National Ag Week is celebrated March 20-26, with National Ag Day March 22, and on Monday, March 21, Gov. Greg Gianforte visited the Sieben Ranch to celebrate.
There are roughly 70 newborn calves at the Sieben Ranch, a multi-generational Montana ranch in the northeast Helena Valley that’s been around since the 1800s.
Gianforte said on Monday that Montana became the tenth state in the country to allow state-inspected meat and poultry processors to ship their goods across state lines.
“This is a big step up. We have a 50% increase in processing going on this year over last year. This is good news for our ag producers. And this week gives us a chance to highlight our great producers. We produce some of the best beef, grains, pulse crops, sugar beets, and we want to highlight that. Montana is what it is because of our farmers and ranchers,” Gianforte said.
The Sieben Ranch is currently going through calving season, with about 650 total head on the ranch.
Nina Baucus is the fourth generation in her family, with grandkids being the sixth generation.
She says being a steward of the land is the greatest responsibility she can imagine.
“It’s been going very well. The heifers are running about two weeks late and we figure that’s because it was so hot when the bulls were put in that breeding didn’t take place, but overall, we’re doing good,” Baucus said. “It’s a great honor to be a steward of the land and keep the ranch in the family."
Baucus says the ranch was affected by wolves killing some of their sheep herds and a lack of moisture for grass, but overall, the ranch is doing well and continues to be run by the same family that started it when Montana was barely a state.
She added the ranch gives tours often so they can show more people what agriculture is like.
“Any of those opportunities help the public have an opportunity to see that agriculture is a real thing and it’s work. They get to see the calves when they’re born. They get to see the lambs when they’re born and have a realization of where food comes from,” Baucus said.
The Montana Farm Bureau Federation says that agriculture is the number-one industry for Montana, outpacing mining, tourism, and forestry products along with oil and gas. Montana agriculture is diverse and known throughout the world for its wheat, beef, pulse crops and barley, plus local farmers and ranchers produce plenty of other agricultural products including bees/honey, cherries, sugar beets, corn, canola, seed potatoes, dairy products, hogs, chickens/eggs and more.