Applications Accepted until July 1, 2020

The Montana Department of Agriculture administers advisory councils appointed by the Director to provide advice to the Department concerning administration of the Noxious Weed Seed Free Forage Act.  The Department is currently recruiting for open positions on the Noxious Weed Seed Free Forage (NWSFF) Advisory Council.

The following council terms expire September, 2020:

                 Certified Weed Seed Free Forage Producer (Central)
                 Western County Weed District Representative
                 Eastern County Weed District Representative
                 Forage Product Processor

The following council positions are currently vacant:

                 Certified Weed Seed Free Forage Producer (Eastern)
                 Certified Weed Seed Free Forage Producer (Any region)
                 Outfitter’s or Guide’s Organization

Members of the Advisory Council provide guidance to the NWSFF Program, which implements a cooperative forage and product certification system with federal, state, local, and private land managers that benefits the people of this state and other states by producing and making available forage free of noxious weed seeds.  Council meetings are held on one day in January or February of each year.

If you are interested in serving on the Noxious Weed Seed Free Forage Advisory Council, please apply and submit a letter of interest to the Montana Department of Agriculture by July 1, 2020. Applications can be found at https://agr.mt.gov/NWSFFCouncil.  If you’d like to nominate a Montanan to serve on the Council, please ensure your nominee is interested in serving, then submit a nomination to: Montana Department of Agriculture, Attn: Ben Thomas, PO Box 200201, Helena, MT, 59620-0201.

For additional information please contact Jasmine Reimer at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., 444-3140, or Virginia Corbett at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., 444-3156.

 
 

Bozeman, MT — Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks recently completed a two-year collaborative sampling effort with the Montana Department of Livestock in the Bangtail Mountain Range as part of Montana’s Targeted Elk Brucellosis Surveillance Project.

One hundred samples taken from elk in the Bangtails in 2019 and 2020 have tested negative for brucellosis exposure.

The surveillance project includes capturing, sampling and collaring elk populations near the DOL’s Designated Surveillance Area (DSA), an area where livestock brucellosis testing and traceability requirements exist due to the presence of brucellosis in elk. The goal of the project, which began in 2011, is to determine the presence of brucellosis in elk and understand the movement patterns of elk populations. This research provides important data to inform the risk of disease transmission between elk and cattle on the landscape.

Elk were also sampled this year in the Ruby Mountains. FWP and DOL announced in February that two among 100 elk sampled there were found to be seropositive for brucellosis, indicating they’ve been exposed to the disease. The Ruby Mountains are currently outside but near the boundary of the DSA.

Brucellosis is a bacterial disease that can infect humans, but most commonly infects cattle, bison and elk, and can result in abortion or the birth of weak calves. The disease is primarily transmitted through contact with infected birth tissues and fluids.

For more information about brucellosis and the Targeted Elk Brucellosis Surveillance Project, visit fwp.mt.gov/fishAndWildlife/diseasesAndResearch/healthPrograms/brucellosis/.

Department of Livestock Announces New Brucellosis Rules

Helena, Mont. –  The Montana Department of Livestock (MDOL) has adopted changes to rules affecting vaccination requirements and the boundary of the Designated Surveillance Area (DSA).

The newly adopted brucellosis vaccination rule (ARM 32.3.433) mandates that eligible animals in 10 Montana counties must be vaccinated against brucellosis. The change requires that all sexually intact female cattle and domestic bison 12 months of age or older in Beaverhead, Big Horn, Broadwater, Carbon, Gallatin, Jefferson, Madison, Park, Stillwater, and Sweet Grass Counties must be brucellosis vaccinates. Prior to this rulemaking, only cattle and domestic bison in Gallatin, Madison, Park, and Beaverhead Counties were required to be vaccinates.  This rule includes cattle that enter any of these counties for seasonal grazing.

Beyond the addition of new counties, the rule also moves away from December 1st as the cutoff date for completion of vaccination and no longer specifies that animals be calf-hood vaccinates. This gives producers more options for the management of replacement heifers and allows animals to be vaccinated as adults.

“Vaccination in a broader area than Montana’s DSA provides some protection from sudden changes to the distribution of infected wildlife on the landscape,” said Eric Liska, brucellosis program veterinarian with MDOL. “Vaccination has been shown to minimize the spread of the disease if it is introduced into a livestock herd.”

Producers who have not vaccinated their replacement females in the past should contact their local veterinarian to schedule replacement heifer vaccinations and discuss options for unvaccinated adult females in the herd. 

Additionally, changes to ARM 32.3.433 adjusts the DSA boundary in a portion of Beaverhead County. Cattle and domestic bison that utilize this area will be subject to all brucellosis DSA regulations. DSA regulations include brucellosis testing prior to change of ownership and movement as well as vaccination and identification requirements.

The DSA boundary has expanded 3 times since 2009. Each expansion was made in response to findings of brucellosis in elk which required the inclusion of additional cattle and domestic bison in the surveillance program. Undetected disease spread outside of Montana’s DSA could jeopardize Montana’s federal brucellosis Class Free status, and in 2008, a loss of brucellosis Class Free status was estimated to have cost Montana’s producers up to $11.5 million annually.  DSA regulations and producer compliance have allowed for early disease detection when a periodic transmission from wildlife to livestock does occur. This success promotes trading partner confidence in the disease-free status of Montana’s livestock.

The mission of the Montana Department of Livestock is to control and eradicate animal disea

 
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 Aug. 30, 2018
MainStreetMontana.com
 

Pack your blue jeans and head for Billings to attend the Women Stepping Forward for Agriculture (WSFA) Conference! This year’s conference will be held October 2-4 at the DoubleTree Hotel.

The annual conference began in 2001 and has evolved each year since, and is now planned by a committee of agriculture-minded ladies from across the state. Their mission is to empower women involved in all sectors of agriculture through education, collaboration and networking, to ensure the success of farms and ranches across the region.

This year’s agenda promises to give attendees a blend of education, entertainment and inspiration. Topics covered this year range from the Farm Bill and financial strategies to overcoming the opioid epidemic and alternative forages. Attendees can interact with presenters during the popular Women in Business panel, and new this year, the Generational Differences panel with a range of Montana agriculture couples sharing their success and failures as they forge their way. This year’s keynote speaker will tackle the difficult topic of suicide in rural communities through “Lipstick, Laughter and Life” with inspiration and motivational speaker, Renee Rongen.

Register by September 9 and receive early bird pricing at $70 ($90 after September 10), which includes all meals and speakers. Hotel reservations also need to be made by September 9 to receive a rate of $109. For all the details, visit the website at www.womensteppingforward.org.


 

Editor's Note: In November, the Montana Stockgrowers Association signed a "memorandum of agreement (MOA) to facilitate collaboration on Montana sourced beef to China as well as the potential investment in Montana.," a stockgrowers press release said. That agreement now appears to be threatened by recent trade announcements by the US and China.

WASHINGTON (April 4, 2018) - Kent Bacus, Director of International Trade and Market Access for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, today issued the following statement regarding the announcement that China has included American-produced beef on a list of proposed retaliatory tariffs:

“It is unsettling to see American-produced beef listed as a target for retaliation. Sadly, we are not surprised, as this is an inevitable outcome of any trade war. This is a battle between two governments, and the unfortunate casualties will be America’s cattlemen and women and our consumers in China. The Trump Administration has until the end of May to resolve this issue. We believe in trade enforcement, but endless retaliation is not a good path forward for either side.” 

The National Cattlemen's Beef Association (NCBA) has represented America's cattle producers since 1898, preserving the heritage and strength of the industry through education and public policy.  As the largest association of cattle producers, NCBA works to create new markets and increase demand for beef.  Efforts are made possible through membership contributions. To join, contact NCBA at 1-866-BEEF-USA or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..