The 2014 Montana Stockgrowers Association (MSGA) Mid-Year Meeting drew over 300 ranchers from across the state for policy meetings and MSGA’s annual Ranch Tour. The meeting also hosted several events for the community, including a concert with the Bellamy Brothers, an All-Horse/Livestock Parade through downtown, and the Miles City Ranch Rodeo.
Here are some of the highlights from the 2014 MSGA Mid-Year Meeting:
-Opening General Session featured Bob McCan, Texas Cattleman and President of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association. McCan discussed several issues affecting Montana ranchers today. The NCBA continues working on rancher’s behalf including the EPA’s Waters of the U.S. proposed ruling, and foreign trade opportunities.
-The 2014 MSGA Ranch Tour began at the Fort Keogh Livestock and Range Research Center where ranchers learned more about the Center’s research work with forage establishment, cow longevity and grazing recovery following range fires. MSGA then traveled to the Range Riders Museum and WaterWorks Art Museum. Finally, the tour traveled to OptiBlend Industries to learn about work in the oil and gas fields, which has a large impact on the economy in Eastern Montana.
-Following the Ranch Tour, a delicious dinner was served at the Eastern Montana Fairgrounds. MSGA’s Research and Education Endowment Foundation (REEF) awarded Ariel Overstreet-Adkins of Helena the 2014 MSGA Educational Heritage Scholarship and held a fund-raiser auction to benefit education programs. The auction included a commissioned painting by local artist David Graham and a saddle donated in memory of the late-Shawn Pilster. The saddle garnered over $10,000 for REEF programs in a rollover auction.
-The community of Miles City also joined in on the Mid Year festivities. On Friday night, the Bellamy Brothers came to the Eastern Montana Fairgrounds for a well-attended concert opened by Copper Mountain Band. On Saturday morning, prior to the Miles City Ranch Rodeo, Stockgrowers hosted an All-Horse/Livestock parade through downtown.
-Two interim policies were passed through during committee meetings on Friday and Saturday mornings. The Beef Production & Marketing Committee passed interim policy in opposition of proposed importation of beef products from Brazil due to concerns of Foot and Mouth Disease being brought to the U.S. The Land Use & Environment Committee passed interim policy regarding the Montana Water Court, encouraging the completion of adjudication.
-The Membership Development & Services Committee passed a new dues structure that will allow Montana’s small ranchers to join MSGA through a fair-share dues structure. Rancher dues for those owning 1-60 head of cattle are now set at $75. Higher due levels are set for those ranchers owning larger numbers of cattle as a part of the dues structure.
-The Young Stockgrowers held a meeting on Thursday afternoon with five featured speakers. Topics ranged from changes in antibiotic use in livestock, soil management, land appraisals, market outlooks and advocacy.
-Mid-Year photos can be seen on MSGA’s Flickr page – bit.ly/2014MidYearPhotos.
-Plans are already underway for MSGA’s Annual Convention and Trade Show, which will be held Dec. 11-13 in Billings at the Holiday Inn Grand Montana. Watch for more information to be announced at mtbeef.org.