Ag in Action 2017
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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