MTPR

Sonny Perdue

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.

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.

"We're not going to roll over every time someone says 'boo' about us wanting to harvest timber to make a healthy forest," U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said at a agriculture summit in Great Falls, MT July 1, 2017.
Eric Whitney

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue was in Great Falls Thursday for an “agriculture summit” hosted by Senator Steve Daines. Perdue promised big changes at the U.S. Forest Service, which his department oversees. 

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.
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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.” 

Last September China announced it was ending its ban on U.S. beef imports after a 2003 Mad Cow scare in Washington State.
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Montana beef producers say they can’t wait to regain access to the enormous Chinese market after a 13-year hiatus.

The Montana Stockgrowers Association’s Errol Rice says today’s announcement that China will resume U.S. beef imports by mid-July is great news:

The U.S Senate Monday confirmed Sonny Perdue as secretary of the United States Department of Agriculture . USDA oversees ag and forest policies directly affecting rural states like Montana.

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.