Agriculture

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.

Scott Powell

Across Montana, many farmers are noticing parts of their fields where nothing will grow, not even weeds. Researchers at Montana State University are wrapping up a multi-year project to figure out what farmers can do.

A close-up of industrial hemp, July 16, 2013.
Marcia O'Connor/Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0)

Montana’s Democratic Senator Jon Tester said in a press call Thursday new federal regulations for hemp could create more certainty for farmers and boost job growth in the state.

Wheat and barley fields south of Manhattan, Montana, April 27, 2019.
Rachel Cramer / Yellowstone Public Radio

2019 was a weird year for agricultural production in Montana. That’s according to one of the presenters at the upcoming Agricultural Economics Outlook Conference in Bozeman this Friday.

Feral swine threatening to cross the northern border from Saskatchewan and Alberta could cause millions of dollars of crop damage and decimate ecosystems in Montana. State and U.S. agencies say they’re ready if that happens, but farmers and ranchers want more.

Producers want the government to pressure Canadian officials to step up their management of the wild pigs before they move south.

Montana’s Democratic Senator Jon Tester announced legislation today he says addresses rising suicide rates among farmers.

Narrow leaf hawksbeard
Rachel Cramer / Yellowstone Public Radio

Editor's note: This story follows Environmental Protection Agency guidance and uses pesticide as an umbrella term for substances that control pests.

Earlier this month, a second Wyoming man filed a federal lawsuit against the agribusiness giant, Monsanto. It’s one of more than 18,000 lawsuits claiming the world’s most widely used pesticide causes cancer and that Monsanto has tried to cover up the risks. Reports that some agricultural experts in Montana are concerned that growing public scrutiny could affect trade and take away a tool for farmers. Others say they’re already losing that tool as weeds become more resistant.

Wheat and barley fields south of Manhattan, Montana, April 27, 2019.
Rachel Cramer / Yellowstone Public Radio

Montana Senator Jon Tester sent an invitation Tuesday to President Donald Trump to meet wheat producers in Big Sandy. It comes in response to concerns over the President’s recent comments mocking the role of wheat in trade deals with Japan.

Montana senator and wheat farmer Jon Tester is firing back after President Trump mocked the role of wheat in trade with Japan. 

As Gallatin County's population grows, more development is moving into land historically used for agriculture. The sign advertises land for sale near Churchill, August 6, 2019.
Rachel Cramer / Yellowstone Public Radio

As Bozeman and its bedroom communities continue to grow, developers have started moving into prime farmland in Gallatin Valley. Farmers and ranchers there are struggling to uphold their way of life, and the valley's scenic views and wildlife corridors could disappear. Renewed funding for conservation easements aims to support the stewards of open land.

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