Okay, so maybe the cows don't entirely agree that Beef Month is awesome, considering their final destiny is to end up in a meat department somewhere. Do I feel just a teensy bit sad that they give their lives so we have something awesome to eat? Of course. Like most of us, I have compassion and respect for living creatures. But I'll also be the first to tell you how much I really enjoy beef. If I could afford to eat a perfectly prepared New York strip or ribeye every night, I probably would.

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When did Montana get so many cows?

Montana has been home to cattle ranches since around 1850, according to this story in the Great Falls Tribune. The first major movement of cattle to the Treasure State was a few years later when miner Nelson Story used some of his gold proceeds to bring hundreds of longhorn steers up from Texas. Arrival of the railroad made bringing cows to Montana significantly easier.

Beef is big business in Montana.

Agriculture remains one of our top industries, with the latest (2020) USDA data revealing Montana has 58.1 million acres of farm and ranch land, second only to Texas. Other interesting facts in the report:

  • Montana has 26,000 farms and ranches
  • The average size of a farm or ranch is 2,156 acres
  • 62% of the land in Montana is a farm or ranch.

In a Tweet posted yesterday (5/12) Governor Greg Gianforte shared a proclamation making May Beef Month in Montana.

In other news, on Thursday (5/13) Governor Gianforte appointed Mike Foster, the director of the Montana Department of Agriculture, to lead the state’s program responsible for allocating federal funding from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). Foster will oversee the distribution of over $1.5 billion in funds.

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