Drivers hauling agricultural commodities, especially livestock, have been concerned about the mandates established by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration that would have required Electronic Logging Devices (ELDs) on commercial trucks by December 19. The news yesterday that FMCSA would grant agricultural industries a 90-day waiver for a mandate was met with optimism by the Montana Farm Bureau and other agricultural organizations.

The Boy Scout motto “be prepared” rings especially true for beginning farmers or ranchers planning to purchase land. Being a ready, willing and able buyer is essential to securing farm and ranch land, agreed a panel of real estate experts during a beginning farmer workshop Nov. 13 at the Montana Farm Bureau Annual Convention.

Colter DeVries, Clark Land Brokers, said often people want to talk to a real estate broker before visiting with a banker or loan agency. “However, I should be person you talk to after you make a plan and address your financial needs. Ask yourself preliminary questions, such as how much savings or equity do I have for a down payment? Will I be consolidating closing costs and appraisal fees into my note or paying cash? Will a family member co-sign or guarantee a certain portion of the loan?”

American Farm Bureau Federation’s 32nd annual price survey of classic items found on the Thanksgiving Day dinner table indicates the average cost of this year’s feast for 10 is $49.12, a 75-cent decrease from last year’s average of $49.87.

The big ticket item – a 16-pound turkey – came in at a total of $22.38 this year. That’s roughly $1.40 per pound, a decrease of 2 cents per pound, or a total of 36 cents per whole turkey, compared to 2016.

Montana Farm Bureau, the state’s largest agricultural organization, said considering the serious budget deficit that needed to be addressed, the fact the Montana Legislature was able to fix the shortfall without raising taxes was very impressive. 

Nicole Rolf, MFBF’s National Affairs Director and lobbyist, was present for the entire special session to answer questions and educate legislators on actions that could have harmed farmers and ranchers. This covered opposing additional taxes and fees that could have been placed on landowners.

 Pat Carr with the Central Montana Ag Research Center announced plans for a December 7 meeting in Lewistown.  Subjects include last summer’s field day plus a detailed look at the weather.