please contact Jay at the office. August 2016
Guest Column: U.S. Senator Jon Tester As the summer is coming to an end Montanans across the state have had the pleasure of putting a T-bone over some charcoal, a burger on the grill, and some brisket in the smoker. Montana is known for many great things and Montanans know one thing for sure: there is no better beef, than Montana beef Montana cattle producers work incredibly hard to raise the best beef around. They are held to high quality standards and even higher food safety standards. Too often Montana producers have to cut through bureaucratic red tape to feed families across our state. So when we talk about safety and fairness in the marketplace, we should hold international producers to the same standards. Regardless of where cattle producers live, they should have to play by the same rules if they want to sell to U.S. consumers. That’s why I was raised my serious concerns when the U.S. Department of Agriculture recently announced a policy change allowing Brazil to send raw beef to the United States. We all know that Brazilian food safety standards aren’t up to snuff and the country’s cattle herds have had a history of Foot and Mouth Disease.
FMD presents a danger not just to our consumers but to our producers and our ranching way of life. We must be vigilant protection our cattle and the sterling reputation Montana’s beef has rightfully earned. So I fired off a letter to USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack on behalf of Montana consumers and hard-working cattlemen and women outlining our concerns. I asked Vilsack for answers about what the Administration has done to improve the emergency response to an animal disease outbreak such as FMD. Additionally, I asked for more transparency in how this decision was made and how these food safety standards would be verified in the future. We can’t mess around with food safety, and we certainly shouldn’t be doing it at the risk of American cattlemen and women. I agree with your Executive Vice President Errol Rice when he said that Montana ranchers cannot afford to jeopardize our state’s world renowned cattle herds to possible FMD exposure. We need to ensure a safe product that protects consumer and producers alike. Working together, I’m willing to turn up the heat on USDA to ensure stockgrowers across Big Sky Country get a fair shake. So please don’t hesitate to reach out to my Agriculture Liaison Jesse Anderson if you need anything at all.
MSGA Board of Directors Update Race King Western District
hat is normal anyway? One definition reads conforming to a standard, usual, typical, or expected. It seems like the new normals that surrounded us today are that of extremes and volatility. After witnessing the tornado in Baker, Montana during the State High School Rodeo I couldn’t help but reflect on the moments before it touched down as well as my attitude towards the warnings to seek shelter. The weather had seemed so normal just a few moments earlier and a few of us probably even felt a little inconvenienced by stopping the performance. I’ve never
really thought of myself as a gambler but I found myself gambling to some degree. Should I head to the safety of the shelter or find a good spot to take a video or picture? I was with my family so it didn’t take long to make the right decision to find shelter with them. After just a few minutes we were told of the destruction that had occurred just a few hundred yards away. As devastating as this tornado was to the community it sure was amazing to watch how normal people respond in extreme times. Market volatility, regulation, and weather are just a few of many challenges that face our industry today. It would be easy for a normal person to become overwhelmed. One thing is for sure, ranchers aren’t normal people. They have a pride and a work ethic that is rare and they have a history of not giving up when things get tough. We’re even better when we work together. So give me a call if there’s anything we can work together on.
Young Stockgrowers Update Lacey Ehlke Young Stockgrowers Chair
It seems that “because that’s the way we’ve always done it” has become the easy-out answer for people resistant to change; I know that it is something I’ve heard many times at my ranch, and there are many things around the ranch that have been done the same way for years for that reason only. At Ehlke Herefords, we have started a new grazing system this year to address one of the issues the ranch was facing: selling vast amounts of hay, while simultaneously paying for summer pasture. With the help of a great friend and neighbor, the idea of selling less hay and grazing our own (or already leased) ground was formed. A few of us attended a fantastic grazing school in Idaho, and came home with great ideas and a plan to get cows grazing. We currently have two pivots fully fenced with electric wire and a water system and have had cows under them since May. We also have another 200 acres under pivots that we have planted with our pasture mix, and are in the process of fencing and getting water set up for the cows. I am also on the Rancher Roundtable Committee for Broadwater
County, and we plan different “Ranchers’ Roundtables” to educate ranchers in the county about current issues affecting the ag community. The committee decided to have a summer Grazing Tour Rancher Roundtable to show interested ranchers a bit about intensive grazing systems and how to get them started. Ehlke Herefords was a stop on that tour and had approximately 25 attendees. It was nice to be able to share our ideas and learn from others about what they are doing in their grazing systems when it is still all very new to all of us. Intensive grazing won’t work in every operation by any means, but it is a good example of something that had never been done before at our ranch and we decided to completely change our mindset about summer grazing and give it a try. We’ve had a few bumps in the road but overall we love our new system and are saying we will never go back to the “old way.” Change is a good thing!
SAVE THE DATE: CATTLE CRAWL 2016 WILL BE OCTOBER 9TH IN BILLINGS Did you know that by purchasing Rozol Prairie Dog Bait between September 1, 2016 and February 28, 2017 will support the Montana Stockgrowers?MSGA earns $.05 per lb. sold! This is an easy way you can protect your ranch from Black-tailed Praiarie dogs and support the ranching industry! August 2016
MSGA Continues Work on Grizzly Bear Conflicts MSGA has continued its work on developing alternatives to help reduce grizzly bear conflicts with ranchers along the Rocky Mountain Front. Last month, MSGA had held a meeting with FWP officials to look at a range of options that would help with the numerous bear/livestock interactions and also increase public safety measures for a number of local communities. MSGA has since held additional meetings with FWP staff, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and others to continue this effort. One of the specific measures has been the potential development of a carcass removal/
pick up program for livestock, along the Front. MSGA has been working with the Department of Livestock – Livestock Loss Executive Director, George Edwards, to consider potential composting sites and equipment and personnel cost estimates for the program. Following the FWP meeting in Valier and subsequent meetings with FWP, there has been a start in implementing a number of the suggestions that were voiced by the local community. As a result, there has been a phone tree started in Valier to report bear sightings, bear observation reporting page on Facebook page for the region is being tested,
bear spray and initial training provided to the irrigation company and the initiation of future training in Shelby for medical, sheriff and others that may encounter bear conflict situations. MSGA is also working with stakeholders to find assistance on preventative measures that are effective at reducing livestock/bear conflicts, such as electric fence. As an organization, we fully understand the importance of getting programs in place this fall and next spring, to help alleviate some of the problems faced by livestock producers and the local communities.
MSGA member selected for CME Working Group
In response to the recent market volatility, MSGA has nominated Jim Fryer of Hobson, MT to serve on the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) / Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) working group. This working group has been tasked with investigating inconsistencies in the cash cattle market and ensuring a level playing field for all market participants. MSGA is proud to announce that Jim has been selected to serve on the working group. He is an excellent representative of Montana Stockgrowers and we are thrilled that he will be representing Montana’s cattle industry on this working group. Jim has decades of experience working in cattle and beef cash markets. For five years he handled global trading for Cargill including direct interaction with major hedge funds and exchanges. He has years of risk management and futures trading experience which makes him a key asset to discovering the cause behind the market volatility. For any questions about the NCBA/CME working group, please contact the MSGA office.
Cattle Directory Sneak Peak The 2016-2017 Cattle Directory is at the printer! Be on the lookout for the Directory
and a big thank you to all of the advertisers that make this Directory possible. 2016-2017 CATTLE DIRECTORY PRIORITY PAGE BUYERS Holden Herefords Eaton Charolais Ehlke Herefords Fairview Angus Green Mountain Angus Ranch Gateway Simmental Ludvigson Stock Farms Hinman Angus Reminisce Angus Idland Cattle Co Anchor Outfitting Mytty Angus Arntzen Angus Open 8 Genetics Bank of Baker Ostendorf Red Angus Basin Angus Sitz Angus Bobcat Angus Solaris Feeders Brillhart Angus Split Diamond Ranch Bulls of the Bitterroot Stevenson Diamon Dot Cattle Systems by LS Sutherlin Red Angus Churchill Cattle Co The HUB Clear Creek Angus Thomas Herefords Cooper Herefords Thompson Cattle Co Cornwell Ranch Vermilion Angus Ranch Cross 4 Ranch Western Ag Reporter Current Creek Angus Westfeeds Dutton Herefords Zoetis
Young Ag Leadership Conference in Great Falls Mark your calendar! Montana’s thirteenth annual Young Ag Leadership Conference (YALC) is set to take place September 30-October 2 at the Holiday Inn in Great Falls, MT. Young people involved and interested in agriculture, aged 18-40, are invited to attend this one-of-a-kind conference where leadership, personal development, education and networking take center stage. This year’s agenda boasts top-notch speakers,
including the well-known advocate for agriculture, Dairy Carrie. There will be cutting-edge workshops, exciting entertainment and new this year, an Entrepreneur Spotlight of local businesses. YALC’s action-packed program is put together specifically with young agriculturalists in mind by representatives from each of these organizations: Montana Agri-Business Association, Montana 4-H Foundation, Montana Wool Growers Association, Montana Grain Growers Association, Montana
Farm Bureau Federation, Alpha Gamma Rho Alumni, Montana FFA Foundation, Montana State University College of Agriculture and the Montana Stockgrowers Association. Look for more conference details, including registration information, to be released shortly. For questions regarding the 2016 Young Ag Leadership Conference, contact Jesse Wallewein at (406) 450-3429 or mtwga@outlook. com.
YOUhis t a h t t ruck vention T d r n o GA nFnual Co S M 2016at the A year! The w in can
MSGA Board of Directors Upcoming Vacancies There will be three vacancies on the board of Directors this upcoming December. MSGA will be taking nominations for these positions until September 15, 2016. Below are the directors that will have reached their term limit and will be leaving the Board. President Gene Curry will also complete his two year term this December. We want to thank these four for their years of service to MSGA! Without their dedication and hard work, MSGA would not be the success that it is! In compliance with Association by-laws, the MSGA Board of Directors will appoint a nominating committee consisting of seven members to nominate candidates for all upcoming vacancies. Nominess should be members in good standing and participate in the nominating committee’s interview and nomination process. Nominations for Director positions should be submitted to the Stockgrowers office.
President Gene Curry
South Central District Tim Todd
Northeast District Jim Steinbeisser
Southeast District Terry Haughian