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Montana Ag Network: April 16th Report – ELD rules, livestock forum

Posted at 4:32 PM, Apr 16, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-16 18:32:31-04

U.S. Senator Jon Tester will reintroduce bipartisan legislation to ease burdensome regulations on livestock haulers.

Tester’s bipartisan Transporting Livestock Across America Safely Act will change Department of Transportation rules that require drivers who haul live animals to adhere to strict time constraints monitored by Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs).

The bill would exclude livestock haulers from new ELD requirements until a driver travels more than 300 air miles from their starting point while also allowing them to complete their trip if they come within 150 air miles of their destination regardless of their Hours of Service.

The legislation is supported by multiple agriculture groups including the Montana Stockgrowers Association and U.S. Cattlemen’s Association.

This week, the 2019 Montana Nutrition Conference and Livestock Forum was held in Bozeman.

During the event, Montana State University Extension Beef Specialist Dr. Megan Van Emon shared advice for ranchers who will move cattle to grass this spring.

“That grass tetany issue that could be coming up with that rapid forage growth in the pastures is a top concern,” said Van Emon. “With rapid green up, if we get any of any sort of moisture here, producers need to be aware of the risk of grass tetany. Definitely getting high magnesium mineral out there and early on, two to three weeks at least before you turn out. Especially for expecting that rapid green up.

Van Emon shared other areas of concern.

“Another one that I’ve been hearing about lately here is a lot of coccidiosis issues and other illness issues, scours especially,” said Van Emon. “As well, it’s been so wet we’ve had all that snow melts and then we get a little bit more snow or some more rain and we’re just keeping everything wet. So moving those cows and calves out to pasture as soon as you can.”

For more information, contact your local extension agent.

Higher limits are now available for borrowers interested in farm loans from the Department of Agriculture.

The USDA said the increase would help farmers purchase farms or cover operating expenses.

The 2018 Farm Bill increased the amount that producers can borrow through direct and guaranteed loans available through Farm Service Agency, and made changes to other loans, such as microloans and emergency loans.

Key changes include increasing the Direct Operating Loan limit from $300,000 to $400,000. The Direct Farm Ownership Loan limit increased from $300,000 to $600,000, and the Guaranteed Farm Ownership Loan limit increased from $1.429 million to $1.75 million.

For more information, contact your local FSA office.

Trade talks are underway between Japan and the United States this week as trade representative Robert Lighthizer meets with Japan’s economic advisor.

Agriculture complaints are “front and center” ever since President Trump withdrew the U.S. from the then-called Trans-Pacific Partnership. The Trump administration is expected to push for similar concessions for U.S. agriculture as seen in the TPP.

The Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, called the CTPP, replaced the original agreement the U.S. backed away from, giving U.S. agriculture’s competitors a market advantage. Japan will seek market access in return, which could include growing markets for its specialty agricultural products.

The preliminary talks are expected to wrap up early this week. For now, there’s little word on what objectives the Trump administration has for any deal with Japan, with the expectation that talks this week will surface more details.

-Reported by Lane Nordlund/MTN News