MTPR

agriculture

Parts of Montana, North Dakota and South Dakota are experiencing severe or extreme drought.
NOAA/NWS/NCEP/CPC

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue has authorized emergency grazing on Conservation Reserve Program land in the Dakotas and Montana in response to drought.

Perdue says that without alternative forage options, ranchers could be devastated economically. The emergency grazing is authorized to begin immediately, and extends through Sept. 30 unless conditions improve.

Grizzly bear in Yellowstone National Park.
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

Endangered Species Act protections for grizzly bears that have been in place for more than three decades are poised to be peeled back soon. This week state and federal land managers from the Rocky Mountain west are meeting talk about what that means for the future of grizzly bear management and recovery.

The Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee, or IGBC is spending three days in Choteau this week working on a five-year-plan to guide management of grizzlies as the bear’s population grows.

USDA photo by Keith Weller

Montana cattle producers say they’re now a big step closer to getting their beef back into the potentially lucrative Chinese market. American beef has been locked out of China ever since a 2003 Mad Cow Disease scare in Washington State.

<p>Panelists share their research on climate change in Montana
Beau Baker

A panel of Montana scientists laid out their findings on climate change in the state yesterday at the University of Montana (A video of the event is available at Clean Air Montana's Facebook page). That included addressing President Trump’s decision to pull the U.S. out of the Paris Climate Agreement last week.

Montana, especially rural Montana went big for Donald Trump in the 2016 election, but a lot of farmers and ranchers disagree with him on big, multi-country trade deals.
PD

Montana, especially rural Montana went big for Donald Trump in the 2016 election, but a lot of farmers and ranchers disagree with him on big, multi-country trade deals.

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue speaks during an agriculture conference in Great Falls, MT, June 1, 2017.
Courtesy @SecretarySunny Twitter feed

New U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue spoke in Great Falls Thursday. Perdue suggested reforms for a couple of big safety net programs important to farmers.

Perdue has only been on the job as ag secretary since the end of April, and part of his job is to help President Trump push forward a budget that calls for big cuts in the Department of Agriculture.

Wheat prices in Montana have declined by 38 percent since 2014.
(PD)

New U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue is in Montana today and tomorrow for an agriculture summit being put on in Great Falls by Republican Senator Steve Daines.

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue
PD

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue told Congress this week that American farmers are facing plenty of challenges and deep uncertainty.

“Our farm economy is down by about a 50-percent drop in net income from where it was in 2013 as you all were contemplating the ’14 Farm Bill" Perdue says. "We’ve got several members who – particularly younger farmers – have levered up in this situation where their revenue is not supporting their debt structure and they’re in some dire straits.” 

Sen. Daines hand-carried four Montana steaks and a photo of Fred Wacker of Miles City and his cows to China and presented them to Premier Li Keqiang to underscore the importance of opening Chinese markets to U.S. beef imports.
Courtesy Senator Daines

U.S. Senator Steve Daines says he thinks American beef is almost back on the menu in China.

"We’re now engaged at the highest levels in their government and telling them this is a very important issue for the United States," Daines says.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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An undated image from Flathead Lake Cherry Growers Co-op page
Flathead Lake Cherry Growers

With the Trump administration working toward tougher enforcement of America’s immigration laws, some cherry farmers in Montana wondering what that may mean for this year’s harvest.

There are some 6oo to 800 acres of cherry orchards on the eastern shore of Flathead Lake. Marilyn Bowman owns one of the biggest and oldest. Each year is different, she says. 

Bill Would Reduce Taxes For MT Farmers, Ranchers, Business Owners

Mar 13, 2017
Montana, especially rural Montana went big for Donald Trump in the 2016 election, but a lot of farmers and ranchers disagree with him on big, multi-country trade deals.
PD

Supporters of a bill aimed at reducing property taxes in Montana say the agricultural industry needs help because of dropping commodity prices.

Threshold Episode 06: Territory Folks Should All Be Pals

Mar 9, 2017
Part of the American Prairie Reserve near Malta, Montana.
Amy Martin

Visit the American Prairie Reserve, a conservation project in the heart of Montana that could eventually be home to 10,000 bison. The vision is to stitch together 3.5 million acres of public and private lands to form the largest wildlife park in the lower 48. But some nearby ranchers feel the push to build the APR is pushing them off their land, and they're mounting a resistance. We also try to solve the Great Elk Mystery: why are elk that have been exposed to brucellosis allowed to roam free in Montana, while bison are not?

Bison being released at Fort Peck Reservation, November 2014.
Courtesy of the Defenders of Wildlife

Tribal members and wildlife groups were among those asking lawmakers today to consider a bill to change how bison can be moved and sold. The bill proposed by Rep. Willis Curdy, a Missoula Democrat, would remove an existing requirement for wild bison be cleared as free from brucellosis before being transferred.

Threshold Episode 03: Born Free

Feb 16, 2017

Many cattle ranchers view wild bison as a threat to their livelihoods. But some think cattle and bison can coexist. On episode three of Threshold, you'll meet two cattle ranchers with different perspectives on wild bison — and, we'll take you on a controversial bison hunt.

Ag Bill Pushes For State Regulation Over Local Control

Feb 8, 2017
Montana, especially rural Montana went big for Donald Trump in the 2016 election, but a lot of farmers and ranchers disagree with him on big, multi-country trade deals.
PD

Lawmakers in Helena will consider a bill that would strip local governments’ authority to regulate the agricultural industry with the aim of providing consistency for farming techniques across the state. Senate Bill 155 would mean any regulations dealing with agricultural processes or seed usage would have to come from the state.

Deep Cuts Proposed for University Service Agencies

Feb 2, 2017

Agricultural producers and fire chiefs say they will be among those harmed by the deep cuts proposed for the service agencies that are tied to the Montana university system.


Two of the state's largest buyers of barley announced plans to reduce the number of contracts they offer to growers by as much as 60 percent.
(PD)

Tough times continue for Montana grain growers.

George Haines, an economist at Montana State University says farmers last year saw, "grain prices in a free fall, really a tough year."

 Ag. Group Says Trump Appointees Could Have 'Big Impact' On Farmers
(PD)

Montana grain growers should be keeping an eye on more than who President-elect Trump appoints as agriculture secretary. That’s what an industry expert told them at their conference in Great Falls Wednesday.

A 2016 report from a private data service, that says Montana has around 400,000 acres total in organic production - behind only California.
(PD)

Montana remains a leader in organic agriculture, and this week more than 200 organic farmers, buyers, suppliers and others are getting together in Kalispell to figure out how to take advantage of the growing markets nationwide for organic products.

Montana Proposes Elk Hazing To Check Brucellosis Spread

Aug 10, 2016
Montana Proposes Elk Hazing To Check Brucellosis Spread
PD

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Montana wildlife officials are proposing to keep elk that have been exposed to disease from mingling with unexposed elk across a wide area north and west of Yellowstone National Park, though they acknowledge that plan has a high possibility of failure.

Montana Farmers Contend With Wheat Surplus, Low Prices
(PD)

The winter wheat harvest is buttoning up and Montana producers expect to see average to above average yields. Great news, right?

Normally yes, but Lola Raska tells us wheat farmers have their backs up against the wall this year.

Wolf Moss: Wallpaper Of The World's Forests

Mar 21, 2016
Wolf Moss
Claire Burgeson

Although small and unobtrusive, an estimated 13,000 to 17,000 species of lichen spread across the Earth, from the Arctic to the equatorial tropics. One of those species, more noticeable than most, is Letharia vulpina, a brilliant fluorescent yellow-green, moss-like lichen that clings to the bark and wood of living and dead trees throughout the world, from sea level to timberline.

Gianforte Selects Phillips County Commissioner And Rancher As Running Mate

Mar 7, 2016
Phillips County Commissioner and rancher Lesley Robinson with her husband Jim. The couple ranches near Portman on a ranch that's been in the family since the 1950s.
Courtesy Dave Skinner/Range Magazine

Republican gubernatorial candidate Greg Gianforte announced Phillips County Commissioner Lesley Robinson as his choice for lieutenant governor.

The Bozeman businessman says Robinson has the qualities he’s looking for in a running mate.

A new law signed this week means Montana honey producers could collect millions of dollars in back payments.
(PD)

A new law signed this week means Montana honey producers could collect millions of dollars in back payments.

Pallid sturgeon.
USFWS Midwest (CC-BY-2.0)

There’s a week left for public comment on a proposal to remove a dam on the Yellowstone river, with the goal of preventing the extinction of the pallid sturgeon. Two federal agencies are working on an Environmental Impact Statement on the proposal.

John Youngberg, Montana Farm Bureau Federation

Feb 10, 2016

The chances are extremely high that the food you ate this morning came from a farm. John Youngberg knows something about that. Now their executive vice president, he’s worked for the Montana Farm Bureau Federation for 24 years, and is our guest on “Home Ground Radio” today.

Live and beetle killed trees in the Helena National Forest.
Steve Jess

State officials say the new kinds of forest management tools the Farm Bill gave them are good for both Montana’s forests and the state’s economy. But some environmentalists say those claims are dubious at best.

Grants Will Fund Bee Research At MSU

Oct 7, 2015
A new law signed this week means Montana honey producers could collect millions of dollars in back payments.
(PD)

Montana State University was awarded several research grants today, including one to help research threats to Montana’s bee colonies.

There's been a significant shake-up at the Montana Department of Livestock. The agency's executive officer of over eight years, Christian Mackay, resigned this week after a closed-door evaluation by the board that oversees his agency. Brands Enforcement Division Administrator, John Grainger and dairy industry representative, Jeff Lewis, also tendered their resignations.

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