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Montana Ag Network: June 13th Report – MSGA mid-year meeting, USDA institute’s relocation

Posted at 2:29 PM, Jun 13, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-13 16:29:46-04

Miles City is hosting the Montana Stockgrowers for the group’s Mid-Year meeting.

Lennep, Montana rancher John Grande serves as the 2nd Vice President of MSGA. He shared how the association has been an advocate for Montana agriculture for 135 years.

“We have two basic membership meetings a year,” said Grande. “We are a grassroots driven organization. So we’re here to gather our membership up and have policy meetings. And, that’s what drives what those of us on the board of directors and our staff do the rest of the year.”

MSGA members will address issues impacting the agriculture ranging from electronic logging devices, trade, cattle prices and more on the state, national and international level.

“We’re still working on the electronic logging devices,” said Grande. “We need to get a fix for that issue. We had a great legislative session. We came through there pretty good. We did some great things with funding for the Department of Livestock, made some progress on state lands issues and with some water bills.”

Trade is also on the tops of most ranchers’ minds.

“This past winter at the Cattle Industry Convention in New Orleans we talked trade,” said Grande. “When Secretary Purdue talked about their top priorities at USDA being trade, trade and trade its not a whole lot different in what we want and need in Montana. It’s trade.

The MSGA is working to see that trade deals, such as the U.S.-Mexico-Canada agreement, are made to improve the bottom line of their producers.

“On May 17th, we heard of the agreement with Japan where the 30-month restrictions that were put in place for BSE came off. That’s really important because it allows put more beef there. But at the same time just because it’s based its on back on the scientific basis instead of instead of trade agreements aren’t,” said Grande. “We still need to work on a free trade agreement with Japan to get the tariffs down. So we’re more on even footing with other people like Australia and then of course we need to keep working on China. So a lot of these trade agreements are very critical.”

For a complete list of events and an agenda for the MSGA Mid-Year Meeting, visit here.

On Thursday, a big announcement came out of Washington as the USDA found a new home for the Economic Research Service and National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

The agencies will be a part of a two-state relocation to Kansas City, Missouri and Kansas City, Kansas. For the Trump Administration, this is a big win as officials want the USDA closer to rural America, or the people they serve, and also want to save taxpayer money.

The move has been strongly opposed by USDA employees at both agencies and Democrats in Congress. Employees have voted to unionize and protest the relocation. Some senior researchers have already quit their jobs rather than move.

-Reported by Lane Nordlund/MTN News