A gun being manufactured in the Flathead Valley has the capability of switching barrels quickly and easily using simple hand tools in a short amount of time. The purpose of the extra barrels is to provide for hunting different prey on a daily basis. It has been labeled the Switch rifle. It is manufactured by PROOF Research.


Tammy Thompson  is the owner of Woolen Collectibles, a business that began by selling handmade products and has continued to expand into other markets associated with knitting. She wants to get her work in more retail stores locally, but said it isn’t easy to sell such a high-end handmade product. Her products are available in Herberger’s.


S&K Gaming, a subsidiary owned by the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes has opened the Big Arm Marina and Grill. The property is undergoing the completion of major additions and remodels. The next phase of the project is to add an event center that can hold up to 200 people.


The Montana Stockgrowers Association has informed association members about the terms of a recent agreement to sell Montana-raised beef to China’s largest online retailer. The nonbinding agreement reached in November calls for Montana ranchers to sell about $70 million worth of beef to JD.com next year. The total agreement calls for selling $200 million worth of beef over three years. JD.com will also invest $100 million in a Montana meat packing plan.


The Bureau of Land Management has repealed an Obama-era rule that oil and gas industry leaders had said would be costly without corresponding safety benefits. The repeal was published in the Federal Register as a final rule, titled “Oil and Gas; Hydraulic Fracturing on Federal and Indian Lands. North Dakota Petroleum Council had estimated the economic impact in North Dakota as up to $120 million for wells on federal lands.


The Oil Patch Hotline reports that “Kraken Oil and Gas of Houston, a new independent in the Williston Basin, is making a steady commitment to continuous horizontal well drilling in eastern Montana, joining three other operators in a surge of new activity.” Among other companies bidding on oil and gas leases in Montana were Denbury in Fallon County, Vanguard Oil in Carbon County, and Briscoe Oil in Big Horn County. Others were Caribou Land and Livestock Montana LLC, and Ballard Exploration Company Inc.


Busch Agricultural Resources, LLC will halt its malt barley contracting program in Sidney and will seek to sell the elevator. The company will contract one final crop of malting barley to be planted in the spring of 2018 and harvested in the fall of 2018. Each farmer will receive the same bushel allocation as last year, 2017, if they decide to be part of the 2018 program. Reasons for the decision to sell include that malt requirements for Anheuser-Busch continue to decrease due to improved agronomics of the barley varieties and increased efficiency in the malting in brewing operations —  this has resulted in under-utilization of this facility handling only malting barley. Because of that, the company doesn’t feel it makes financial sense to continue its Sidney operations. The company will seek a buyer for the elevator who will utilize it fully and give area employees and surrounding growers more robust economic opportunities. Between 2-3 million bushels of barley are grown in the region.


Since opening in 2005, the Livingston thrift store Community Closet has generated more than $5.6 million in economic output, supported 150 jobs and produced $669,000 in tax revenue, according to the study, performed by Bozeman-based economic development group Northern Rocky Mountain Economic Development District. It’s the second such analysis the nonprofit has taken part in. The first, which came back in 2014, found the Community Closet generated $3.2 million in economic impact. They’re really big numbers,” said CEO and founder Caron Cooper. “The cumulative impact is a really big deal here.” The store includes three storefronts tiered by price and quality. The thrift store donates roughly 5 percent of its goods to local groups. Our job is to see what is most efficient in our community, and part of that means not charging as much for things,” she said.


Montana’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate held at 4 percent in November, maintaining a steady rate for most of 2017.The national unemployment rate was 4.1 percent in November.


The federal government has approved a 60-million ton expansion of the Rosebud Mine in southeastern Montana . The approval will extend the life of Westmoreland Coal Company’s mine by 19 years and add 10.5 square miles to the 40-square-mile strip mine, which serves the 2,100-megawatt Colstrip power plant.


Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport is constructing the largest parking garage in the state of Montana, costing roughly $30 million and adding 1,100 parking stalls in a four-story building just southeast of the airport terminal. The airport will be paying for the parking garage with money it has saved up along with a fee rental-car customers pay when they take a car from the airport lot.


The Montana Department of Revenue  announced the winners of several alcohol licenses. Seven total licenses were available. Peter J Sclafani and Burgard 25, LLC won the Bozeman/Belgrade all-beverage floater licenses. FMK, Inc., a business registered to David Weiss of Bozeman, won the area’s city beer license. Cosmic Pizza, Inc. won the area’s restaurant beer and wine license. The average price of licenses bought and sold in Gallatin County is roughly $320,000.


Red Trail Energy, LLC and the University of North Dakota Energy & Environmental Research Center (EERC) began investigating carbon capture, utilization, and storage technology as a way to reduce the carbon dioxide emissions associated with ethanol production last year with the support of the North Dakota Industrial Commission (NDIC) and the U.S. Department of Energy. The EERC has recently been awarded $345,000 of North Dakota Renewable Energy Program funding by the NDIC to continue this important research.



Hess Corp. anticipates that its ultimate production (EUR) on new Williston Basin wells next year will exceed 1 million barrels, as it increases completions on horizontal wells to 60 stages with 140,000 pounds of sand per stage, at a cost of $6 million. (Oil Patch Hotline)