REEF Announces Selections for Young Cattlemen’s Conference

MSGA’s Research & Education Endowment Foundation Announces Selections for Young Cattlemen’s Conference

Helena, MT – Montana Stockgrowers Association’s Research & Education Endowment Foundation (REEF) has selected two delegates to represent MSGA at the Young Cattlemen’s Conference this year. Andy Kellom of Hobson, MT and Ariel Overstreet-Adkins of Helena, MT will represent MSGA at this year’s conference. The Young Cattlemen’s Conference, held June 1 – June 9, 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 cattlemen 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.

The primary objective is to develop leadership qualities in young 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. It is through the support of REEF and the Young Stockgrowers that MSGA is able to send two people to this conference.

Andy

Andy Kellom is the cattle manager for Bos Terra LP. He manages the day to day cattle operations for a 7,000 head stocker operation and a 15,000 head feedlot. In addition to his responsibilities at Bos Terra, he also runs a personal herd of 500. He is the Vice President of the Judith Basin Stockgrowers and Chairman of the Cattle Feeders Subcommittee for MSGA. Andy was instrumental in the startup of Verified Beef and development of the USDA Process Verified Program and database to provide Age and Source, NHTC, Never Ever 3, and Grass Fed Verification to cow-calf producers. He believes the knowledge and experience he gains on the YCC trip will be invaluable to him as an individual MSGA member, he intends to continue to “be at the table” to contribute to the process of policy development.

Ariel

Ariel Overstreet-Adkins was the Director of Communications for MSGA until she left to attend law school with the goal of becoming a more effective advocate for rural Montana and agriculture. This May she will graduate from the University of Montana School of Law with her juris doctor degree. After graduation she will spend a year clerking for a U.S. District Court judge in Montana. In the fall of 2017 she will begin work as an associate at the Moulton Bellingham law firm in Billings where her focus will be on natural resource and agricultural law, particularly water and property law. Ariel is confident that the YCC trip will give her further education and insight to be a great advocate for Montana’s family ranchers whether in the courtroom, the Legislature, or in the court of public opinion.

MSGA would like to thank all those that applied and congratulate Andy and Ariel on their selection!

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The Montana Stockgrowers Association, a non-profit organization representing nearly 2,500 members, strives to serve, protect and advance the economic, political, environmental and cultural interests of cattle producers, the largest sector of Montana’s number one industry – agriculture.

Environmental Stewardship 2016 Winner | Cherry Creek Ranch

Reukauf family ranch thrives in arid eastern Montana by going for environmental gains

By Laura Nelson
Montana Environmental Stewardship Program

Cherry Creek Ranch Environmental Stewardship Lon ReukaufPersevering in the harsh ranching climate of eastern Montana can build character, that’s for sure, Lon Reukauf jokes. But lessons of the land often run on repeat, so a well-read history book can point to opportunities to learn, grow, conserve and preserve a sustainable future.

Fortunately, the Cherry Creek Ranch in Terry, Montana has a well-read history to help build the future. When Lon Reukauf’s grandparents homesteaded the area along Cherry Creek in 1910, there was a new pioneer home every half-mile along the dusty trail. Families were eager to try their hand at eking out a living with the Enlarged Homestead Act of 1909. While 160 acres in the vast, dry land of eastern Montana could not sustain a family, this act allowed for 320 acre settlements.

Today, the Reukaufs are one of five original ranches still left on the homesteading land that once held 200 families. Lon married Vicki, his high school sweetheart, after graduating from Montana State University. They returned to Cherry Creek Ranch in 1982, faced with many of the same struggles his grandfather’s family persevered through decades before. Namely, they faced the onset of another lengthy, browbeating drought. Still, Lon and Vicki raised their two children on the ranch while tending to the land and cattle.

Cherry Creek Ranch Lon ReukaufThey added another page to the Cherry Creek Ranch history book this winter when the Montana Stockgrowers Association honored the Reukaufs with the 2016 Montana Environmental Stewardship Award. The family accepted the award at the Stockgrower’s annual convention in Billings.
“The advantage of good stewardship is, your sustainability and longevity depend fully on it,” Lon says. “You’re much more likely to weather serious disasters like drought, fire and the like if you’ve taken good care of the land.”

The overall objective of the commercial cow-calf ranch is simple, Lon says: “Take good care of the land, plants and animals while making some profit to live on, retire on and pass on to the next generation.” Achieving that goal is a touch more complicated. To do it, the Reukaufs focus on four primary areas of stewardship: build a forage reserve, build a financial reserve, build on cow reproduction and build and preserve a healthy landscape to pass along.

BUILDING A FORAGE RESERVE

“What you do during the drought, once it’s that dry, really isn’t that relevant. It’s what you do before and after that grass is dry and dormant that’s really going to matter,” Lon says. Precipitation is scarce in a good year at the Cherry Creek Ranch, and lengthy drought patterns are normal throughout thousands of years of history.

Strategic grazing allows the Reukaufs to maintain a full bank of forage reserves that will keep the family and their base cattle herd afloat in dry years. The strategy also works to continually invigorate their landscape and encourage diversity in plant growth.
“A big part of the forage reserves is about having an opportunity to pick the market you’re selling into, as opposed to being forced into selling into a market you don’t like,” Lon says.

BUILDING A FINANCIAL RESERVE

Like a forage reserve, a financial reserve is critical to the long term sustainability of the ranch. Adversity is easier to overcome if an emergency fund is built in good years.
“One of the biggest problems with the legacy of farm and ranch families is ensuring the older generation has enough savings in order to step out of the way if and when the next generation comes home, so you’re not both there starving to death,” Lon says. That focus is not only geared to ensuring the ranch can safely transition to the next generation, it’s a key component to maintaining today’s stewardship.
“I can’t think of anything that will make ranchers make worse environmental decisions than buying land at too high of prices, then trying to figure out how to make money off it,” Lon says.

BUILD IN COW REPRODUCTION

Longevity and fertility in the cowherd are the top two production goals at the Cherry Creek Ranch. On the arid eastern Montana landscape, cows must be super-efficient. They’re expected to average at least eight calves in a productive lifetime.
“Cow longevity is our number one cost, if it’s not there,” Lon says. “We want to be mindful of feedlot performance and carcass quality, too, but a super high-production cow just isn’t going to be efficient out here.”
At least 95 percent of cows should breed up and then calve in the first 30 days of the reproductive cycle, which hinges largely on an adequate plan of nutrition during breeding season, made possible by the previous year’s forage reserve and pasture movements timed for this purpose.

BUILD, PRESERVE A HEALTHY LANDSCAPE TO PASS ALONG

Cherry Creek Ranch Lon ReukaufLike his father and grandfather before him, Lon’s biggest goal is to better the landscape so it may continue to be sustainable, profitable and productive for the next generation.

“If I could say what his motto was, it would be to leave the land better than he found it. That’s what he’s worked his whole life for,” Vicki says.
That’s quantified by managing the land for increased production and increased plant and animal diversity. “The problem with that goal is, you never know how far you can go with it. So you just keep improving and keep raising the bar,” Lon says. “There’s never really an end in sight.”

ADDRESS ENVIRONMENTAL CHALLENGES

Water quantity and natural water quality pose the largest challenges at the Cherry Creek Ranch.
“Water is so important to us. We could have cattle thirst to death in a matter of a couple days out here,” Lon says. “So we have to have a plan, and we better have a plan B.”

While the ranch has nearly 15 miles of riparian zones, these are small, ephemeral springs that do not provide reliable stock water in the 20 days of the year they run.“The rotational grazing has a lot to do with keeping the vegetation around the reservoirs from becoming nothing but dirt. By having our watershed covered with an adequate amount of litter and vegetation, it greatly decreases the amount of silt that runs into our reservoir,” Lon says.

REST ROTATIONAL GRAZING, WINTER FORAGE USE

The main management objective of the Reukauf’s six-pasture rotation is resting one pasture for 14 months and then using it exclusively the following May. The ranch utilizes winter grazing with the pastures constituting the majority of the cow’s winter diet, supplemented by high protein for part of the winter. As a result, the tree and shrub regeneration in winter pastures has been successful. In general, grazing use levels of herbaceous plants during the dormant season (October-April) can be higher than during the growing season without significantly stressing the plants. It is important to maintain ground cover to decrease the amount of soil exposed to wind and water erosion. This will also capture more snow and retain moisture.
All cattle are placed in one pasture that was rested the year before for the month of May, or used ‘light and late.’ The other five pastures get deferred until after June 1. All livestock are concentrated in a single pasture except in the fall. Four of the six pastures are deferred until late July.

The combination of these tactics allow for adequate surplus root growth, seed production and new seedling establishment. The ranch also has two, three-pasture deferred rotation systems with the goal of using one pasture only from June 15 to Sept. 1. This allows shrubs and trees to receive no hot season use two years out of three to encourage growth. The late used pasture becomes the early grazed pasture the next year.

STRATEGIC WINTER FEEDING BOOSTS DIKE IRRIGATION SYSTEM

Cherry Creek Ranch Environmental Stewardship Lon Reukauf BLMThroughout the year, mineral, salt and protein blocks are strategically placed as bait to draw cattle into areas with extra forage and away from sensitive areas. No salt or mineral is placed within one-half a mile of water during winter to allow riparian areas to regenerate, and strategic feeding areas feed into a dike system that grows a small amount of hay.

“Manure is a wonderful thing, as long as you don’t pile it up too high,” Lon says. “The two things we can’t afford to lose here are nutrients and water.” Animals are supplemented on a rotating location schedule, with the goal to maximize the use of nutrients by avoiding runoff into clean water. Meanwhile, runoff is captured in a system of dikes to grow forage. Without the diking system, the ranch would be unable to grow a hay crop. The nutritional content of the manure runoff also eliminates the need for synthetic nitrogen.

“We feed like we would spread fertilizer,” Lon says. The 300 acres of hay production on the ranch adds an estimated $50-75,000 of value to the ranch each year.

EARLY WEANING PAYS IN EFFICIENCY

Decades of market analysis and studying forage availability led Lon to weaning early and selling lighter calves to help his cows be more efficient, and also to increase his bottom line.

“When you wean that cow and calf, you can figure you’re cutting your forage consumption in half. You have a dry mama who’s not lactating and a calf who’s no longer eating. That early weaning is a fast way to decrease forage consumption per cow-calf unit,” Lon says. While it costs about $150 per head to feed the calf for an extra 100 days off the cow, it pays off in cow efficiency, near-perfect conception rates and an increased forage bank.
Selling calves at just below 500 pounds has also increased efficiency at the ranch. While they normally wean at 180 days, drought conditions may call for weaning 100-day old calves.

“For us, the cost of adding pounds after 500 is just not worth it. If you put 50 pounds on, how many more dollars per pound per head do you get? It’s not that much when you pencil the true costs in our environment,” Lon says.

TREE REGENERATION POINTS TO HEALTHY LANDSCAPE

A healthy landscape is a diverse landscape, and the Cherry Creek Ranch is home to a wide variety of grasses, shrubs and trees that offer shelter to domestic and wild animals. Years of tree planting efforts throughout the family’s history created a healthy seedbed for regeneration, and the rotational grazing system is geared toward creating a healthy environment for trees to thrive in.Cottonwoods are slowly making a comeback on the ranch, where Lon started placing a square of woven wire paneling around the seedlings to protect young growth. The BLM successfully borrowed his technique for use on other public land in the area.

“It’s not much, but if we can add even just two trees each year, and they live for 80 years – well, that’s a lot of trees,” Lon says. He protects the regrowth of new shrubs and trees by avoiding grazing on 2/3 of the pastures during their most critical growth – June 20 through August 20 – to give the green ash, buffalo berry, snowberry and other woody species a chance to establish. The change has been hugely noticeable, particular over the past 20 years.

“You can see the diversity of the age of these trees; that shows in the landscape,” Lon says. “My dad was an avid bird watcher, but we also just don’t want to live on a barren landscape.”

ONE TREE AT A TIME

Cherry Creek Ranch Reukauf FamilyThat dedication was drilled home each spring of the family’s early years, filled with “character building” memories from Vicki and the kids.“There aren’t many trees here in Eastern Montana,” Vicki says. “Every spring, Lon would order 200 trees, and the kids and I would be out in the mud, creeks and shelterbelts planting hundreds of those trees with shovels.”

The success rate is small – water is scarce, the environment is harsh – but the effort is worthwhile. Each tree that survives improves wildlife habitat and the ranch’s landscape. Year after year, the same painstaking effort goes into water development, strategic grazing and native rangeland health.“It’s all gradual – there’s no magic shazam to doing things right,” Lon says.

Rather, it’s the discovery of little successes – one new cottonwood, a shade greener stream bed, a fresh patch of native grass, a higher percentage of bred cows – that continues to drive stewardship, conservation and sustainability at the Cherry Creek Ranch.
“I didn’t return here to this place and this lifestyle for money.” Lon says. “I love the land. What’s important to me is taking care of things now so the next generation can make a stable income and enjoy a beautiful, clean, diverse place to call home.”

 To learn more about the Montana Environmental Stewardship Award program, click here. The Montana ESAP program is partially sponsored by the Montana Beef Checkoff programs.

Montana Rancher Feature – Jed Evjene of Two Dot

This week’s Montana Rancher Feature highlights Jed Evjene from Two Dot. Jed and his wife, Annie, manage the American Fork Ranch, which was recognized this year for their work in environmental stewardship, conservation and sustainability. The Evjenes raise Angus/Hereford cross cattle on their ranch. Learn more about the Environmental Stewardship Award Program. Connect with the American Fork Ranch on Facebook.

Be sure to leave Jed any questions in the comments section below and check out other posts in our Montana Rancher Feature series. Know a member of the Montana ranching community who should be featured in a future post? Use this online form to send us the information!


American Fork Ranch Environmental Stewardship Jed EvjeneHow is your family involved in the Montana ranching community? My wife is also ranching. My youngest son operates a ranch in South Dakota. My middle son works as a ranch hand during the summer on a ranch east of Big Timber.

I conserve water or work to ensure good water quality on my ranch by… Work very hard to ensure good water quality on the ranch by placing stock water tanks in upland places, lessening the impact within riparian areas with a controlled grazing plan in conjunction with placement of stock tanks.

My favorite cut of beef is… Rib eye steak

My role model (or superhero) is… Is my wife. She is the hardest working and the most honest person I know.

When I’m not ranching, I like to… Announce rodeos and tour other ranching operations

My favorite thing about being a part of the Montana ranching community is… Knowing we are helping feed the world and protecting the land while doing it.

I’m working to protect the environment on my ranch by… Management of livestock, land, water and people.

I’m working to prevent erosion on my ranch by… Making sure the native range grasses are healthy and better tillage practice.

I think we need more young people involved in ranching because… To continue to supply the world with the safest food products, continue to protect the land, water and environment.

I’m working to create healthy soil on my ranch by… Keeping good cover and lessening soil erosion as much as possible.

One way I utilize technology on the ranch is by… Record keeping with computers.

Proper handling and welfare of livestock is important to me because… Is the upmost importance! They are the means of harvesting our number one crop and that is our grass, which in return they provide us with a protein supply that feeds the world.

Click the image above to see more Montana Rancher Features!

Click the image above to see more Montana Rancher Features!

I work to provide for wildlife habitat on my ranch by… Increasing wildlife habitat and providing clean water, feed and shelter.

I always knew I would be in the ranching business. I chose the agricultural life because… I knew from a very young age that this is what I was meant to do.

I work to ensure we raise a safe and affordable beef product by… Practicing the best possible methods of animal husbandry we can with our livestock. Also by getting out there and telling our story.

What would you like beef customers to know about your role in the ranching community? That we care for our land, water, livestock and people more than any other business in the world.

Montana Rancher Feature – Suze Bohleen from Wilsall

This week’s Montana Rancher Feature highlights Suzanne (Suze) Bohleen from Wilsall. Suze is in her 40th year as a cattle buyer and is frequently active in sharing beef education with youth across the state.

Be sure to leave Suze any questions in the comments section below and check out other posts in our Montana Rancher Feature series. Know a member of the Montana ranching community who should be featured in a future post? Use this online form to send us the information!


Suze Bohleen WilsallWhat is your role in the Montana ranching community? For the past 40 years, I have been in the business as a cattle buyer. I also manage cattle for out of state owners as they background cattle and then run them on grass before they take them to feedlots in the Midwest. In my spare time, I am the Beef Education Chair for the Montana CattleWomen. I work with teachers, educators and other Ag groups to bring Ag, especially beef, information and experiences to the classroom and afterschool experiences. I also am a volunteer for the Park County CASA program.

How is your family involved in the Montana ranching community? My mother still has the ranch she inherited in CA and my sister and brother-in-law, Chris and Dan Byrd, and their son, Ty Byrd, are Byrd Cattle Co of Red Bluff, CA, a registered Angus outfit.

I conserve water or work to ensure good water quality on my ranch by… When we had the ranch, we installed more efficient livestock watering systems and irrigation systems.

My favorite cut of beef is… Old Fashioned Pot Roast with vegetables from my garden

My favorite quote is… “It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.” — Henry David Thoreau”

When I’m not ranching, I like to… Watch my Horses run at some Barrel Races

My favorite thing about being a part of the Montana ranching community is… I love how our community takes care of each other and supports each other.

I think we need more young people involved in ranching because… We are all getting older.

Click the image above to see more Montana Rancher Features!

Click the image above to see more Montana Rancher Features!

I’m working to create healthy soil on my ranch by… Controlled grazing, and weed spraying.

Proper handling and welfare of livestock is important to me because… Safety first for our animals and everybody who works around them.

I work to provide for wildlife habitat on my ranch by… We must have done a good job, we had Moose, Elk, and Deer on our place. We allowed controlled hunting (with written permission).

What would you like beef customers to know about your role in the ranching community? I love BEEF, and it’s important to give them a great piece of BEEF, too.

Montana Rancher Feature – John Henry Beardsley from Terry

This week’s Montana Rancher Feature highlights John Henry Beardsley from Terry. John Henry is 24, grew up on the family ranch and has recently branched out to his operation during the past year. He runs a small cow-calf operation with a small feedlot and row crop operation.

Be sure to leave John Henry any questions in the comments section below and check out other posts in our Montana Rancher Feature series. Know a member of the Montana ranching community who should be featured in a future post? Use this online form to send us the information!


John Henry BeardsleyWhat type and/or breed of livestock and/or crops do you raise? I have an Angus based cow herd. I incorporate cross breeding using Hereford and Irish Black bulls to attain an F1 female. I then in turn take a Charolais bull and put back on the F1 females that have been retained, I feel the 3-way cross calves give me more return and greater performance. I currently raise corn for silage but plan to integrate more crops into the program.

Off the ranch, what type of services or products do you provide to the Montana ranching community? This is my third year as a marketing representative for Superior Livestock Auction. As a marketing representative I travel to various ranches consigning their livestock to our video auction. Traveling the countryside you get to see the great cattle that are being raised in this part of the country along with witnessing the benefits that agriculture has on the environment.

How is your family involved in the Montana ranching community? The family operation recently celebrated it’s Centennial. My great grandfather homesteaded near Ismay, MT and as the fourth generation my siblings and I carry on the tradition of ranching. We are all involved in agriculture and the family operation.

My favorite song is… Troubadour by George Strait

My favorite cut of beef is… As long as it is beef, I am happy

My favorite quote is… “Do what you can, where you are, with what you have” – Theodore Roosevelt

When I’m not ranching, I like to… Team rope, ranch rodeo and golf

I conserve water or work to ensure good water quality on my ranch by… I manage runoff from my feedlot to be utilized as fertilizer and not spill into waterways. Strive to have less tillage in our fields to retain moisture and prevent erosion.

My favorite thing about being a part of the Montana ranching community is… Agriculture is the one business where a disaster will strike and people may have nothing left but they are still willing to take the shirt off their back to help someone out.

I’m working to protect the environment on my ranch by… Implementing cover crops to improve soil health and grazing pastures on a rotational program to improve the grass and the soil. I have the philosophy that we are selling our grass through the cattle. Without a healthy environment, you do not have a healthy business.

I’m working to prevent erosion on my ranch by… Maintaining a healthy cover on fields and pastures decreases erosion greatly.

I think we need more young people involved in ranching because… Throughout the industry, the average age of the rancher is 65 years old. The current demand for beef is higher than it has ever been. There are endless opportunities for young people to get started in Agriculture and we need someone to fill the gap.

I’m working to create healthy soil on my ranch by… Implementing a cover crop rotation along with our regular crops builds up nutrients and organic matter than replenishes soil health. Grazing is very critical as well. The hoof action churns up the soil to allow moisture in and plants to thrive.

Click the image above to see more Montana Rancher Features!

Click the image above to see more Montana Rancher Features!

One way I utilize technology on the ranch is by… GPS on the equipment along with wireless cameras to help check on cattle

Proper handling and welfare of livestock is important to me because… Quiet cattle mean healthy cattle, which in turn makes for happy cattle.

I work to provide for wildlife habitat on my ranch by… I like to leave crop residue and cover for wildlife to flourish. On my operation, there is riverfront with very dense cover, and an abundance of crops to make many species thrive.

I work to ensure we raise a safe and affordable beef product by… Keeping adequate records on animal health along with feedstuffs. My cattle are enrolled in a hormone free and government certified all natural program. This program ensures that customers are getting the product that they have asked for.

What would you like for beef customers to know about your role in the ranching community? I am very young so I have not played a big role yet. What makes me happy is when I can encourage one of my fellow peers to get involved in Agriculture. I like seeing people succeed.

Montana Rancher Feature – Jerry Jones from Kirby

In this week’s Montana Rancher Feature, we highlight Jerry Jones from Kirby. Jerry works on the family ranch as owner/manager. Jerry says, “this means that I do every part of the ranch work – feeding cattle in the winter. calving cattle out, haying and gathering cattle in the fall.”

Be sure to leave Jerry any questions in the comments section below and check out other posts in our Montana Rancher Feature series. Know a member of the Montana ranching community who should be featured in a future post? Use this online form to send us the information!


Jerry JonesMy favorite song is… Landslide by Fleetwood Mac

My favorite cut of beef is… Rib Eye

What type and breed of livestock do you raise? I have a herd of cattle that are mostly Black Angus. I breed these cattle to black bulls and some Hereford.

How is your family involved in the Montana ranching community? My dad is pretty much retired so he does not do much of the work lately. It is pretty much just me working the ranch. When the ranch was started, there were three brothers. One of the brothers moved away and started his own ranch and the other brother and my dad stayed where we are now. My dad’s brother passed away two years ago and as I said, my dad is pretty much retired.

When I’m not ranching, I like to… Used to play golf and volleyball. In the winter I would go skiing

My role model (or superhero) is… My role model is any of the ranchers who will step forward and become a director or officer in Montana Stockgrowers (yes, I know a shameless plug). It takes a lot of effort and time to put forth this kind of commitment.

My favorite quote is… “The difficult we do immediately, the impossible takes us a little longer.” — My uncle (Hugh Jones) told me this one time and it sticks in my head. Anytime I have a hard task I just think of this quote.

My favorite thing about being a part of the Montana ranching community is… In my area, everybody helps each other- branding cattle, gathering and moving said cattle. They will do anything that needs done if you were in an accident and could not do your own work.

I did (or did not) always know I would be in the ranching business. I chose the agricultural life because… I kind of knew I wanted to be in the ranching business when I was in high school. It just seemed like it was a great way to make a living and do what I wanted to do.

Click the image above to see more Montana Rancher Features!

Click the image above to see more Montana Rancher Features!

I think we need more young people involved in ranching because… The ranching community is not getting any younger and we need new ideas brought forward from the younger generation.

I work to provide for wildlife habitat on my ranch by… I leave my pastures in fair shape so the deer, elk can have good grazing themselves.

Proper handling and welfare of livestock is important to me because… We must show our consumers that we care for the food they eat. We don’t want to sell a sick or injured animal because this would be a discount.

I work to ensure we raise a safe and affordable beef product by… I worked to obtain my Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) certification.

What would you like for beef customers to know about your role in the ranching community? That a majority of the ranchers in the U.S. raise a safe and wholesome product. We try to take care of our animals as best as we can do.

Montana Running Ranchers Take Beef Message on 200-Mile Relay

Montana Running Ranchers logoIn the world of running and fitness, challenges are king as obstacle courses and overnight-relay races have gained popularity in recent years by fitness enthusiasts and health-conscious consumers. Montana ranchers are taking part in the fun and using this scene as an opportunity to advocate for beef as part of a healthy diet and lifestyle.

On July 17 and 18, twelve members of the Montana Running Ranchers relay team took part in the Ragnar Relay Series Northwest Passage race. This event began in Blaine, Washington and covered 200(ish) miles, wrapping up in Langley. The team finished the race in just under 27 hours, placing 26th in the division, out of 354 teams.

This year’s course took the team along iconic sights of the northwest Washington coast. Right from the start near the Canadian border, team members ran in view of the Cascade and Olympic Mountain ranges, Deception Pass and the Puget Sound. The team ran through the night and completed the race on Whidbey Island northwest of Seattle.

The Montana Running Ranchers Relay team consists of members from the state’s ranching community, participating in large relay events outside the state and connecting with beef consumers from across the country. During previous years, the team has traveled to events in Colorado, Napa Valley and the Hood to Coast event in Oregon.

Motnana Running Ranchers Ragnar 2015 VanThe race events provide an opportunity for Montana Running Ranchers to connect with others who have similar interests in health and fitness. The teams vans were decorated in Team Beef logos and brands from area ranches who sponsored the trip. These brands (and steaks) do not go unnoticed by event participants, which often leads to opportunities to answer several questions about beef as part of a healthy diet, Montana’s ranchers and the cattle industry.

This year’s team members include team captain, Aeric Reilly of Great Falls, Ryan Goodman of Helena, Casey Coulter of Brusett, Sarah Nash of Harlowton, Billie Jo Holzer of Moccasin, Christy Gerdes of Huntley, Evelyn Halverson of Big Timber, Rachel Keaster of Belt, Christy Pletan of Harlowton, Rex Reilly of Stanford, and Ronnie Halverson of Big Timber. This year’s team also included an out of state recruit and Montana State alumnus from Ione, Oregon, Ed Rollins.

The team certainly appreciates support of local businesses and Montana ranchers who contribute to the opportunity for this advocacy effort. High Country Snack Foods supplied beef jerky and pemmican for the team to share with runners along the course. A special thank you to Western Ag Reporter for helping promote the team throughout the year.

Montana Running Ranchers Ragnar 2015 Blaine WashingtonBe sure to follow Montana Running Ranchers team members throughout the year as they compete in running events across the state and continue sharing their experiences with runners from outside the agriculture community. Follow the team throughout the year by joining the “Montana Running Ranchers/ Team Beef Montana” group on Facebook.

To learn more about joining Team Beef Montana, a consumer outreach program of the Montana Beef Council, visit montanabeefcouncil.org.

2015 team sponsors included the following Montana ranches and businesses:

  • Montana Beef Council
  • Montana Farmers Union
  • Montana Land Reliance
  • Western Ag Reporter
  • Silveus Insurance Group
  • Stockgrowers
  • U.S. Cattlemens
  • Dick and Cathy Holzer
  • Rance Gerdes
  • Indian Creek Ranch
  • Mick & Earline Gaettle
  • Jerry Jones
  • Earl & Glenda Stucky
  • Deegan Ranch
  • Walborn Cattle Co.
  • Neal & Janice Woldstad
  • John & Jeanne Mohr
  • Redland Red Angus
  • Sharon Livingston
  • Linda Grosskropf
  • Ehlke Herefords
  • Ginger Silvers
  • Mike & Debbie Hammond
  • 3C Cattle Company – Chad and Lacey Sutherlin

Stockgrowers Foundation to host Gala Dinner and Golf Tournament

TBone Classic LogoLeaders from Montana’s ranching and business communities are invited to gather for a round of golf and networking at the T-Bone Classic Gala Dinner and Golf Tournament at Big Sky Resort, August 27-28. The annual event benefits the Research and Education Endowment Foundation (REEF) of the Montana Stockgrowers Association (MSGA).

“The T-Bone Classic is organized to address the need for stronger relationships between leadership from Montana’s business and ranching communities; both essential parts of our state’s leading economies,” says John Grande of Martinsdale, Chair of the Stockgrowers Foundation. “The Classic provides the opportunity to network in the atmosphere of a gala dinner event and friendly golf tournament at one of the best locations in Big Sky Country.”

Events at the T-Bone Classic will include a fundraiser gala dinner and auction at Huntley Lodge on Thursday evening, August 27. Starting early Friday morning, attendees are invited to a brunch followed by a friendly round of golf on Big Sky’s golf course. An awards banquet with announcement of winners will close out the event on Friday afternoon.

MSGA’s Research and Education Endowment Foundation (REEF) is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization established to ensure the future of Montana’s livestock community and businesses through producer and public education. REEF works to educate our future generations on the importance of values, work ethic, leadership, innovation, respect, collaboration and optimism.

With these essential elements, the Foundation can continue to work towards MSGA’s vision, “to be the premier institution that exemplifies leading global beef innovation while preserving Montana’s complex natural landscape, history, economy, ethics and social values.”

Tickets for the T-Bone Classic are now available on our Events page. Teams will consist of four players and individual tickets are available for the gala dinner event. A block of rooms at Huntley Lodge is reserved through July 27. For more information, contact Montana Stockgrowers Association at (406) 442-3420.

Young Montana Ranchers Participate in National Leadership Conference

Two young Montana ranchers recently joined over 50 cattle producers from across the country and across the industry to participate in the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association’s 2015 Young Cattlemen’s Conference. Representing Montana Stockgrowers Association (MSGA) were Dusty Hahn of Townsend and Lacey Sutherlin of Stevensville.

The aim of the NCBA’s YCC program is to give these young leaders an understanding of all aspects of the beef industry from grass to plate, and showcase issues management, research, education and marketing. Beginning in Colorado, 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 our membership.

While in Denver, 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 were able to visit the Chicago Board of Trade, learning about risk-management and mitigation tools available to the cattle industry. In Chicago, they also 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 issue briefing on current policy priorities; including trade and Country-of-Origin Labeling and ample opportunity to visit with Montana’s congressional representatives.

Dusty Hahn of Townsend, Montana.

Dusty Hahn of Townsend, Montana.

Dusty Hahn is a fifth generation cattle rancher from Townsend, MT, which is located near the headwaters of the Missouri River in beautiful southwestern Montana. After attending college at Montana State University in Bozeman and earning a degree in Agricultural Operations Technology, he returned to the family ranch, where he works with his father, brother, cousin, uncle, and grandmother to ensure the ranch’s continuing success.

Hahn Ranch is a diversified agricultural operation that strives for high volume, high quality production. A predominantly Angus based 500 head cow/calf herd ranges on a mix of private land and private, state, and federal grazing leases. The farm grows a mix of alfalfa hay, small grains, silage corn, and forage crops on 1,000 acres, most of which is irrigated by center pivots. A trucking company that hauls general flatbed freight, grain, and livestock, and a small cattle feeding enterprise round out Hahn Ranch’s business entities.

Dusty has been actively involved with the Montana Stockgrowers Association for 15 years. He has served as a committee vice-chair and chairperson. He recently complete a 9 year term on the MSGA Foundation’s Trustee board, where he served as vice-chair and chairperson. Dusty is an advocate for agriculture, and has hosted an international trade delegation, a Congressman, and school children so that they have a better understanding of agriculture. He has testified on ag related policy at the state legislature. He strives develop leadership skills that will guide the beef industry through pitfalls such as managing infectious diseases that threaten our livelihood, negotiating international trade, and creating favorable policy on the local, state, and federal level.

Lacey Sutherlin Stevensville Young Stockgrowers

Lacey Sutherlin of Stevensville, MT

Lacey Sutherlin from Stevensville, MT has served as the Marketing & Sales Director for ORIgen Inc., a beef cattle genetics company based Billings, MT. The company was founded to provide an avenue for seedstock producers to market their own genetics.

In addition to working at ORIgen, Lacey and her husband Chad Sutherlin own and operate 3C Cattle LLC together in Stevensville, located in the Bitterroot Valley in western Montana. They raise both Angus and Red Angus registered cows. They also grow some small grains and hay.

Lacey graduated from Northwest College in Powell, WY and from Montana State University with a degree in both Animal Science & Agriculture communications. Lacey was member of Livestock Judging Team at both NWC and MSU.

The cattle business is Lacey’s true passion and she enjoys helping today’s youth strive to reach their goals in agriculture, as well as working with her husband Chad to build and improve 3C Cattle. Lacey has served MSGA as a Young Stockgrowers Chair and as part of the Association’s Seedstock Committee.

With the beef industry changing rapidly, identifying and educating leaders has never been so important. 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.

The Montana YCC delegates were supported on their trip by scholarships from the Montana Stockgrowers’ Research and Education Endowment Foundation, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization established to ensure the future of Montana’s cattle industry through producer and public education, and promotion of Montana Stockgrowers Association programs. For more information, contact MSGA at (406) 442-3420 or go to our REEF page.

MidYear Includes Reception Benefiting MSGA Foundation

REEF Reception MissionThe week of our MidYear meeting is here and Stockgrowers is excited to see everyone in Bozeman beginning Thursday afternoon, June 4! Following our Cattlemen’s College with guest speaker and leadership coach, Sarah Bohnenkamp, everyone is invited to attend the Welcome Reception at the Best Western GranTree Inn starting at 7:00 p.m.

Proceeds from the Welcome Reception will benefit our Research & Education Endowment Foundation (REEF), a 501(c)3 which supports MSGA youth, education and leadership programs. The reception will feature appetizers, fun, networking and live music from Crazy Mountain Express. This is sure to be a great time to join everyone in celebrating the MidYear meeting.

REEF will recognize recipients of numerous programs the Foundation supports, including the Educational Heritage Scholarships, the Environmental Stewardship Award Program, Montana’s delegates to the Young Cattlemen’s Conference, the MSU Nancy Cameron Chair in Animal and Range Sciences and the Montana Stockgrowers Fellowship Fund.

During this week’s Welcome Reception, a live auction will be held with a variety of items to support REEF programs. Auction items will include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Bobcat football package with 2 tickets to a MSU Bobcat football game with MSU shot glass, Camelbak water jug and cap
  • Two Bobcat/Grizzly football packages. Each package includes two tickets to the Bobcat/Griz game in Bozeman and $100 gift certificate for dinner at Ferraro’s Fine Italian Restaurant.
  • A package for the NFR: includes a condo on the Las Vegas Strip with one bedroom and living room with fold-out couch for Monday December 7, 2015 through Saturday, December 12 2015. Rodeo tickets for two people for two nights.
  • A rope mirror with the MSGA steer head and REEF’s license plate wording Heritage-Integrity-Tradition etched on it.
  • Two Adirondack chairs
  • David Graham print of the painting commissioned for the MSGA convention in Miles City
  • An assortment of prints
  • A case of wine from Yellowstone Cellars & Winery

Tickets for the Welcome Reception can be purchased today for $35 at mtbeef.org. After June 1, tickets can be purchased on-site for $40.

A special thanks to Lazy SR Ranch of Wilsall for supply beef for the event and to the Welcome Reception sponsor, Loomix/ADM Alliance Nutrition.