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Horse Thievery, A Modern Tale Out of the Old West

A single mare vanishes out of a pasture.  Eight other horses within the same boundaries go untouched.  There is no body and no sign of a struggle.

“We have been unsuccessful in finding any trace of a carcass or foul play by predators,” says the mare’s owner Mona Moore.  “She’s just gone.”


Montana USDA schedules 2015 reservation community meetings

Bozeman, Mont. – USDA’s State Food & Agriculture Council (SFAC) in Montana announces seven USDA Community Meetings scheduled on Montana's seven Indian reservations from Feb. 2 to Feb. 9 to promote the availability of USDA programs.

The meetings will include USDA updates on the Agricultural Act of 2014, also known as the 2014 Farm Bill. The meetings are hosted by the Farm Service Agency (FSA), Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and Rural Development (RD) in partnership with the Intertribal Agriculture Council (IAC), tribal colleges and the Indian Nations Conservation Alliance (INCA).


Montana FSA: USDA reminds producers of upcoming livestock Disaster Assistance deadline

WASHINGTON, Jan. 21, 2015 — The U.S. Department of Agriculture reminds livestock producers that the Jan. 30, 2015, deadline to request assistance for losses suffered from Oct. 1, 2011 through Dec. 31, 2014, is fast approaching. 

Applications for the Livestock Indemnity Program and the Livestock Forage Disaster Program, restored by the 2014 Farm Bill resumed in April 2014, after having expired on Sept. 30, 2011. To date, more than 556,000 applications have been approved to assist farmers and ranchers in recovering from nearly three years of natural disasters.

The Livestock Indemnity Program provides financial assistance to eligible producers for livestock deaths. Losses can be caused by adverse weather, extreme temperatures, disease, or wildfires, or due to attacks by animals reintroduced into the wild by the federal government or protected by federal law, including wolves and avian predators.

The Livestock Forage Disaster Program provides compensation to livestock producers that have suffered grazing losses due to drought or fire. Qualifying droughts are based on U.S Drought Monitor severity ratings, and qualifying fires are those occurring on rangeland managed by a federal agency and normally permitted for grazing.

To expedite applications, all producers who experienced losses are encouraged to collect records documenting their losses. Supporting documents may include livestock birth records, purchase and transportation receipts, photos and ownership records showing the number and type of livestock lost, documents listing the gallons of water transported to livestock during drought, information related to grazing land, grazing leases or federal grazing permits, and more. 

Local FSA county offices can provide additional information on the types of records producers will need to apply for assistance. Producers are encouraged to contact their county office ahead of time to schedule an appointment. Producers who already have appointments don’t need to take any additional action to meet the deadline. FSA offices can be found at To learn more about these FSA disaster programs, visit

These programs were made possible through the 2014 Farm Bill, which builds on historic economic gains in rural America over the past five years, while achieving meaningful reform and billions of dollars in savings for the taxpayer. Since enactment, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has made significant progress to implement each provision of this critical legislation, including providing disaster relief to farmers and ranchers; strengthening risk management tools; expanding access to rural credit; funding critical research; establishing innovative public-private conservation partnerships; developing new markets for rural-made products; and investing in infrastructure, housing and community facilities to help improve quality of life in rural America. For more information, visit

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Montana NRCS announces Conservation Initiatives for 2015

Bozeman, Mont., Jan. 22, 2015—Four national initiatives are being offered in Montana through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP): On-Farm Energy, Organic, and Seasonal High Tunnel.

While the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) accepts applications for EQIP on a continuous basis, NRCS has set a deadline of Feb. 20, 2015, to apply for 2015 initiatives funding.


Decline in Canadian, Mexican cow herds stabilizes with COOL implementation

The United States country of origin labeling (COOL) for beef was implemented in 2009. While opponents to such consumer transparency issues have claimed that COOL was supported by those U.S. cattle producers wishing to restrict trade, I can tell you that was never the intent and the facts simply don’t support this propagandist tactic.

From 2005 to 2009 the Canadian cow herd declined by 18 percent, from around 5.4 million cows to 4.3 million cows. Interestingly, from 2010 through 2014, after COOL implementation, there has only been a minimal contraction of 1 to 2 percent annually. While I’m not saying COOL had anything to do with these herd stabilizations, what an interesting coincidence.