How can Montana sheep ranchers compete in a global marketplace? How can they better market their product at home? Gary Heibertshausen, of Alzada, Montana, shares the Montana Farm Bureau Sheep & Goat Committee's priorities for 2016.
Montana Farm Bureau members have a voice in shaping state and national policy, while benefitting from peer-to-peer education. Here's what this committee discussed and debated at their policy meeting this summer. Learn more: www.mfbf.org.
2016 MFBF Sheep & Goat Committee:
While policy development happens at the county Farm Bureau level, these committee meetings provide a chance to discuss important topics with a variety of individuals who have varying input and expertise. Based on the discussion held during the meetings, the committee may make suggested policy recommendations that members then discuss at the county level and vote on during their county annual meetings. Here are the highlights from the Sheep & Goat Committee meeting:
- Montana Dairy Laws- Sheep dairies, for the purpose of cheese making, are rising in popularity and a few have sprouted up in Montana. Currently, Montana state law doesn't recognize sheep's milk as a dairy product. The committee discussed how this creates potential problems with inspection protocols of sheep's milk products.
- Wild vs. Domestic Interaction- The committee also discussed the interaction between Big Horn Sheep and domestic sheep herds and the risk of exposing different pathogens to each other. The potential for disease transmission poses problems for ranchers who utilize grazing allotments near identified Big Horn Sheep populations.
- Scrapie Program-The committee’s final discussion was on the Scrapies program and the proposed rule changes to that program.
Sounds interesting—how do I get on a committee?
Each committee is made up of 10 primary members (one representative from each district) and 10 alternates. Nominations must be made during the district caucuses held each November during annual convention.
Not sure what district you’re in? Find out here: http://mfbf.org/county-farm-bureau/.
After the district caucuses, the nominations are submitted and the state Montana Farm Bureau President makes the final committee appointments following annual convention. Each committee is assigned a MFBF staff contact. This contact works with the committee chair and members to set the agenda for each meeting, share pertinent information between meetings, and collect resources for the committees to use when discussing policy.
Sheep & Goat Committee members:
- District 1 — Libby Maclay, Lolo
- District 2 — Sharon Wheat, Dillon
- District 3 — Ben Lehfeldt, Lavina
- District 4 — Theo Yanzick, Absarokee
- District 5 — Gary Heiberthausen, Alzada
- District 6 — Chele Harrington, Fallon
- District 7 — Vacant
- District 8 — Todd Standley, Ulm
- District 9 — Darin Stanley, Chester
- District 10 — Cody Dallas Brewer, Ringling
Do you have a voice in shaping the issues that impact your livelihood? Find out what district you would be in, reach out to your grassroots members and join the Montana Farm Bureau Federation today.