agriculture

The Trouble With CAFOs

Jul 27, 2015
Industrial chicken coop.
(PD)

The Food Guys detail problems with antibiotic use at concentrated animal feed operations (CAFOs), discuss ethical concerns over treatment of animals, and question the claim that CAFOs are more efficient or cost effective than smaller operations.

Sage Grouse
USFWS Mountain Prairie (CC-BY-2)

Governor Steve Bullock Monday signed on to a joint state and federal plan to provide incentives for farmers and ranchers to preserve sage grouse habitat on their land. The chicken-sized wild bird is in decline and could be listed as an endangered species this fall.

The Hidden Costs Of CAFOs

Jul 17, 2015
Beef cattle factory farm.
Flickr user SRAProject (CC-BY-NC-ND-2)

Concentrated animal feed operations (CAFOs) are often credited with being an efficient and cost-effective way of raising animals. "The Food Guys" disagree, pointing to hidden costs such as heavy antibiotic use, a staggering amount of waste produced by CAFOs, and poor treatment of the animals. "The Food Guys" delve into these issues in the first of their two-part series on CAFOs.

Montana FWP is seeking public comment on proposed guidelines for reducing elk populations.
PD

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks is seeking public comment on proposed guidelines to establish additional elk hunting seasons, called "shoulder seasons". Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks’ Quentin Kujala says they’d be used as a tool to reduce elk populations.

Montana Drought Map
U.S. Drought Monitor

Farmers and ranchers in 24 Montana counties can apply for financial assistance, after the U.S. Department of Agriculture Wednesday declared them disaster areas. The counties, all in the western half of the state, suffered from"severe" or "extreme" drought during the growing season. Jayson O’Neill with the Montana Department of Agriculture says more counties might be added as the summer wears on.

The storm destroyed some outbuildings on 66 Ranch outside of Havre
Courtesy Rylee Strauser

Thousands of Montanans had a 4th of July they won’t soon forget. A storm packing powerful winds, intense rain and large hail disrupted life  across the state’s northern tier last weekend. Some think tornadoes touched down, but meteorologists aren’t yet willing to go that far.

A roughly 300-mile stretch of northern Montana is still cleaning up after a powerful storm swept across the region this weekend.

Public Domain

A panel of prominent scientists are meeting in Bozeman to talk about controlling brucellosis in the Greater Yellowstone area, It’s the start of a year-long process to evaluate options for trying to control the disease.

One easy way to start an argument these days is to bring up climate change. Yet when several dozen farmers and researchers gathered to talk about it last Friday in Great Falls, there was virtually no argument. That’s because the group that sponsored the event, the Montana Farmers Union, accepts climate change as a fact and because the event, called Plowing Forward, was not focused on placing the blame for it, but rather on its effects, especially on agriculture.

(PD)

Montana farmers will have to take the changing climate into account, even planting different species to accommodate warmer temperatures. That was part of the message delivered at a gathering in Great Falls Friday, sponsored by The Montana Farmers Union. 

 When Seaman decided to dedicate his life to farming, he set out looking for a place with a ripe ear of corn and tomato grown out doors, hunting, fishing and good people. He says he found that in Paradise, Montana.
Corin Cates-Carney

Two hundred fifteen certified organic producers in Montana are cashing in on the growing demand for organic products. Organic farm sales in the United States grew 82 percent in the past five years, according to the Organic Trade Association.

But the growing demand doesn’t guarantee small organic farms will be, or stay, profitable.

A revised federal water pollution rule issued today is earning praise from Montana conservationists and condemnation from the agriculture and building sectors.

The World Trade Organization has again ruled against United States labeling on packaged steak and other cuts of meat that detail where the animals were born, raised and slaughtered.

Montana Lawmakers Consider Legalizing Sale Of Raw Milk

Apr 15, 2015

Wednesday at the Montana Legislature, lawmakers heard testimony on a bill that would legalize the direct sale of raw milk from farmers with no more than seven cows or 15 goats or sheep. Those farmers would have to buy a $75 license and pay $22 a month per animal, along with adhering to several safety procedures.

Catherine Cain

A state veterinarian says that a strain of bird flu found in a captive falcon in Columbia Falls has the potential to significantly impact poultry farmers in the state. So far, this is the only case of the H5N2 bird flu strain in Montana.

The next time you drive through central or eastern Montana, look around. One of the farmers you see might be involved in a revolution.

Liz Carlisle is the author of a new book titled, Lentil Underground: Renegade Farmers and the Future of Food in America. She spent many months talking to Montana farmers about their revolt against corporate agribusiness, which has been going on for nearly three decades.

MTPR's Chérie Newman asked Liz how the Lentil Underground got its name.

The Montana Legislature took a step toward ratifying the state’s final outstanding water compact this morning, with a vote in the Senate Judiciary Committee. The compact involving the federal government and the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes has drawn more heated debate than any issue except perhaps Medicaid expansion. 

Flathead Water Compact Faces First Committee Vote Friday

Feb 19, 2015
Montana Capitol
William Marcus

On Friday, the Salish-Kootenai water compact faces its first big vote. If the Senate Judiciary Committee advances the bill, it will face the anger of irrigators who say they won’t get as much water.

Jackie Yamanaka

Another nearly 4-dozen Yellowstone National Park bison are scheduled to be loaded up today at the Stephens Creek Capture facility and delivered for slaughter in Big Timber and Columbus.

It’s part of the population control measures spelled out under the Interagency Bison Management Plan.

Yellowstone officials held a tour of the Stephens Creek facility yesterday.

Rick Wallen is the lead wildlife biologist for Yellowstone’s bison program.

Eric Whitney

On the calendar it may have been Presidents Day, but for the Senate Judiciary Committee, Monday was no holiday.

Ranchers who lose livestock to mountain lion attacks would get compensation from the state of Montana under a bill the Senate approved Friday. The state already pays ranchers who lose animals to wolves and grizzly bears. Hamilton Republican Pat Connell says mountain lions are a scourge for Montana’s ranchers.

Montana Legislature

Montana state senators Thursday killed a bill that would have forced animal owners to pay the costs of boarding and treating abused animals that have been seized by authorities.

Sponsor Tom Facey, Democrat from Missoula, said the bill was about holding abusive animal owners responsible.

USDA

The next generation of Montana farmers might use technologies like Facebook or YouTube to market themselves or learn a skill, but the basics of farming 101 are still the same.

A new federal grant announced this week aims to help younger farmer learn those basics.

Twenty six year old Caroline Stephens only has a few seasons under her belt, but she already knows you need a wide range of skills.

Taylor Brown: How The Voice Of Agriculture Found His Senatorial Voice

Jan 26, 2015
Michael Wright

Of all the people on the Montana Senate Agriculture committee, there’s one who always seems to be having more fun.

“To me,” said Sen. Taylor Brown, R-Huntley, “that’s like recess.”

Brown, in his second Senate term, serves as the committee’s chair. He knows the issues and the people, and the people know him. For many years his voice reported farm news to every corner of the state for Northern Broadcasting System, which he now owns.

Energy, Agriculture, And Suing The President

Aug 1, 2014

This week in Montana politics: Walsh tries to weather the plagiarism storm, Zinke presents his energy plan, Lewis promotes his "Farm and Ranch Jobs Platform", Daines votes to sue the President.

Walsh Plagiarism

Edward O'Brien

Farming is a tough and unpredictable business. It requires hard manual labor and quick responses to complicated problems.