The Big Issues Facing Montana Ranchers, MT Stockgrowers in Town
The Montana Stockgrowers Association is in Billings for their 138th Annual Convention. It's a great opportunity to check in on some of the big issues facing today's ranchers across the state of Montana. Plus, what will they focus on in the upcoming legislative session?
Here's the answer I got: foreign ownership of land, bison, water courts, classification of ag land for tax purposes, and a Montana checkoff.
I caught up with Jim Steinbeisser, the President of the MSGA, and 1st Vice President John Grande Thursday morning. Steinbeisser is a rancher in Sidney, Montana. Grande ranches in Martinsdale, Montana.
What about foreign ownership of land?
Steinbeisser: We find it very troubling. For one thing they're competition for ranchers to expand. And that is a selfish reason, but it does raise land prices even higher, making it more unaffordable, or nearly impossible for ranchers to purchase land to expand. And of course with the Chinese- that is very troubling. Their strategic purchases make you really pause.
Aaron Flint: Sometimes it seems like they (China) might be a good customer, but then they might make a big purchase but really their long game is to try to undercut you in the long run.
Jim Steinbeisser: Yeah, absolutely. You know, there's a large population, a lot of mouths to feed, and so we're very happy to send them what they need to eat, but we'll just send it to them. They don't have to come here and raise it themselves.
As for cattle markets and prices, "the trend is our friend."
Listen to our full conversation with Jim Steinbeisser and John Grande by clicking below. While we're at it, I also included the podcast audio of our great conversations with former MSGA President Gene Curry and his wife Cheryl of Valier, Montana. Cheryl is the Chair of the One Montana board that started up the "Master Hunter Program" here in Montana:
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