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The Montana Farm Bureau Federation is urging farmers and ranchers with livestock scales to make sure their scales have a current license in Montana and, in some instances, make sure scales are in compliance with the Grain Inspection Packers and Stockyards Act new rules.

One new rule specifies that one of the two scale tests must occur between Jan. 1 and June 30 of the calendar year and the second must occur between July 1 and Dec. 31 of the calendar year. A minimum of 120 days is required between these two tests. More frequent testing is required for scales that do not maintain accuracy between tests. The Grain Inspection Packers and Stockyards Act has provided an exception for the testing of scales used on a limited seasonal basis, which is one used during any continuous eight-month period. These seasonal scales must be tested once during the calendar year prior to its seasonal use.

If someone must move up their usual test date due to fire or drought, they should contact Weights and Measures at 406-443-8065 as soon as possible. There are only four trucks specifically devoted to livestock scale testing, and they may not be able to accommodate every request. Weights and Measures is focusing on areas that are not under Stage 2 fire restrictions and evaluating how to safely test in high-risk areas.

For information about the Packers and Stockyards rule, see the USDA brochure "Responsibility for Accurate Scales and Livestock Weights" (find under gipsa.usda.gov) or call Stacey Schofield at 303-375-4287.

The Billings Chamber/Convention and Visitors Bureau is hosting its annual meeting luncheon from 11:45 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursday at the Billings Hotel & Convention Center. Join about 500 fellow members and their employees to learn more about the Chamber/CVB’s annual priorities and strategic issues.

A primary topic will be a look at K-12 education and how Billings businesses can play an important role in the future of local schools. The featured speaker is Terry Bouck, School District 2 superintendent. Besides Bouck, panelists are Dennis Parman, Montana deputy superintendent, and Cecilia Retelle, U.S. Chamber senior director of policy.

Tickets are $25, and the deadline to purchase them is noon Tuesday, Call 245-4111.

There are also free breakout sessions throughout the day:

1:30-2:30 p.m.: Business’ Role in Education: Hosted by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, addressing a variety of topics including funding, School Boards and the good, the bad and the ugly. Parlor 1010.

1:30-2:30 p.m.: Maximize Your Chamber/CVB Benefits. Parlor 1009.

2:45-3:45 p.m.: Legislative/Energy Overview of Eastern Montana. Parlor 1010.

2:45-3:45 p.m.: Talk with Chamber/CVB President and CEO John Brewer and fellow members to share ideas, concerns and ask questions. Parlor 1001.

RSVPs are appreciated to rene@billingschamber.com.

The Chamber of Commerce’s free Business Showcase is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. with more than 60 member businesses networking and displaying their products and services to fellow exhibitors, members and the general public at the hotel. No RSVP is needed to attend the showcase.

Registration is open for the MITS Telecom and Technology Symposium in Helena on Oct. 23-24. Hear how technology and regulatory transitions are affecting companies and consumers in the evolving worlds of telecommunications and broadband on state and national levels. MITS provides professional services to Montana’s rural telecommunications cooperatives including Triangle Communications in Havre, Nemont Communications in Scobey, Mid-Rivers Communications in Circle and others. Register online at mitstel.com.

 

The director of Montana 4-H will serve as the interim director of Montana State University Extension while a national search is conducted to fill the post.

Jill Martz will take the post formerly held by Doug Steele, who is headed to Texas A&M University to serve as director of Texas A&M AgriLife Extension, the Texas equivalent of MSU Extension.

Montana 4-H is part of MSU Extension, and Martz has served as its director since 2008, overseeing what is the largest, out-of-school, youth development program in Montana, reaching approximately 20,000 youth in all of the state's 56 counties each year.

Martz holds a bachelor's in education from Bowling Green State University, a master's in education from Middle Tennessee State University and a doctorate in human ecology from the University of Tennessee.

MSU Extension is a statewide educational outreach network that applies unbiased, research-based university resources to practical needs identified by the people of Montana in their home communities. It has offices serving all 56 Montana counties and five Indian reservations in the state.

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