Agriculture

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.

Montana Farmers Explore Berry Production

Jul 2, 2019
Geyser Farm Kombucha owner Mark Rehder
Sarah Brown / Yellowstone Public Radio

Correction: This story has been updated to correct spellings and names of certain berries mentioned in this story.

Berries are a pretty unusual crop in Montana, better known for beef cattle ranching and grain and pulse production. But historically, Montana produced a great deal of fruit -- mainly apples, but also cold-hardy grapes and berries.

Professor Michelle Flenniken points to emerging adult bees in her lab at Montana State University, June 19, 2019.
Rachel Cramer / Yellowstone Public Radio

Honey bees play a vital role pollinating many of the nuts, fruits and vegetables we eat, and they’re an important part of Montana’s economy. But the number of bees dying each year is higher than it was two decades ago. A team of researchers are looking for solutions, ranging from new genetic clues to wildflowers.

A raw steak, January 2012.
Taryn/FLICKR (CC BY-SA 2.0)

A new trade agreement announced Friday could mean more Montana beef makes its way to European consumers. 

Martin Abegglen / Flickr


The Montana Department of Agriculture has extended its application deadline for farmers interested in planting industrial hemp.

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

A new federal bill co-sponsored by Montana’s Democratic Senator Jon Tester proposes temporarily stopping large food and agribusiness corporations from consolidating. It aims to increase competition in the market to support better prices for farmers and ranchers.

A bowl of hummus is surround by pieces of pita bread.
Public Domain

Americans’ growing love of hummus and other plant-based proteins has helped make Montana the number one producer of chickpeas and lentils in the country. But Big Sky farmers are watching politics in India and international trade disputes play out before going all in on a pulse crop powered love affair.

Kayla Desroches / Yellowstone Public Radio

Research shows that farmers experience rates of especially high anxiety compared to other jobs. What’s more, farmers in rural areas like Montana often have limited access to mental health resources.

In late April, Montana farmer Michelle Erickson-Jones posted a video to Twitter.

In the video, on a windy day against a green field and overcast sky, Erickson-Jones talks about uncertainty around trade, dropping wheat prices, and her issues finding a therapist.

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

Farming is always a gamble in Montana, but this year a new tariff on wheat and an undefined trade deal with Japan means more uncertainty for farmers as they plant this spring. President Trump discussed agricultural trade negotiations last week with the prime minister of Japan — Montana’s largest importer of wheat. The talk comes two years after Trump pulled the U.S. out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

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