Agriculture

Scott R. Mickelsen
Courtesy of the Glendive Ranger-Review

Last week’s Graying Pains story explored the challenges of family farm succession as Montana’s agricultural demographic ages, and a program designed to connect up-and-coming farmers in Montana. This week’s installment explores the same issue — and a community college proposal to address it — near the state’s eastern border.

*UPDATED 06/13 

The U.S. Agriculture Secretary visited Missoula Friday to announce a blueprint to prioritize work for the U.S Forest Service.

Supporters say it will modernize the agency and cut unnecessary red tape. Opponents, however, counter it will undermine the nation’s laws aimed at protecting the environment.

The Montana Department of Agriculture reports an influx of domestic pigs coming from Midwestern states where major processing plants are closed down due to COVID-19. Officials are reminding anyone buying pigs about livestock import requirements.

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


While economists warn of potential meat shortages in grocery stores this month, livestock producers are struggling to find ways of getting their animals to market for a fair price. Many ranchers in Montana are seeking out more local options and hoping for reforms in the industry. Yellowstone Public Radio’s Rachel Cramer shared her reporting with Nicky Ouellet.

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.

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