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Montana Ag Network: May 9th Report – MT Farm Bureau conference, African swine fever spreads

Posted at 2:48 PM, May 09, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-09 16:48:27-04

The Montana Farm Bureau wants to remind members to mark their calendars for the upcoming 2019 MFBF Summer Conference.

The event will take place in Bozeman June 11-13 and will be held at the Gran Tree Inn.

RanchHacks, an ag advocacy group, will present an information sessional ranging from technology in livestock production to private and public land issues.

A special a keynote address will be presented by agricultural economist Dr. Gary Brester. The MFBF committee meetings and foundation golf tournament will occur as well.

To register and see an agenda of the event, click here.

This week, over 1,200 4th grade students from across the Gallatin Valley participated in the Gallatin Valley Farm Fair. The event was started 15 years ago to educate youth about all aspects of agriculture.

“Way back when we first started, some of the presenters would say, ‘Well, where did, where does water come from?'” said rancher and farm fair volunteer Ed Brainard. “The reply was the grocery store or the faucet and the same way with milk. It was a grocery store refrigerator. We thought, ‘Boy, you know, they need some background on this.’”

Gallatin Valley Farm Fair chair Patti Soares said the event is about education.

“It’s something that kids are missing these days,” said Soares. “They don’t get this in the classroom. So that’s why this program was started so they learn about what’s around them and their food and where it comes from.”

There will be an in-depth look at the Gallatin Valley Farm Fair this Sunday night on MTN news stations.

South Africa’s agriculture ministry has confirmed two more swine fever outbreaks in the country this week.

The affected areas have been placed under quarantine and disease control measures are underway.

The spread of African swine fever prompted heightened biosecurity measures from North American countries, including the cancelation of June’s World Pork Expo. The event typically draws global participants to Des Moines, Iowa, from countries that currently have African swine fever outbreaks.

Meanwhile, Tyson Foods executive Noel White told stakeholders during an earnings call this week that “the threat is real,” that African swine fever could enter the United States, further justifying strict U.S. measures to prevent the spread.

In other farm news, the Ag Economy Barometer plummeted in April, declining to a reading of 115, an 18-point decline compared to March when the index stood at 133.

The 18-point decline in the index was the fourth largest one-month fall in the barometer since data collection began in October 2015. Organizers say the barometer’s decline was driven by worsening perceptions of both current economic conditions and weaker expectations for the future.

Producers surveyed were less inclined to think now is a good time to invest in buildings and equipment, and are less optimistic that the trade dispute with China will be resolved by July 1 than they were a month earlier.

Over half, 56 percent, of farmers in the April survey reported they expect their farms’ financial performance to be about the same as last year.

-Reported by Lane Nordlund/MTN News