Lewis & Clark kept detailed records of all the plants & animals they encountered on their 3 year journey. Their journals describe grizzly bears & wolves, black-footed ferrets & burrowing owls, sage grouse & prairie chickens. That all changed as European immigrants moved west over the next hundred years. Market hunting was one cause, but our early day settlers also tilled & poisoned, fertilized & fenced the land, drained aquifers & damaged soils.As humans altered our prairies, bison disappeared from 99% of their native range. Prairie dogs, black-footed ferrets, wolves & grizzly bears followed. In the mid-20th century as conservationists began fighting to protect & restore what remained. Tuesday, March 24th, is National Ag Day, & we're celebrating & honoring agriculture all month long during March, We can be proud of the fact that Montana has retained EVERY species that Lewis & Clark observed during their travels through our Treasure State. Pronghorn antelope, which Lewis & Clark called "speed goats," have rebounded from fewer than 20,000 in the early 20th century to some 700,00 today, ranging across grasslands from Northern Mexico & Texas to North Dakota, MONTANA & southern Canada. Our Montana farmers & ranchers with their commitment to sustainable farming & conserving our land serve as another excellent example of National Ag Day's theme this year, "Food Brings Everyone to the Table."

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