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Earl cartoon by Big Dry Syndicate

Earl cartoon by Big Dry Syndicate for the June 25, 2022, edition of Tri-State Livestock News

Outtagrass Cattle Co cartoon by Jan Swan Wood

Outside Circle by Jan Swan Wood: S.D.’s oldest rodeo, bull bash for youth, McLaury clinic, youth rodeos, ranch broncs

It’s sure been some nice weather. Folks are getting some hay cut at last. Some are just cleaning up hail damaged hay so the second round can grow correctly, and I sure feel for them. All that expense with a low quality feed as a result. One guy I know had his grain crop so completely destroyed that he drilled in over the top of it to make a crop of some sort.

The Oldest Rodeo in S.D. will be the Interior Frontier Days rodeo in the beautiful badlands at Interior, S.D. It’s sanctioned and open to the world, which is pretty rare these days. Entries opened June 24, so go to www.midwestrodeoentries.com to get in.

The 1st Annual Freedom Reigns Bull Bash for youth bull and steer riders will be July 2, 5 p.m., at Ten Sleep, Wyo. There will be steer riding for 8-10 and 11-13, bulls for 14-15 and 16-18. Entries open June 27, 7 p.m., at 307-228-3109.

A Buster and Sheryl McLaury colt starting and horsemanship clinic is returning to Red Owl, S.D. July 7-10. These exceptional clinicians will be at Brad and Beca Andrew’s place and you can get signed up or get more information by texting the lovely Becca at 605-515-0027. These clinics are exceptional and Buster and Sheryl are fine and genuine people who are there to help the horse. Buster tells a pretty darned good story too. Auditors are welcome.

The 103rd Black Hills Roundup is fast approaching in Belle Fourche, S.D. June 30-July 4 are the performances of the PRCA rodeo. The outstanding Ranch Rodeo is June 30. Coming back after many decades absence, this year there will be Women’s Bronc Riding during the July 2 and 3 performances of the rodeo. All in all, Belle Fourche, S.D. is the place to be for the great events being offered.

There’s a new horse sale coming up in Belle Fourche, S.D. It’s the AK Horse Sale, and will be Monday, Sept. 12, at Belle Fourche, S.D. The consignment deadline for the sale is July 6, so if you want in, contact Amanda Kammerer at 605-484-3784, or email her at akhorsesale@gmail.com.

The Lazy E-G Playday Series at Dupree, S.D. will be July 7, 12, 21, 28, Aug, 4, all at 6 p.m. It’s open to ages 0-18.

The Crook County Fair Youth Rodeo will be July 23, at Sundance, Wyo and is open to Crook Co. kids ages 0-18. Entries are online only, July 1-18. For more info contact Joey Moore at 307-217-2040 or Josh Franzen at 307-680-0139. The rodeo entry link can be found on Sundance Rodeo Club Facebook page. Following the youth rodeo, there will be a Handicap Drawpot team roping, open to all.

This is a different kind of deal. The North River Remuda Colt Starting Clinic and Sale will be July 8-10, at Sheridan, Wyo. All colts will be started and ridden for three days and then sold at the end of the clinic. The colt starts are Niles Brock, Scott Hulme and Ethan Hulme. Tickets to audit are $15/day or $40 for a three day pass. Contact Scott at 9400-414-3322 or Ethan at 940-414-3306.

The next Sheridan Vaquero Series Ranch Roping will be July 9 , 11 a.m. Get signed up before that. It will be at the Mefford Arena, Sheridan, Wyo.

July 9 is the Tim Malm Jr. Rodeo at Albin, Wyo. It’s enter at 9, rodeo at 11 a.m. There will be three divisions for ages 0-18, all timed events. For more info, contact Tabitha Hollingsworth at 308-250-0385.

The Moorcroft Jubilee Riverside Ranch Bronc Ride will be July 9, 1 p.m., Moorcroft, Wyo. It’s an 8 Second Whiskey Tour Stop, WSRRA sanctioned, with a $225 entry fee, taking 30 riders. There’s $5000 added with payout to the top five. Enter at www.moorcroftrodeoclub.com or call Jenna at 307-756-2756. The horses are from Burch Rodeo.

There will be a Team Branding July 23, 6 p.m., at the Ag Center, Big Piney, Wyo. The open is $140/team, mixed $120/team. Pre-entries must be postmarked by July 9. Call Tess Soll 307-851-5288 or Nicole Uhl 307-690-9098 to get entered.

Well, that’s my circle for this week. Be thankful for the grass that’s growing, rain that falls even if it’s not on you, and that we live where we live. Pray for our nation and God Bless America.



> Little Missouri Saddle Club Kid Rodeo, July 2, Marmarth, N.D.

> 1st Annual Freedom Reigns Youth Bull Bash, July 2, 5 p.m., Ten Sleep, Wyo.

> Black Hills Roundup Women’s Ranch Bronc Riding, July 2-3, Belle Fourche, S.D.

> Interior Frontier Days Rodeo, July 4, 7 p.m., Interior, S.D.

> Women’s Breakaway Roping, July 5, Gettysburg, S.D.

> North Rivers Remuda Colt Starting Clinic and Sale, July 8-10, Sheridan, Wyo.

> Tim Malm Jr. Rodeo, July 9, Albin, Wyo.

> Moorcroft Jubilee Riverside Bronc Ride, July 9, 1 p.m., Moorcroft, Wyo.

> KPH Arena Open Horse Show, July 9-10, KPH Arena, Gillette, Wyo.

> Lil Spurs Rodeo, July 10, 9 a.m., Four Winds Arena, Bowman, N.D.

> Gordon Livestock Open Horse Sale, July 12, Gordon, Neb.

> Jesse Starr Memorial Bronc Match, July 14, 6:30 p.m., Eagle Butte, S.D.

> Upton Fun Days Youth Rodeo, July 16, Upton, Wyo.

> Ekalaka Youth Rodeo, July 16, 10 a.m., Ekalaka, Mont.

> NHSRA Finals, July 17-23, Cam-Plex, Gillette, Wyo.

> 11th Annual Chris LeDoux Days, July 18, 2 p.m., Kaycee, Wyo.

> Wyoming Ranch Bronc Challenge, July 21, Douglas, Wyo.

> Laramie Co. Fair Ranch Rodeo, July 23, noon, Archer Arena, Cheyenne, Wyo.

> Crook County Fair Youth Rodeo, July 23, Sundance, Wyo.

> Team Branding, July 23, 6 p.m., Ag Center, Big Piney, Wyo.

> Cow Horse Extravaganza Clinic/horse show, July 23-24, Niobrara Co. Fairgrounds, Lusk, Wyo.

> Black Hills Sorting and Cutting Club practice, July 24, Tiltrum’s Arena, Hermosa, S.D.

> N.D. State Fair Championship Bull Riding and Ranch Broncs, July 25-26, Minot, N.D.

> Sheridan Co. Fair and Rodeo Tuesday Night Ranch Event, July 26, Gordon, Neb.

> 2nd Annual South Dakota Elite Horse Sale, July 30, Martin Arena, Sturgis, S.D.

> Perkins Co. Fair Ranch Rodeo, Aug. 4, 6 p.m., Bison, S.D.

> Joe Wolter/Scott Grosskopf Ranch Roping Clinic, Aug. 19-22, Worden, Mont.

> Black Hills Stock Show Summer Horse Sale, Aug. 21, Event Center, Rapid City, S.D.

> James Heald Memorial Ranch Rodeo, Aug. 27, 2 p.m., Recluse, Wyo.

> RQHBA Horse Futurity and Sale, Aug. 28, Cadillac Ranch, Belle Fourche, S.D.

> Full House Big Horn Edition Horse Sale, Sept. 9, Buffalo, Wyo.

> AK Horse Sale, Sept. 12, Belle Fourche, S.D.

> Sugar Bars Legacy Futurity and Sale, Sept. 17-18, Sheridan, Wyo.

> Championship of Champion Indian Relays, Sept. 23-25, Ft. Pierre, S.D.

> Fall Extravaganza Horse Sale, Sept. 24, Central States Fairgrounds, Rapid City, S.D.




>BELLE NIGHT RODEO SERIES: Every Tuesday in May, Roundup Grounds, Belle Fourche, S.D.

>BELLE JACKPOT ASSOCIATION: July 13, 27, Aug.3 rain date,

Belle Fourche, S.D.

>BIG SKY RODEO SERIES: Tuesdays, 6 p.m., June 7-Sept. 13, Lone Mountain Ranch, Big Sky, Mont.

>BREAKAWAY AND MULEY SLIDE: July 17, 31, Aug. 14, 21, Lander, Wyo.

>BROOMSTICK 4D BARREL/POLE SERIES: July 6, 27; Aug. 3, Winner, S.D.

>BUFFALO GAP YOUTH RODEO SERIES: July 9, 15, 29, Buffalo Gap, S.D.

> BUFFALO YOUTH RODEO SERIES: July 6, 20, 27 Buffalo, S.D.

>CATTLE CAPITAL RODEO Youth Playdays: June 30, July 7, 14,21, Alliance, Neb.

>CHASE THE ACE barrel/breakaway series: July 3, 31; Aug. 6, Sept. 5 (finals) New Underwood, S.D.

> CRUSHIN’ CANS ROPIN’ CALVES series: July 11, 18, 25, Aug. 15, Oelrichs, S.D.

> DOBLAR’S ARENA ROPINGS: July 10, 24, Aug. 14, Madison, S.D.

>DUBOIS NIGHT RODEOS: July 1, 8, 22, 29, Aug. 5, 12, 19, Dubois, Wyo.

> FLANDREAU BARREL SERIES: July 8, 15, 29, Aug. 5, 14,Flandreau, S.D.

> GIDDY UP OPEN HORSE CLUB:Western Dressage show Oct. 1; Open Horse Shows July 16, Sept. 10, Thunder Horse Stables, Rapid City, S.D.

> HELL ON WHEELS CHUCKWAGON DINNER AND RODEO: July 8, 15, Aug.19, 26, Archer Arena, Cheyenne, Wyo.

>HERMOSA ROPING CLUB TEAM ROPING SERIES: July 12, 17, 29, Aug. 5, 19, finals Aug. 28, Hermosa, S.D.

>HETTINGER YOUTH RODEO SERIES: July 20, Aug. 3, 5 p.m., Hettinger, N.D.

> JOHNSON COUNTY COWGIRLS SERIES: June 28, July 5, 19, 26, Buffalo, Wyo.

>KAYCEE NIGHT RODEO: July 1, 15, 29, Aug. 19, 26, Kaycee, Wyo.

>LAZY E-G PLAYDAY SERIES: July 7, 12, 21, 28, Aug. 4, Dupree, S.D.

>LONGMIRE NIGHT RODEO: June 29, July 20, Aug. 10, 17, 21, Buffalo, Wyo.

> MJ PRODUCTIONS SUMMER RODEO NIGHTS: June 30, finals Aug. 11, CamPlex, Gillette, Wyo.

>MT. RUSHMORE RODEO AT PALMER GULCH: Aug. 4, 20, 27, 6 p.m., Hill City, S.D.

> MURDO PLAY DAY SERIES: June 29, July 5, 20, Murdo, S.D.

>NEW UNDERWOOD PLAYDAY SERIES: June 28, July 5, 12, New Underwood, S.D.

>NEWELL FAMILY SUMMER PLAYDAYS: June 27, July 11, 18, 5 p.m., Newell, S.D.

>OELRICHS YOUTH RODEO SERIES: June 29; July 2 finals, Oelrichs, S.D.

>PITCHIN’ TWIN AT THE STATELINE ROPING SERIES: June 28, July 12, 26, Aug. 9, 23(finals), Sidney, Mont.


> PRUITT ARENA BREAKAWAY AND TIE DOWN ROPING: every other Tuesday starting June 7, Pruitt Arena, Gering, Neb.

> PRUITT ARENA THURSDAY NIGHT BARRELS: June 2 through Aug. 25, Gering, Neb.

>BOOTS AND SADDLE CLUB: July 12, 24, Aug. 28, Sept. 11, Rapid City, S.D.

> SADDLE UP RODEO SERIES: July 30, Aug. 13, finals Sept. 17, Wagner, S.D.

>SANDHILLS SUMMER SERIES: June 29, July 13, 17, Aug. 3, Haythorn Arena, Arthur, Neb.

>SHERIDAN COWGIRLS ASSOC. RODEO series: June 27, July 21, 28, Aug. 11, Sheridan, Wyo.

>SHERIDAN VAQUERO RANCH ROPING SERIES: July 9, Aug.20, Mefford Arena, Sheridan, Wyo., finals Sept. 3, Buffalo, Wyo.



>TILTRUM’S CIRCLE T ARENA Team Roping Practice: Friday nights, Hermosa, S.D.

>WESTON COUNTY GYMKHANA SERIES: July 14, Aug. 9, Newcastle, Wyo.


Lee Pitts: Your Last Supper

I’m hearing more and more talk about food shortages due to the war, broken supply lines and the fact that inflation is running so hot even wealthy people will soon be living on beans and wieners. Or they won’t be able to afford to eat at all.

My father was one of those Okies John Steinbeck wrote about in the Grapes of Wrath and he lectured us constantly that we were lucky because once his family of eight made it to California during the depression there was a big sign at the border that said, “Okies go home.” Needless to say, this wasn’t the “Land of Opportunity” they were expecting and there were countless times his family didn’t know where their next meal was coming from. That kind of emotion scars you for life.

That’s why growing up we always had a huge garden, a washhouse with Mason® jars covering every inch of available wall-space filled with green beans with chunks of ham, pickled peaches, all sorts of jellies and jams, salsa, and countless other fruits and vegetables that my mom canned every year in her pressure cooker that always sounded like it could blast off at any minute. In our pumphouse we also had a huge freezer filled with meat from animals we raised. We also had 30 laying hens that gave us about two dozen eggs every day that I wouldn’t eat even if I was starving because I knew where those eggs came from.

So I was lucky, I grew up never wondering where my next meal was coming from.

When I hear pundits talk about upcoming food shortages the words of my father haunt me because my wife and I currently not only don’t have a garden, we also don’t have a pumphouse filled with food and our only freezer is a small one that can hardly hold four quarts of ice cream, some ten year old colostrum, ice packs for our arthritic joints, some ancient plastic containers full of mystery meat, and three ice cubes. Food wise, we mostly live week to week and I know this is not smart and it does give me a sense of food insecurity, especially when we go grocery shopping and see that all the Spam® and Velveeta® have already been gobbled up.

I can easily envision a circumstance down the road where consumers get real spooked like they did with toilet paper. Only when people start to horde food it will become an even more horrendous pain in the patoot than when they were stockpiling Charmin®.

I used to have two fall-back positions. For the first 30 years of our marriage I never worried where my next meal was coming from because my wife worked as a checker in a grocery store owned by her uncle. I felt pretty confident that for a high enough price he’d let us shop after hours. But now that she’s retired and her uncle is dead I have no inside connections.

My other fallback position was my neighbor who 30 years ago bought a year’s worth of food and put it in his bomb shelter left over from the 1960’s Cold War. I often have visions of my neighbor resting comfortably in his Lazy Boy, 40 feet underground, eating dehydrated peas, piñon nuts and M & M’s, while I’m hiding under my desk as we were instructed to do by our teachers counting on it to protect me from the nukes launched by crazy Khrushchev, who was even nuttier than Putin, believe it or not.

My neighbor calls his secret stash “Mormon MRE’s” (meals ready to eat) because the Mormons believe in having at least one year’s worth of food on hand, and also because he was in the military and on occasion ate MRE’s. I’ve always made fun of him and his pessimistic outlook on life and I may have overdone it because now my friend tells me he’s not going to be neighborly and share ANY of his already expired fake food with me. So even if I get down on my knees and beg there will be no weevils with rice casserole, post-apocalyptic macaroni paste, dehydrated ramen noodles with chickpeas, desiccated Brussel sprouts or cardboard cookies for dessert.

Umm, yummy. I think I’d rather just go hide under my desk instead.

Leonard Wolfgram: HAY FEVER

Jake caught the hay fever

He really had the bug

It finally rained after two years

He had a hay crop to put up

He drove into town at blazin’ speed

Gonna get mower parts come what may

His enthusiasm to fix stuff up

Left his bank account mostly drained

His wife said; “Have you lost your mind!

Take it a little slower

Ya bought parts to fix things up

Ya even painted that darned old mower”

But Jake had blinders on

His mind glued to the task

Even bought a can of Panther Piss

To give them rusty bolts a bath

Got out his new Crescent wrench

Plumb focused as he chuckled

Till the new Crescent wrench rounded off a bolt

He took the hide off his right hand knuckles

Not to be deterred

He was delirious with delight

Thinkin’ of all them round bales

But the mower was puttin’ up a fight

Bought the 5th time he barked them knuckles

And he cussed that mower in vain

He started to lose his enthusiasm

A thought flashed through his brain

He was bleedin’ from both hands

His machinery a pile of jjunk

I know what I’ll do he thought

I’ll hire my hay put up

So he talked it over with the Mrs’

She said , “now you’re talkin

We could save the hide on your hands



Nebraska Cattlemen Foundation Recognizes 2022 Retail Value Steer Challenge Winners

LINCOLN, NE (June 20, 2022) – Earlier this month, the Nebraska Cattlemen Foundation (NCF) Retail Value Steer Challenge (RVSC) winners were honored at the NC Foundation lunch on June 10, 2022, during the Nebraska Cattlemen Midyear Meeting in Valentine.

The Retail Value Steer Challenge raises money to support youth and adult educational programs, scholarships, research and infrastructure projects, history preservation, and collegiate judging teams across Nebraska.

Nebraska Cattlemen Foundation President, Ryan Loeske stated, “We are proud to announce this year’s winners of the 2022 Retail Value Steer Challenge and appreciate all participants who went out of their way to help our next generation of beef cattle producers in their educational pursuits. We would especially like to thank our partners at Darr Feedlot of Cozad who make the administration and feeding of our competing steers possible.”

The Retail Value Steer Challenge is divided into three categories including, Average Daily Grain, Carcass Value, and Total Value. The 2022 RVSC winners with the best performing steers in each category are as follows.

Average Daily Grain

1st – Trotter Inc. of Arcadia

2nd – Faessler Farms of Bridgeport

3rd – Huss Livestock Market, LLC and Lexington Livestock Market

Carcass Value

1st – A steer owned by Rhea Farms, Rhea Cattle and Abiwill, LLC of Arlington

2nd – Benjamin Feedlot of Cozad

3rd – A steer owned by George and Barb Cooksley (Anselmo) and Jacy and Kathie Martindale (Brewster)

Total Value

1st – Pandorf Land and Cattle of Callaway

2nd – Reynolds, Inc. of Lexington

3rd – Equitable Bank of North Platte

The 2023 Retail Value Steer Challenge will begin this fall. The Nebraska Cattlemen Foundation welcomes steer donations by individuals, businesses, groups of individuals or businesses, and NC affiliates. Donors can donate their own steer or purchase one from the Foundation. Donors do not have to own the whole steer with options to own 1/4, 1/3 or 1/2 available. To donate, or for more information concerning the NC Foundation, contact Lee Weide, Nebraska Cattlemen Foundation Secretary at (402) 475-2333, lweide@necattlemen.org or Jana Jensen, NC Foundation Fundraising Coordinator at (308) 588-6299, janajensen@nebcommfound.org.

2022 Retail Value Steer Challenge Winners. Courtesy photo


MFBF President testifies on skyrocketing fuel prices, input costs

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Montana Farm Bureau President Cyndi Johnson testified virtually today during the “Skyrocketing Energy Costs Are Hurting Americans” forum hosted by the Committee on Natural Resources Republicans and the Committee on Energy and Commerce Republicans to examine the Biden administration’s energy policies and their impact on American families and businesses.

In her testimony Johnson shared about fuel increases on her farm. “This year, drought and high input costs make my future look pretty bleak,” said Johnson. “Farming is a fuel-intensive endeavor. We rely heavily on diesel, gas and natural gas to produce grain. In 2020, I purchased 9,000 gallons of field or dyed diesel for a total of $16,000. In 2021, I purchased 6,000 gallons for $17,160. This year, about the time of the Ukrainian invasion by Russia, I bought 3,000 gallons of field diesel for $10,420. My next 3,000 gallons will cost $17,162 for a total of $27,580. Gasoline and diesel costs for the balance of equipment and farm autos that can’t use dyed diesel were $15,000 in 2020, $17,600 in 2021 and are at $12,000 half-way through this production year.”

The Conrad wheat farmer told the committee, “The high cost of fuel and fertilizer not only impacts my ability to farm and produce safe and abundant food, it impacts the ability of the truck driver to bring that food to market or the manufacturer to process it, package it and ship it to grocery stores around the country. Americans are accustomed to low-cost food, as it should be because we can produce it, but that won’t be the case this year, and in the future, simply because the fuel costs at every step have increased exponentially. High fuel costs impact food security, cost and availability.”

Johnson appreciated having the opportunity. “What an awesome experience to be able to testify for the Republican forum on the Skyrocketing Energy Costs and the impacts on Americans. Our Senior Governmental Affairs Director Nicole Rolf alerted me to the opportunity earlier this week and I jumped at the chance to talk about the impact of fuel prices on Montana agriculture.”

She added, “I’m encouraged the minority is taking the initiative to step up pressure on the administration to pay attention to what is going on in the real world and how the policy decisions being made currently are detrimental to the industries that feed, clothe and house Americans.”

–Montana Farm Bureau Federation

Montana: FWP seeks comment on several proposals for August 25 commission meeting

HELENA – Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks is seeking public comment on several proposals slated to go to the Fish and Wildlife Commission in August. Under the new commission process, FWP is taking public comment on these proposals now and will present the collected comments and proposals to the commission for their review and decisions on Aug. 25. Commissioners can offer amendments to the proposals as they see fit. The proposals and supporting documents, commissioner amendments and collected public comment will be available on the FWP website two weeks prior to the commission meeting.

The commission will make a final decision on these proposals at its Aug. 25 meeting.

To comment and for more information on these proposals, go online to https://fwp.mt.gov/aboutfwp/commission/meeting

Fall 2022–Winter 2023 Furbearer and Wolf Trapping and Hunting Seasons and Quotas

The department recommends the commission adopt the furbearer and wolf trapping and hunting regulations as presented. Below are the proposed changes to the regulations adopted last year.

Recommend reducing the quota for bobcat within Trapping District (TD) 1 from 275 to 225.

Recommend reducing the quota for bobcat within TD 5 from 200 to 100.

Recommend including the opportunity to purchase a C-4 license to hunt bobcats as established by SB 60 from the 2021 legislative session. A hunter that purchases a C-4 license to hunt bobcat may harvest the per person limit under the one C-4 license. (A hunter does not need to purchase multiple C-4 licenses to harvest more than one bobcat).

Recommend reinstating the requirement that trappers are required to personally present the pelts of marten for tagging to a designated FWP employee within 10 days after the close of the season (see attached for specific language).

Recommend amending the commission regulation on pelt possession by fur dealer license holders to include tagged marten pelts (see attached for specific language).

Recommend eliminating all wolf management units (WMUs), except for combining former WMUs 313 and 316 into a new WMU 313.

Recommend establishing a harvest quota of 10 wolves in total for trapping and hunting in WMU 313.

If a quota is instituted and when a season quota is reached, the trapping and hunting season will close upon a 24-hour notice, but no later than March 15, 2023.

Recommend establishing a total quota of 100 wolves to be authorized by the commission in increments of 25 in accordance with MCA 87-1-901 section 3(c), commonly known as SB 200.

Recommend managing wolf harvest primarily by trapping district.

Recommend maintaining the floating start date for wolf trapping within the identical described area last year, except within trapping districts or portions of trapping districts (rather than wolf management units) in or near occupied grizzly bear habitat. Unchanged are recommendations for thresholds as approved by the commission in 2021, with the only exception being that the threshold for total harvest and harvest in TD 3 excludes those wolves harvested within WMU 313.

Pheasant releases for recruiting and retaining hunters

In the 2021 Legislative session, House Bill 637 authorized the department to spend up to $1 million each year for a pheasant-stocking program focused on recruiting and retaining hunters. FWP is seeking final approval for a five-year period, calendar years 2022 through 2026, to release pen-raised pheasants on state-owned lands within suitable pheasant habitat for recruitment and retention efforts.

Cornell Park Fishing Access Site (FAS) Acquisition (Region 3)

In 2020, the commission approved FWP to analyze the acquisition and development of the Cornell Park Fishing Access Site on the Beaverhead River near Dillon. That process is complete and FWP is asking the commission to authorize the department to acquire the site.

Sha Ron FAS Site MDT Recreation Permit (Region 2)

Last August, the commission approved FWP’s request to look at expanding, acquiring, and developing a new parking and access area that is near the existing Sha Ron Fishing Access Site on the Clark Fork River near Missoula. That process is complete and FWP is asking for commission approval to obtain a no-cost recreation management permit from the Montana Department of Transportation (MDT) to accommodate the parking expansion and additional river access on an MDT site to the northeast of Sha Ron.

Amend Angling Restriction and Fishing Closure Administrative Rules, 12.5.507 and 12.5.508, ARM

In 2008 the commission adopted an administrative rule for implementing angling restrictions or closures during periods of drought. The department is proposing to change these rules to incorporate criteria for cutthroat trout fisheries and to provide additional guidance for when a restriction or closure will be implemented or lifted. FWP data and other research has found that the current restriction and closure criteria for salmonids (daily maximum temperatures reach or exceed 73 degrees Fahrenheit any time of day for three consecutive days) exceeds the mortality threshold for cutthroat trout. The department has determined that adopting criteria at 66 degrees Fahrenheit for cutthroat fisheries would better reduce angling impacts to cutthroat during drought.

Other proposed changes are intended to avoid scenarios where restrictions or closures would be implemented or lifted over a short period of time before a closure or restriction would be re-implemented or lifted again (i.e., an on-again-off-again scenario).

The proposed rule language will be posted on July 8. Public comment will be taken until Aug. 5.

Future Fisheries Improvement Projects, Summer 2022 funding cycle

The Future Fisheries Improvement Program (FFIP) continues to provide funds for projects that restore fishery habitats in streams, rivers and lakes for the benefit of wild fisheries. Applications are reviewed twice each year by the 14-member Citizen Review Panel appointed by the Governor. Recommendations are forwarded to the commission every six months for consideration and approval. For the Summer 2022 funding cycle, the Citizen Review Panel recommends funding eight of nine submitted proposals at a program cost of $238,810. Matching funds total $950,735, producing a ratio of $4 in external contributions to every $1 of FFIP funding.

Current applications, recommendations, and ranking information can be found on the FFIP website at https://fwp.mt.gov/ffip under Summer 2022 Grant Applications and Meeting Materials.

Big Snowy Mountains WMA Fee Title Acquisition, Region 5

FWP is proposing that the commission approve FWP purchasing approximately 5,677 acres in the foothills of the Big Snowy Mountains near Rygate. The property provides valuable habitat for wintering big game and other wildlife. The property would also support public recreation and access to adjacent public lands.

Nongame Tax Check-off Workplan

The nongame wildlife tax check-off account is a state special revenue fund provided for in 17-2-102, MCA. All money collected under 15-30-2387 and now 4% of the marijuana taxes deposited under 16-12-111 goes into this account. Money in the account must be used by the department for research, management, and education programs for nongame wildlife in Montana. The nongame program uses Montana’s State Wildlife Action Plan (SWAP) to prioritize nongame survey, management, and conservation efforts. The SWAP identifies 128 Species of Greatest Conservation Need, as well 13 aquatic and 14 terrestrial Community Types of Greatest Conservation Need. Under the provisions of 87-5-122, MCA, “the FWP Commission shall review and annually approve the nongame wildlife program’s projects recommended by the department for funding from the nongame wildlife tax check-off account. The commission shall provide for public comment during the review and approval process.”

The FY23 appropriation for the nongame tax-check off is $46,384 and the appropriation for the marijuana tax is $1,082,000. While this is a large increase in funding, the gap between the funds that have been available, and the funds needed to meet program objectives and obligations has significantly limited program success. New funding will increase opportunities to partner with landowners, universities, conservation organizations, and outdoor recreationists.

Approval of Request to Translocate Sage-Grouse to Alberta, Canada, in 2023

Alberta Environment and Parks is requesting that the commission authorize the translocation of 40 sage-grouse during spring 2023. This project was originally evaluated under the 2015 environmental assessment and the supplemental evaluation completed in 2022.

FWP is proposing to translocate sage-grouse to Alberta as outlined in the EA. The benefits to Montana include supplementing an international trans-boundary population and international expansion of sage-grouse range, which may be influential in future federal species status reviews and listing considerations.

Programmatic Approval of Long-term Leases of Priority Habitat

FWP has identified certain habitats as priority for conservation because of their importance to a wide variety of fish and wildlife species and has developed long-term habitat conservation leases as another tool to secure those habitats for long-term conservation. A Habitat Conservation Lease is a voluntary, incentive-based agreement between FWP and private landowners in which the landowner commits to specific land management actions that perpetuate effective wildlife habitat. These agreements would have a term length of 30 and 40 years. Public hunting access would be required at a level that is consistent with potential opportunity.

FWP is seeking programmatic approval by the commission of up to 500,000 acres of conservation leases that are consistent with the decision notice for the programmatic EA that will be completed for the conservation lease program. The initial focus of the conservation lease program would be sagebrush-grassland habitats, with a priority on sage-grouse core area habitat. That focus would be expanded to other priority habitats in subsequent years. Funding for the conservation lease program would be earmarked Habitat Montana funds, Pittman-Robertson funds, and other sources dedicated to specific habitat types (e.g., wetlands).

Selection of Organizations to Auction 2023 Moose, Sheep, Goat, Mule Deer and Elk Licenses

ARM 12.3.801 and 12.3.802 establish the criteria and process for selecting conservation organizations to conduct the moose, sheep, goat, mule deer, and elk license auctions/lotteries. Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks solicited proposals to conduct the auctions/lotteries. The commission decides which organization is awarded the license(s) for distribution through auction or lottery.

Submission period for proposals is still open. Proposals will be posted on the commission prior to the Aug. 25 meeting.

Amendments to ARM 12.9.1403 Grizzly Bear Demographic Objective for the Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem

In 2018, the commission passed a regulatory mechanism for grizzly bear management in the event the Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem (NCDE) grizzly bear population was delisted, and management authority transferred to the State of Montana. The administrative rule, entitled Grizzly Bear Demographic Objectives for the NCDE, intended to provide for management objectives that would ensure the continued recovered status of grizzly bear upon delisting.

FWP is proposing amendments that maintain the substance of the current ARM language while confirming that hunting and loss of bears to translocation of grizzly bears out of the NCDE have been and will continue to be managed sources of mortality measured and considered among other mortalities in 12.9.1403.

The proposed rule language will be posted on July 8. Public comment will be taken until Aug. 5.

Final adoption of motorized boating restrictions on the Boulder River as proposed by the Boulder River Citizens Advisory Committee

The commission proposes to close the Boulder River and its tributaries to motorized vessels, except motorized vessels powered by machinery of 10 horsepower or less from April 1 through Sept. 30, from the confluence with the Yellowstone River to the Natural Bridge.

The proposed rule language will be posted on July 8. Public comment will be taken, including a public hearing, until Aug. 5. All public comments will be provided to the commission for their consideration and posted on the website by Aug. 11.

Classification Review Committee’s recommendation to initiate rule making on classifying caracal cats as a prohibited species

The commission proposes to classify the caracal cat as a prohibited species.

The rule proposal notice to list the caracal cat as a prohibited species was published on June 24. Public comment on the proposal will be collected, including a public hearing, from June 24 to July 22.

Amend ARM 12.11.6705 Extending Implementation Date of Madison River Commercial Use Cap

The commission proposed language to amend ARM 12.11.6705 extending implementation of the commercial use cap on the Madison River upon adoption of an allocation method or a comprehensive river plan and rule package.

The proposed rule amendment will be posted on July 8. Public comment will be taken, including a public hearing, until Aug. 5. All public comments will be provided to the commission for their consideration and posted on the website by Aug. 11.

To make a comment

Comments will be accepted online at https://fwp.mt.gov/aboutfwp/commission/meeting in writing sent to the address above, and by email to:

For wildlife-related proposals: fwpwld@mt.gov

For fishing-related proposals: fwpfishcomments@mt.gov

For pheasant release: fwpgen@mt.gov

Unless otherwise specified in the proposals, comments will be accepted until Thursday, July 21, at 5 p.m. Comments will also be taken on proposals and any commissioner amendments at the Aug. 25 commission meeting.

–Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks

Varilek’s Cattle Call: Funds Liquidate Grains

Grain futures survived a big test with a large correction last week. Funds appeared to liquidate a chunk of their position in commodities. Everyone wants to know whether it turns around or not, but remember, nobody knows what it is going to do. The weather forecast keeps being talked about among farmer traders. I caution you that the prices got high based on inflation and a Ukraine invasion. Those two stories carried the weight when funds took to grain ownership. Weather has not played a large roll in this market in my opinion but may become a larger factor after Independence Day. Regardless, you can see the impact when funds do decide to liquidate. We saw a correction, but the risk is that we are still at historically high prices.

Cash cattle prices were still trading record differential between the north and the south. Texas took the first bid of $138 on Tuesday morning to set the base for their formulas. The north was able to see prices from $147-152 live. The south does not have the negotiating power to let the price rally while the north is still trying to hold on to independence. The futures market can not rally because it must stay near the southern cash due to delivery risk on cattle of lesser quality. It provides a good opportunity for basis now but makes it hard to make future marketing decisions with northern cash higher than board prices out to next April. July delivered cattle tend to be around a summer low making it hard for me to lock down October and December futures at a discount.

Erratic prices and the inability for the packer to ship cattle north with fuel and truck pressure are highlighting some of the issues the futures market faces. The long speculators have been chased away from trading cattle futures which keeps a lid on the price in my opinion. As always, stay involved with working on solutions for the long-term health of beef producers. Have a good week.

Scott Varilek, Kooima Kooima Varilek Trading

The risk of loss when trading futures and options is substantial. Each investor must consider whether this is a suitable investment. Past performance is not indicative of future results.


Rapid City area Ag, Natural Resources Committee meets July 6

Notice to all interested in the: Agriculture and Natural Resource Committee

Our next meeting will be:

July 6 from 11:45 AM-1 PM

West River Electric Building -Conference Room

3250 SD Hwy 44

Rapid City, SD

Peggy Schlechter and JC Ellsworth will be presenting:

“A Little About Agritourism in South Dakota”

What agritourism is, types of agritourism, the change in visitors and the demand for agritourism in South Dakota, why agritourism can be an asset to farms and ranches and our rural communities, and, if time, a little bit about determining if agritourism is right for you.

Angles Catering will be serving tacos with refried beans, salsa and lettuce salad for $15.

(Beverages are courtesy of West River Electric Association)

RSVP to Deb Black at debblacksd@gmail.com if you are planning on eating lunch by FRIDAY JULY 1

(Early due to the 4th of July holiday)

We welcome NEW people to attend!

Each meeting offers great networking, legislative, community and SDSU updates along with educational information in reference to Agriculture and Natural Resources.

–Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee