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Montana Ag Network: November 7, 2019

Livestock Loss Board; Hemp Update; Ag Photo Contest
Posted at 12:54 PM, Nov 07, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-07 15:33:27-05

Montana Ag Network report for Thursday, November 7, 2019:

Livestock owners are reminded that Montana’s Livestock Loss Board pays for verified livestock losses due to wolves, grizzly bears and mountain lions. But as the Montana Livestock Loss Board’s Executive Director George Edwards told me recently, there are some new changes mandated by the 2019 Legislature that requires a livestock owner to be current on their per-capita fees in order to receive a payment from the state for their loss.

"The new law, Senate Bill 133 by Butch Gillespie, puts a requirement on that livestock's owners must be current on their per capita fees" said Edwards. "What I've discovered over the course of time is that there's still a lack of knowledge and is primarily from people who own very few animals that they don't even know what per-capita is about. And those fees fund a portion of wildlife services who are the guys who do the investigations for our program."

The Montana’s Department of Revenue actually collects per-capita fees for the Department of Livestock. If you haven’t paid your fees, please contact them at 406-444-6900 or visit their website at []. And if you suspect your livestock loss is due to wolves, grizzly bears or mountain lions, call USDA Wildlife Services at 406-657-6464 to request an investigation.

A USDA official said earlier this week that the U.S. hemp industry could have a producer-funded checkoff program coming soon. An official at USDA said this week the hemp industry “clearly has shown interest” in paying fees to promote their product, saying that “the idea here is that a rising tide would lift every boat.”

If a checkoff program comes to fruition, hemp would join 21 other crops that have their own checkoffs, including soybeans, cotton, milk, pork, watermelon, and even popcorn. Growers would pay mandatory fees to go into a fund that’s used for research and marketing. A checkoff would benefit the emerging hemp industry struggling to get out from under marijuana-related misconceptions. A checkoff program would also be seen as an endorsement from USDA, making hemp a legitimate crop with long-term potential.

Thousands of farmers took the plunge into hemp production after the 2018 farm bill legalized production of the plant. That flood of new growers is why some hemp farmers are struggling to find markets for their first post-farm bill harvest. Despite increasing demand for hemp-related products, the rush of new growers appears to have driven down prices.

Each year, the National Corn Growers Association kicks off a new growing season with its annual online photo contest [].
But time is running out to submit your entries because the entry period ends on November 30th. Photographers compete for 21 cash prizes across 7 categories this year and two individuals will receive $500 grand prizes. Voting continues through December 31.

The winners will be announced in January. You can learn more about the contest, review the rules and submit your photos today at [].