The Movers and Shakers of 2014


As the year draws to a close, did you catch all the top news of 2014?  From the Beef Checkoff, Clean Water Act and Bison Issues, come check out the top issues of 2014 as picked by the newsroom staff of Northern Ag Network along with the most viewed articles.   With almost 20,000 views, what would you guess was our #1 viewed article of the year?  Take a look and let us know what you think.  Were these the top issues on your radar? 


#10 Wyoming Wolves Back Under Federal Control  Starting out the list with wolves.   The state of Wyoming and the region were disappointed by Judge Berman Jackson decision to place wolves back under federal protection in the Cowboy State. 

Feds Will Continue to Manage Wyoming Wolves

Despite a second look by Judge Amy Berman Jackson, Wyoming wolves will remain under federal protection.


#9 Montana Department of Livestock Budget Crisis  The state Board of Livestock voted to cut five jobs, leave open positions unfilled and furlough remaining employees to a 36 hour week to address budget shortfalls.

Staff Reductions and Furloughs for DOL Employees

The impact of staff reductions at the Dept. of Livestock may include fewer personnel at some auction markets, and delayed services at the diagnostic lab.


#8 Commodity Transportation Issues  In 2014, the key stories have been the rising crude-by-rail trend, rail consolidation, and network congestion problems, particularly with grain.  

WA Grain Inspections & Export Ramifications

Coming in at #6 for the most views: With the large spring wheat crop looming in North Dakota and Montana, grain elevators and farmers will feel the effect of United Grain Co.'s inability to export wheat, or any grain for that matter.

BNSF pledges $6 billion in railway improvements

BNSF told attendees at the Montana Grain Growers Association Annual Convention that they are taking rail capacity shortfalls seriously.


#7 Farm Bill Finally Passes  Passed in February 2014 after three years of intense debate, the current version eliminates direct payments and continues crop insurance – with changes.  Disaster assistance for livestock produces was also added.

Farm Bill Contingency Plans

When it comes to deciding which farm program to choose — Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) or Price Loss Coverage (PLC) — your degree of optimism toward a five-year price forecast is what matters most. 


#6 Sage Grouse  A rider in the 1.1 Trillion spending bill passed in December may have cut funding for listing the birds as endangered, but this won't be the last we hear about sage grouse.  

Study: Sage Grouse Doing Better on Grazed Lands

Cattle and greater sage grouse seem to be getting along just fine in southeastern Montana, according to a recent Fish Wildlife and Parks study, and that’s a big deal.


#5 Disaster  There will always be disaster, hardships in the agriculture community and mother nature will always deal a stacked deck.  2014 was no different.  The real news is how everyone comes together with help and support for their neighbors and friends to get through those dark times.  

Agriculture Losses Mount in Pilger, NE
Third most viewed article on Northern Ag for the year:  Double tornado hit in Pilger, NE.  “We're continuing to lose cattle, lost 40 more today,” Jeff Dinklage said. “There were cattle with boards run through them and they were still walking around alive.”

Out of the Snowdrifts.  Atlas, One Year Later
It’s been a year since a freak, early snowstorm devastated western South Dakota.  One year later, ranchers and communities say “thank you.”


#4 Bison  Differing agendas between environmentalists and landowners will keep bison, like wolves and sage grouse, in the news for quite some time.  

Bison Reintroduction May Displace Ranch Families

Ranked 7th for the most number of views:  After 40 years of trying to figure out how to reintroduce buffalo to the South Unit of the Pine Ridge Reservation and Badlands, tribal leaders are getting close and are enlisting the help of the National Park Service. But the decision to do so would displace seven ranch families.

Major Yellowstone Bison Cull Planned
Reuters reports that a fifth of the herd could be gone with plans to harvest animals that stray from the Park.


#3 Beef Checkoff  The beef industry seems to agree on only two things:  checkoff fees need to be increased and they don't want the government in charge of a second beef checkoff.  The bid to create a second checkoff program has been dropped, but little else has moved forward on just how to handle the beef checkoff dollars.  

NFU Beef Checkoff Decision Prompts Domino Effect
Ranked #5 for the most number of views in 2014:  Thirty-six organization have now written Secretary Vilsack urging him to implement their recommendations for Beef Checkoff.

“Don't Hijack the Beef Checkoff!”
Currently ranked #8 and moving up: Cattle producers concerned about the future of the nation's beef checkoff are going straight to the President.


#2 Cattle Prices  Finally a bright spot for agriculture and something to celebrate.  Lots of forces in play from low inventory, drought in California and Texas, and high demand have come together to produce record cow and calf prices for cattlemen.  All predictions for 2015 point to continued high prices. 

Time of Opportunity for Beef Herd Rebuilding

It's an open window to what could be historic profit margins and a time to grow back a beef industry.

“Perfect Storm” Paints Rosy Cattle Market Picture
Kevin Good, CattleFax Analyst, told Cattle Industry Summer Convention that the fundamentals are strong while urging producers to beware of the ceiling.


#1 Clean Water Act, Waters of the U.S.  One of the hottest issues of the year, having several articles in the top 10 most viewed articles.  The EPA was blocked from applying the “waters of the United States” interpretive rule, meant to clarify to farmers which agricultural practices are always allowed under the Clean Water Act.  However, the underlying “waters of the United States” proposal to redefine the EPA’s jurisdiction over water bodies like ponds and streams was left in place and the EPA plans to make it final in the spring.  

Wyoming Farmer Fights EPA and Wins
Second most viewed article on Northern Ag:  Jury finds that Wyoming farmer did not violate the Clean Water Act when improving his irrigation ditch.

Read Controversial Clean Water Act Rules!
This article came in at #4 for most views:  The rules say normal farming, ranching and conservation activities, such as building fence, pruning shrubs and managing brush, could now all be under the jurisdiction of the EPA. 

Lawmakers Agree – Ditch the Rule!
This article came in at #10 for most views:  More than 200 members of the U.S. House of Representatives sent a letter to the EPA asking them to withdraw the proposed Waters of the U.S. rule. 

A Visual Depiction of Clean Water Act Changes
Zoom in on your farm or ranch and see how the proposed changes could impact EPA jurisdiction.


And finally, the #1 viewed story of the year on the Northern Ag Network website, surprising us with almost 20,000 views and still growing:

Leachman, Verified Beef Sue American Simmental

Leachman Cattle of Colorado, LLC and Verified Beef, LLC filed suit against the ASA claiming that the ASA’s Feeder Profit Calculator infringes a patent obtained by Leachman and licensed to Verified Beef for their Reputation Feeder Cattle® and Genetic Merit Scorecard® programs. 




© Northern Ag Network 2015


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