Ranching

Sean Claffey, coordinator for the Southwest Montana Sagebrush Partnership, walks past curl-leaf mountain mahogany in the sagebrush steppe on land managed by the DNRC near Dillon, Montana, May 12, 2020.
Rachel Cramer/Yellowstone Public Radio

 

Sagebrush grasslands in southwest Montana have been disappearing for decades, putting ranchers and wildlife in jeopardy. A project is aiming to reverse this trend and engage a local workforce left in limbo by the novel coronavirus.

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.

Participants in one of the Women in Ranching Circles gather at the J Bar L Ranch near Twin Bridges, Montana in August 2019.
Courtesy of the Women in Ranching Program

Ranching can be an isolating profession in a good year. But the coronavirus pandemic has disrupted the few staples of social contact women ranchers rely on. A program led by a woman in Garfield County, Montana is forging new ways of connecting that will likely outlast the pandemic.

The beef aisle of Costco in Bozeman.
Rachel Cramer / Yellowstone Public Radio


Shoppers may have noticed higher beef prices and empty shelves at the grocery store last month. At the same time cattle producers saw a significant drop in what they were getting paid. Panic buying, allegations of price-fixing and uncertainty in the face of a global economic fallout have all been effecting the cattle industry.

Grizzly bears are repopulating areas of Montana that haven’t seen them for decades, creating more conflict between livestock, people and bears. Some ranchers are learning they need to do something that doesn’t come naturally — change how they live on the land.

As bears were hibernating in their dens this winter, the Blackfeet Stockgrowers Association held a meeting in Choteau to provide a space for ranchers like Mark Hitchcock to talk about working alongside the growing number of grizzly bears on the Rocky Mountain Front.

U.S. Interior Secretary David Bernhardt canceled a planned visit to Montana this week. Bernhardt had planned to meet with Montana ranchers and farmers about grizzly bear conflicts along the Rocky Mountain Front as part of his visit.

A bull bison jumps out of a trailer at the quarantine facility at Fort Peck Indian Reservation, Montana, August 23, 2019.
Rachel Cramer / Yellowstone Public Radio

Fifty-five wild bison were successfully relocated from Yellowstone National Park to the Assiniboine and Sioux Tribes of the Fort Peck Indian Reservation last week. This was the first direct transfer from the park to the tribes through a quarantine program to make sure bison are disease-free.

Jason Roehrig

On the premiere of the fourth season of Field Days, we meet Stillwater County sheep rancher Sara Hollenbeck.


There are a lot of women managing Montana farms and ranches. It's often thought of as a sector long dominated by men, but that's changing as women enter the state's agriculture industry.

There's a conference underway in Billings this week where women ranchers and farmers are gathering to learn more about making their businesses profitable.

Rancher Anita Brawner stands in line waiting for lunch. Her family runs a cattle calving operation in Nebraska, but the Brawner Ranch Company is headquartered south of Livingston, Montana, where she was born.

Field Days: Calving Begins

Mar 5, 2018
Weston Merrill

On this episode of Field Days, calving begins at Mountain View Ranch.  


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