MTPR

agriculture

A lab at Socoti Montana, a Missoula hemp processing business.
Erika Peterman / Socoti Montana

An Oregon company has acquired a Missoula-based biotech firm to help meet ballooning consumer demand for CBD and other hemp products.

Since passage of the 2018 Farm Bill, hemp is legal to grow again. Its various byproducts are big business, amounting to hundreds of millions of dollars annually.

The Earth passed a new threshold this week — an observatory in Hawaii clocked the highest levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide in human history. A number of studies say CO2 is part of what’s driving higher temperatures, drought and longer fire seasons in the West. Now ranchers in Montana are testing out a new program that’s trying to put some of that carbon back in the ground.

Research shows that farmers experience rates of especially high anxiety compared to other jobs. What’s more, farmers in rural areas like Montana often have limited access to mental health resources.

In late April, Montana farmer Michelle Erickson-Jones posted a video to Twitter.

In the video, on a windy day against a green field and overcast sky, Erickson-Jones talks about uncertainty around trade, dropping wheat prices, and her issues finding a therapist.

The water we drink is protected by federal rules, which are at the crux of a long-running fight over how far upstream that protection extends.

“Agriculture is land and water. When you’ve got control of the water, you’ve got control of the land,” said Blake Roderick with the National Waterways Conference.

Hans McPherson at his ranch in the Bitterroot Valley.
Nick Mott / Montana Public Radio

A new federal rule that would roll back Clean Water Act protections across the country opened for public comment last week. If finalized, the rule would abandon enhanced protections the Obama administration proposed for a large portion of Montana’s stream mileage and wetlands.

This sign from Minnesota gives a glimpse into one possible future if invasive mussels become established in Montana.
Nicky Ouellet / Montana Public Radio

If invasive zebra and quagga mussels were to infest lakes in Montana, the state could lose more than a $230 million per year in mitigation costs and lost revenue, according to a report released Thursday from the Montana Invasive Species Council.

Hemp plant.
iStock

The 2018 Farm Bill signed by President Trump this week ushers in a new era for American agriculture; one in which industrial hemp is legal to grow again after a decades-long hiatus. And Montana farmers are taking notice.

The University of Montana campus.
Josh Burnham / Montana Public Radio


Two University of Montana faculty members won a $1 million grant last week to help conservation groups improve water quality in the Atlantic Coast’s largest watershed.

Farm field. File photo.
thinkreaction / iStock

Senator Steve Daines called the 2018 Farm Bill a win for Montana on a press call Wednesday morning.

"Agriculture is our number one economic driver in Montana," Daines said. "The important outcome of passing the Farm Bill is that it provides certainty for Montana farmers and Montana ranchers in difficult times."

Senator Jon Tester.
Courtesy Sen. Jon Tester

Senator Jon Tester says he’s concerned about Congress’ ability to pass numerous spending bills necessary to keep the federal government operating by the end of this month’s deadline.

Last year a similar time crunch led to Congress passing a so-called omnibus bill. Critics say omnibus bills lack the transparency of passing multiple appropriation bills under so-called “regular order.”

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