Agriculture

A map of the U.S. showing warming trends.
Climate Central

Spring in Montana is getting warmer and lasting longer according to new research from a non-profit group of independent scientists. One of their meteorologist explains what the changing spring means for life in Montana.

A Wyoming rancher was awarded nearly $340,000 last month after disputing wildlife managers’ initial offer to pay for several livestock killed by grizzlies and wolves. 

While the large payout is unusual, Montana ranchers say it’s calling attention to funding issues for livestock losses on this side of the border.

Close-up of wheat crops along Highway 2
Roy Luck / Flickr (CC-BY-2.0)

Montana Governor Steve Bullock announced Friday that farmers in more than a dozen counties will be eligible for federal assistance after significant crop losses from excessive rain and snow last year.

Grain Elevators located in Hardin, Montana.
Rachel Cramer / Yellowstone Public Radio

Farming and ranching have always been considered risky. But more extreme weather events, low prices and uncertainty have led to higher rates of bankruptcy and suicide across the U.S. Recently 700 women ag producers gathered in locations across six western states to learn about ways to reduce stress on farms and ranches. 

State and Federal wildlife managers are offering a first-of-its-kind summit on grizzly bear education in Helena this week.

A cow looks up on a farm near Bridger, Montana.
Kayla Desroches / Yellowstone Public Radio

Some Montana lawmakers are applauding the U.S.-China trade agreement signed Jan. 15, saying it’s a big win for the state’s agricultural producers. Critics say a trade war with the world’s second largest economy should not have happened in the first place.

A sign advertises American beef in a Japanese grocery store during a U.S. Department of Agriculture trade mission in June, 2018.
Oregon Department of Agriculture/FLICKR (CC-by-NC-ND-2.0)

The new trade deal between the U.S. and Japan went into effect Wednesday. Montana’s Farm Bureau vice president says it will give the state’s farmers and ranchers more certainty and a competitive edge in the new decade.

Barley being harvested.
Travis Wiens / Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

 

As more extreme droughts and floods and other climate effects threaten food production and the survival of rural communities, there’s a debate about whether sustainable agriculture can be achieved through new federal policies or shifting markets. 

A lavander field.
osde8info / Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

 

Federal crop insurance is a safety net for many farmers and rural communities but it typically favors the big commodities like corn, soybeans, wheat and cotton. A few years ago, a new type of insurance emerged to cover everything grown or raised on a farm under one umbrella, even specialty crops like hemp and lavender that don’t have their own policies. It’s been slow to catch on but a few modifications may entice more farmers to get on board in 2020. 

A bale of hay in a freshly cut field in front of blue skies and puffy white clouds.
Carston Frenzl / Flickr CC BY 2.0

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — Data indicates federal subsidies distributed to Montana farmers to offset losses resulting from U.S. trade wars have increased to more than $114 million.

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