Governor’s Range Tour set for Phillips Co. in Montana | TSLN.com

Governor’s Range Tour set for Phillips Co. in Montana

Ranchers in Phillips County will showcase their history and land management practices on the 2010 Governor’s Range Tour, scheduled for Tuesday, Sept. 14, and Wednesday, Sept. 15, in Malta, MT.

The first day of the tour will head to southern Phillips County, stopping at a vantage point where five ranchers will discuss range management practices. Craig French, chairman of the Phillips County Range Committee, will open with an introduction on the tour theme, “Preserving Our Prairie Neighborhood.” Vicki Olson of the Double O Ranch will follow with a talk on homesteads, family roots and the history of land use.

Next will be Leo Barthelmess of Barthelmess Ranch, Corp., discussing grazing management, recovering the land and the Taylor Grazing Act. Bill French of French Farming, Inc., will discuss water spreading, water rights and the importance of hay for a healthy range. The stop will wrap up with Kevin Koss of Mule Tracks Cattle Co. and a talk on diversification and innovation in ranching.

Lunch will be served at Bill and Corky French’s place, where diners will be treated to a speaker on south Phillips County history.

After lunch the tour buses will travel to the First Creek Hall to hear Troy and Jess Blunt of T Bar L Ranch, Inc., share their experiences with the Environmental Quality Incentives Program on installing a stockwater pipeline. Paul Johanneson of Triangle Pipeline will also speak on the installation process. The first day will conclude with a stop at the Veseth Cattle Co., where Dale Veseth will give a presentation on collaborative partnerships, the Rancher’s Stewardship Alliance, and weed prevention.

The 2010 Governor’s Range Tour banquet will take place Tuesday evening at the Tin Cup in Malta. Master of Ceremonies will be Ray Beck of the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation (DNRC). Russell Nemetz of the Northern Ag Network will be the featured speaker.

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On day two, the tour heads north from Malta, stopping first at a unique hayfield irrigation system operated by Pete Lumsden of Blooming Prairie, Inc. Marko Manoukian, Phillips County Extension Agent, will touch on the significance of the St. Mary’s Diversion and Malta Irrigation projects for local hay production. Next up is a stop at the Fanning Hill Overlook, where Howie Hammond will discuss local history and the Cottonwood Grazing Association, continuing on to a BLM stockwater catchment, where Howie will speak about the value of BLM leases to his ranching operation. At the next stop, Whitney and Jay Blunt and John Flansaas discuss the next generation of ranchers working with the family.

Lunch will be served at Loring and include presentations. Matt Simonson of the U2 Ranch will discuss livestock grazing in areas with natural gas wells. Richard Dunbar, Phillips County Commissioner, will talk about the tax benefits of natural gas wells, and gas company representatives will describe their efforts to minimize the impacts of natural gas production on livestock and wildlife. Following a closing by Matt Simonson, Phillips Conservation District Vice-Chair, the tour will return to Malta, arriving about 2:30 p.m.

The annual Governor’s Range Tour rotates around the state, highlighting excellence and innovation in natural resource stewardship.

“The tour is an excellent opportunity for landowners, the general public and resource management professionals to discuss range management issues and share experiences,” said Pat Anderson, Phillips Conservation District Administrator. “We’re excited to be hosting this year and hope to see plenty of folks come out.”

For more information about this year’s tour, contact Anderson at 406-654-1334 Ext. 3, or Heidi Olbert, Montana DNRC Rangeland Resource Program Coordinator, at 406-444-6619.

For more information on DNRC’s Rangeland Resource Program, visit the DNRC Web site at http://www.dnrc.mt.gov/cardd/consdist/rangelandmangement.asp.

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