With 2022 officially in the rear-view mirror, the dust has settled to see the most viewed stories on NorthernAg.Net in the past 365 days. It was certainly a year filled with optimism and pressing issues that drew aspiration and anxiousness for producers plagued with the highest inflation witnessed in 40 years. However, as the ag industry always does, perseverance paid off for most with the promise of better days.
One story that pushed hopes high throughout much of the Northern Ag territory, and topped the most viewed list, was the announcement of the would-be packing plant from Western Legacy looking to put roots down in Rapid City, SD. The 1-million square foot facility carried the capacity of processing 8,000 head per day and would have been the largest in the nation.
However, it was not the $1.1 Billion dollar price tag that took the wind from the sails for the investors backing the build. It was city officials raising questions and concerns about location logistics in the Black Hills Industrial Center.
Nevertheless, Western Legacy continued to explore options in other cities for a location but remains hopeful to base the billion-dollar packing plant in Rapid City.
The USDA provided optimism to producers plagued by drought in 2021. In late March, USDA announced they would be providing payments to ranchers with approved applications through the 2021 Livestock Forage Disaster Program (LFP) for forage losses due to severe drought or wildfire in 2021.
As you may recall, 2021 was a tough year for a lot of producers in the ag industry as drought blanketed the entire western U.S. Montana and North Dakota were two of the worse states in comparison with extreme and exceptional drought covering the majority of their states. In response, USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack announced a multi-phase approach to get financial assistance to the affected producers.
All in all, the USDA’s Farm Service Agency received more than 100,000 applications totaling nearly $670 million in payments to livestock producers under LFP for the 2021 program year.
Rounding out the top three in the most viewed stories of 2022, Montana Stockgrowers Association (MSGA) stepped up to help ag producers in Colorado by announcing their discontent to use Montana wolves for a reintroduction in The Centennial State.
In a letter sent to Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks, MSGA shared concerns for Colorado livestock producers who have no available tools in place to allow for the protections and programs for their livestock that Montana producers currently have.
Also, making the top five list this year was the touching story of community support for a family devastated by tragedy.
The Flesch family from Shelby, MT suffered a horrible loss while delivering bulls in Nebraska after a two-vehicle collision took the life Nanna Flesch. The wreck also sent all three kids in the Flesch vehicle to the hospital with serious injuries, but they were able to recover.
The loss was tough, however, the ag community and beyond showed their support by helping the family deal with medical bills and other expenses. Through a Go Fund Me page, nearly $55,000 were raised to help benefit the northern Montana family.
Finally in our top five stories of the year was the report from OSU Extension Livestock Market Specialist Darrell Peel, showing the beef cow herd is on its fastest culling pace in 40 years.
Through mid-April, beef cow slaughter was up 16.9 percent year over year; a surprisingly strong rate of cow slaughter for that time of year. Peel noted, this likely reflects continuing drought impacts carried over from last year, combined with very strong cull cow prices and limited forage prospects going forward.
Other top ten finishes of most viewed stories in 2022 included the 14th class inductions in the Montana Cowboy Hall of Fame, NCBA President Don Schiefelbein Op-Ed regarding The Enemy Within Our Industry, the State of Montana declining to participate in President Biden’s “30×30” Initiative, the new antibiotic restrictions producers will have to deal with starting this year, and the first case of brucellosis found in the Northern Ag Territory of 2022.
There were A LOT of other stories that may not have made this list, but certainly carried a lot of impact to producers operations. From all of us here at Northern Ag network, we truly appreciate you taking the time to read and share the articles posted on our website. We will continue to publish more information every week along with updates of markets, weather, and events taking place in the ag industry.
Northern Ag Network – 2023