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Farm Ranch l 2020


Farmers & Ranchers

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call today 406-676-5811 62683 US Hwy. 93 • Ronan, Montana 59864 2 - March 11, 2020

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Contents New meat shop sources local 4 Cover crops 6 Legendary horsewoman featured in book 7 Farmers Markets open for season 8 Back Country Horsemen pack clinic 11 Honeybee producers qualify for relief 14 Risk management for hemp producers 15 Brazilian beef ban lifted 19 Trade war relief subsidies 20 FSA program dates, deadlines 23 Seed laws, agreements 24 Ag briefs 26

FILE PHOTO

Thank You

When you live and work in an ag community, you understand the hard work it takes to be homegrown. We at the Valley Journal want to say thank you to our local ranchers and farmers for the hard work they put in day in and day out. We’re Your Homegrown Newspaper and proud to offer a locally raised product, just like you, since 2004.

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March 11, 2020 - 3


ROB ZOLMAN / VALLEY JOURNAL

Here’s the beef… Locally raised beef available in new butcher shop

“The vast majority of the beef we sell comes from the Irvine Flats area while our pork comes from Columbia Falls.”

By Rob Zolman / Valley Journal

POLSON – Stand-alone butcher shops began to dwindle drastically over the past few decades as consumers began shopping at big box supermarkets that sold pre-packaged factory-farmed animals processed on industrial-scale production lines. For the last couple of years, the local butcher shop concept has been making a resurgence fueled by the “buy local” and “farm-to-table” movements. 4 - March 11, 2020

- David Nash, Montana Marbled Meats co-owner

ROB ZOLMAN / VALLEY JOURNAL

Consumers have been dissatisfied with store-bought processed foods.

Back in November, Montana Marbled Meats turned the former Glacier Lumber

building, located on U.S. Highway 93, into a fully stocked traditional butch-

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er shop, providing locally sourced, humanely raised beef, pork and a variety of fresh-catch seafood when possible. While the pork is sourced from farmers all across Montana, the beef is locally sourced from the Mission Valley. “The vast majority of the

beef we sell comes from the Irvine Flats area, while our pork comes from Columbia Falls,” said Montana Marbled Meats co-owner David Nash, who also raises beef sold at the shop. “The tuna and scallops are the only thing not Montana raised, “Nash said with a chuckle. In addition to serving fresh and locally grazed cuts of meat, Montana Marbled Meats offerings include fresh ground burger, bratwurst, smoked no-nitrate bacon, many flavors of summer sausage, salami, bologna and even a number of different flavored meat sticks, which are made on site. see Farm & Ranch page 21


A Must See New Addition to the Town of Polson! Montana Marbled MEATS

Local Meats

Most of our meat is sourced in the Mission Valley. Come check out our great selection. Also, all first responders and active or retired military receive 10 % OFF orders ALWAYS! 46878 US HWY 93, Polson, MT

(406) 883-MEAT Farm l Ranch

• www.montanamarbledmeats.com

March 11, 2020 - 5


BIGSTOCK PHOTO

Cover crops offer soil benefits, alternative forage News from Lake County Conservation District and the National Resources Conservation Service

Y

ou’ve probably heard about cover crops and some of the benefits that they can provide, right? Cover crops can help protect against soil erosion, improve soil health and add soil nutrients, provide habitat for pollinators and aid in weed control. But did you know that cover crops can provide a valuable grazing resource as well? In fact, it may help to think of cover crops as “alternative forage crops.” Cover crops are providing high produc6 - March 11, 2020

ing, high quality grazing values here in Lake County on a growing number of agricultural operations. A cover crop is a crop of a specific plant, or a mixture of specific plants, that is grown primarily for building soil health rather than the producing a crop yield. Cover crops are generally annual crops and they can be easily adapted to our agronomic systems here in Lake County. Cover crops can be utilized during hayland or pasture renovation cycles or at key times during a traditional crop rotation. Many producers in Lake County have begun using cover crops and have

liked what they’ve seen. Cover crops are often planted as a mix containing multiple species; mixes of three to ten species are common. Using cover crop mixes can provide a wide range of benefits. First, cover crop mixes allow managers to accomplish many goals at once. For instance, adding deep-tillage radishes or other brassicas can help break deep compaction layers in soil. Adding legumes such as peas, clovers and lentils can add nitrogen back to soils and increase fertility. High biomass producers like sorghum, millet, and small grains can provide significant quanti-

ties of forage while at the same time rapidly building soil organic matter. Warm season crop species like sorghum grass, sudangrass, millet, sunflower and buckwheat can grow quickly during the dog days of late July and August when other crops wither. Cool season brassicas like forage collards, radishes, and turnips produce huge amounts of highly palatable forage in the spring and fall to provide excellent late season grazing opportunities. Cover crops can allow producers increased flexibility. Cool season-based cover crop mixtures can be seeded in April and

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harvested or grazed in July. Alternatively, they can be seeded later in the summer and grazed in the fall. Warm season cover crop mixtures can be seeded in June and harvested or grazed in late summer or even be stockpiled for fall/ winter grazing. Alternatively, a cover crop mix can often be planted after harvesting a grain crop in early August to provide high quality fall and winter-feeding forage. Grazing a cover crop in the fall is an excellent way to put extra weight on calves prior to shipping. Cover crops planted in the spring can be grazed multiple times

during the year. No matter what your goal or objective is, cover crops can likely fill a niche. The Lake County Conservation District and Ronan Natural Resources Conservation Service have teamed up to offer producers in Lake County the opportunity to try cover crops by offering financial incentives to offset the costs of seed. Landowners can apply for up to 40 acres of cover crop seed reimbursable at up to $20 per acre. Applications will be open the first week of March. Interested producers can contact the Lake County Conservation District at 406-676-2811 ext. 102.


New book chronicles life of local horsewoman “They're Montana stories about ranch people.”

By Mary Auld for the Valley Journal

- Grace Larson, author, about her book 'Fay'

A

uthor Grace Larson discovered a family treasure in an old trunk in her aunt’s house in Ronan. She was helping her aunt move into a rest home when she came upon the trove. The trunk was full of poems, stories and artwork made by her aunt, legendary horsewoman Fay Haynes. “I told my cousin, you can have the trunk but you can’t have the writing because I knew it could be a wonderful book,” Larson said. Larson compiled a collection of Haynes’ stories, poems and artwork from the trunk into a cohesive book, called “Fay.” “They’re Montana stories, about ranch people,” Larson said. One story in the book is about a woman who was getting ready to go to the Hot Springs Homesteader Days. She loaded up her belongings and her baby. Just as she was about to leave, her husband handed her an umbrella to keep

LINDA SAPPINGTON / VALLEY JOURNAL FILE PHOTO

photo of Fay on horseback as a young woman

LINDA SAPPINGTON / VALLEY JOURNAL FILE PHOTO

Fay Haynes, circa 2008

the sun off of the baby. As she reached for it, the horse tried to throw her off. She tossed her bundle of belongings on the ground so she could hold on. When the horse calmed, she looked behind her to see her baby laying on the ground. She’d tossed her baby rather than her bundle of belongings.

The book’s setting and characters are likely familiar to locals in the Mission Valley. Haynes was born in Helena in 1926. She went to school in Lonepine. She was involved in rodeo in Hot Springs, Plains and Polson. After meeting her future husband Bill at a rodeo and getting married, they bought Big Bend

Ranch. In 1973, the pair moved to Pablo, where Haynes continued to ride horses and mentor young people in rodeo. The stories feature family members of people who still live in the area. The Haynes family was part of a wide network of people involved with horses and rodeo. Haynes participated in rodeo across the state. The stories feature many well-known people in Montana’s rodeo history. Haynes won so many rodeo awards over the years that she was inducted into the

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Montana Cowboy Hall of Fame in 2011. Larson said she feels a special connection to her aunt. When she was in school she spent her summers on the ranch. “She was like a second mom to me when I was little,” Larson said. Their connection inspired her to memorialize her aunt in the book. The stories range from humorous to heartfelt. In one story relayed in the book, Haynes’ husband loses control of his horse while riding along the irrigation ditch and he has to

go in and get the horse. He strips off his clothes and chases the animal through a canal, only to end up running naked around in the brush along the highway trying to catch the horse. According to Larson, rodeo was just as adventures. Haynes and the other women who participated in rodeo at the time broke barriers in a time when it wasn’t common for women to participate in the sport. “When [the women] put the rodeos on people didn’t think much of it,” Larson said. Haynes passed away in November of 2019. According to Larson, Haynes’ legacy lives on in the area. She often helped young girls get started in rodeo and helped develop the area’s robust rodeo culture. Larson has written six books to date about her family and their history in the region. The books can be found at local bookstores or at Larson’s website, montanagracelarson.com.

March 11, 2020 - 7


Area farmers markets to reopen in May ST. IGNATIUS The Mission Falls Market is opening this year on May 27 with an asparagus festival. Market organizers are also proposing a great deal for existing produce vendors and backyard garden enthusiasts who are considering selling at the market this year. This is an exclusive vendor deal just for those selling produce. If a vendor sells at 75 percent of the market days this year, they will receive a complete refund of their vendor fee at the end of the year. With seed catalogues arriving soon, growers are encouraged to take advantage of this opportunity. Join your neightbors at the market; there are always lots of friendly faces. The final day of market is expected to

be Sept. 25. Call 406-5298002 for a vendor application, verifying dates, times and more information.

ARLEE Arlee Farmers Market board members are planning to meet at Stageline Pizza at 11 a.m. on Friday, March 13. Additional helpers, organizers and those interested in being vendors are encouraged to attend. Last year the market was held at the Brown Building, which created a beautiful park-like setting for shoppers. They are hoping to get permission to use this area again this year. There are generally eight to 15 vendors each year with tables of homegrown vegetables, see next page

BEN STONE / VALLEY JOURNAL

The Polson Farmers Market opens for the season on Friday, May 1.

March is workplace wellness month! Check out our low cost safety eyewear.

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Ronan Eye Clinic wants to remind Ronan Eye Clinic wants to remind employers and workers about the importance of employers and workers about the importance of wearing wearing certified and approved eye protection. certified and approved eye protection.

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406-676-3937


Farmers Markets from page 8

and plants and handmade craft items. Attend the March 13 meeting and help make this year’s Arlee Farmers Market the best year yet. Call Patty at 406240-7171 for more information.

RONAN Ronan Farmers Market will open for the first time this year from 4-7 p.m. on Thursday, May 14, and continue every Thursday from 4-7 p.m. until Oct. 15. The first market will include a maintenance and tune-up for kids’ bicycles, put on by Mission Mountain Area Pedal to Plate. Plans are in the works for the market to include some kids’ activities and music on some weeks. A vendor meeting is planned for April 16 at Lake County Community

Development at 5:30 p.m. This meeting includes a potluck dinner and you are invited to bring your favorite dish. Food safety information and market rules and regulations will be covered. For more information about the meeting, call Katie at 412-952-6719. If you are interested in being a vendor at the Ronan Farmers Market, the daily fee for a 5 foot by 5 foot booth space is $7 and the rate for the entire season is $85. Email: ronanfarmersmarket@gmail.com to request additional information or sign up. In past seasons the market has included fresh vegetables, flowers, homemade sourdough bread as well as wood crafts.

POLSON The Polson Farmers Market Co-op supports local farmers and craftsmen and is the oldest running

BEN STONE / VALLEY JOURNAL PHOTO

Last year the Arlee farmers market was held at the Brown Building. Organizers are meeting March 19 to firm up plans for the 2020 season and are hoping to use the same location.

farmers market in Lake County, Montana. Located in Polson, at Third Ave. W (in front of the Cove Deli), the market is on the

south shore of Flathead lake and nestled at the foot of the Mission mountains. The farmers market is the heartbeat of Polson and

surrounding communities with over 50 vendors providing a variety of locally grown, hand crafted, and baked goods. The market

provides something for everyone and is a wonderful tourist destination. It is a three-time winner of the Agricultural Business of the Year award. The Polson Farmers Market offers locally produced fresh vegetables, fruits, meats, cheese, eggs, honey, jams & jellies, baked goods, bedding plants, perennials, shrubs, veggie & herb starts, hanging baskets, cut flowers, soaps, skin care products, wood working products, jewelry, photography, art, pottery, and many more unique craft items. Polson Farmers Market is open every Friday from 9 – 1 p.m. beginning in May and going until mid-October. To learn about the rules and regulations and fill out an application to become a vendor go to: http:// polsonfarmersmarket.com/ about/our-vendors/.

vj

Wright Real Estate is the Smart Choice for all your Real Estate Solutions. 80, 40 or 20 Acres!

Serving Western Montana for 67 years!

The owner would consider those options which offer a well maintained 4 bedroom, 3 bath home with a full finished walkout basement. Newly remodeled kithen and bathrooms. Wrap around deck. Attached garage. Stunning landscaping. Shop. Offered at $525,000 with 80 acres

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timber. Spectacular 4 bedroom home with interesting architectural appeal both inside and out. Large multi level deck with a hot tub positioned to enjoy the starlit evenings. Attached double garage and so much more.

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63228 US Hwy. 93, Ronan, MT 59864

Deb Weivoda Realtor GRI 406-249-9859

(406) 676-8610

www.westernmontanaland.com Farm l Ranch

March 11, 2020 - 9


Rim Rock Bullets takes aim at a bright future... we’re right onTARGET!

Doing Business in 50 States & US Territory

Come see all that we offer • Reloading Supplies •Guns Ammo • and much more! We supply 3 large manufacturers, 2 in Montana Rim Rock Bullets supports Veterans and the Military. We encourage recreational shooting sports and hunting.

ABOVE ALL,WE PROMOTE FIREARM SAFETY

We have now purchased . . .

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Sign up for intro horse, mule packing clinic News from Mission Valley Back Country Horsemen

D

o you enjoy riding your horse or mule and camping in the spectacular wild back country of Montana? If so, then join us for a one day, three-part introduction into how to pack your horse or mule presented by the Mission Valley Back Country Horsemen and hosted by CHS-Mountain West Coop, 63932 US-93, in Ronan, on Saturday, April 4. Each introductory segment will last about 50 minutes with a short break in between. Attend one or all three segments. For those that attend all three segments, you will receive a, “Certificate of Completion.” This is

COURTESY PHOTOS

open to all ages, so bring a friend. We do ask that children under 12 be accompanied by an adult. This is both demonstrations and hands on. There is no charge to participate. Coffee, water and

Gift shop is fully stocked!

lunch will be provided to participants courtesy of the Mission Valley Back Country Horsemen. Bring a chair and join us so you can be ready to enjoy the back country this summer and fall.

Registration starts at 9:30 am. The first segment begins at 10 a.m. and includes: safety working around stock, introduction to packing, panniers, bags and manty loads with hands-on practice.

SAVE THE DATE!

Something for everyone!!

Segment two begins at 11 a.m. and will cover decker and sawbuck pack saddles, safety, brushing, and saddling. Lunch will be served between noon and 12:30 p.m. with the third segment starting at 12:30

p.m. Information covered will be about loading, basket and barrel hitches, tying mules together for trail and demoing leading a pack string. For more information, call 406-370-9244.

111 3rd Ave. E Polson, MT 59860 406-319-2229

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Featuring for more information call 883-1100 DINNER • DOOR PRIZES • AUCTION Farm l Ranch

March 11, 2020 - 11


USDA announces updates for honeybee producers News from USDA

T

he USDA Farm Service Agency recently announced updates to the Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees and Farm-Raised Fish Program. These updates include changes required by the 2018 Farm Bill as well as discretionary changes intended to improve the administration of the program and clarify existing program requirements. ELAP was previously administered based on FSA’s fiscal year but will now run according to the calendar year. Producers are still required to submit an application for payment within 30 calendar days of the end of the program year. This is not a policy change but will affect the deadline. The signup deadline for calendar year 2020 losses is Jan. 30, 2021.   Starting in 2020, producers will have 15 days from when the loss is first apparent, instead of 30 days, to file a honeybee notice of loss. This change provides consistency between ELAP and the Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program, which also has a 15-day notice of loss period for honey. For other covered losses, including livestock feed, grazing and farm-raised fish

ROB ZOLMAN / VALLEY JOURNAL

losses, the notice of loss deadline for ELAP will remain 30 days from when the loss is first apparent to the producer.   Program participants who were paid for the loss of a honeybee colony or hive in either or both of the previous two years will be required to provide additional documentation to substantiate

how current year inventory was acquired.   If the honeybee colony loss incurred was because of Colony Collapse Disorder, program participants must provide a producer certification that the loss was a direct result of at least three of the five symptoms of Colony Collapse Disorder, which

include:   — the loss of live queen and/ or drone bee populations inside the hives — rapid decline of adult worker bee population outside the hives, leaving brood poorly or completely unattended   — absence of dead adult bees inside the hive and outside the

entrance of the hive; — absence of robbing collapsed colonies — the time of collapse, varroa mite and Nosema populations are not at levels known to cause economic injury or population decline   For honeybees, ELAP covers colony losses, honeybee hive losses (the physical structure) and honeybee feed losses in instances where the colony, hive or feed has been destroyed by a natural disaster or, in the case of colony losses, because of Colony Collapse Disorder. Colony losses must be in excess of normal mortality.  ELAP also provides emergency assistance to eligible producers of livestock and farm-raised fish including for feed and grazing losses. It covers losses because of eligible adverse weather or loss conditions, including blizzards and wildfires on federally managed lands. ELAP also covers losses resulting from the cost of transporting water to livestock due to an eligible drought.  For more information on ELAP visit: farmers.gov/recover or contact your FSA County Office. To locate your local FSA office, visit: farmers.gov/service-locator.

Complete, Reliable Land Title Service Since 1923 We would like to thank our AG Community for all your years of service.

MEMBER

MONTANA TITLE ASSOCIATION AMERICAN LAND TITLE ASSOCIATION

Lake County Abstract & Title Company

314 First Street East, Polson • 883-6226 • Fax 883-2586 • www.LCTitles.com 12 - March 11, 2020

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lakeseed@ronan.net

406-676-2174

Lake Seed Inc. 35822 Spring Creek Rd. Ronan, MT 59864

www.lakeseedinc.com Your LOCAL

SOURCE for High Quality, Proven CROP PRODUCTION and ANIMAL FEED Products.

We have the Seed for you! • BARLEY Raised on Farm LAVINA (Beardless Forage) HAXBY (Feed Barley)

• OATS Farm raised, Certified OTANA (Forage) AJAY (Feed)

• HARD RED SPRING WHEAT

Certified HRS raised and proven on our Farm

SY GUNSIGHT EGAN HRS WB 9668

• Forage Blends and Cover Crops • Grass and Alfalfa Seed for any situation, from lawns to pastures • Crop Protection Products • Animal Feeds - All Pets large and small, 4-H Market Animals We are committed to providing the seeds for your success!

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March 11, 2020 - 13


March 16 deadline to purchase hemp coverage USDA announces details of Risk Management Programs for hemp producers News from USDA

USDA announced the availability of two programs that protect hemp producers’ crops from natural disasters. A pilot hemp insurance program through Multi-Peril Crop Insurance provides coverage against loss of yield because of insurable causes of loss for hemp grown for fiber, grain or Cannabidiol (CBD) oil and the Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program coverage protects

against losses associated with lower yields, destroyed crops or prevented planting where no permanent federal crop insurance program is available. Producers may apply now and the deadline to sign up for both programs is March 16, 2020. Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program NAP provides coverage against loss for hemp grown for fiber, grain, seed or CBD for the 2020 crop year where no permanent federal crop insurance program is available.   NAP basic 50/55 coverage is available at 55 percent of the average market price for crop losses that exceed 50 percent of expected production. Buy-

up coverage is available in some cases. The 2018 Farm Bill allows for buyup levels of NAP coverage from 50 to 65 percent of expected production in 5 percent increments, at 100 percent of the average market price. Premiums apply for buy-up coverage. For all coverage levels, the NAP service fee is $325 per crop or $825 per producer per county, not to exceed $1,950 for a producer with farming interests in multiple counties.   Multi-Peril Crop Insurance Pilot Insurance Program  The MPCI pilot insurance is a new crop insurance option for hemp producers in select counties of 21 states for

HEART of SKY FENCING

the 2020 crop year. The program is available for eligible producers in certain counties in Alabama, California, Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia and Wisconsin. Information on eligible counties is accessible through the USDA Risk Management Agency’s Actuarial information browser.   Among other requirements, to be eligible for the pilot program, a hemp producer must have at least one year of history producing the crop and have a contract for the sale of the insured hemp.

In addition, the minimum acreage requirement is five acres for CBD and 20 acres for grain and fiber. Hemp will not qualify for replant payments or prevented plant payments under MPCI. This pilot insurance coverage is available to hemp growers in addition to revenue protection for hemp offered under the Whole-Farm Revenue Protection plan of insurance. Also, beginning with the 2021 crop year, hemp will be insurable under the Nursery Crop insurance program and the Nursery Value Select pilot crop insurance program. Under both nursery programs, hemp will be insurable if grown in containers and in accordance with federal regulations,

any applicable state or tribal laws and terms of the crop insurance policy. Eligibility Requirements  Under a regulation authorized by the 2018 Farm Bill and issued in October 2019, all growers must have a license to grow hemp and must comply with applicable state, tribal or federal regulations or operate under a state or university research pilot, as authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill.  Producers must report hemp acreage to FSA after planting to comply with federal and state law enforcement. The Farm Bill defines hemp as containing 0.3 percent or less tetrahydrocannabinol see page 16

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Hurry in and experience the Don Aadsen difference today! Disclaimers: 1 Not all buyers will qualify for Ford Credit Financing, 0% APR financing for 60 months at $16.67 per month per $1,000 financed regardless of down payment. 2 Price includes: $750 Ford Credit Retail Customer Cash which requires financing with Ford Credit, not all buyers will qualify. 3 Lease payment is for 36 months, $0 down payment required with $423 due at signing and 10,500 miles/year. Not all buyers will qualify for Ford Credit Financing. 4 Lease payment is for 24 months, $3,500 down payment required with $3,817 due at signing and 10,500 miles/year. Not all buyers will qualify for Ford Credit Financing. See dealer for details on all offers. Tax, title and registration not included in any offers. Must take new retail delivery from dealer stock by 3/31/2020.

Don Aadsen Ford 64194 Hwy. 93 S, Ronan

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(406) 676-4420

www.donaadsenford.com Farm l Ranch

March 11, 2020 - 15


hemp insurance from page 14

(THC) on a dry-weight basis. Hemp having THC above the federal statutory compliance level of 0.3 percent is an uninsurable or ineligible cause of loss and will result in the hemp production being ineligible for production history purposes. For more information on USDA risk management programs for hemp producers, visit: farmers. gov/hemp to read our frequently asked questions. For more information on the U.S. Domestic Hemp Production Program, visit USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Services’ website to read their frequently asked questions.  

In addition to new crop protection programs now available, beginning with the 2021 crop year, hemp will be insurable under the Nursery Crop insurance program and the Nursery Value Select pilot crop insurance program.

vj BIGSTOCK PHOTO

ARE YOU LOOKING TO RENOVATE OR RESEED YOUR PASTURE?

MISSION MOUNTAIN NATURAL Foods and Gifts

WANT TO TRY A WILDLIFE SEEDING? Call Heidi at 406-676-2811 x102 to rent our

Great Plains No-till Seed Drill TODAY!

Always proudly supporting local, organic, sustainable growers. Providing these great products for our customers for over 40 years. We are your organic, natural, NON-GMO grocery store.

Lake County Conservation District 64352 US Hwy. 93 Ronan, MT 59864 www. lakecountyconservationdistrict.org

16 - March 11, 2020

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319 Main Street • Downtown Polson • 883-2847


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March 11, 2020 - 17


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Tester: Brazilian beef ban lift puts consumers at risk News from the office of Senator Jon Tester

KAREN PETERSON / VALLEY JOURNAL

Due to previously failed attempts on the part of Brazilian beef products to meet American food safety standards, Senator Jon Tester has gone on record opposing a recent USDA decision to lift the ban on Brazilian beef. According to Tester, Montana beef, pictured above, meets the highest standards for safety and quality.

Grand Opening & 25th Anniversary

that would prevent tainted meat from entering our country.” Earlier, Tester and Sen. John Thune (R-ND) led a bipartisan group of 13 of their colleagues—including Senator Steve Daines—in sending a

66979 US-93, Ronan 406-644-2950

August 11, 2018 • 8 a.m. - 4 p.m. CLICK HERE FOR MORE DETAILS.

from reaching our dinner tables. By reversing this decision, the Trump Administration is blatantly putting American consumers at risk, and any of my colleagues who agree should immediately sign-on to my bill

Celebration

As part of his commitment to safeguarding American families from dangerous food imports, U.S. Senator Jon Tester slammed the U.S. Department of Agriculture for their decision to lift a ban on the import of Brazilian beef—which has consistently failed U.S. import standards. For years, Tester has worked tirelessly to ensure that USDA is holding Brazil accountable for their unsafe trading practices. Just last year, he introduced legislation that would ensure Brazilian beef and poultry is up to U.S. quality standards before it can be imported into the country, and following the recent USDA decision, he is calling for his colleagues to support it.  “I’ve spent years urging USDA to do everything they can to ensure that grocery stores are selling safe-to-eat products to American families,” said Tester. “Brazil has shown us time and time again that they’re an untrustworthy trading partner when it comes to beef and poultry, so it’s just common sense that we prevent these products

letter to USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue requesting that the agency reevaluate the decision to lift the ban, which was implemented in 2017. The Senators expressed their concerns with reopening U.S. markets

to Brazilian beef considering the country’s previous failed attempts to bring their products up to American quality standards. However, none of the Senators on the letter have yet cosponsored Tester’s legislation to ensure Brazilian beef and poultry imports meet those standards. “Given that the United States halted Brazilian raw beef imports less than one year after Brazil was granted access in 2016, we have serious concerns about Brazil’s ability to maintain adequate food safety standards over the long run,” wrote the Senators. “… Considering Brazil’s multiple failed attempts to uphold equivalent food safety standards, we believe a complete verification process of certified Brazilian facilities may be warranted.” Tester has been an outspoken critic of Brazilian beef imports after reports that the country was exporting rotten beef and attempting to cover it up with cancer-causing acid products in 2017. That year, he introduced legislation to completely halt all beef imports from the country and successfully urged USDA to implement the ban.

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March 11, 2020 - 19


As trade war simmers, Montana farmers get federal relief Here’s where the 2019 subsidies hit home

“We’d rather have trade than a check ... It’s way easier to keep a customer than to get a customer back. We will never get back the market we had with China.” - John Youngberg, executive vice president of the Montana Farm Bureau Federation

Eric Dietrich for Montana Free Press

A

s agricultural commodity prices suffer in President Donald Trump’s multi-fronted trade war, Montana farmers have received at least $114 million in 2019 payments from a federal program intended to help them weather the storm. The Market Facilitation Program, administered by the United States Department of Agriculture Farm Services Agency, had made payments to 8,279 unique agricultural producers in 53 of Montana’s 56 counties in 2019 as of Dec. 4, according to data provided to Montana Free Press via a records request. Nationally, the program’s payments total more than $10 billion in taxpayer money. The Market Facilitation Program was created in 2018 as a way to shield farmers from the trade war heat. In a release, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue described the program as “a short-term relief strategy to protect agricultural producers while the Administration works on free, fair, and reciprocal trade deals to open more markets in the long run to help American farmers compete globally.” The 2019 payments are based on USDA estimates of economic losses caused by retaliatory tariffs levied on U.S. agricultural products imported into foreign markets. By making imports more expensive, those tariffs make it harder for American businesses to sell their products abroad, driving down commodity prices and cutting into farmers’ bottom lines. “We’d rather have trade than a check. It certainly isn’t enough money to make everybody whole, or close to whole,” said John Youngberg, executive vice president, Montana Farm Bureau Federation. For example, the USDA estimates pork tariffs stemming from the trade war have cost American 20 - March 11, 2020

hog producers $831 million — a figure that works out to $11 per head. As such, pork producers were eligible to apply for compensation of $11 per hog through the program. For commodity crops like wheat, lentils, and chickpeas, the USDA pegged 2019 payments to estimated agricultural losses at the county level. To calculate a farmer’s compensation, the USDA multiplies the county rate by a producer’s eligible acreage. While major soybean- and cotton-producing counties in the Midwest and South saw compensation rates as high as $150 an acre, most Montana commodity farmers were compensated at the program’s minimum rate of $15 an acre. Beef, one of Montana’s major agricultural products, isn’t included in the 2019 Market Facilitation Program. Compensated products include hogs, dairy, wheat, corn, and alfalfa hay, as well as some specialty crops like cherries. Shortly after President Donald Trump took office in 2017, he pulled back from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, an unratified free-trade agreement negotiated by the Obama administration that would have limited tariffs and other trade barriers between the U.S. and several Pacific Rim countries. The Trump administration has instead sought to negotiate bilateral trade agreements, often threatening or implementing new tariffs as a negotiating strategy. Trading partners have often responded in kind. After the U.S. levied tariffs on steel from China in 2018, for example, the Chinese government responded by adding tariffs to imported U.S. agricultural products, including Montana grain. Canada, Mexico, the European Union, Turkey, and India have also implemented retaliatory tar-

iffs in recent years, according to the Congressional Research Service. Some of those tariffs have been lifted as nations reach new trade agreements with the U.S. Montana farmers received $29.2 million through the program in 2018, according to USDA data. The $114 million total for 2019 includes two of three payment rounds, with the third expected later this month. Those figures don’t include other farm subsidy programs. Montana hog and dairy producers have received $2 million through the Market Facilitation Program in 2019, with alfalfa hay producers receiving $2.6 million. The vast majority of Montana’s 2019 money — $109.2 million — went to commodity crop growers, who received on median $3,794 per farm. In terms of geographical distribution, counties in Montana’s “Golden Triangle” between Cut Bank, Great Falls, and Havre have received particularly large subsidies. One of them, Chouteau County, with 5,800 residents and more than 2 million acres of farmland, received the most assistance of any Montana county, with 2019 payments to 588 producers totalling $9.2 million. For context, the USDA’s 2017 Census of Agriculture counted 633 farms in Chouteau County. According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, Chouteau County’s net farm income in 2018 was $24.7 million. The eastern end of the HiLine has also seen large payouts through the program. Producers in Sheridan County, in Montana’s northeastern corner, received a combined $8.1 million in 2019 Market Facilitation Program payments. Slightly farther south, Garfield County farmers received $1.4 million last year — averaging $11,200 for each of the county’s farm operations. Farm l Ranch

Ag industry leaders are skeptical that the program has put Montana farmers in the black, saying the trade dynamic, combined with bad weather, has made times tough for farmers. “We’d rather have trade than a check,” said John Youngberg, executive vice president of the Montana Farm Bureau Federation. “It certainly isn’t enough money to make everybody whole, or close to whole.” Walter Schweitzer, president of the Montana Farmers Union, echoed that concern. He also said he’s worried that disruptions caused by the trade war could hurt farmers in the long run, as foreign importers build relationships with new, non-American suppliers. “It’s way easier to keep a customer than to get a customer back,” he said. “We will never get back the market we had with China.” Schweitzer also said that much of the program’s assistance went to corporate agriculture instead of family farms — a complaint echoed by economists and Democratic lawmakers. “The actual distribution of the MFP payments flows to the largest and wealthiest farms that face the least risk of bankruptcy,” Montana State University economists Eric Belasco and Vincent Smith wrote in a Marketwatch opinion column last month. “Throwing money to the largest farms may be good politics for some, but this misuse of taxpayer funds should worry us all,” they continued. Belasco and Smith, both affiliated with the conservative American Enterprise Institute, found that the largest 20 percent of American farms by crop sales received 73% of Market Facilitation Program payments in 2018, and 69 percent in 2019. A group of Democratic U.S.

senators led by Debbie Stabenow of Michigan sent a letter to Perdue in November 2019 criticizing the program’s structure for failing to protect small farmers and providing assistance to foreign-owned companies. They singled out Brazilian-owned meatpacking company JBS, which operates a U.S. subsidiary, saying it had received $90 million through the program. “The USDA does nothing to target assistance to those most vulnerable, including beginning farmers and small farms,” the Democratic senators wrote. “We are concerned that it will lead to further consolidation of family-owned farms and wipe out the next generation of farmers.” Montana Democratic Sen. Jon Tester, who owns a farm in Chouteau County, wasn’t among the 17 senators who signed on to Stabenow’s letter. Like other farmers in the area, he has benefited from the program, receiving $2,957 in 2019, according to the USDA data. “The fact is these MFP payments are not going to stop family farmers from going out of business, which is why this trade war should be brought to an end immediately,” Tester Press Secretary Roy Loewenstein said in an email. “Jon knows firsthand that family farm agriculture is the backbone of this country, and he believes any resources focused on keeping family farms in business are well spent,” Loewenstein also said, acknowledging that “Jon shares concerns that a disproportionate amount of MFP resources went to corporate agriculture.” The Trump administration has argued the program provides farmers with “much needed” assistance regardless. “While we continue to have confidence in the President’s negotiations with China,” Perdue said in a November release, “this money shows President Trump following through on his promise to help and support farmers as he continues to fight for fair market access.”


Local beef from Farm & Ranch page 4

According to Nash, in the days leading up to the holidays, the phone never stopped ringing. Orders for prime rib, smoked hams and turkeys came in fast. Montana Marbled Meats has also built an avid clientele hungry for its in-house smoked jerky and cheese selections. “We offer eight flavors of jerky and are currently looking to expand it to 12 flavors,” said Nash. Another big seller out of the shop, according to Nash, are dog bones, “I can’t cut enough meat to keep up.” Montana Marbled Meats is open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. The shop is located at 46878 US Hwy. 93 in Polson and can be reached by phone at 406-883-6328 (MEAT).

ROB ZOLMAN / VALLEY JOURNAL

vj

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March 11, 2020 - 21


22 - March 11, 2020

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Montana FSA program dates, deadlines News from USDA Farm and Ranch

The underlying dates and deadlines provide guidance for farmers and ranchers seeking assistance: — March 16: Last day of 2019 Agricultural Risk Coverage Price Loss Coverage enrollment and program election period  — March 16: 2020 NAP Coverage application closing date for all spring crops except spring-seeded canola, rye, speltz, triticale, wheat, mixed forage and garlic   — March 16: First day of CRP Grasslands signup  — March 23: Signup begins for excess moisture and drought (D-3 & above) losses under WHIP+    — March 30: First day of Soil Health and Income Protection Program pilot signup period  — March 31: Last day to apply for a 2019 crop marketing assistance loan or LDP for harvested barley, canola, crambe, flaxseed, honey, oats, rapeseed, wheat and sesame seed  — April 15: NAP produc-

ers with 2020 perennial forage intended for mechanical harvest or grazing are required to report their crop acreage 15 calendar days before the onset of harvest or grazing of the specific crop acreage. NAP producers are encouraged to report perennial forage acreage by April 15. — May 14: Last day of 2020 CRP spring non-emergency grazing period (prior approval required)  — May 15: Last day of CRP Grasslands signup  — June 1: Last day to apply for a 2019 crop marketing assistance loan or LDP for harvested corn, dry peas, grain sorghum, lentils, mustard seed, rice, safflower seed, chickpeas, soybeans and sunflower seed  — June 15: Nomination open for 2020 FSA county committee elections  — June 30: Last day of 2020 Agricultural Risk Coverage Price Loss Coverage enrollment period  — July 15:  2020 Acreage Reporting deadline for spring seeded alfalfa seed, forage seeding, CRP, peren-

nial forage not covered under NAP, and all other crops not required to be reported by a previous reporting date. Please note this is the final date that FSA can accept late-filed 2019 reports for these crops. FSA Disaster Programs Notice of Loss Requirements   It’s important for agricultural producers to report losses immediately as all disaster programs are dependent on the timely reporting of the loss. A notice of loss can be filed with USDA Farm Service Agency via phone, email, fax or in-person office visit.   — ELAP – Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees and FarmRaised Fish Program: Starting in 2020, producers will have 15 days from when the loss is first apparent, instead of 30 days, to file a honeybee notice of loss. This change provides consistency between ELAP and the Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program, which also has a 15day notice of loss period for

honey. For other covered losses, including livestock feed, grazing and farm-raised fish losses, the notice of loss deadline for ELAP will remain 30 days from when the loss is first apparent to the producer.    — LIP - Livestock Indemnity Program: Submit Notice of Loss within 30 calendar days of when the loss is first apparent.   — NAP – Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program: Submit Notice of Loss within 15 calendar days or earlier of a natural disaster occurrence, the final planting date if planting is prevented by a natural disaster, the date that damage to the crop or loss of production becomes apparent; or the normal harvest date. Note: A producer’s signature is required on form CCC-576 when a Notice of Loss is submitted.  — TAP - Tree Assistance Program: Final date to submit an application and supporting documentation within 90 calendar days of: the disaster event or the date when the loss is apparent to the producer.  

Lunch time

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KAREN PETERSON / VALLEY JOURNAL

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Montana Department of Agriculture selects new deputy director News from Montana Department of Agriculture

MONTANA – The Montana Department of Agriculture is pleased to announce Christy Clark has accepted the deputy director position. Clark has served at the department since 2015, most recently as the agricultural sciences administrator and formerly as the agricultural development and marketing bureau chief. “Christy has a deep connection to agriculture and her work across the agency makes her the right person to help lead the department,” said Director Ben Thomas. “I’m thrilled to serve Montana’s producers and the larger ag industry alongside someone with such expertise and passion.” Clark, a native of Choteau and fifth generation rancher, previously served three terms as a representative in the Montana Legislature. Her governmental knowledge and appreciation for agriculture make her a strong advocate for the industry. As the head of the agricultural sciences division, Clark ensured regulatory programs served and protected Montana’s producers and consumers. This experience complements the efforts she led to promote Montana’s high-quality ag products by enhancing markets as bureau chief for the department’s development and marketing bureau. “I’m grateful for the wealth of information I’ve gained serving both the sciences and development divisions at the department,” said Clark. “Agriculture is our number one industry and vital to rural communities across the state. I’m eager to build on my experiences and to continue to support our hard-working ag producers in this new role.” The Montana Department of Agriculture’s mission is to protect producers and consumers, and to enhance and develop agriculture and allied industries. 

March 11, 2020 - 23


Double-check seed labels for added agreements By Morgan Rose with the Prairie Star

MONTANA – 2019 was a challenging year for farmers. Trade wars affected markets and commodity prices, hardships were faced during planting and harvest, and many farmers rounded out the year with poor yields. Despite the challenges, 2020 came around just the same and as winter melts into spring, farmers must now look ahead to planting decisions. For farmers staring at bins filled with last year’s grain, it may be tempting to reduce input costs by cutting seed expenses. Growers are cautioned, however, to have a really good understanding of Plant Variety Protection laws, as well as Certified Seed Only agreements, before they plant held over seed. PVP was established in 1970 and is federally mandated. The act simply wanted to give

NICOLE TAVENNER / VALLEY JOURNAL

credit where credit was due by allowing public and private plant breeders to have exclusive

control over the varieties they develop. Boiled down, PVP can be thought of as a patent with

plant breeders or variety owners controlling production, distribution and marketing.

The PVP act came about as a way to incentivize plant breeders. The development of cutting-edge crop varieties is good for farmers and it is good for agriculture, but research is expensive. Under PVP, plant breeding programs receive royalties when their variety is purchased and that money can be used in turn to help offset expenses. Under penalty of federal law, seeds under PVP cannot be illegally sold or bartered for, and conditioning facilities can be held liable if they clean seed that is suspected to be sold illegally. PVP law draws a hard line, with the only exception being: farmers are allowed to save seed for planting on their own personal land, either owned or leased. “This has been the main law. When growers think, ‘what can see next page

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seed agreements from page 24

I do with my seed,’ they think PVP. This is federal law, so it is something that they have to follow. If farmers have a violation, USDA comes into play,” explained Heather Unverzagt, director of the Montana Seed Growers Association. Farmers have grown familiar with PVP and understand the serious repercussions that could come from not following the law. However, Unverzagt went on to say, things have changed over the past 10 years and now farmers must be aware of CSO agreements, also commonly referred to as single-use seed agreements. CSO agreements are contractual agreements between the buyer/farmer and the company which owns the seed. CSO agreements contend that the farmer understands the seed was purchased solely for planting and producing a single crop. CSO agreements categorize new varieties as intellectual property, similar to like a movie or book. Plagiarism is illegal, as is replanting a seed that has a CSO agreement attached. “Seed with a CSO agreement is not to be resold or used for any seed purposes. Growers can keep the seed in their bin, but it can only be sold to an end-use facility,” Unverzagt explained. The caveat with CSO agreements is they are strictly civil, unlike PVP which is federal law. Being as CSO agreements are contracts, they are legally binding, so there are no excuses and companies are within their rights to enforce legal proceedings if a farmer is caught planting seed that has a

CSO agreement attached to it. Since CSO agreements are not law, it may seem tempting to skirt around them, especially since producers must be “tuned in” to the seed company for any actions to be taken. Cort Jensen, attorney for the Montana Department of Agriculture, warns producers that undermining a CSO agreement is not worth the risk. “It just takes one person with a really good motive to throw you under the bus. When you show up to the grain elevator with a variety they didn’t sell you, and you are offering to sell it, they are going to have some questions about where you got that seed,” Jensen pointed out. It may seem overwhelming for farmers to try and keep up-to-date with all the varieties that could have CSO agreements attached. Unver-

zagt says growers can reach out to their seed dealer or a seed company representative if they have any questions regarding a specific variety. When in doubt, growers can call the Montana Seed Growers Association and they will at least be able to point you in the right direction. “Check before you plant back. Check before you have anything custom cleaned. Just protect your farm and your investments,” Unverzagt concluded. Economic stress can be troubling, but both Jensen and Unverzagt advise producers to not compound their issues by violating PVP laws or CSO agreements. Make sure and always talk with the company who sold the variety first, before you plant.

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Signs of spring

Ag briefs 41st annual Ag Appreciation Dinner is March 20 at Ronan Community Center RONAN — The Ronan Area Chamber of Commerce will host the 41st annual Ag Appreciation Dinner at the Ronan Community Center, 300 Third Ave. NW, on Friday, March 20, from 6-9 p.m. The Ronan Chamber of Commerce and sponsors invite the farmers and ranchers in the Mission Valley to the 2020 Agriculture Appreciation Dinner. Agriculture is an important part of the Mission Valley and to show our appreciation to your dedication in agriculture, please join us for dinner and an evening gathering. Social hour begins at 6 p.m. and dinner will be

served at 7 p.m.

Montana FSA: USDA’s Conservation program signup begins BOZEMAN — Farmers and ranchers may apply to enroll grasslands in the Conservation Reserve Program Grasslands signup beginning March 16. The signup runs through May 15.

USDA Agricultural Conservation Easement application deadline is April 17

BOZEMAN – The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service in Montana is accepting applications for the Agricultural

Conservation Easement Program. While NRCS accepts easement applications on a continuous basis, applications for the next funding consideration must be submitted by April 17, 2020. “Easements are sometimes a perfect fit for a landowner who is looking to protect his or her land from future development or to protect and improve wetlands or provide critical habitat for wildlife,” said Allen Persinger, NRCS assistant state conservationist for easement programs in Montana. ACEP Agricultural Land Easements provide financial assistance to eligible partners for purchasing easements that project the agricultural use and conservation values of eligible land. In the case of working farms, the program helps

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Mission Valley Power would like to remind everyone that intends to burn grass or fields, to pick days that are not too windy. If you are burning near a power pole, we advise you to cut or pull high weeds around it first. It’s the smart thing to do! This precaution will prevent power outages should the pole catch fire. We advise you to call your local fire department before burning.

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