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Montana Ag Network report for February 20

Posted: 12:31 PM, Feb 20, 2020
Updated: 2020-02-20 14:34:31-05
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Lane Nordlund has the Montana Ag Network report for Thursday, February 20, 2020.



#1 The Montana Wool Growers Association has a new Executive Secretary. Leah Johnson of Highwood was recently selected to help lead the association into the future.

“I'm really looking forward to getting started and settling into the role,” said Johnson. “Along with getting to know the board, membership and participating in more sheep events. In addition, seeing what Wool Growers can do to grow it’s outreach and serve the people of Montana.”

Johnson is also an agricultural advocate who utilizes social media to educate others about the industry.

“There's a certain amount of misinformation and fear with consumers,” said Johnson. “Social media is a great way to be able to just tell your story and show everyday life. I really enjoy Instagram. It's a really fun way to connect with people that you wouldn't normally see. It's a great way to be able to pass your story along to a much broader audience and to make people feel comfortable and understand what it is that we do and why we do it and how proud we Are to be involved in agriculture and to be raising the food and fiber for the world.”

Leah Johnson hopes to also grow the membership of the Montana Wool Growers Association.

“There's always opportunities to join Wool Growers,” Johnson shared. “So if anyone is looking to gain a membership get a hold of us through the website or email. There are always opportunities to join and be a part of something bigger than yourself and help the industry as a whole. Sheep producers are really good about working together. It's a small industry. I just really look forward to banding together with all of them and coming up with great ideas, too. To help our sheep industry and keep it viable and hopefully help it grow.

Leah and her husband Kevin Farm and ranch near Highwood where she also has a small flock of Targhee ewes.

#2 There are thousands of containers of frozen pork, chicken, and beef, all sitting in major Chinese ports because of the impact of the coronavirus outbreak.

Sources say that there aren’t enough truck drivers to pick up and move the containers due to travel restrictions imposed on the country to control the coronavirus. Ports are running out of electricity to help freeze the containers, while some ships have been told to move on to other destinations in mainland China or Hong Kong.

China imports massive amounts of meat products from South America, Europe, and the United States. It’s been boosting purchases to help ease some of the shortages caused by the African Swine Fever outbreak that decimated its hog herds.

It’s not known if or when port operations will be able to return to normal as truck drivers returning from other cities are quarantined for 14 days.

#3 Twenty-one farm and ranch groups that represent millions of U.S. farmers and ranchers are launching Farmers for a Sustainable Future. It’s a new coalition committed to environmental and economic sustainability.

The coalition will serve as a primary resource for lawmakers and policymakers as they consider climate policies. One important task for the new coalition is to share with elected officials, media, and the public, U.S. agriculture’s commitment to sustainability and the incredible strides they’ve already made to reduce agriculture’s environmental footprint.

Those guiding principles include calling for policies that support science-based research, voluntary incentive-based conservation programs, investment in infrastructure, and solutions that ensure vibrant rural communities and a healthy planet.

The coalition says farmers and ranchers are committed stewards of the land, leading the way to climate-smart farming by promoting soil health, conserving water, enhancing wildlife, using nutrients efficiently, and caring for their animals.