High Plains Journal: The Montana Stockgrowers Association travels to Washington, DC to advance national policy

Leadership from the Montana Stockgrowers Association, the Montana Public Lands Council and the Montana Cattlewomen were in Washington, D.C. March 28 through 30. They met with cabinet members of the Trump administration, lawmakers and agency officials on issues important to the Montana ranching sector, including public lands grazing, sage grouse, beef checkoff legislation, environmental regulations, trade and taxes.

“We have an opportunity to move on many key priorities under the new administration and this Congress.” said Bryan Mussard, MSGA president. “Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke was gracious to meet with our delegation to discuss the Interior’s land and wildlife management challenges and how ranchers can play an active role moving forward.”

Other highlights included a briefing with new EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, Ray Starling with the National Economic Council for Agriculture, U.S. Sens. Jon Tester and Steve Daines, and senior staff with the U.S. House Agriculture Committee.

The recent beef inspection scandal with Brazil was a hot topic and MSGA endorsed a bill by U.S. Sen. Jon Tester to put a temporary ban on Brazilian beef imports until the issue is resolved. Expanding exports for U.S. beef into China is a top priority. China’s bureaucratic hurdles are preventing Montana’s ranchers from shipping the nation’s highest quality beef to China’s 1.3 billion consumers.

Sen. Tester and Sen. Daines are leading efforts to urge President Donald Trump to make U.S. beef exports a top issue during discussions with China’s President Xi Jinping. As a result, China has tentatively agreed to develop a 100-day plan to increase beef imports from the U.S.

For more information on the Montana Stockgrowers Association, please visit www.mtbeef.org.