Sweet Grass County Ranch Tour

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You are invited! We’re hosting a local ranch tour Saturday, May 20 for all our friends, family and business partners in Sweet Grass County — that’s everyone! It’s free, families are welcome and transportation will be provided. Join us for a beautiful spring morning out in the country on three unique Sweet Grass County ranches.

We’ll be visiting Laubach Red Angus, Hooks Ranch and LC Cattle Co., to share our stories about  modern ranching, feeding, calving, water, land and weed management. Agriculture is Montana’s No. 1 industry, and we are proud to share it with you! Looking forward to seeing you all there!

Please RSVP to crazymountainstockgrowers@gmail.com or call 932-5146. Looking forward to seeing you there!

Landowners question agency integrity in public land access efforts

 

marc-and-debbie-hathaway2The Crazy Mountain Stockgrowers Association is a non-profit, grassroots membership organization in Sweet Grass County, Montana that works on behalf of our cattle ranching families. We’re deeply committed to caring for the land, livestock and rural lifestyle that makes Montana a great place for all of us. We’re also school board members, volunteer firefighters, community business owners, sportsman, cowboys, professionals, volunteers, recreationists and parents to the next generation of Montanans who love this land.

We’re firmly rooted and committed to the future of our rural communities and these beautiful landscapes. Because of that, we are very concerned with some of the tactics the US Forest Service is currently promoting to increase access to public land in the Crazy Mountains. If the Forest Service feels they have claim to a public easement, and the public is being denied that access, then we encourage the USFS to go through proper legal channels to settle that claim.

If an easement is proven to exist, we encourage our members to respect and honor that easement. However, if an easement does not exist or is not proven in court, we firmly support the choice of a landowner in exercising his or her private property rights.

We find it disappointing that the USFS, in order to gain more access, is encouraging its employees and the public to compromise their own integrity by trespassing on private property. This only further divides the non-landowner and landowner citizens the Forest Service is supposed to be serving. Furthermore, this has the prospect of leading to hostile encounters between landowners and the public and is contrary to prior Agency advice, as well as the Montana Access Guide.

The clashing of personalities and strife between public land users, government agencies, and private landowners jeopardizes the future of our state and communities. CMSGA believes that being respectful, courteous and law-abiding is imperative when dealing with these issues. We encourage the US Forest Service to adopt the same approach.

— The Crazy Mountain Stockgrowers Board of Directors 

From your 2017 President Nathan Anderson… 

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2017 CMSGA president Nathan Anderson and his wife Jennie

Going into the New Year it is customary for the President to write an article on how promising the cattle market is or what the weather has in store for us this year. I thought I would change it up a bit.

Just coming off annual meeting season there is something that’s been on my mind. Throughout the year it is easy to overhear conversations between people who feel disappointment towards one ag organization or another or frustrated by an issue or policy that negatively impacts them.

In the past, I would have jumped right on the bandwagon and chimed in. I couldn’t understand why these organizations weren’t going down the path I wanted or were not addressing issues that were important to me.

It finally dawned on me that in order for organizations to hear what I had to say or take action with my issues, I had to show up. How are these organizations supposed to know what my stance is on the issues? I am not here to tell you that an organization will take your every idea and run with it. But you’ll have a vote and a platform to get something done, and that’s a starting point.

Sitting back and complaining about things is easy to do, but the results are few. Getting involved does require extra time and effort, and I completely understand how busy everyone is, but making time to get involved will pay off in dividends for your business and the industry.

I urge each and every one of you to attend at least one meeting for an organization or issue you care about this year. In order for ag organizations to stay grass roots, we need grass roots participation! The world is run by those who show up!

-Nathan

Notes from your 2016 President…

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Past-president Rusty Terland’s ranch sidekicks.

Boy 2016 sure has been an interesting year with many challenges, but also a lot to be thankful for. Starting around Thanksgiving of last year and then in mid-December we got two big storms that dumped a lot of snow, and little did we know that snow was going to save our spring and summer since we got practically no moisture in April, May, and June.

Then in mid-August, we started getting rain just a few days in front of the CMSGA Ranch Rodeo. Since then, we have received close to seven inches of moisture this fall, really putting a bloom on the calves in the final two months prior to weaning. Although calf prices are nothing to brag about, it was nice to see everyone’s calves coming in on the heavy side rather than light.

Looking forward to 2017, many questions come to mind. Will cattle prices rebound? Will we get better spring moisture this next year? How much will the new presidential administration affect our industry? A lot of things seem to be beyond our control, but if we focus on things we can control we can take some uncertainty out of the new year.

This next year CMSGA will be working with the extension office as always to keep our membership and community informed and educated about issues affecting the livestock business. Stay tuned for upcoming events, from cattle-handling clinics to ranchers roundtable discussions to educational seminars. We don’t know much about 2017 yet, but one thing is for sure, we will meet the challenges head-on!

Finally a great big thank you to Marc King and Kandi Schuman at the MSU Extension Office for all the help and guidance they provide. We as a group could not function without them!

Here’s to a great 2017,

Rusty Terland

County Agent Ramblings

By Marc King, Sweet County County Extension   

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Sweet Grass County Extension Agent Marc King

In the August newsletter, I said that I hoped that we would receive ample Fall moisture. I am going to tell you that from here on out I am going to be very careful what I hope for! There is no doubt that we needed to get some moisture into our soil profiles and that we needed to build some snow pack in the coulees and mountains to recharge our water. But, this is becoming ridiculous and I am tired of digging myself out of being stuck. I sure hope that the temperature moderates some as we move into calving and lambing season.

The new year brings many new educational opportunities to the producers of Sweet Grass County. Sweet Grass County Extension and CMSGA are again teaming up to host three Rancher’s Roundtable presentations this winter. Topics to be covered are Estate Planning and Risk Management; Technologies for Ranchers; and Forages, Management and Opportunities. These discussions will be held in February, but to date no exact dates have been established.

The Federal Veterinary Feed Directive is up and running. If your operation utilizes antibiotics in feeds, I would suggest that you visit with your veterinarian and feed dealer to make sure that you are meeting the requirements and playing by the rules. I know that the veterinarians and feed dealers that service our community are on top of this new regulation and are some of the best in the area.

I would also like to use some of this space to thank all of the producers that have allowed the livestock teams to practice on your ranches. This past couple of weeks the senior judging team competed in Phoenix, Arizona and Denver, Colorado. In Phoenix the team placed sixth over all out of over 50 teams. Jess Moody finished as eighth high individual. In Denver the team placed fourth overall and was third in sheep, fourth in hogs and was the Reserve Champion Cattle team. Jess Moody again finished as the eighth high individual out of 60 of the top livestock evaluators in the country. This success is a direct result of the support and quality livestock that you all have allowed these young people to practice on.

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Jess Moody, Dylan Laverell, Shayden King, Gunner Hathaway, Cody Stene and Trenton Braaten from Townsend at the Arizona National.

At the January Board meeting, President Nathan Anderson reiterated the need for all members to be involved in the decisions and direction of the organization. I fully agree with Nathan. It is said that the world is run by those that show up. I think the recent election is a prime example of this, and hopefully it is the start of some positive change in our State and Country.

The Legislature is in session this year so I would encourage you to be watching what is happening in Helena and be active in the process on issues that could potentially affect your operations. The CMSGA is a member driven organization that realizes the importance of being a part of the decision making process. If you see bills that we need to be active on I would encourage you to contact the leadership. I would also encourage you to watch appointments to the local boards and some of the decisions made by these boards.

I do hope that calving and lambing go well for you all. Further, I hope that the markets find some footing and allow you all to have a profitable 2017. I have numerous Red Calving Books available in the office for those that need one or several, let me know and I will get them to you. Finally, “Thank you” to you all for allowing me to continue to serve you in Sweet Grass County, I honestly believe that I have the best job in the world and that I get to work with the best people in the world.

-Marc

Curt Pate’s favorite interview

Curt recently shared this great I Am Angus video clip on his blog, and we thought it was worth sharing again:

“It’s real difficult with all the media and all the hype and all the talk out there, for the person in New York City to understand my life, and the value I put on the land, and the value I put on my animals and their quality of life. 

“I think it’s become popular for people to think the rancher or the beef producers are only in there for profit. And I know that’s not true from what I see when I go around the country. 

“So we have got to, in some way, through programs like stockmanship and stewardship, through social media, we’ve got to get out there and tell the world, and not only tell them but prove to them, that we are truly trying to improve our ability to take care of the environment and give our animals a high quality of life while we are improving the environment with those animals.”

We can’t wait to have Curt in Big Timber on Jan. 27 for our Stockmanship & Cattle Handling workshop. It’s free and open to the public. Lunch will be provided. You can find more event details on the Facebook event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/1267314809991415/. 

Please RSVP by Jan. 24 to Kandi. Call or text (406) 930-1782 or email crazymountainstockgrowers@gmail.com.

TediJo Todd: 2016 Scholarship Winner

CONGRATULATIONS, TEDIJO TODD! TediJo is our third Stockgrowers Scholarship winner. She’s planning to attend the University of Montana-Western to major in health and human performance. TediJo wants to be an athletic trainer and someday have her own cattle herd.
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Here are some highlights from TediJo’s essay on how this scholarship will help her make a positive impact on the future of agriculture and rural communities:

“Growing up in a small town such as Big Timber, I was able to learn a lot about agriculture. … I was able to learn about where our food comes from, how hay is made, and where on an animal our meat comes from. I feel strongly that being educated about agriculture as I grew up and being able to experience it will impact my life now and my future.

“In my future, I will be doing the same thing my parents experienced, being passed down to the next generation the tradition of being a person who uses, experiences and appreciates agriculture. I will do this the same way I as taught – through experience. Kids learn better when they physically do the work. I plan on raising my kids in a rural community where I can teach them the ins and outs of agriculture. I want them to feel an appreciation for agriculture so they can teach their kids the same thing. I want to impact the next generation so they will respect rural culture enough to pass it on to their kids after that.

“By positively impacting the next generation and showing them many things about the rural way of life that they need to know, I will be able to continue the legacy of agriculture and helping rural communities thrive so our world can continue to blossom.”

TediJo earned a $1,000 scholarship. We were able to award $5,000 to three very deserving SGHS graduates this spring, thanks to the support of our community at our annual banquet. Thank you for supporting the Crazy Mountain Stockgrowers and the future of agriculture!

Tucker Stenberg: 2016 Scholarship Winner

CONGRATULATIONS, TUCKER STENBERG! Tucker is another one of our Stockgrower Scholarship winners. He’s planning to attend Montana State University-Northern to major in Diesel Technology-Equipment Management. His goal is to work for a farm machinery company to build and design farm equipment and someday work on the family ranch. He earned a $2,000 scholarship.

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Here are some excerpts from Tucker’s great essay on how this scholarship and his education will have a positive impact on the future of agriculture and rural communities. Well done, Tucker, and best of luck in your future. We’re proud of you!

“Growing up on a family ranch in a small community, I have learned firsthand the benefits of agricultural life. I am closer to my family because we have played and worked together. My parents have taught me morals and values that I am sure I will carry on into my future. …

“Through my experience in other organizations such as 4-H and FFA, I have gained experience in leadership and working with large groups of people. This experience has bettered my ability to be a good role model for generations to come. By furthering my education, I will be able to carry on for the next generation of agriculture. Statistics show that only 1% of the world’s population are farmers and ranchers and they are feeding the other 99% of the world. I hope to better the technology for farmers and ranchers so that they may continue achieving this goal. …

“For as long as I can remember, I have wanted to design and improve farm equipment. As younger generations get into agriculture in their community, they need to have the technology to carry on the family ranch or farm in an efficient manner. Giving farmers and ranchers more efficient, better equipment will allow them to hold the great goal of feeding the world.”

Luke Rech: 2016 Scholarship Winner

CONGRATULATIONS, LUKE RECH! Luke is one of our three Stockgrowers Scholarship recipients this year. He plans to attend Montana State University-Northern to major in Business Administration with goals to be involved in production agriculture and work as an agriculture loan officer. He earned a $2,000 scholarship.

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Applicants each wrote an essay about how they hoped this scholarship, their education and their career goals would have a positive impact on the future of agriculture and rural communities. Each student did so well, we just have to share a couple highlights from these essays. We’re so proud to support the next generation of leaders in our ranching communities! Here’s a couple highlights of what Luke had to say in his essay:

“My entire life has been revolved around agriculture and with my passion for agriculture, I want to pursue an agriculture-based education. I also want to leave a legacy with my kids and give them the opportunity to experience what I have. …

“By pursuing my degree in Business Administration, I will add an aspect to my education that helps me become more valuable to the ag industry and community in general. I will not only have ag production experience, but also have a sound financial foundation as well. By getting a business-based education, my goal is to become more fiscally responsible, personally and professionally. …

“My life goal is to pass on a legacy to my children to be stewards of the land. I want them to understand the work ethic agriculture teaches us and how being involved in agriculture can benefit ourselves and the agriculture community. … I am striving to learn more and experience more to eventually hand that down to the next generation.”

We’re proud of you, Luke, and wish you the best in your future endeavors. The Crazy Mountain Stockgrowers were able to award $5,000 in total to three local graduating seniors this year thanks in part to the support and generosity of our community at our annual banquet. Thank you!

Working for a living

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From the Billy Creek Ranch near Melville, Montana, Dec. 29, 2016.

Cows are incredibly hardy animals, especially up here in Montana. Did you know they can continue to graze right through the winter?

Ranchers pay close attention to their animals’ nutritional needs and supplement winter grazing with hay, protein and/or minerals as needed for their specific pastures and animals. They also have to manage their pastures carefully in the summers to make sure they leave enough forage for the fall and winter months.

Every ranch does it a little different, but we’re all working to make sure we’re providing the best care for the land and the livestock in every season.

Learn more about how ranchers decide how much hay to feed in the winter: http://montanacowboycollege.com/feeding_cows.htm.