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15 June 2021
Public Meeting Notice: MT Pulse Crop Committee - June 22nd

Public Meeting Notice: MT Pulse Crop Committee - June 22nd

The Montana Pulse Crop Committee will meet virtually via Zoom on Tuesday, June 22nd beginning at 2:00 p.m.

To receive meeting information, please contact Dani Jones at Danielle.Jones@.mt.gov.

10 June 2021
Public Meeting Notice: MT Pulse Crop Committee - June 14th

Public Meeting Notice: MT Pulse Crop Committee - June 14th

The Montana Pulse Crop Committee will meet virtually via Zoom on Monday, June 14th beginning at 9:00 a.m.

To receive meeting information, please contact Dani Jones at Danielle.Jones@.mt.gov.

01 June 2021
MT Dept. of Agriculture Reminds Producers to Cover Crops with State Hail Insurance

MT Dept. of Agriculture Reminds Producers to Cover Crops with State Hail Insurance

In light of recent moisture, and with severe weather events on the horizon, the Montana State Hail Program is reminding producers to make sure their crops are covered. As spring plantings are wrapping up, staff are ready to assist producers with acquiring state hail insurance.

Producers can insure crops against hail damage at the maximum coverage rate of $75 per acre for dryland and $114 per acre for irrigated land. Rates charged are a percentage of the insured amount and vary by county. A detailed list of rates by county and crop is available on the MDA website. State policies are available for purchase until August 15, 2021.

State hail insurance application forms are available online or by calling the office. Staff are available to accept policies, file claims, and to answer any questions producers might have regarding coverage options. Completed forms can be emailed, mailed, or faxed to the department, or used as a reference when contacting the office by phone. Loss forms must be submitted within two weeks of the hail damage occurrence. Loss claim forms are also available online and are due to the office by October 1, 2021.

Contact Information:

Montana State Hail Insurance Program

P.O. Box 200201

Helena, MT 59620

Phone: (406) 444-5429

Toll Free: 1 (844) 515-1571

 

Email: agrhail@mt.gov

Fax: (406) 444-9442

The Montana State Hail Insurance Program was created at the request of producers in 1917 to provide basic hail insurance coverage on any crop grown in Montana. The program is directed by a five-member board consisting of the department director, state insurance commissioner, and three producers.

26 May 2021
Public Meeting: MT Pulse Crop Committee - June 8, 2021

Public Meeting: MT Pulse Crop Committee - June 8, 2021

The Montana Pulse Crop Committee will meet virtually via Zoom on June 8, 2021 from 1:00 - 4:00 p.m. A meeting agenda is attached.

A video conference option is available through Zoom. Please contact Dani Jones to request Zoom meeting information.

Click here to view current MT Pulse Crop Committee members and learn more. 

17 May 2021
USDA to Purchase $159 Million Legumes and More for Food Assistance Programs

USDA to Purchase $159 Million Legumes and More for Food Assistance Programs

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today announced it will purchase up to $159.4 million in domestically produced seafood, fruits, legumes, and nuts for distribution to a variety of domestic food assistance programs, including charitable institutions. These purchases are being made utilizing funds under the authority of Section 32 of the Agricultural Adjustment Act (Pub. L. 74-320), as amended (Section 32). This is one of many actions USDA is taking to address the disruptions in the food system supply chain and worsened food insecurity resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Selected commodities include: Alaska pollock, apricots (canned, dried, and frozen), chickpeas, dry peas, Gulf of Mexico and South Atlantic wild-caught shrimp, lentils, navy beans, Pacific pink shrimp, Pacific rockfish fillets, Pacific whiting fillets, pistachios, prepared peaches, and sockeye (red) salmon. The inventories of these commodities are in high oversupply due to a decrease in demand because of the COVID-19 pandemic and disruption in the supply chain, as restaurants and other outlets closed during the pandemic. This is the largest purchase of U.S. raised seafood by the USDA to date.

Solicitations will be available electronically through the Web-Based Supply Chain Management (WBSCM) system and on the Agricultural Marketing Service's website at www.ams.usda.gov/selling-food. To be eligible to submit offers, potential contractors must meet the AMS vendor qualification requirements and be domestic operations.

10 May 2021
USDA Announces Garfield County as Primary Natural Disaster Area due to Drought

USDA Announces Garfield County as Primary Natural Disaster Area due to Drought

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has designated Garfield County as a primary natural disaster area due to a recent drought. This announcement comes nearly a week after 13 other Montana counties were declared as primary natural disaster areas due to a recent drought. 

Other MT counties previously named primary disaster areas: Carter, Custer, Daniels, Dawson, Fallon, McCone, Phillips, Prairie, Richland, Roosevelt, Sheridan, Valley & Wibaux.

According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, these counties suffered fromm a drought intensity value during the growing season of 1) D2 Drought-Severe for 8 or more consecutive weeks, or 2) D3 Drought-Extreme, or 4) D4 Drought-Exceptional.

Seven additional counties were named as contiguous disaster areas in the announcement for Garfield County: Custer, McCone, Petroleum, Phillips, Prairie, Rosebud & Valley.

Other MT Counties previously named contiguous counties: Blaine, Fergus, Garfield, Petroleum, Powder River & Rosebud.

A Secretarial disaster designation makes farm operators in primary counties and those counties contiguos to such primary counties eligible for assistance provided through the Farm Service Agency (FSA), including emergency loans. Producers in affected areas are encouraged to work with their local FSA office to receive more information and apply. Click here to view Montana FSA offices map. Click here to visit the USDA Disaster Assisance Programs website.

06 May 2021
Montana Department of Agriculture Reminds Montanans to Sow Safe Seeds

Montana Department of Agriculture Reminds Montanans to Sow Safe Seeds

As people across the state gear up to plant their gardens this spring, the Montana Department of Agriculture (MDA) is reminding growers about the importance of buying and planting seeds from licensed seed dealers to protect against invasive species and plant diseases.

“Spring is such an exciting time for agriculture in Montana, from our farmers and ranchers out in the field to the folks planting gardens in their backyard,” said Director Mike Foster. “Along with this excitement comes a responsibility to look after our state by purchasing seeds from trustworthy sources. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to our Department to ensure that your seeds are safe before planting them.”

Last year, residents in all 50 states received unsolicited “mystery seeds” through the mail that originated in China causing federal and state agencies to urge recipients not to plant them, and to contact their state regulatory officials to submit them for testing or dispose of them instead. Close to 150 seed packages were received in Montana and sent to USDA’s Animal and Plant Inspection Service (APHIS) for testing. A mix of ornamental, fruit and vegetable, herb and weed species were discovered and fortunately determined not to be severely hazardous. In this case, the unsolicited seeds appear to have been sent as part of a brushing scam designed to boost e-commerce rankings for companies by shipping items to unknowing individuals and then creating false profiles and fabricated positive reviews.

Whether it be as part of a brushing scam or otherwise, planting unknown or unsolicited seeds can introduce harmful pests and/or diseases. To ensure your seeds are safe, please:

  • check to confirm the seed species information is printed on the seed package
  • do not plant any seeds of unknown species or origin
  •  verify seed suppliers are licensed in MT at mtplants.mt.gov or call MDA at (406) 444-3144.

The Federal Seed Act and Montana Seed Laws require seed sellers and distributors to plainly label their packages. The MDA Seed Program ensures that seeds offered for sale in Montana are truthfully labeled for identity, purity, and viability. To learn more, visit the Montana Department of Agriculture’s web page at agr.mt.gov/SeedProgram.

05 May 2021
USDA Announces Primary Disaster Designation for 13 Montana Counties due to drought

USDA Announces Primary Disaster Designation for 13 Montana Counties due to drought

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has designated 13 Montana counties as primary natural disaster areas due to a recent drought. 

Primary Counties: Carter, Custer, Daniels, Dawson, Fallon, McCone, Phillips, Prairie, Richland, Roosevelt, Sheridan, Valley & Wibaux.

According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, these counties suffered fromm a drought intensity value during the growing season of 1) D2 Drought-Severe for 8 or more consecutive weeks, or 2) D3 Drought-Extreme, or 4) D4 Drought-Exceptional.

Six additional counties were named as contiguous disaster areas. Contiguous Counties: Blaine, Fergus, Garfield, Petroleum, Powder River & Rosebud.

A Secretarial disaster designation makes farm operators in primary counties and those counties contiguos to such primary counties eligible for assistance provided through the Farm Service Agency (FSA), including emergency loans. Producers in affected areas are encouraged to work with their local FSA office to receive more information and apply. Click here to view Montana FSA offices map. Click here to visit the USDA Disaster Assisance Programs website.

04 May 2021
Dan Reimer Selected to Lead Operations at Montana State Grain Lab

Dan Reimer Selected to Lead Operations at Montana State Grain Lab

The Montana Department of Agriculture (MDA) announced Dan Reimer as the new Bureau Chief at the State Grain Labs, the state’s only federally licensed grain inspection labs.

With a background in mechanical engineering, Dan has led teams throughout the world, including as General Manager of a manufacturing plant in Mexico, and most recently, Executive Director of an operation in the Czech Republic.

“The department is pleased to welcome Dan back to Montana and the state agency as he previously served as the department’s Pesticide Licensing Specialist from 2012 to 2018,” said Christy Clark, MDA Deputy Director and Agriculture Development Division Administrator.

“I am excited to serve Montana Agriculture in a new capacity,” said Dan Reimer, State Grain Lab Bureau Chief. “Our grain labs strive to provide customers with the best possible service while always looking at ways to improve. With harvest just around the corner, our team is looking forward to doing our part to help Montana’s farmers sell their high-quality crops to buyers throughout the world.”

Established in 1921, the State Grain Lab is in its 100th year of providing producers and agricultural businesses with quality assurance and consistent, unbiased results. State Grain Lab staff are highly skilled and certified to sample and grade crops through the Federal Grain Inspection Service. Official grain certificates issued through the labs guarantee protein grade and other qualities that serve as the basis for price settlements between buyers and sellers.

The labs, located in Great Falls and Plentywood, host visitors from across the globe who come to see how their state-of-the-art equipment and grain grading processes work first-hand. The Great Falls lab will soon be recruiting for motivated workers who enjoy a dynamic work schedule to join their team for the upcoming harvest season through the State of Montana Careers Website.

22 April 2021
Registration Open for Free "Communicating for the Farm" Webinar Series

Registration Open for Free "Communicating for the Farm" Webinar Series

Montana State University Extension Pondera County and Purdue Extension – Bartholomew County are teaming up to provide a webinar series dedicated to helping agricultural producers improve their agriculture communication skills. Adriane Good, from MSU Extension, and Cora Carter, from Purdue Extension, noticed that many farmers and ranchers want to engage with the public and share their story but have difficulties doing so. This webinar series aims to help producers with that, giving them the skills to communicate effectively and present themselves professionally online when engaging with a non-agricultural based public.

  • May 13: Media Literacy & Critical Thinking - Beth Forbes, Purdue University
  • May 20: Communication & Engagement - Linda Pfeiffer, Purde University
  • May 27: Communicating Controversial Topics - Group Discussion
  • June 3: Crafting Your Story - Carrie Mess (@dairycarrie)
  • June 10: Presenting Yourself Professionally Online - Sara Hollenbeck, High Five Meats
  • June 17: Practice Telling Your Story - Group Discussion

Each week’s class will begin at 5 PM MST and last until 6 PM. The webinar series will be hosted via Microsoft Teams, which will allow class participants to interact with each other between sessions. If you are unfamiliar with teams, a video will be distributed to familiarize you with the software. The webinar series is free of charge. Registration can be accessed at puext.in/comm4farm. For more information about the webinar series, contact Adriane Good at 406-271-4054.

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