Great Falls, Mont. - Yesterday,the United States District Court for the District of Montana affirmed a ruling that the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Beef Checkoff program, as currently administered, violates the First Amendment. The District Court put in place a preliminary injunction prohibiting the private Montana Beef Council from retaining beef checkoff funds without the payers' consent.
 
The court took action after a magistrate previously recommended the injunction in December 2016, agreeing with plaintiff in the suit - the Ranchers Cattlemen Action Legal Fund United Stockgrowers of America (R-CALF USA) - that the Checkoff was being run unconstitutionally.
Billings, Mont. - R-CALF USA CEO Bill Bullard issued the following statement following Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue's announcement that he is halting imports of fresh Brazilian beef.
 
"We applaud Secretary Perdue's decision to halt imports of fresh Brazilian beef but we question why the Secretary did not also halt imports of pre-cooked beef from Brazil after finding that Brazil's food safety system is inadequate to meet U.S. food safety standards.

(WASHINGTON) – The United States Cattlemen’s Association (USCA) issued the following statement on the announcement by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) that all Brazilian Beef imports to the U.S. will be halted until further notice.  The statement may be attributed to USCA Trade Committee Chair Leo McDonnell:

“USCA applauds the announcement by Secretary Perdue that all imports of Brazilian beef products to the U.S. will be halted until the Brazilian Ministry of Agriculture takes corrective action which the USDA finds acceptable. Since March, USDA FSIS has routinely inspected Brazil beef shipments to the U.S., with 11% being refused entry.  USCA has remained adamantly opposed to imports of Brazilian beef products for this exact reason and the actions taken today confirm the concerns held by producers regarding the many “bad acts” by Brazil in the global trade arena.

BOZEMAN - Farmers in Montana, and other parts of the Northern Great Plains, are shifting from cereal-only cropping to a cereal-dry pea cropping system. This transition is not without its share of unknowns, however.

Scientists say yield and performance of pea crops depend on both their genetics and the environment. Environmental factors such as temperature and rainfall can vary greatly. Farmers in different parts of the Plains need to know which varieties of pea will do well in the area they are farming.

Chengci Chen of Montana State University’s College of Agriculture  and the Montana Agricultural Experiment Station, is working to generate that information. He has been studying how pea genetics interact with the environment to affect crop yields, and pea protein and starch content.

“Ultimately, I hope to be able to recommend which pea varieties to cultivate to growers in various environments,” Chen said.

The Water Rights Protection Act introduced in the House could bring U.S. ranchers much-needed relief from ongoing efforts by the federal government to extort privately held water rights from law-abiding citizens. This legislation would certainly help Montana ranchers.

“Montana is one third public land, and much of its water emanates from Forest Service or BLM lands. It is vitally important that our members be able to retain their rights to use water rights they have developed on public land,” noted Montana Farm Bureau Executive Director John Youngberg. “The fact that federal agencies are trying to leverage people into ceding their water rights as a condition of renewal of grazing permits equates to extortion and needs to be stopped.”