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Montana Ag Network: June 24th Report – Trade agreement update, ASI budget and tour

Posted at 10:36 PM, Jun 24, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-25 00:36:23-04

Key lawmakers in Washington, D.C. cast significant doubt on the possibility of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement getting passed through Congress this summer. The news comes despite political pressure.

Congress has a long summer recess approaching and Politico stated it looks like Democrats believe the agreement needs more changes. That may push a vote on the House floor into the fall at least.

The American Sheep Industry Association’s American Wool Council hosted a handful of special guests from the United States military when touring a Colorado range sheep operation this week.

The council meets each summer to recommend ASI’s budget for the coming fiscal year, as well as deal with other wool-related business of the association.

After a meeting of the council, the special guests from the United States Armed Forces arrived and both groups headed to Castle Peak outside Eagle, Colo., to catch up with sheep from Julie Hansmire’s flock. Guests enjoyed the opportunity to see her operation firsthand and enjoyed a picnic lunch in the presence of Hansmire’s sheep, herders, Border Collies and livestock guardian dogs.

“We were fortunate today that we also combined things with having the military up here on an educational tour and a chance for them to see the American sheep industry and how it starts from the ground up,” said ASI Wool Council Chair Randy Tunby of Montana.

The military guests represented a variety of branches of the armed services and are tasked with designing military uniforms and gear, as well as coordinating purchasing of materials that go into manufacturing such products.

The United States military is the largest domestic buyer of American wool. Current new products include the reintroduction of the World War II uniform – known as Pinks and Greens – that includes wool from head to toe, as well as the use of wool in the Army’s new cold weather system.

The Montana Department of Agriculture is excited to announce Christy Clark has accepted the division administrator position for the Department’s agricultural sciences division. Clark, a native of Choteau, has served as bureau chief of the Department’s agricultural development and marketing bureau since 2015.

“We were very fortunate to have a talented pool of candidates to choose from, but Christy clearly stood out and rose to the top of the field,” said Department Director Ben Thomas. “Her work as bureau chief over the last four years and her lifetime experience with agriculture are just a few reasons I’m excited to have her at the head of our sciences division.”

In her time as bureau chief, Clark spearheaded several major initiatives on behalf of the Department. From the creation of the Department’s ag mediation program, to hosting international trade teams touting the quality of Montana’s ag products, Clark’s leadership took the bureau to new levels of success.

Cattle and calves on feed for the slaughter market in the United States for feedlots with capacity of 1,000 or more head totaled 11.7 million head on June 1, 2019. The inventory was 2% above June 1, 2018. This is the highest June 1 inventory since the series began in 1996, USDA reported on Friday.

Placements in feedlots during May totaled 2.06 million head, 3% below 2018. Net placements were 1.99 million head. During May, placements of cattle and calves weighing less than 600 pounds were 370,000 head, 600-699 pounds were 305,000 head, 700-799 pounds were 500,000 head, 800-899 pounds were 539,000 head, 900-999 pounds were 235,000 head, and 1,000 pounds and greater were 115,000 head.

Marketings of fed cattle during May totaled 2.07 million head, 1% above 2018.

Other disappearance totaled 72,000 head during May, 1% below 2018.

Livestock analysts say given the already weak market structure of the cattle futures complex, these numbers are not expected to be a significant factor, but will add another layer of market concern to the entire complex.

There’s less than three weeks remaining for residents to submit public comments on a proposal to delist the gray wolf in the lower 48 states and return management of the species to the states and tribes. In May, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced it extended the deadline to July 15 for farmers and other citizens to share their thoughts on the issue.

The agency recently concluded that recovery of the gray wolf under the Endangered Species Act has been a successful effort that took the national wolf population from about 1,000 in the mid-1970s to more than 5,000 now.

A proposed amendment that would have delisted the wolf in certain states failed to pass earlier this year.

-Reported by Russell Nemetz/MTN News