Agriculture Magazine March 2018

Page 1

March 2018

M A G A Z I N E

In this issue

Integrated pest management Planting trees Acupuncture on animals and more!


2018

ravalli county

Save the

Dates

exhibitors hanDbook Look for it in June in the Bitterroot Star and several drop locations throughout Ravalli County!

Open CLaSS entRieS due auguSt 10th 4h/FFa entRieS due auguSt 3Rd

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roDeo aug. 29 - sept. 1

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s l premium ia c e p s e r Mo winning and prize ities than opportun re! ever befo

The be family st fa the we ir in st!


in this issue Integrated Pest Management............................... 5 New forage............................................................. 8 Pressure cookers................................................... 10 Corvallis’ Western Ag Research Center.............. 12 Dirty fingernails: planting trees........................... 14 Animal feed in the Bitterroot............................... 17 Agricultural Heritage Notebook......................... 18 Acupuncture on animals...................................... 22

MAGAZINE How did you like this issue of Agriculture Magazine? Do you have any ideas you’d like to share with us for our next issue? Let us know. Sent comments to: Ravalli Republic, 232 West Main, Hamilton, MT 59840 or editor@ravallirepublic.com Top photo on this page provided by Wendy Beye

Agriculture Magazine is published by the Ravalli Republic & Missoulian Newspapers, divisions of Lee Enterprises Mike Gulledge, Publisher Perry Backus, Associate Editor Kathy Kelleher, Lauren Parsons & Jodi Wright, Sales Dara Saltzman, Production & Design Agriculture Magazine is copyright 2018, Ravalli Republic.

232 W Main, Hamilton, MT 59840 ravallirepublic.com


Page 4 - Agriculture Magazine, March 2018

PHOTO COURTESY RAVALLI COUNTY MUSEUM

An onion patch on the Thrailkill Ranch circa 1910


Agriculture Magazine, March 2018 - Page 5

MICHELLE MCCONNAHA - Ravalli Republic

Cultivating Connections youth interns Andrea Williams and Grace Keny weeded and mulched the beds of vegetables raised for the Meals on Wheels program: celery, onions, pole beans, broccoli and kale. “Mulching saves water prevents erosion and we won’t have to weed it again,” Laura Garber said.

Using Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Strategies to Manage Farm and Yard Pests by Patrick Mangan MSU Ravalli County Extension Agent

We’ve all seen them, the names of philosophies, methods, practices, and descriptions about how to manage a piece of land: biodynamic, all natural, organic, conventional, no-till, holistic, naturally grown, as well as a host of others that describe a set of goals, conditions, and efforts to manage an area. And whether we have a backyard garden

box, or a big field planted with an agricultural crop, we have no doubt had a time when we have been visited by unwanted residents in that space: weeds, insects, pathogens, disease, grubs, fungi, rodents, or some other guest trying to take advantage of your hard work. There are a lot of goals, desires, and personal values that guide land managers to the tools they use to manage pests when they do arise on the properties.


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The IPM approach is one such management philosophy. The Integrated Pest Management (IPM) model uses observation, information, and science as the primary pillars to help land managers make decisions about which tools make the most sense to control a pest and provide options for control beyond the application of pesticides. The philosophy highlights managing a pest outbreak through multiple actions and facets employed at the same time, with a goal of management instead of eradication. It steps away from the time honored conversation of “To spray, or not to spray?” and uses knowledge about the pest as an important piece of the management puzzle. There are four tenants to the IPM approach: cultural practices to prevent pest outbreaks, monitoring and identification of pests, establishment of thresholds for damage and action, and evaluating the efficacy of the chosen man-

agement tools. It’s important to note that when we say “pest,” we can mean a whole variety of damaging conditions, or critters: insects, weeds, fungi, bacteria, molds, viruses, and other pathogens that can attack and weaken our desired plants. The first component, employing cultural practices to prevent pests, is an important component of any agricultural system, including IPM systems. Efforts such as crop rotation, removing pest harboring crop residues, effective management of fertility, habitat management, and the removal of alternate hosts are all examples of effective preventative practices to reduce pests. Each crop is a little different, and has different issues, so it is important to do some research and reading about the pests of concern for your desired crop. Doing a little research about your backyard potatoes can help you to make some good solid decisions, like rotating the beds and space you grow them in annually, and always

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buying certified disease-free seed potatoes. The second component in an IPM program is to develop and implement a monitoring and observation plan for your space. Get out there regularly and look for signs of pests and disease. It is always easier to get a handle and control of a pest outbreak when it is small and just starting out. Once we have determined there is a pest in our system through monitoring, it is time to do additional research to identify and understand the lifecycle of the pest. Knowing where the pest is at in its lifecycle, and how management can change with the development of the pest is an important step in making a decision in an IPM program. Once you’ve identified the pest and its lifecycle, it is time to establish a threshold for action. Can you tolerate a little bit of damage from an insect, or a couple of weeds in the pasture? Is the pest nearing a time at its lifecycle when it will change, and stop doing the damage it is currently doing? Will environmental conditions soon change and make it difficult for the pest to thrive? Will it cost more money to employ a control tool than you are losing in production of the crop? All of these are important questions to ask and research as you decide whether to take action, or to continue to monitor without taking direct control actions. When you reach a threshold that triggers the employment of a management tool, the last principle of an IPM program helps you choose a tool that will have the most efficacy of control, with the least toxicity to the environment. Mechanical controls, biological controls, grazing, fire, cultural controls, and pesticide applications can all be used to control pests. It takes a little more reading to determine the right tool for the right time for the pest, while aligning the choice to your personal goals and management philosophies. If the application

of a chemical pesticide is called for, choosing one that is the least toxic while gaining effective management is an important decision consideration. After you have implemented a control tool in your IPM system, continue to monitor for a change in the pest population. Did the management tool have the desired effect? There are a lot of pieces in the puzzle of an effective IPM program. The county extension office is ready to help find information about pests, management and control strategies, and identification of pests and pathogens. The Schutter Diagnostic Lab on the MSU campus has a staff of specialists who can help identify pests, and provide information about their lifecycle, control options, and tools to use in control. Bring your pest questions our way, and we can find the answers to help implement a solid IPM program in your space.


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Zach Miller Western Agricultural Research Center

Planting annual forages allows a farmer to create a mix of species to suit the desired nutritional output.

Move over alfalfa, there’s a new forage in town! By Patrick Mangan Ravalli County MSU Extension Agent

I remember well the first time I ran across the use of what I would normally consider a garden vegetable being grown in a field for use as livestock forage. I was touring a sheep station on the southern island of New Zealand learning about their agricultural practices. It was a big place, 170,000 acres and upwards of 30,000 sheep. We passed a field that had been planted in turnips, peas, and kale. Our guide told us fields like this were scattered around the farm and grown so they could overwinter the hoggets (sheep that are one year

old), feeding them a really high quality forage to get them through the cold weather. My mind was blown. I’d never heard of grazing turnips before. I asked a hundred questions and through a good deal of patience on our guide’s part, learned that the younger sheep thrived on the higher quality forage, when compared to the older sheep who could eat and maintain themselves on the remnants of grasses in the pastures over the winter months. The use of annual crops as livestock forage is a growing agricultural trend in Montana and the US. Annual forage crops have a lot of benefits to consider, including ease of establishment,


Agriculture Magazine, March 2018 - Page 9

higher yields than most perennials species, weed control benefits, and a high nutritional value for livestock diets. Alfalfa and perennial grasses have long been the backbone of forage crop production, so much so that alfalfa is often called “The Queen of Forages.” In 2016, Montana grew 1.8 million acres of alfalfa as hay in dryland conditions. Farmers have also grown peas or oats for hay and corn for silage for many years. But the interest and practice of growing annual forage crops has been on the rise. Montana comparatively grew 203,000 acres of cereal grains for use as livestock forage in 2016. Annual crops like barley, winter wheat, oats, and triticale can be mixed with collard greens, turnips, radishes, annual vetches, peas, and canola to create a custom blend. These annual crops are planted into fields, and either cut for hay, or grazed off as good source of forage for livestock. Most of these crops are typically grown and harvested for the grain but they’re also finding good utility as forage crops. Because annual crops need to be replanted every season, they can be combined in a farm rotation plan to help manage and control crop diseases, pests, and weeds. Using a variety of annual crops can break pest cycles that are used to living in a perennial plant system. They can also add nutrients back to the soil, increase soil residue cover over the winter and add pore spaces and structure to the soil profile. The yield results for annual forage crop combinations can exceed the tonnage per acre produced by dryland alfalfa. Data from the Montana State University Agricultural Experiment Station in Moccasin, Montana reported on an 11-year comparison of yields for annual cereal forages and dryland alfalfa. Over 11 years, forage triticale produced a mean of 2.45 tons per acre annually, with barley producing a mean of 2

tons of forage per acre annually. Dryland alfalfa produced a mean of 1.36 tons per acre annually during that same 11 year period. A combination of species can provide a highly nutritious forage for the livestock to eat, matching or exceeding the percentage of crude protein and digestibility of alfalfa. Planting annual forages allows a farmer to create a mix of species to suit the desired nutritional output, the same way the sheep ranchers in New Zealand were doing with their turnip, pea, and kale mixture. Annual forage crops may not be for everyone, or every situation, but are proving to be something that is catching people’s interest. Your local county extension office can help with crop varieties, information and resources for planning and connect you with research based information to help you decide if annual forages should be a part of your operation.

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Page 10 - Agriculture Magazine, March 2018

Meals in Minutes: How to use an Electric Pressure Cooker the pressure canner, the device for processing lowElectric pressure acid canned food cookers are hailed products. While at making dinner they may be simiplans easy. If you lar, the National have spent any Center for Home time on Pinterest, Food Preservation you will find many warns consumrecipes claiming ers that even if a quick, easy and manufacturer says nutritious meals to it is safe to can in feed your family. a pressure canner, It may sound it is not safe to do too good to be so. true, but imagine How does a putting a nutripressure cooker tious meal on the work? dinner table in The pressure less than 20 mincooker is a sealed utes! pot in which presThe pressure sure builds and cookers truly is maintained make a one-dish between 5 and meal by allowing 15 pounds per the consumer to square inch (psi). sautĂŠ the food provided photo This pressure and then cook it in The pressure cooker is a sealed pot in which pressure builds and is maintained between 5 and 15 pounds per square inch (psi). This pressure results in food the same dish so results in food being cooked at about 250 degrees F being cooked clean-up a breeze. at about 250 Some electric degrees F, which is hotter than the normal pressure cookers have additional features, boiling point (212 degrees at sea level). This such as being able to use it as a slow-cooker elevated pressure converts liquid to steam, or a yogurt maker. Pressure cookers have been around for which cooks the food faster than conventional decades. The first stove-top pressure cooker cooking. Very little moisture is lost so less was offered to consumers in the late 1930s liquid is required and produces more intense and peaked in popularity in 1970s. The sciflavors. ence behind a pressure cooker is similar to How can you adapt recipes to a pressure By Katelyn Andersen MSU Extension


Agriculture Magazine, March 2018 - Page 11

cooker? If the food can be boiled, braised or steamed, it can be cooked in the pressure cooker. Start by reducing the cooking time to a third of the time needed in the oven. It does take a bit of trial and error to convert the recipe and not undercook or overcook the dish. Since the cooker requires liquid to create steam to cook the food, experiment with different liquids to add another dimension of flavor, such as broths, fruit juice, beer or wine. Some pressure cookers have filling recommendations, such as filling the cooker only two-thirds full, so always follow the manufacturer’s guidelines. Here are a few more tips: * separate foods from each other by using a cooking rack or custard cups. If food touches each other or stands in the same liquid, the flavors will blend. Keeping foods apart will allow the food to keep its own distinct flavor. * brown most meats and poultry first for added flavor, better results and aesthetic appeal. * always test the temperature of meats, fish, poultry and egg dishes after cooking to ensure the minimum internal temperature is reached throughout the dish. Test several locations within the dish since pressure cookers cook unevenly. What brand should you purchase? There are many different brands available on the market and produces similar results. Consumers are urged to purchase products from reputable companies with high reviews. In this day in age, it easy to read consumer reviews and feedback to sort through the products to see which are easy to use, hold up to continued use and have a solid customer service department. Some brands have a non-stick cooking pot while others have a stainless steel interior. Factor in the size of the cooker to your family needs. A rule of thumb is to estimate a quart

for every family member and round up to the next available size. The MSU/Ravalli County Extension Office was asked this last winter to offer a class on using an electric pressure cooker. If you are interested in attending a hands-on class to increase you knowledge with this device, please contact the office for upcoming workshops. Katelyn Andersen, M.S., is an Associate Professor for Montana State University. She serves as the 4-H/Youth Development and Family and Consumer Sciences Extension Agent for Ravalli County. Contact: 375-6611 or 215 S. 4th Street Ste G, Hamilton. Messy Lasagna 1 pound lean ground beef 1 tsp garlic, minced 1 onion, chopped 1 tsp oregano 1 (16 oz.) package bow tie pasta 1 tsp Italian seasoning 1 (15 oz.) can tomato sauce Water to cover 1 (15 oz.) can stewed tomatoes 1 (15 oz.) container ricotta cheese 1 (10 oz.) package frozen spinach, thawed 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese Using the SautĂŠ feature, brown ground beef, about 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in onion and cook until translucent, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in pasta, tomato sauce, stewed tomatoes, spinach, garlic, oregano and Italian seasoning. Mix well. Add water to cover and stir again. Close and lock the lid in place. Pressure cook on high setting for 5 minutes cooking time. Perform a quick release. Carefully open lid, and stir ricotta cheese into pasta mixture. Could use cottage cheese or cream cheese as substitute. Using the SautĂŠ feature, simmer until pasta is tender, 2 to 5 minutes. Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese over pasta mixture.


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Alexander Deedy, Independent Record

Montana State University Western Agricultural Center in Corvallis is experimenting with new varieties of fruit bushes and wine vines.

Corvallis’ Western Agricultural Research Center busy with new projects Ravalli Republic

It’s been a busy year at the Montana State University-Western Agricultural Research Center (WARC) in Corvallis. New projects on orchards and vineyards have begun, older projects are beginning to bear fruit, and a new professor will soon join the team. Operated by MSU under the supervision of Dr. Zach Miller, the research and outreach at the center focuses mainly on specialty crops like fruits and vegetables that can be grown profitably on smaller acreages, but also

includes more traditional crops like grains and forages. “Farmers have opportunities to meet the growing demand for local produce that can be quite profitable.” Miller said. “Our goal is to provide growers with information to start and sustain their operations. High-value crops like grapes, apples, and berries can provide returns of more than $4,000 an acre or higher with value-added products like jams, cider, and wine, but have significant start-up cost, so farmers need to know that they’re planting the right types of plants that fit our climate


Agriculture Magazine, March 2018 - Page 13

and markets.” Joining the WARC team this summer will be a new horticulture professor, Dr. Rachel Leisso. Leisso will bring her expertise in apple and pear production to growers in Montana. She earned her master’s degree from MSU and is excited to return to Montana. She’s coming from the USDA-ARS Tree Fruit Research Lab in Wenatchee, WA. Leisso earned her doctoral degree at Washington State University Tree Fruit Research and Extension Center. She’ll start at the center in July of 2018 and is excited work with fruit growers across the state. The center started several new projects this past year. Katrina Mendrey is heading up a project to provide orchards with better management and financial tools. The project will also determine what cider apple varieties are best suited for our growing conditions. More infor-

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mation on this project, orchards and cideries in the state, and events can be found on the website: www.mtapple.org. There are also new projects on cold hardy wine grapes and small fruit and berry production at the center. The center is working closely with the Montana Grape and Winery Association to determine the best ways to irrigate and manage vineyards for high quality wine grapes. The small fruit trials include Haskap (honeyberries), Currants, Bush Cherries, Serviceberries, Elderberry, and Aronia. WARC show cases these projects and others with public tours including their field days held each July, (this year’s field day is Thursday, July 26th, 4:30-8). For more information about the station and growing fruits of all sorts in the Bitterroot Valley visit the Ag. Center’s website: agresearch.montana.edu/ warc/.


Page 14 - Agriculture Magazine, March 2018

Everything you need to know to plant a tree correctly

dirty fingernails

MOLLY HACKETT

Master gardener Molly Hackett welcomes your questions. Write her at 1384 Meridian Road, Victor, Mont. 59875 or call 961-4614. Her email address is: mhackett@centric.net

A tree is one of the biggest investments a homeowner will make on his landscape. All people want to live among trees, but in a happy relationship. Theirs is a longtime connection, not a one-season stand like a flower garden. What kind of tree will serve as a lifetime partner? Like many other jobs, the work of planting a tree is mostly in preparation. Digging the hole and setting in the young tree provide only the finishing touches. And there is no substitute for good preparation, even though it is not filled with the excitement of starting a new project. A little research is required. How big will a sapling be in ten years? Or 50, for that matter. Trees live longer than people. Too many trees become problems and have to be removed because they took over more space than was available. Consider the mature size of a proposed tree; its dimensions will be listed in books and online. Stake the spot on the grass where the tree might be planted. With a garden hose make a circle around the stake to show the

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outer limits of the foliage. Will the tree work there? Will there be room to walk past it? Will it shade flower beds or too many windows? Will its branches eventually touch the house? If there does not seem to be space for the tree, go back to square one. Look for pictures of other attractive trees; there will be dozens of choices of smaller trees hardy in our winters and adapted to local soils. While you are looking, think also about whether the tree should bear fruit or be purely ornamental. Should it drop its leaves every year, letting winter sun reach through its branches, or do you want to see the dark green needles of a conifer all winter long? Now is the perfect time for tree shopping. Local nurseries are just opening for the season, and flower buying crowds have not yet arrived. Nursery personnel have time to discuss trees. They will know which ones can be expected to succeed here. Even more important, trees stocked by local nurseries will be adapted to the local climate. Some will have been grown from seed at the nursery; others will have had at least one winter in local ground. Roots and branches will grow fast and stay healthy, unlike those shocked by moving from a warmer, wetter climate. Most important in the timing of a tree purchase is that trees are still dormant, sold as bareroot specimens. The stress of being dug and replanted for a bareroot tree is infinitely less than for a tree in a container. But the bareroot season is short. Once leaf buds begin to open, trees must go into containers. They have to make two transitions, not just one, and they do not have the advantage of moving while still asleep. Bareroot trees also cost less. At the nursery, look for the smallest healthy and shapely trees available. Big trees can tolerate being dug and moved, but smaller, younger


Agriculture Magazine, March 2018 - Page 15

Spring is a good time to plant bare root trees.

trees are far less stressed. In one year a small tree’s growth will have caught up with larger ones; in three years it will be bigger than older, bigger trees at the nursery. Smaller is better and less expensive. Transport the chosen tree to its new home. A bareroot tree will have its roots in a small package of damp bark or straw--a bandaid good for only a few hours. As soon as you get home with the tree, transfer it to a bucket of water. It is critical that the roots not dry out because they will begin to die within minutes. It is also critical that

stock photo

the roots not stay in water for many hours. They will also die for lack of oxygen. Dig the hole. Advice on planting trees tends to change every decade or two. The current recommendation is to make the hole wide enough that the roots need not be bent to fit but no deeper than necessary. Experiments with various kinds of holes have found that depth is critical. Trees planted deeper than grown at a nursery will die, some quickly and some not for half a dozen years. They do not take kindly to having any of their trunk buried.


Page 16 - Agriculture Magazine, March 2018

Various people may offer advice about how to plant a tree. It seems to be a subject on which many consider themselves expert. Current guidelines may differ from amateur suggestions. The professionals say: Do not prune the tree at all, either branches or roots; the only exception would be to cut off broken pieces. Set the tree in the hole. Check to be sure that it is not too deep. The root flare should be visible. That is the part where the trunk widens, just above the point where the roots start. If you can’t decide on exactly the right level, err on the side of too shallow. That will not harm a tree. Fill the hole halfway with soil dug out. Tamp it with the shovel handle. Walk on it. Pour in enough water to fill the hole. Let it drain. Finish filling the hole with local soil; do not add any amendments. If there is not enough dirt to fill the hole, borrow a little more from nearby. Tamp the soil and walk on it again. Pour on more water and let it drain. Complete the planting by covering the area with an inch or two of mulch. Anything organic except peat moss will make a good mulch. Peat moss would be bad news because it takes moisture from its surroundings and appropriates the water for itself. Do not stake the tree unless winds are so strong that they would blow it out of the ground some day. It will grow strong most quickly if not tied to a stake. The three keys to successful tree planting are water, water, and water. With even the best care, a transplanted tree will have lost more than half its fine roots, and they are the conduit for soil moisture. Extra water for two or three weeks will keep the remaining hair roots from drying out, and they in turn will keep all the other tissues from dehydrating. I recommend watering a tree every day for the first week and then decreasing the amount of water only gradually. Once trees have begun to leaf out, they will

be for sale in containers for the rest of the year. Techniques for planting remain essentially the same. Dig the hole just the right size for the container. Remove the tree from the container and plant it, hoping that most of the container soil stays on the roots. Use soil taken from the hole to fill in any sunken spots which appear after watering. Be even more careful about watering to counteract the greater stress of replanting. If a tree is native to this area, it will eventually need no irrigation, but that is not true for its first year, when its roots are small and shallow. Do not fertilize a new tree for at least a year. Let it grow at its own natural pace. After the first year, fruit trees will appreciate a little nitrogen fertilizer once a year, as long as it is applied with a light touch. No other kind of fertilizer will ever be necessary. For ornamental trees, any fertilizer at all is optional. A young tree needs no pruning for at least a year, sometimes much longer. Fruit trees should eventually be pruned to keep their canopies open and let sunlight reach the ripening fruit. Ornamental trees need pruning only if they grow lopsided, or sometimes if they make a double top. Of course dead branches should always be pruned out. Some trees continually start new branches from dormant buds on the trunk. When these branches are near the ground, they should be removed. The best method is to rub them off with a thumb while they are still tiny, but they can be clipped off whenever they are noticed, and at any time of year. As a young tree grows, it may start branches which are too low to walk under and therefore dangerous. Such a branch can be pruned off no matter what its size, but the operation is less stressful for the tree when the branch is still small. On the whole, trees require little shaping and can be left to grow as they choose.


Agriculture Magazine, March 2018 - Page 17

Past, Present and Future: Animal Feed in the Bitterroot LAKELAND FEED

Lakeland Feed and Supply has been providing animal feed, seed, fertilizers and farm and ranch supplies to the Bitterroot Valley for nearly two decades. Mike Pflieger purchased the Lake Milling business in 2000 and has spent the past 17 years growing the business, establishing relationships with local suppliers and diversifying our offerings. The Lakeland stores in Alberton, Dillon and Hamilton anchor 40-plus Lakeland dealers across Montana and Idaho. Logistics in the Bitterroot is a challenge – sourcing ingredients and figuring out how to get them here at a reasonable cost is always top-of-mind. This complexity is just one of the reasons Lakeland loves to do business with local suppliers. Regionally grown grain, hay and straw, along with locally made products and our own fresh feed, make for a one-of-akind combination. Purchasing our Dillon store in 2010 increased our feed and fertilizer reach substantially. Customers were eager for a source of locally made feeds and the large scale ranch operations in the Beaverhead Valley provided Lakeland an opportunity to feed more cattle than ever before. It wouldn’t be easy, since Lakeland needed to earn that business with quality products and outstanding customer service, but that’s what the company has done. Our milling facility in Hamilton has manufactured and sold more than 50,000 tons of animal feed during those 17 years. That’s a lot of well-fed horses, chickens, 4-H steers, hogs and rabbits. In 2006, the company replaced the old 1890s warehouse and store, allowing for more feed storage, a drive-through warehouse and a large retail/office area. These improvements increased warehouse efficiencies and allowed room for more people-power to keep up with the growing sales.

PHOTO PROVIDED BY LAKELAND FEED

Lakeland Feed and Supply has been providing animal feed, seed, fertilizers, farm and ranch supplies to the Bitterroot Valley for nearly 20 years.

The harsh winter of 2016 convinced Lakeland the time had come to upgrade the mill facility. The company’s crew spent too many hours working on fixes and apologizing for feed issues, rather than producing consistent, high-quality feed products. So in March 2017, Lakeland started its next undertaking. During the past 6 months, the company replaced its main elevator legs allowing for faster grain movement, a large distributor was placed ensuring efficient movement of grain from bins to sackers, and an automated scale and bagging station was installed relieving hours of twisting, turning and bending for the mill crew while ensuring accurate, consistent bag weights. The upgrade also included many new augers, motors, bins and a hammer mill. What a difference - grain that used to take a full day to unload is now done in under three hours. Now, the company is focusing on improving its feed formulas with cutting edge ingredients and continued manufacturing efficiencies. Lakeland is committed to producing highquality feed, using locally sourced ingredients whenever possible, and plans to provide the animal feed products its customers need far into the future. They encourage people to stop by and see what they’re making.


Page 18 - Agriculture Magazine, March 2018

Agriculture Heritage Notebook The Bitter Root Cultural Heritage Trust

interpretation and affirm cultural values.

works in partnership with families,

The Heritage Trust provides an article for

neighborhoods and communities to restore

each edition of Agricultural Magazine,

historic structures, bring back traditional

highlighting the Bitterroot Valley’s

events and celebrations, encourage

agricultural history and heritage.

Story and photos by WENDY BEYE

Helen Buker is anxious to include her family barn in the Bitter Root Barn series. I receive a lovely letter from her and make an appointment to meet her and other members of the Hackett Family for lunch at the Victor Senior Citizens Center. It’s a smoky day in August, and a quick thundershower deluges the area, fortunately after I’ve already photographed the barn. I have permission from the barn’s current owners, Amy Sage and Bill LaCroix, to wander through the barn and outbuildings to capture

their beauty with my camera. Amy and her border collie pup accompany me as I learn a little more about the history of the place. This is the oldest barn I’ve visited, and is built with beautifully hewn 12 X 12 inch beams and rough sawn lumber, probably from the sawmill to the west that was part of the original ranch. The framework of the barn is all mortise and tenon style with wooden pegs holding the joints together. Square nails were used to hold the sheeting in place. In the loft, several metal rods were installed sometime


Agriculture Magazine, March 2018 - Page 19

Clamshell hay hook on trolley Hackett barn

after the original structure was built to keep the walls from collapsing away from the frame. The barn has been re-roofed several times, so all the timbers and sheeting are in excellent condition. I later find out that Benjamin Hackett, great-grandson of the first Hackett to move to the Bitterroot, jacked the barn up by hand and poured a new foundation under it. The barn was built in 1883, as evidenced by the date cut into the wood in the east gable of the structure. Ephraim L. Hackett bought the surrounding 160 acres, along with all buildings and the sawmill, in 1887 from C.A. Ballard, who presumably built the barn, having purchased the property from Luther Miller and Lewis Skeggs in December of 1880. When Ballard’s wife died, he gave up farming and sold the place to Hackett. Hackett purchased other property in the area, including 160 acres from John Buker and also obtained a homestead patent deed on 80 acres nearby in 1887.

Sheep shed with saw blade Hackett barn


Page 20 - Agriculture Magazine, March 2018

Loft beams with iron rod to stabilize wall Hackett barn

Date cutout east end Hackett barn

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THE POWER OF MANY MEANS

Read stories from our members at MontanaFarmersUnion.com

THE POWER OF YOU When it comes to a field of wheat or a herd of cattle, farmers and ranchers know there is success when the group is healthy. Montana Farmers Union understands this, too. That’s why we’ve spent the last century connecting Montana farmers and ranchers in our communities through cooperation, education, and legislation. Because successful farmers and ranchers are good for everyone in Montana.

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Agriculture Magazine, March 2018 - Page 21

Hackett’s true love, however, was the Curlew silver mine located in the foothills northwest of the ranch, as evidenced by the occupation listed on his 1930 death certificate: “Mine Operator.” Perhaps the most interesting part of this barn’s story is the life of Ephraim Lenard Hackett. He was born in 1837 in Maine and ended up in Wisconsin where he began a timber harvesting operation floating logs down the Black River to sawmills in LaCrosse. He served in the Wisconsin National Guard and ended up fighting in the Civil War when the governor sent troops to bolster the ranks of the Union Army. Hackett was a 2nd Lieutenant in the First Battery, a unit that destroyed a Confederate battery during the militarily crucial Siege of Vicksburg in 1863. Also serving with him was a Private named Nathaniel Hackett, a former slave freed by the Emancipation Proclamation of January, 1863. I found no proof of my theory, but I believe that “Nate,” as he was known, may have escaped slavery and found his way to Ephraim’s timber operation before the Emancipation Proclamation was issued, where he found not only a job, but a last name - Hackett. A family photo is evidence of the relationship between the two men. The photo was taken in the Bitterroot Mountains, near a lake, and several men, including Ephraim and an African American, hold a string of freshly-caught trout. Both Ephraim and Nate mustered out of the army in 1865, and Ephraim married Amanda Plummer that year. Amanda bore a son named Ephraim Edwin in 1876, but the birth was not enough to keep her husband’s wandering feet in Wisconsin. The timber business had faded due to severe drought

conditions that left the Black River with too little water to float logs. Ephraim L. began wandering west to participate in the gold strike craze in Nevada, California, and Idaho. Nate traveled with him. He eventually settled in the Bitterroot Valley, filing mining claims, perfecting a homestead patent, buying the ranch from Ballard and adding other property to it. He deeded a one/third interest in one of the mining claims to Nate Hackett. Amanda never followed him to Montana, but remained in Wisconsin with her parents, raising her son alone, perhaps with occasional letters and visits by her husband. She died in 1903. Ephraim Edwin Hackett married Thede in Wisconsin, and soon after, brought her and his baby boy, Edward Ephraim, to his father’s ranch in Montana just before the 1900 census. Thede, a city girl, was excited to see hundreds of lights in the dark valley when they arrived by train at night. She cried the next morning when she discovered that those lights were campfires of Native Americans gathered to harvest bitter root bulbs, and that her new home was just one step up from wilderness. She summoned up courage to stay and became a competent ranch wife, raising a family that has grown and prospered here for more than a century.

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Page 22 - Agriculture Magazine, March 2018

Perry Backus - ravalli republic

The mustang they call Sloppy Joe gets acquainted with one of the other horses used by the Bitterroot National Forest.

Acupuncture for Animals: Research shows it can have a powerful effect by Kirstin Bull, DVM Burnt Fork Veterinary Care

Our knowledge of acupuncture and its effects have come a long way since it was first practiced by the ancient Chinese. Acupuncture research has shown that it is a therapy worth considering as it can have powerful effects on the nervous system. Not only is medical acupuncture on the rise for human ailments, it is also gaining popularity with

our animal companions. Veterinary medical acupuncture and other integrative therapies such as laser therapy and massage can be very helpful in decreasing pain and improving the overall health of our animals (from cats to horses). Veterinary medical acupuncture is the practice of placing a thin, sterile needle in specific points on the body that we know scientifically will stimulate the nervous system.


Acupuncture channels flow along the body, correlating with nerves, vessels, and myofascial planes. When specific points are stimulated by a trained veterinary medical acupuncturist, it causes what is termed as “neuromodulation.” In short, the nerves are excited by the stimulus and work locally to relieve muscle tension as well as centrally at the level of the spinal cord, causing release of the body’s internal pain relieving substances and altering the regulation of the autonomic nervous system. Acupuncture is generally not painful for our animal patients, they may even become relaxed and sleepy with the needles in place. Acupuncture points do not all have to be stimulated with a needle to achieve neuromodulation. Acupressure is a term used for applying gentle pressure to certain acupuncture points. A popular example of acupressure is the product Sea Band. The bracelet is designed to apply consistent pressure to a well-known acupuncture point in humans to decrease nausea due to motion sickness. Laser therapy can also be used over certain acupuncture points to achieve an effect, especially if needles would be tricky in the area, such as the inside hind legs of horses, the face of a cat, and many places on a llama or alpaca. Small animal diseases that may benefit from acupuncture include intervertebral disk disease, osteoarthritis pain, and post-surgical pain. However, acupuncture is not just for treating pain. Other uses in small animals include dry eye, GI issues such as constipation, chronic bladder inflammation and nerve dysfunction. Don’t be fooled into thinking that acupuncture is just for the small guys. Almost every animal can be an acupuncture patient, although it is easier on some than others. Indications for acupuncture in horses may

Agriculture Magazine, March 2018 - Page 23

include chronic back pain, lameness, nerve dysfunction, reproductive issues, non-surgical colic, or post-surgical decreased gut motility. Some equine patients even receive acupuncture on a maintenance basis. Acupuncture, laser, and massage can all be helpful tools on their own but should be utilized in conjunction with Western medicine to provide the best overall care for the animal. Also, keep in mind that not every animal is an ideal candidate for acupuncture. We cannot tell our horses or dogs to stay still while needles are placed into their muscles, especially if the animal is very nervous or anxious. Also not every disease is going to be “fixed” from acupuncture, especially those that generally require surgery. You cannot fix a Labrador’s torn ACL, dissolve a goat’s bladder stones, or untwist a horse’s intestine with acupuncture. However, acupuncture would be an appropriate therapy to decrease pain following surgery for all of those examples. Acupuncture should only be performed by a licensed veterinarian, ideally with specialized acupuncture training. Acupuncture and other aspects of integrative medicine such as laser and massage, can be powerful tools to help us decrease pain and inflammation in our animals. Check with your veterinarian if acupuncture is an option for your animal. Check out the following web site for more information on veterinary acupuncture: https://www.ivas.org/about-ivas/what-isveterinary-acupuncture/ This is a short clip from National Geographic about animal acupuncture: https://video.nationalgeographic.com/video/ news/160331-news-animal-acupuncture-vin Kirstin Bull, DVM, will complete certification for Veterinary Medical Acupuncture in May 2018. She currently works as an associate veterinarian at the Burnt Fork Veterinary Clinic in Stevensville


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