MSGA Now Taking Applications for Young Cattleman’s Conference

Montana_Stockgrowers_Foundation_LogoFinalDon’t miss this opportunity to learn more about the structure of the U.S. cattle industry and gain insight on the legislative process that guides our business. Montana Stockgrowers Foundation will send one Montana delegate on this year’s Young Cattlemen’s Conference (YCC), held May 31 – June 8, 2017. Applications, due March 1, are available at

The Young Cattlemen’s Conference is an opportunity for cattlemen and cattlewomen between the ages of 25 and 50 to visit segments of the beef industry in other parts of our nation with young ranchers from other states. Facilitated by the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA), participants will travel with national attendees to Denver, Chicago and Washington D.C., visiting JBS Five Rivers facilities, Chicago Board of Trade and Capitol Hill. Last year we had two Montana delegates, Andy Kellom from Hobson, Mont. and Ariel Overstreet-Adkins from Great Falls, Mont.

The primary objective is to develop leadership qualities in young cattlewomen and cattlemen and expose them to all aspects of the beef industry. The tour helps these young leaders understand all areas of our industry ranging from industry structure to issues management, from production research to marketing.

The Montana Stockgrowers Foundation will ensure funding for one participant for the full cost of the tour along with travel expenses. Remaining expenses are the responsibility of the participant, who will be chosen from those who apply. Participants must be a member of Montana Stockgrowers Association and National Cattlemen’s Beef Association.

To learn more about the Young Cattlemen’s Conference and to complete an application, visit the MSGA website, In addition to the form questions, two letters of reference are required to complete the application process. All applications must be complete and postmarked or received by March 1, 2017. Please mail or fax to MSGF at the following address: Montana Stockgrowers Association | Attn: YCC, 420 N. California St.  Helena, MT  59601.

If you have any questions about the application process or YCC trip, please call the MSGA Office at (406) 442-3420 or e-mail

2016 Montana’s Young Ag Leadership Conference

September 30 – October 2 ♦ Holiday Inn ♦ Great Falls

Once again, we are proud to present Montana’s Young Ag Leadership Conference! This is a one-of-a-kind event, packed with everything relevant to being a young[ish] person in today’s exciting, changing world of agriculture. With workshops on marketing, finance issues, crop and livestock programs, emerging technologies, leadership development and more, there is something here for everyone.

A committee of your peers from Montana’s leading ag organizations planned this conference to create a unique experience and you won’t find a better opportunity to network with other young
leaders and industry leaders as you gather new insight on improving and promoting agriculture in our state. We hope you choose to be a part of this event, as well as take an active role in Montana’s agriculture…it’s your industry and your way of life. See you in September!
2016 YALC Planning Committee

Schedule of Events

Friday, September 30

12:30-5:30 PM  – Area Ag Tour – Tentative stops include Frontline Ag, Giant Springs Fish Hatchery, McKamey West Ranch, Sponsored by Great Falls Chamber of Commerce Ag Committee
4:00-7:30 PM  – Registration Open
6:00 PM  – Social
6:30 PM – Dinner & Keynote Four “Musts” for Nailing Your Unique Brand of Leadership (And Why It Matters, Even if You Never Want to be “The Boss”) – Sarah Bohnenkamp, Millennial
Leadership Coach, Sponsored by Independence Bank, Monsanto, & Farmers Business Network

Saturday, October 1

7:30 AM-5:00 PM – Registration & Trade Show Open
8:00-9:00 AM  – Breakfast & Opening Session – Going Global with Beef Genetics, Darrell Stevenson, Stevenson Angus, Sponsored By Torgersons, LLC & Crop Production Services
9:15-10:30 AM  – Workshops – Sponsored by CHS, Inc and Agriclear

  • UAV’s (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles) In Agriculture, Brandon Ewen, Ag Data Source, PC
  • Planting the Seeds of Success: Financial Management Basics, Damon Alm, Northwest Farm Credit
  • The Veterinary Feed Directive Rule: Changes in the Use of Feed-Grade Antibiotics for Livestock, Rachel Endecott, MSU Extension Beef Specialist

10:30-11:00 AM  – Coffee Break and Trade Show, Sponsored by CHS Nutrition  
11:00-12:15 AM – Workshops:

  • Agriculturalists & Meteorologists-Deciphering the Weather, Megan Vandenheuval, National Weather Service
  • Sustainability and Stewardship Practices to Benefit Your Bottom Line, Leon LaSalle, LaSalle Ranch, Inc
  • Generation Elvis to Bieber: Generational Differences in the Workplace and How to Succeed Among All Age Groups, Jaime Edmundson, Montana FFA Foundation

12:30-1:45 PM – Lunch – Our Leadership Journey, Dan Manella, Cherry Creek Radio – Sponsored by Montana Farm Bureau Foundation
1:45-3:00 PM – Workshops:

  • Food For Thought? Discussion Panel, Carrie Mess AKA Dairy Carrie & Ryan Goodman
  • How the Organic Movement Effects Our Business, Bob Quinn, President of Kamut International
  • Estate Planning: Keeping the Ground in the Family, John Heyneman, Plank Stewardship Initiative

3:00-3:30 PM – Coffee Break and Trade Show, Sponsored by MT Livestock Ag Credit
3:30-5:00 PM – Entrepreneur Spotlights: Sponsored by Montana Land Reliance

3:30-4:00: Prairie Heritage Farm w/ Electric City Coffee
4:00-4:30: Parker’s Hangover Tonic
4:30-5:00: PinkSpurs & Co.

5:30 PM – Buses Depart for Centene Stadium
6:00 PM – Social, Sponsored by Northwest Farm Credit
6:30 PM – Dinner and Dance at Centene Stadium, Sponsored by Montana Beef Council, Stockman Bank & Farmers Union Insurance

Sunday, October 2

9:00-10:30AM – Closing Breakfast, “What Do Our Customers Really Want From Us?”, Carrie Mess, AKA Dairy Carrie, Sponsored by Mountain West Farm Bureau Mutual Insurance Co.


To REGISTER head to the Montana Farm Bureau Federation’s website or download the form HERE. Register before September 23rd to take advantage of early bird pricing!

National Cattlemen’s Foundation Accepting Applications for W.D. Farr Scholarships

Scholarship Awards Graduate Students Committed to Beef Industry Advancement

DENVER (July 14, 2016) – The National Cattlemen’s Foundation is now accepting applications for the W.D. Farr Scholarships for the 2016-17 school year. The scholarship was established by the National Cattlemen’s Foundation to honor the successful career of the late W. D. Farr.  Two annual $12,000 grants will be awarded to outstanding graduate students that demonstrate superior achievement in academics and leadership and will allow the students to further their study in fields that benefit the cattle and beef industry.

2015 scholarship recipient Greta Krafsur, DVM, a third year anatomic pathology resident at Colorado State University believes that the scholarship is an investment in the future of sustainable production of food animals.

“By alleviating tuition expenses, the W.D. Farr Scholarship has allowed me to focus on my research of bovine pulmonary hypertension so that I may continue to find ways to improve health and productivity of beef cattle,” said Krafsur.

Krafsur’s ambitions include the formation of a consulting group, providing disease prevention and treatment protocols to reduce the incidence of respiratory disease and right heart failure in the beef industry.

Whitney Crossland, also a 2015 scholarship recipient, is PhD student at Texas A&M University studying the effects of common feed additives on animal performance, and will use the scholarship to take her studies international.

“This scholarship will allow me to visit beef production systems in other parts of the world to gain a better global understanding of our role as beef producers,” said Crossland.

Farr, a third generation Coloradan, pioneer rancher, statesman and banker was known for his extraordinary vision.  His dedication to improving agriculture, livestock and water development has resulted in significant changes in farming methods that have influenced the practices of ranchers and farmers throughout the nation.

To apply for the scholarship, graduate students planning to pursue a career in the beef industry should submit a cover letter, curriculum vitae, a description of applicant’s goals and experience, a statement of belief in the industry as well as a review of the applicant’s graduate research and three letters of recommendation. Applications close on August 31, 2016. For more information and to apply, visit

Montana Stockgrowers Association sends two attendees to elite cattle industry conference

Representing Montana Stockgrowers Association, Ariel Overstreet-Adkins and Andy Kellom participated in the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association’s 2016 Young Cattlemen’s Conference. Over 50 cattle producers from across the country and across the industry attended the conference.


Andy Kellom hales from Hobson, MT. He is currently cattle manager for Bos Terra LP which is a 15,000 head feedlot and up to 7,000 head stocker operation. Andy is responsible for day-to-day cattle management.

Andy was born and raised in Dubois, Idaho. He was involved with his family’s ranch from a young age.  Andy’s love of the beef cattle business started here, as well as days working on many neighboring family ranches in the area.

Andy attended Montana State University where he received a bachelor’s degree in Animal Science in 2002. From there he worked on the cowboy crew of the 1.5 million acre IL Ranch in northern Nevada.  He then spent two years as head cowboy for Harris Feeding Company which is a 100,000+ head feedlot and vertically integrated beef operation in Coalinga, California. Andy then became involved with the Montana Beef Network which was an MSU extension program that dealt mainly with Animal ID as it related to Montana ranchers. Andy was instrumental in the startup of Verified Beef LLC which is a company that at the time offered Source and Age, NHTC, and Never Ever 3 Natural certifications to cow- calf operations throughout Montana and surrounding states.


Ariel Overstreet-Adkins is a 2016 graduate of the University of Montana School of Law. Ariel’s article “Extraordinary Protections for the Industry that Feeds Us: Examining a Potential Constitutional Right to Farm and Ranch in Montana,” was published by the Montana Law Review in February. In August, she will begin a yearlong clerkship for a U.S. District Court. Then she will work as an associate attorney at the Moulton Bellingham law firm in Billings, focusing on ag, water, property, and natural resource law.

Ariel was named a W.D. Farr Scholar by the National Cattlemen’s Foundation in 2014. Prior to law school, Ariel served as director of communications and lobbyist for the Montana Stockgrowers Association for five years. She graduated from Princeton University with a degree in cultural anthropology where her senior thesis was entitled: “Growing Up Cowboy: High School Rodeo in Montana.” Ariel grew up on her family’s horse ranch in Big Timber.

She and her husband, Zac, raise a few acres of alfalfa in Helena. Ariel is currently serving as vice president of the Montana Cowboy Hall of Fame & Western Heritage Center.

NCBA’s YCC program is an opportunity for these young leaders to gain an understanding of all aspects of the beef industry from pasture to plate, and showcase the industry’s involvement in policy making, issues management, research, education and marketing.

Beginning at the NCBA headquarters in Denver, Colo., the group got an inside look at many of the issues affecting the beef industry and the work being done on both the state and national level to address these issues on behalf of the NCBA membership. While in Denver, participants were given an organizational overview of NCBA and the Beef Checkoff Program and CattleFax provided a comprehensive overview of the current cattle market and emerging trends. At Safeway, the participants received a first-hand account of the retail perspective of the beef business and then toured the JBS Five Rivers’ Kuner feedyard, one of the largest in the nation, and the JBS Greeley packing and processing plant.

From Denver, the group traveled to Chicago where they visited McDonald’s Campus and OSI, one of the nation’s premiere beef patty producers. After the brief stop in Chicago, the group concluded their trip in Washington D.C., for an in-depth issues briefing on current policy issues including international trade and increasing environmental regulations. Following the issues update, the participants were given the opportunity to visit one-on-one with members of their state’s congressional delegation, expressing their viewpoints regarding the beef industry and their cattle operations. John Deere then hosted a reception in the evening at their office.

The following morning, the group then traveled to Aldie, Va., for a tour and barbecue at Whitestone Farms, one of the nation’s elite purebred Angus operations.

With the beef industry changing rapidly, identifying and educating leaders has never been so important. As a grassroots trade association representing the beef industry the NCBA is proud to play a role in that process and its future success. Over 1,000 cattlemen and women have graduated from the YCC program since its inception in 1980. Many of these alumni have gone to serve in state and national committees, councils and boards. YCC is the cornerstone of leadership training in the cattle industry.

Leadership Series | Guest Blog Post | Weston Merrill

Post by Weston Merrill


I was asked to write a blog post about my leadership brand. What intimidated me most were the words “blog post”! This relates to my leadership brand because my brand is difficult to define. I am all about being the maker of your own destiny. Whether we believe it or not at the end of the day we have control over how successful we will be. This includes how we feel about ourselves and others.

My brand is not something that has one ingredient or that can even be defined in one word. It’s much bigger than a blog post. The only way I can describe it would be that it can’t be contained and that it’s contagious, watch out!!!!!!!! The word that comes closest to adequately describing what my brand is ” animo” which is a Spanish word that doesn’t have a direct English translation but means excitement and energy! It’s an ever changing and adapting attitude so that you are not stagnate or stuck on one way to do things or way of thinking.

Developing and living my leadership brand is a lifelong process. Being able to objectively look at people, things or situations so as not to be confined by outside stigmas or presumptions. I know my brand fits me and is all mine. My involvement in the leadership series is giving me an opportunity to grow and learn from others. It’s helping me to put into practice what I just talked about. Look at others and their brands objectively and not subjectively. I’m excited to learn from fellow members of the leadership series this year and far into the future! The opportunity to network with people who are like me and NOT like me is so rewarding. I’m excited to hit the world with my brand.

My goal for the leadership series is to get my brand burning hot enough that it leaves a lasting mark when I stick it on the cow hide!

The Leadership Series is made possible through the support of MSGA’s Research Education and Endowment Foundation. Want to learn more about our Leadership Series? Check out the website or email

Meet the Leadership Series | Lacey Sutherlin

Lacey Sutherlin

Stevensville, MT


About Lacey:

Lacey Sutherlin was raised in Western Montana. Her parents are Mike & Janet Hunter. She has an older sister, Michele Hunter, who has a son and a daughter. Lacey enjoys being an Aunt. She also has a younger brother Isaac Hunter who works for Montana State University.

Sutherlin attended college at Northwest College in Powell Wyoming for Agricultural Business and then went on to Montana State and received a bachelor’s degree in both Animal Science and Agricultural Communications. She was part of the Livestock Judging team at both NWC and MSU.

Her first job out of college was at ORIgen Breeder to Breeder Genetics near Billings, MT. Lacey started in the distribution department and finished as a Marketing Director. In December of 2015 Sutherlin started with ABS Global as a Beef Sales Team Leader in Montana. She is sales support staff for the beef cattle representatives in Montana and works with beef producers to set-up synchronization-breeding programs via artificial insemination.

Lacey and her husband Chad Sutherlin own and operate 3C Cattle. They raise both registered Black and Red Angus. Sutherlins have annual production sales on the first Friday and Saturday in March at the Sutherlin Farms Feedlot in Stevensville, MT.  They also sell some females by private treaty. In addition to cattle they raise some hay and small grains.


What sparked your interest in Agriculture?

When I was a kid my uncle had a ranch in central Montana that I would visit during the summer and I really enjoyed being around the cattle. My love for animals especially cattle and a passion for the beef industry is also what sparked my interest in Ag. I also enjoy the challenge of the Agriculture industry. It doesn’t matter what season it is every day is different.


What makes a great leader?

I truly think a huge part to being a great leader is being an excellent listener and also knowing how to read people and actually getting the most out of not only yourself but the people around you.
If you could learn to do anything, what would it be?

I think after traveling to Costa Rica early this Spring I would learn another language. Communication is a key to being  successful in everything that we do and I think it would create more opportunities for us to market our own agriculture products easier if we knew additional languages beyond English.



Where do you hope to be in 5 years?

I am happy where I am at in life and truly loving the path that I am on. Chad and I are doing great in our operation. We are at the point that genetics we have selected are now having their first calves and it great to see what is being created. I just started working for ABS but thus far I am truly enjoying being out in the country with customers and cattle. In five years I hope to have continued to reach goals in my business ABS by increasing market share in Montana. Chad and I will continue to makes changes to our cattle herd and operation by making constructive breeding decisions and hopefully increase our customer base for both bull sales by offering sound proven genetics.


What do you hope to gain from the leadership series?

I am hoping to work on my public speaking skills and be more confident when giving presentations.  I hope to gain more people to be a strong part of my professional network. And have more resources in my toolbox to not only make myself better but the Montana Agricultural Industry as a whole.

The Leadership Series is made possible through the direct support of our members and the Research and Education Endowment Foundation. To learn more about the Leadership Series, please email

Leadership Series | Guest Blog Post | Casey Knudsen


Post by Casey Knudsen


Leadership has always been an important concept to me.  Growing up heavily involved in sports, I realized early on that without an efficient and empathetic leader, a team cannot perform to its full potential.  This understanding of group dynamics between a team and its leader has carried over with me from sports and other extracurricular activities into my post-secondary education and professional endeavors.  I strive on a daily basis to lead by example. I do not always meet my goal, but I believe that the ability to self-examine, understand where I am deficient, and try to improve in those areas is important in any leadership role.

I also believe that a leader cannot be above any task that a team is presented with, whether that task is time-consuming or uneventful.  A team is much more likely to trust in their leader and perform even the most menial job when they know that their leader is willing to do the same.  As I said before, many of these leadership skills I learned when involved in sports.  I do not believe that sports are the most important thing in a high-schooler’s life, but they are a very vital method of teaching young people how and how not to be an effective leader later in life.

In my experience, sports almost taught me how NOT to be a leader more than they taught me the correct way to lead.  I have had many great coaches in my athletic career, but it seems that the coaches that performed and treated their teams poorly had more of an impact on my leadership style than the good ones.  These poor coaches impressed on me the importance of being an empathetic leader and understanding the struggles of not only the above average team members, but the team members that need greater support as well.  Being a leader does not only mean utilizing your team as they are, but trying to improve your team and develop them into something greater.

Agriculture has also taught me a great deal about being a leader.  Work ethic has always been a heavily emphasized skill on the ranch, which translated into the professional world.  Working cattle has been a great teacher as well.  Being able to stay calm, cool and collected when working cattle is paramount, as the more upset you act, the wilder cattle tend to behave.  This is something every leader must understand, since being able to steel yourself in the face of adversity not only allows you to think straight yourself, but it keeps your team from breaking down.

Being involved in the Leadership Series has not only taught me valuable skills, it has proved to me that my leadership style can be effective.  This series has also shown me that no matter how good you think you might be at whatever you are doing, there is always room for improvement.


The Leadership Series is made possible through the support of MSGA’s Research Education and Endowment Foundation. Want to learn more about our Leadership Series? Check out the website or email

Leadership Series | Guest Blog Post | Trina Bradley


Post by Trina Bradley


Last fall I applied and was accepted into the inaugural Montana Stockgrowers Leadership Series, which is a year-long “class” that will help mentor and develop fourteen young ag leaders from across the state of Montana.

As you all know, I am a born and bred cattle woman. I eat, sleep and breathe cows, and I want to make sure that my daughter has every opportunity to carry on this lifestyle and keep this ranch in the family for years to come. Therefore, I have been working on stepping up and getting involved in ag advocacy for the past few years. I have recently become a Director for the Marias River Livestock Association, I am a 4-H Cloverbud leader, and I have been working on establishing a CattleWomen association in my area.

The Leadership Series is a perfect opportunity for me to focus my energy and hone my skills as a leader, as well as being the perfect place to network with fellow lovers of ag from all over Montana.

We are now four months into the program, and I have come to realize several things about what true leadership is to me. I have also had to some serious soul searching, and admit to myself some things that I really didn’t want to admit to.

I could go on and on about the things that I am not, and the things I suck at as a leader. HOWEVER, our insanely wonderful and slightly crazy leadership coach has impressed on us NUMEROUS times that we do not need to focus on what we aren’t – we need to focus on what we are.

So here are some things that I know to be true about my leadership skills:

  1. I am bossy. I know what needs to be done, and I know who needs to do it. I have no problem giving orders, and I expect things to be done in a timely manner, and done right.
  2. I work hard. When there’s a job to be done, I don’t quit when I’m tired, I quit when I’m done. A good leader doesn’t just give orders; a good leader gets her hands dirty.
  3. I’m stubborn. I’m not going to take no for an answer, and when I get a great idea, I get after it, no matter the obstacle.
  4. I love to learn. I love learning about everything, and that comes in handy when I take on a project I’m not 100% familiar with, or when a new issue comes up.
  5. I’m a good listener. I always have an ear to lend for a friend, and I am learning to listen to the “other side” – the people that oppose ag, or certain ag practices, etc. In order to be a great advocate for our ag community, I need to be able to listen to the concerns of our consumers and look at things from their point of view.

This Series has been eye opening to me in many ways, and I have made a plethora of new friends along the way. I cannot wait to see what Sarah and Ryan (our coaches) have in store for us in the coming months.

I am hoping that this program will continue well into the future, and I encourage every young rancher in Montana to apply next year. You won’t regret it for a second.

The Leadership Series is made possible through the support of MSGA’s Research Education and Endowment Foundation. Want to learn more about our Leadership Series? Check out the website or email

Leadership Series | Guest Blog Post | Chisholm Christensen

My personal leadership story and why I’m stepping up to live larger by being a part of this program

Post by Chisholm Christensen


Writing is one of the more difficult and important tasks a person can undertake; requiring the author to think critically and explain effectively their topic of choice. Through writing, more so than speaking, we are able to fine-tune, rework and continually reanalyze our position free from external judgement or input until we ourselves are satisfied with the presentation and tone of our offering. This very personal task provides the writer an opportunity for personal growth while at the same time cementing his or her ideas and thoughts about the theme to be drawn upon when future circumstances dictate. We have all heard again and again how important effective communication is in any type of relationship and I think this is an area I personally excel in and a good place to start telling you my individual leadership story.

My passion for an array of subjects led me at a very young age to have an impact on my surroundings. I have a clear picture of how I think things I am passionate about should be and I learned that if I didn’t have a voice or speak up many times those things took a course leading to an outcome altogether different and many times less exemplary than the one I was wishing for. I learned that wishing doesn’t get it done. Getting mad or excessively frustrated or disrespectful didn’t have a positive effect either. I had to learn not only how to make myself heard but also how to exert an influence on other individuals involved.

Most of this learning took place at the middle and high school level as I became more confident in myself and more zealous about circumstances affecting me or having an effect on things I cared about. Being low on the executive ladder posed a problem as well. The opinion of a student, no matter how well stated, carries far less weight than that of a teacher, staff, or any adult. A sad truth I had to deal with but one that taught me the importance of team and tone. When and how you say something can be just as important as what you are saying. I was at a disadvantage at school again because it is not a democracy. In the end the teacher or adult makes the choice. I may have had a voice but I did not have a vote and that taught me how to influence people and plead my case. It has made me, in my mind, an effective communicator and flows directly into how I lead.

I put my hat in the ring to be a part of this leadership series because my passion has not waned and I am passionate about agriculture. And just as I wished to exert an influence on themes deemed significant in my past I continue to desire exemplary results in areas I am passionate about now. This leadership series is providing me with the tools to sharpen my leadership skills and a platform from which my voice can be heard.

The Leadership Series is made possible through the support of MSGA’s Research Education and Endowment Foundation. Want to learn more about our Leadership Series? Check out the website or email

Leadership Series | Guest Blog Post | Heather Fryer

Post by Heather Fryer


This year, I was selected to participate in the Inaugural Stockgrowers Leadership Series, a 12 month program hosted by the Montana Stockgrowers Association, designed to help participants succeed in their careers. What I have gathered from the class in the first four months has been more than I could have imagined.

The networking has exceeded my expectations. My classmates are hilarious, friendly people, who support each other, and we’ve all made friends in this leadership series.  We’ve learned about various operations and perspectives, shared ideas and had great discussions.  We don’t have to agree but we have to listen, be respectful and practice empathy.

We’ve met and listened to guest speakers who are knowledgeable in their subject areas. The Montana Stockgrowers work with many state agencies and boards, legislatures, leaders and other agriculture affiliates and agribusinesses. It’s beneficial to know we can call our organization and other associations with questions and it’s important to be able to work together to ensure the future of Montana ranching.

Montana agriculture has a very bright future ahead and these individuals are stepping up to leadership roles in their communities. We have some common goals.  We want to continue to our way of life, improve our operations, and help our agriculture community.  Our voices are incredibly important to agriculture, to our communities, to our interests and to our country.

I applied to the class because it sounded like a terrific opportunity and I wanted to learn how to better help agriculture through advocacy and policy. I believe this class is most beneficial for individuals who want to be involved in their communities but aren’t quite sure where to begin.  For producers and business owners, who have been working on their operation for a while and are ready to take it to the next level.  For individuals, who want to have input in the future of Montana ranching.  This series has improved our listening skills, showed us our individual strengths and given us the tools to spread our positive message of what we do for a living, why it’s important and how much we love our work!


The Leadership Series is made possible through the support of MSGA’s Research Education and Endowment Foundation. Want to learn more about our Leadership Series? Check out the website or email