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One year ago today, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced that the greater sage-grouse did not warrant protection under the Endangered Species Act. This historic decision was due in part to unprecedented voluntary partnerships like the USDA's Sage Grouse Initiative (SGI) that are working to conserve America’s vast sagebrush country. 

To mark the anniversary, SGI released an online report tracking sagebrush conservation outcomes across 11 western states over the past year. The results show that conservation efforts for the sage grouse also benefit 350 other species that depend on healthy sagebrush habitat -- including people."We're in this for the long haul," says SGI coordinator Thad Heater. "We look forward to maintaining momentum through our $211 million sage grouse investment strategy, dubbed SGI 2.0, that will protect an estimated 8 million acres by 2018." 

DES MOINES, Iowa, Sept. 20, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- The National Pork Board is leading the conversation to combat antibiotic-resistant bacteria and preserve the responsible on-farm use of antibiotics in pork production. The Pork Checkoff, funded directly by America's 60,000 pig farmers, defined its three-point antibiotic stewardship plan in mid-2015 and has delivered on its pledge of promoting research, pig farmer education and consumer and influencer outreach during 2016.

"Real, substantive change is underway on pig farms across America with the farmers themselves shaping the discussion around responsible antibiotic use," said Jan Archer, National Pork Board president and a pig farmer from North Carolina. "We were the first food-animal industry to announce our stewardship plan, which underscores that antibiotics are essential tools for veterinarians and farmers to raise healthy livestock and to produce safe food."

Billings, Mont. - A flurry of motions were filed recently in the lawsuit filed by R-CALF USA against the national beef checkoff program (Beef Checkoff). The group's lawsuit was filed May 2 in the U.S. District Court for the District of Montana.

The initial complaint alleges the government, represented by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), is operating the Beef Checkoff in violation of the U.S. Constitution by compelling cattle producers to subsidize the private speech of private state beef councils, notably the Montana Beef Council. Members of R-CALF USA, the complaint alleges, object to the Montana Beef Council's speech because it advocates that all beef is the same regardless of where or how it was produced.

WASHINGTON – Cattle producers in attendance at the inaugural Cattle Producer’s Forum were the first to receive news on the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) next steps toward addressing the most recent reauthorization of Livestock Mandatory Price Reporting (LMR).  This year’s reauthorization resulted in a replica of prior year’s bills, due to a lack of consensus within the industry.  However, one item was successfully attached to the reauthorization bill and requires the USDA Agriculture Marketing Service (AMS) to conduct a comprehensive study of the program, to be submitted to Congress by March 1, 2018.

As a first step in the process, USDA AMS has conducted a baseline analysis, taking into account the current state of the U.S. livestock marketplace.  As reported directly to the Forum’s attendees, and subsequently written herein panelist AMS Deputy Administrator Craig Morris’ USDA blog post, several key factors were identified as points for consideration in the next stage of the study:

BOZEMAN – A lot of people might like to listen in on the watercooler chat between Montana State University agricultural economists. Now they can.

A group of faculty and Extension specialists in MSU’s Department of Agricultural Economics and Economics in the College of Agriculture and College of Letters and Science have launched an informational agricultural economics website for producers in the northern Great Plains agricultural industry. The website includes information on economics and policy, market news, trade and industry content.