Don’t lose twice this bear season! Glacier county is, “one of the hardest hit areas in the state” when it comes to livestock lost to predators, according to Montana Live-stock Loss Board Director George Edwards. This year be sure to have reimbursement coverage for livestock killed by bears, wolves and mountain lions. 

As of 2019, tribal members are not required to pay the Montana Department of Livestock per capita tax; however, non-tribal members or tribal descendants are required to pay the tax.  Simply put by Edwards, “Some descendants that only have a certain percentage [of Blackfeet ancestry] don’t qualify for a tribal number. If the applicant doesn’t qualify for a tribal ID number, then they have to pay the per capita.”

The last thing we want is to have to explain to a young producer that, not only has a bear killed their prized 4-H pig, but they can’t be reimbursed for the loss because no one took the time to check if they were covered by the tribal exemption to the per capita tax.  That exact scenario happened the spring of 2019 when bears killed many 4-H producers’ pigs. There is no reason to let history repeat itself, especially when the per capita tax is relatively cheap.  

Edwards sums it up by saying, “When you think of the bigger scope of things, five bucks off of a $300 payment for pigs still gives them 295 bucks.” So if you are a non-tribal member or a descendant without a tribal ID number and need to pay your per capita tax or register your animals, just go to the Montana Department of Livestock website (liv.mt.gov) and click the per capita link at the bottom of the page. Think of it like putting a few cents in your piggy bank. When piggy gets smashed, you’ll get paid.

In other news, the Blackfeet Nation Stock Growers Association has had several big wins recently.

We are proud to announce the Blackfeet Nation Stock Growers Association’s new Agricultural Science Scholarship. This scholarship is aimed at supporting our community’s future agriculture professionals through their secondary education. All students are encouraged to apply. Preference will be given to students of Native de-scent and students who reside on the Blackfeet Reservation. The scholarship is open to current college and university students majoring in an agricultural science or related field, as well as high school students who have been accepted to a college or university. Contact blackfeetstockgrowers@gmail.com for more information. Funding for the scholarship was secured though a grant from the Native American Agricultural Fund (NAAF), thanks to our hard working support team including Michael Vogt, Kristen Kipp and our Blackfeet Nation Stock Growers Association board. 

We would also like to share that the Blackfeet Nation Stock Growers Association Board of Directors Chair, Joe Kipp, was just appointed by Governor Gianforte to sit on the Montana Livestock Loss Board. As a board member, Kipp will work to administer the programs related to the Montana gray wolf, grizzly bear and mountain lion management plans. We are grateful for the work Kipp does for the ranchers in Glacier County and are excited to have him sharing his knowledge in more arenas. 

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