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Montana Ag Network report for March 16

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Posted at 12:54 PM, Mar 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-16 14:55:14-04

BILLINGS — Russell Nemetz has the Montana Ag Network report for Monday, March 16, 2020.



#1: AS THE CORONAVIRUS CONTINUES TO DEVASTATE OUR AGRICULTURAL MARKETS, COVID-19 IS ALSO AFFECTING OUR RURAL COMMUNITIES. ALAN MORGAN IS THE CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER OF THE NATIONAL RURAL HEALTH ASSOCIATION AND RECENTLY TALKED WITH RFD-TV ABOUT THE VIRUS MIGHT MEAN FOR RURAL HEALTH AND SOME OF THE ACTIONS THAT WE SHOULD BE TAKING.

HE SAYS TO HELP PREVENT THE SPREAD OF THE COVID-19 COMMON SENSE IS VERY IMPORTANT. THIS INCLUDES WASHING YOUR HANDS, THE ELDERLY TAKING EXTRA PRECAUTIONS, CALLING THE DOCTOR AND HOSPITAL BEFORE YOU GO AND BEING CAREFUL WHEN TRAVELING TO HEAVILY POPULATED AREAS.

#2: CONTINUING HIS EFFORTS TO CURB THE GROWING NUMBER OF FARMER SUICIDES ACROSS THE COUNTRY, US SENATOR JON TESTER HAS PRESSED AGRICULTURE SECRETARY SONNY PERDUE ON HIS AGENCY’S EFFORTS TO ADDRESS THE CRISIS. TESTER—WHO RECENTLY INTRODUCED HIS BIPARTISAN SEEDING RURAL RESILIENCE ACT TO ADDRESS THE FARMER SUICIDE CRISIS—HAS BEEN WORKING TO GET THE USDA TO MAKE STRIDES TOWARDS TACKLING MENTAL HEALTH PROBLEMS IN RURAL AREAS. ACCORDING TO THE CENTER FOR DISEASE CONTROL, THE SUICIDE RATE IS 45 PERCENT HIGHER IN RURAL AMERICA THAN IN URBAN AREAS, AND MONTANA ALREADY HAS ONE OF THE HIGHEST SUICIDE RATES IN THE COUNTRY. AMERICANS IN RURAL COMMUNITIES DEAL WITH SUBSTANTIAL ISOLATION, SIGNIFICANT TRAVEL TIMES FOR BASIC HEALTH SERVICES, LACK OF BROADBAND ACCESS THAT WOULD ENABLE TELEHEALTH SERVICES AND STIGMAS AGAINST RECEIVING COUNSELING.

#3: FEBRUARY SAW MIXED RESULTS IN OVERALL U.S. SALES OF TRACTORS AND SELF-PROPELLED COMBINES. THE BRIGHT SPOT WAS FOUR-WHEEL-DRIVE AND 100-PLUS HORSEPOWER TRACTORS, WHICH SHOWED HEALTHY GAINS YEAR OVER YEAR. HOWEVER, OVERALL TRACTOR AND COMBINE SALES FELL FOR FEBRUARY, ACCORDING TO THE LATEST DATA FROM THE ASSOCIATION OF EQUIPMENT MANUFACTURERS. TOTAL FARM TRACTOR SALES DECREASED 7.5 PERCENT IN FEBRUARY COMPARED TO LAST YEAR WHILE U.S. FEBRUARY SELF-PROPELLED COMBINE SALES FELL 21.1 PERCENT. CURT BLADES WITH AEM SAYS, UNCERTAINTY IN GLOBAL MARKETS IS BEING REFLECTED IN AGRICULTURAL MARKETS, WHICH IS REFLECTED IN THE CAPITAL EXPENDITURE DECISIONS. LIKE MAJOR EQUIPMENT PURCHASES BY FARMERS AND RANCHERS.