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Ag in Action 2017

2

Deb

Hill

Managing

Editor

editor@ lewistownnews .com

Aerial Application of Preferred Products

30+ years of experience

538-8150 • Lewistown, MT

With over 1,100 farms and ranches and an estimated

$238.5 million in sales, it’s safe to say that much of Central

Montana either is directly engaged in, or relies upon,

agriculture. Those figures include both Fergus and Judith

Basin counties, which, combined, show

nearly 3 million acres in farm or ranch land.

Clearly, agriculture is an important economic

driver for our area.

That’s why the News-Argus publishes

Ag in Action twice a year, to catch up with

the latest in agricultural techniques and

operations, and to let our readers know

what’s new with this important economic

sector. In this edition of Ag in Action, we take a look at the

necessary use of brands and ear tags for cattle identification,

learn more about current markets for cattle and crops, take

a look at the small but thriving organic farming industry, and

find out how well calving is going.

This issue also includes our annual War onWeeds section,

with information to help landowners in the war against

noxious weeds. Mostly strangers to our area, noxious weeds

are heavily monitored because of the damage they do to our

native rangelands. Because they come from somewhere else,

many of these weed species have no natural controls here.

Consequently they can overtake and outcompete many of

our native plants, on which both wildlife and livestock rely.

The War on Weeds is ongoing. From

year to year, there are successes, as better

methods of control are developed and more

acres are treated. However, there are also

emerging problems to consider. One such

is the appearance of salt cedar along the

Judith and Missouri River tributaries. This

shrubby tree is a well known invasive that

not only replaces more useful trees, such

as cottonwoods, but also has the capacity to suck massive

amounts of water out of streams and rivers. Read more

about it in this issue, and be sure to report any locations you

may discover while out and about.

Our community depends on agriculture and agricultural

producers to remain economically strong. We hope this

early 2017 Ag in Action issue helps you to better understand

farming and ranching issues.

-Deb Hill, Managing Editor

Welcome to Ag in Action Spring 2017