Earlier this week, the Department of Livestock announced that Governor Brain Schweitzer had accepted the resignation of Becky Weed from the Board of Livestock. Weed was appointed by Schweitzer in 2007 as a representative of the sheep industry.
From our discussions with Weed, it is clear that she was forced to resign. She recently sold the majority of her sheep and Schweitzer cited this as his reason for asking for her resignation–despite the fact that she had informed the administration and industry groups of her plans a month ago and no objection was raised. She still has a few sheep and continues to run her woolen mill at her Thirteen Mile Lamb & Wool Company in Belgrade. There have been other members in the recent past who have had only a small number of the livestock of the industry they represented, so this begs the question of what really prompted Schweitzer to remove Weed from the board? That remains unclear at this point.
Throughout the forced resignation ordeal, Weed has received support from several livestock industry associations despite initially being a somewhat controversial appointment. While not always agreeing with her viewpoints, it is safe to say that most groups recognized the hard work and genuine concern for the livestock industry displayed by Weed.
The seven-member board now has two vacancies, and no chairperson has been appointed to fill the seat of Bill Hedstrom. Presumably, vice chair, Jan French, is filling in during the interim. Last week the appointment of Brett DeBruycker as a representative of the cattle industry was confirmed by the Senate. Ed Waldner, recently appointed swine industry representative, will be up for confirmation later this session.
The next Montana Board of Livestock meeting will be held March 9-10 at the Department of Public Health & Human Services Auditorium (111 N. Sanders; Capitol Complex Map). The meeting is scheduled to run from 1-5 p.m. on March 9, and from 8 a.m.–noon on March 10. For information, call Sherry Rust at (406) 444-9321. Click here for the agenda.