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Montana Ag Network: April 4th Report – Crop progress, beef virtual assistant

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s first weekly crop progress report of the year, the U.S. winter wheat crop is starting off the 2019 growing season in the best condition in three years.

At 56 percent good-to-excellent condition, it’s well above last year’s 32 percent.

Here in Montana, the winter wheat crop is also in very good condition with 62 percent of the crop rated in good-to-excellent condition. There is nothing new or different to report in way of spring wheat planting as farmers are waiting for their fields to dry out following the snow this winter.

The beef industry is going high-tech when it comes to promoting its products.

The “Beef. It’s What’s for Dinner” brand is launching what it calls a “beef virtual assistant.”

Chuck Knows Beef is powered by Google artificial intelligence and brings together a rancher’s knowledge, a chef’s expertise, and the humor of the average dad into kitchens across the country.

Customers can also access Chuck by enabling Chuck Knows Beef with Amazon Alexa or Google Home Assistant Devices.

Chuck will provide instant access to recipes, cuts, nutrition information, cooking tips, and more. The new virtual go-to expert on beef can be found here.

Organizations like the Montana Farm Bureau and Montana Farmers Union are reminding Montanans to make a donation to ag literacy this tax season. The Montana Farm Bureau’s Rikki Swant said donating will benefit the ag knowledge of our youth.

“It’s important now more than ever because the average American is more than three generations removed from the farm or ranch,” said Swant. “You know we’re lucky to be here today and lot of folks in Montana know about agriculture, but a lot don’t. So, it’s important that we start with school children and make sure that our largest industry is represented in the classroom.”

Making a donation is easy. Whether you’re using a tax preparer or completing the tax form yourself, check line 69c on the long form or 18c on the EZ form.

Montana Farm Bureau and Montana Farmers Union are working with the Montana Department of Agriculture and Montana Office of Public Instruction to encourage support for ag literacy for students.

Farmers for Free Trade has announced the Motorcade for Trade tour this month.

The RV tour will cover 11 states and 3,500 miles across the country in support of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement.

Events along the tour will highlight American farmer’s reliance on trade with Canada and Mexico, which supports millions of jobs and over $40 billion in American exports each year.

Several stops will include meetings with members of Congress who will consider the USMCA agreement.

Tour stops and other information about the tour is online at www.farmersforfreetrade.com. The tour will make a stop in Billings on April 26th at the Gooseneck Farm near Broadview.

-Reported by Russell Nemetz/MTN News

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