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The annual Montana Wheat and Barley Committee winter board meeting is Feb. 23-24 in room 108 of the Plant Bioscience Building, at Montana State University in Bozeman. On Feb. 23, the board will meet from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. to review fiscal year 2012 research projects. On Feb. 24, regular board business will be discussed, including national organization reports and a Department of Agriculture report. The public is invited. For information, call 406-761-7732.

Precious Pet Petsitting is a new business at 7625 Neibauer Road in Billings. The business offers sitting, overnight and long-term boarding, daily walks and play time, in-home pet care, grooming and training. The business is licensed and bonded and a member of Pet Sitters International and The National Association of Professions Pet Sitters. It may be reached at 656-2861.

The Billings Chapter 100 of the American Society of Women Accountants monthly lunch meeting is at noon on Wednesday at the Elks Club, 934 Lewis Ave. The presentation will be a tax update by Lori Waller of Eide Bailly. The cost of the lunch is $13. RSVP to Ranetta Jones by Monday morning at 373-8876 or call if you have any questions.

Franchise Services announced that Sir Speedy, one of its brands, recently ranked high among printing and franchise brands in leading industry publications. Sir Speedy's rankings are No. 20 on "Printing Impressions 400," No. 309 on "Entrepreneur Franchise 500" and No. 158 on "Franchise Times Top 200."

At 2 p.m. Tuesday, Montana Farmers Union will present a free oil and gas leasing seminar at the Eagles Club in Lewistown, designed to help landowners understand leasing and right-of-way options for natural resources and minerals associated with their property.

Workshop presenters include Tim Fitzgerald, Montana State University ag economist; Herb Vasseur, Chinook, president of Montana Land and Mineral Owners Association; and Jerry Simmons, Tulsa, Okla., executive director of the National Association of Royalty Owners. To register, call MFU at 406-452-6406 or 800-234-4071 or email at

Altana Federal Credit Union employees were asked to wear holiday hats, holiday tops, and jeans on the Friday before Christmas. In exchange, Altana donated $10 for each employee that participated to a local charity. Altana employees were able to donate $560 to the Beartooth Nature Center in Red Lodge. The center houses more than 70 injured animals that cannot be returned to the wild.

The Billings regional office of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Risk Management Agency reminds producers in Montana and North Dakota that the sales closing date for the newly announced camelina crop insurance program is Feb.1. The program is available in select counties in Montana and North Dakota, and only spring-planted camelina grown under contract with a processor will be eligible for coverage. Contact a crop insurance agent for more detailed information on the program. For information on how to find a crop insurance agent, go to

WorkSafeMT is providing five days of free, high-quality safety training in an effort to stem Montana's high workplace injury rates. SafetyFestMT, an educational outreach of WorkSafeMT, is offering more than 80 classes at the Billings Hotel and Convention Center on Feb. 27-March 2. Classes include First Aid/CPR/AED, as well as OSHA 10- and 30-hour cards for construction and general industry, HAZWOPER eight-hour annual refresher and 40-hour classes, fall protection, behavior-based safety, ATV safety, defensive driving and a  variety of other classes. To see a complete list of classes or to register, go to Lunch is included for registered participants. For information, go to or call George Kochman, WorkSafeMT program director, at 444-0982, or email

A meeting is being one held to take oral public comment on USDA's proposed office consolidation plan in which the Treasure County FSA Office is being considered for consolidation. The public meeting begins at 1:30 p.m. Jan. 26 at the Community Center at 306 Rapelje in Hysham. This is the only Montana Farm Service Agency meeting that is taking public comment. Producers can also provide written comment at the meeting, email or send written comment to Acting State Executive Director Dick Deschamps; P.O. Box 670; Bozeman, MT 59771 or fax it to 406-587-6993 no later than close of business on Feb. 3. All public comments will be taken into full consideration prior to the development or implementation of a final consolidation plan. Individuals with disabilities who require accommodations to attend or participate should contact Jennifer Cole in the Montana FSA state office at 406-587-6786, or Federal Relay Service at 1-877-387-2001 by close of business on Jan. 23. For information, call 406-587-6872.

"A Last Laugh" is the theme for the 2012 Glasgow Area Chamber of Commerce and Agriculture and Two Rivers Economic Growth annual banquet on Friday at the Cottonwood Inn. The evening begins with a no-host social at 5:30 p.m. before the prime rib dinner and awards ceremony at 6 p.m. and the Comedy Club at 8:30 p.m.

Dick and Bonnie Cotton of Valley Seed Co. will receive the Annual Del Strommen Agriculture Award. Volunteer of the year for 2011 goes to Traci Sibley for her dedication and involvement with the Montana Governor's Cup Walleye Tournament and the Glasgow Chamber. Rod Karst will receive the President's Award for his dedication and community involvement in Valley County.

Two Rivers Excellence Awards winners are Red Foxx Real Estate for New Business Venture, Mirror Image for Business Excellence, Sam Knodel for Advocacy Leader, and the Cottonwood Inn for Most Valuable Partnership.

The cost is $35 per person or $60 per couple. Tickets are available at the chamber office or at the door at 5:30 p.m. that evening. You do not need to be a member to attend but you can take this opportunity to join if you wish to learn about Glasgow/Valley County and the contributions the chamber, Two Rivers and individuals make to promote our local economies and community.

Tom Richmond, administrator and petroleum engineer for the Montana Board of Oil and Gas, will discuss developments in Montana's energy sector and the state's prospects for future growth at the 37th Annual Economic Outlook Seminar, "Montana's New Energy Frontier: What are the Prospects?"

The half-day seminar and luncheon will highlight economic trends for local, state and national economies. Economists Patrick Barkey and Paul Polzin from the Bureau of Business and Economic Research at University of Montana will present economic forecasts for each seminar city. Industry experts will provide the outlook for Montana's important sectors: nonresident travel, health care, agriculture, real estate, manufacturing and forest products.

Longtime Montana journalist Ian Marquand will moderate a luncheon panel of community leaders and industry experts on local economic issues. The seminar runs from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. and will be held in nine Montana cities during January, February and March. In Eastern Montana, the seminar will be held in Billings at the Crowne Plaza on Jan. 31; in Lewistown at the Central Montana Education Center on March 13 and in Havre in the Hensler Auditorium at Montana State University-Northern on March 14. Registration is $80 and includes a booklet, lunch and a one-year subscription to Montana Business Quarterly, BBER's award-winning business journal. Continuing education credits are available, and groups of five or more qualify for discounted registration. For information or to register for a seminar, visit the BBER website at or call 406-243-5113.

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