Stockgrowers Attend Ranch Leadership Workshop at MidYear

Lacey EhlkeBy Lacey Ehlke, Townsend, Young Stockgrowers Vice-Chair

MSGA’s 2015 MidYear Meeting was a very well planned and executed event. We are all extremely lucky to have such a wonderful staff that is committed to organizing informational, interesting and fun events all year round. If you were not able to attend this year, I highly recommend attending next summer in Great Falls!

At this year’s MidYear, our opening workshop was put on by leadership coach, Sarah Bohnenkamp. I really enjoyed her workshop, as it was applicable to people of all ages. She had a different approach than I have seen in past leadership trainings I have attended. She really focused on self-confidence.

Sarah had us do activities in the group that involved talking about ourselves and our accomplishments, which is not always easy for some people, but is completely necessary to become a good leader. If you do not have confidence in yourself, how can you expect others to have confidence in you?

She also focused on listening skills, which is also a very important in leadership. With more hands-on activities, Sarah taught us the best way to listen to someone so that you understand them, and they know they have been understood. This sounds very simple, but is a crucial part of communication.

Sarah was a great resource and I learned a lot from her. Learning valuable leadership skills is critical today, especially when working with family. I am on the family ranch and work with my parents and sister on a daily basis and communication is key to everything. Realizing the things that you are good at, and working on the things you are not helps everyone to be more efficient, productive and happy to be at home.

We have some exciting plans in the works for the young leaders in our ranching communities. So stay tuned later this summer as we roll out new programs to help build our Association and ranching industry here in Montana.

MidYear Meeting 2015

Stockgrowers Meet in Bozeman for MidYear

The 2015 Montana Stockgrowers Association’s (MSGA) Mid-Year Meeting, held in Bozeman on June 4-6, drew over 150 ranchers and members of the cattle industry from across the state for policy meetings, a leadership-training workshop, the annual Ranch Tour and a concert with Ringling 5. Special guests in attendance included Dr. Gary Brester and Senator Steve Daines.

“Stockgrowers is very thankful to the Bozeman community and Montana State University for welcoming our MidYear event into town,” said MSGA President, Gene Curry from Valier. “Our ranchers enjoyed the opportunity to visit and learn more about the economy and businesses in the Gallatin Valley during this year’s meetings and tour.”

IMG_1668 Ranchers in attendance kicked off the event by taking part in a workshop with leadership coach, Sarah Bohnenkamp. Ranchers of all ages participated in the engaging workshop, learning how to develop individual strengths to be better leaders on family operations and in ranching communities across the state.

A Welcome Reception was held on Thursday evening to benefit the Stockgrowers’ Research and Education Endowment Foundation. The reception included a live auction and recognition of Foundation programs, including scholarship recipients, Young Cattlemen’s Conference Attendees, Environmental Stewardship Award Program honorees and introduction of the Foundation’s new specialty license plates.

Senator Steve Daines joined ranchers in discussions during interim-policy meetings on Friday morning. Daines expressed support for the state’s ranchers and provided an update on important legislation debated this year on Capitol Hill. Contentious topics of discussion included passage of the Trade Promotion Authority, limiting of EPA’s proposed Waters of the U.S. rule and keeping sage grouse off the Endangered Species list.

Other topics discussed during interim-policy meetings included repeal of mandatory Country of Origin Labeling, proposed EIS for bison management in the Greater Yellowstone Area, changes in the Department of Livestock and the state’s Veterinary Diagnostics Laboratory along with updates on programs from MT Fish, Wildlife and Parks.

Opening General Session featured MSU agriculture economics professor, Dr. Gary Brester with insight on current cattle market trends. Brester was optimistic on the cattle market outlook, confident that high quality will continue to support strong international demand for U.S. cattle genetics and beef.

IMG_1647MidYear attendees had the opportunity to learn about businesses and the rural economy of the Gallatin Valley during the annual Ranch Tour and Dinner. Tour stops included Simms Fishing Products at Four Corners where ranchers learned about the company’s international business in fishing gear and clothing products. The tour then visited Copper Spring Ranch to learn more about the performance quarter horse operation and the ranch’s investments in holding benefit events to help those in the ranching communities across the state.

Ranchers wrapped up the event with a dinner at Broken Hart Ranch near Gallatin Gateway and live entertainment by Ringling 5.

Plans are in the works for Stockgrowers’ Annual Convention and Trade Show, taking place December 3-5 at the MetraPark in Billings. To learn more about Montana Stockgrowers membership, programs and events, visit or contact the MSGA office at (406) 442-3420.

For more photos from the event, visit our Facebook page.

Kicking off 2015 MidYear Meeting in Bozeman

If you're on the MSU campus, keep an eye out for our Massey Ferguson tractor to designate our reserved parking lot this week! Also, don't forget to purchase your raffle tickets for the chance to win an 8-month/200-hour lease for this tractor!

Montana Stockgrowers is certainly excited to kick off our 2015 MidYear Meeting in Bozeman today! Preparations are going well and the staff at the MSU Department of Animal & Range Sciences are more than gracious hosts, allowing the use of their Animal Bioscience Building for the majority of our meetings this year.

Our schedule for the next two days includes a number of meetings, guest speakers and great topics for the Montana ranching community. We’re excited to host Sarah Bohnenkamp, leadership coach and active member of the ranching community, for a leadership workshop in today’s Cattlemen’s College. Friday morning’s Policy Committee meetings will include a variety of topics to discuss policy subjects impacting Montana’s ranchers and landowners. Opening General Session will answer a question all ranchers have – How long will these record cattle prices last? Dr. Gary Brester will take a look at historic spikes in market prices and share what we might learn and apply to today’s cattle markets.

If you’re on the MSU campus, keep an eye out for our Massey Ferguson tractor to designate our reserved parking lot this week! Also, don’t forget to purchase your raffle tickets for the chance to win an 8-month/200-hour lease for this tractor!

Be sure to follow along with our events on social media through Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. We’ll be using the hashtag #MSGA15 and encourage everyone in attendance to share the experience through online posts!

A big Thank You to all of our sponsors for this year’s meeting and to all of those in attendance this week!

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 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.

MidYear Meeting 2015

Stockgrowers MidYear to Feature Short and Long Term Cattle Price Outlook

What will the markets do next? Aside from keeping an eye on the weather forecast, this seems to be the frequent question among ranchers in today’s cattle business. With recent record-high calf prices, we’re not always sure what to expect next, only guessing whether the markets will fall or continue climbing.

At Stockgrowers 2015 MidYear meeting, attendees will be provided with some insight and historical context to today’s cattle market prices and what can be expected in the months ahead. Dr. Gary Brester, Professor in the Department of Ag Economics at Montana State University, will highlight the Opening General Session on Friday, June 5.

Gary Brester, ag econ MSU photo by Kelly Gorham“Current record-high calf prices have occurred (in inflation-adjusted terms) three times since 1920 — in 1951, 1973, and 1979,” says Brester. “In each case, price spikes were caused by a combination of low cattle numbers and unusual market situations. Each of these record-high price events was short-lived — less than two years.”

In general, prices declined after each of these price spikes after outside economic conditions corrected themselves in response to world events. During these previous periods of high prices, cattle inventories increased for a short time.

Will history repeat itself after 2014’s record-setting cattle prices? Will these high returns to ranchers continue in response to lower world cattle inventories and continued strong beef demand?

Find out more by attending Montana Stockgrowers’ MidYear meeting and hearing from Dr. Brester at the Opening General Session. Event tickets are available online for a 20% discount if registration is completed prior to June 1.

The 2015 MSGA MidYear Meeting takes place on the campus of Montana State University in Bozeman, June 4-6. For more information, contact the MSGA office at (406) 442-3420 or visit our event page.

MidYear Meeting 2015

Montana Stockgrowers to Host 2015 MidYear Meeting in Bozeman

Mark your calendars to celebrate 131 years for Montana Stockgrowers Association at the organization’s MidYear Meeting, June 4-6 in Bozeman. This year’s MidYear event will be highlighted by Cattlemen’s College workshops, a tour of area businesses and live music with Ringling 5 and Crazy Mountain Express!

Mid-Year is one of two major meetings MSGA holds annually where members will gather to discuss the issues facing Montana ranching families and set interim policy to guide the association through the rest of the year. Policy Committee meetings this year will be hosted on the campus of Montana State University.

Events will kick off Thursday afternoon with Cattlemen’s College workshops presented by leadership coach, Sarah Bohenkamp. Ranchers will have the opportunity to learn more about growth in leadership, improving time management and developing skills to build strong relationships that are critical to being successful in the ranching business.

Friday’s Opening General Session will feature MSU Ag Economics Professor, Dr. Gary Brester, who will provide insight for current record cattle prices and provide context from historical market trends. Association policy meetings will take place on Friday with discussion on topics affecting Montana ranchers today. A review of the 2015 Montana Legislative Session activity affecting the ranching community will also take place during the meeting.

Ranchers will gather on Friday night for a steak dinner, fun and live music from Ringling 5. Area business leaders and the community are invited to a special fundraiser event on Thursday night for MSGA’s Research & Education Endowment Foundation, held at the Best Western GranTree Inn, with entertainment by Crazy Mountain Express.

A block of rooms has been reserved at the Best Western GranTree Inn and Holiday Inn. Rooms at discounted rates must be reserved by May 5. For more information about MSGA’s 2015 Mid-Year Meeting, contact MSGA’s office at (406) 442-3420 or join the Facebook event. Registrations are available online for a 20% discount if made prior to June 1. Visit our event page for more details.

Specialists, Generalists, and Working with People

Rachel Endecott Montana Young Stockgrowers Mid Year Miles CityDr. Rachel Endecott, Belgrade, MSU Extension Beef Cattle Specialist

Sometimes, it seems that the world wants people who specialize. For example, my job title is Extension beef cattle specialist; however, “beef cattle” is a fairly general topic. In fact, I’m trained as a ruminant nutritionist, but I help folks with cattle reproductive physiology, genetics, marketing, health, and general management questions on a regular basis in addition to their nutrition questions. I’ve found that my clientele don’t care how I was trained; they just expect answers to their beef cattle questions. My ranch background and animal science training has made me pretty comfortable with the generalist role. And if you think my work makes me a Jill-of-all-trades, think about your county Extension agent. Many of you live in single-agent counties, where that one person handles all the questions that come into the office.

What kind of tree is this? What kind of bug is this? Is this bug killing my tree? Can you help out with the community forum on the new swimming pool? Can you test my pressure cooker before canning season starts? Can you come take a look at the damage the hailstorm did to my wheat? Should I test my grain hay for nitrates? And I’ll leave all the 4-H related questions up to your imagination! I’d encourage you to sit down with your county agent(s) sometime and ask about the variety in their job; you might be surprised.

At Mid Year, I was invited to speak at the Young Stockgrower meeting about issues and trends in the beef cattle industry. I’d say that was a pretty generalist topic, so I started with changes in the use of feed-grade antibiotics and we had a good discussion about that and a few other topics. At the end, all the speakers took questions as a panel, one of which was “What advice would you give to a young person who wants to talk to their folks or grandparents about making a change on the operation?”

My answer was this: Get some soft skill leadership training before you have that conversation. Now this might raise an eyebrow or two out there in MSGA readership land, and probably did that day in Miles City, too. But here’s where I’m coming from: in school, we choose our area of interest to study with the goal specializing in that area of interest, be it animal science, ag business or whatever. I think most would agree that as you enter the workforce (and for the rest of your career), you might have to generalize some depending on the job.

Did you learn about how to effectively work with people from other generations or different personality types? I know I didn’t. And (as I was reminded at the ranch rodeo by one of my clientele), I’ve gone to a lot of school! But you know what a major part of my job is? Working with people. I bet it’s a pretty big part of your job, too. What would it be like to have some training to help you work more effectively with people?

Fantastic Outcome for Foundation at MSGA’s Mid-Year Meeting

MSGA's Foundation Trustees at Mid-Year Meeting 2014.

MSGA’s Foundation Trustees at Mid-Year Meeting 2014.

The 2014 Montana Stockgrowers Association’s Mid Year Meeting in Miles City provided a fantastic outcome for the Research & Education Endowment Foundation (REEF). At multiple fundraising events throughout Mid Year, the Foundation brought in generous donations, totaling more than $15,000, to help support Montana’s youth via scholarships and educational opportunities for the ranching community.

This year, the Foundation was lucky to receive many auction items donated from Montana ranchers and the community. REEF trustees also hosted a fundraiser pancake breakfast for meeting attendees on Saturday morning. The proceeds from the events go to the Foundation’s scholarship funds.

This year’s auction items included an original commissioned David Graham painting, along with several prints, featuring generations working together on the ranch; a beautiful saddle from the Pilster family of Alzada, honoring their late son, Shawn Pilster; and a Montana State University football package that consisted of Athletic Director box seats and a gift certificate to Ferraros in Bozeman. The auction items brought in over $13,500 to support REEF scholarship funds.

During the Ranch Tour dinner, the Foundation honored this year’s Montana Educational Heritage Scholarship winner, Ariel Overstreet-Adkins. She is currently attending law school at the University of Montana with hopes to one day help Montana’s ranchers with legal issues in the areas of Natural Resources.

The Foundation also transitioned its chairman seat from Dusty Hahn of Townsend to John Grande of Martinsdale. “I’ve really enjoyed my time on the Trustee board and seeing the Foundation go to the next level in educating youth and our membership,” said Hahn after completing his five year term as REEF Chairman. Nancy Ereaux of Malta was voted in as vice-chair.

If you missed this year’s Mid-Year Meeting and would like to contribute to the Foundation, please visit to learn about ways you can help. Also, follow us on Facebook and Twitter for daily news and features.

We want to thank those in attendance for their support of the Foundation. The Montana ranching community wouldn’t be the same without you.

Foundation Trustees with auction items.jpg

Some of the Foundation Trustees pictured with the auctioned saddle and painting.

Ariel Overstreet-Adkins with Dusty Hahn.

Ariel Overstreet-Adkins with Dusty Hahn.

Dusty Hahn, Outgoing Foundation Chairman

Dusty Hahn, Outgoing Foundation Chairman

John Grande, Incoming Foundation Chairman

John Grande, Incoming Foundation Chairman


Stockgrowers Continue Tradition, Host Mid Year in Miles City

MSGA Directors Jim Steinbeisser and Jack Holden in the Parade in Downtown Miles City

MSGA Directors Jim Steinbeisser and Jack Holden in the Parade in Downtown Miles City

The 2014 Montana Stockgrowers Association (MSGA) Mid-Year Meeting drew over 300 ranchers from across the state for policy meetings and MSGA’s annual Ranch Tour. The meeting also hosted several events for the community, including a concert with the Bellamy Brothers, an All-Horse/Livestock Parade through downtown, and the Miles City Ranch Rodeo.

Here are some of the highlights from the 2014 MSGA Mid-Year Meeting:

-Opening General Session featured Bob McCan, Texas Cattleman and President of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association. McCan discussed several issues affecting Montana ranchers today. The NCBA continues working on rancher’s behalf including the EPA’s Waters of the U.S. proposed ruling, and foreign trade opportunities.

-The 2014 MSGA Ranch Tour began at the Fort Keogh Livestock and Range Research Center where ranchers learned more about the Center’s research work with forage establishment, cow longevity and grazing recovery following range fires. MSGA then traveled to the Range Riders Museum and WaterWorks Art Museum. Finally, the tour traveled to OptiBlend Industries to learn about work in the oil and gas fields, which has a large impact on the economy in Eastern Montana.

The Stockgrowers Ford at Mac's Ford in Miles City

The Stockgrowers Ford at Mac’s Ford in Miles City

-Following the Ranch Tour, a delicious dinner was served at the Eastern Montana Fairgrounds. MSGA’s Research and Education Endowment Foundation (REEF) awarded Ariel Overstreet-Adkins of Helena the 2014 MSGA Educational Heritage Scholarship and held a fund-raiser auction to benefit education programs. The auction included a commissioned painting by local artist David Graham and a saddle donated in memory of the late-Shawn Pilster. The saddle garnered over $10,000 for REEF programs in a rollover auction.

-The community of Miles City also joined in on the Mid Year festivities. On Friday night, the Bellamy Brothers came to the Eastern Montana Fairgrounds for a well-attended concert opened by Copper Mountain Band. On Saturday morning, prior to the Miles City Ranch Rodeo, Stockgrowers hosted an All-Horse/Livestock parade through downtown.

-Two interim policies were passed through during committee meetings on Friday and Saturday mornings. The Beef Production & Marketing Committee passed interim policy in opposition of proposed importation of beef products from Brazil due to concerns of Foot and Mouth Disease being brought to the U.S. The Land Use & Environment Committee passed interim policy regarding the Montana Water Court, encouraging the completion of adjudication.

Ranchers in Policy Meetings at Miles Community College

Ranchers in Policy Meetings at Miles Community College

-The Membership Development & Services Committee passed a new dues structure that will allow Montana’s small ranchers to join MSGA through a fair-share dues structure. Rancher dues for those owning 1-60 head of cattle are now set at $75. Higher due levels are set for those ranchers owning larger numbers of cattle as a part of the dues structure.

-The Young Stockgrowers held a meeting on Thursday afternoon with five featured speakers. Topics ranged from changes in antibiotic use in livestock, soil management, land appraisals, market outlooks and advocacy.

-Mid-Year photos can be seen on MSGA’s Flickr page –

-Plans are already underway for MSGA’s Annual Convention and Trade Show, which will be held Dec. 11-13 in Billings at the Holiday Inn Grand Montana. Watch for more information to be announced at

Mid Year Meeting Next Week | Event Highlights

Montana Stockgrowers 2014 Mid-Year Meeting Miles CityWith only one week to go until the 130th Mid-Year Meeting Celebration the MSGA Board of Directors and staff are busy finalizing details to make this Mid-Year Meeting the best Mid-Year yet! With an incredible list of events this will be the one Mid-Year Meeting you don’t want to miss. Make sure you register TODAY (Monday, June 2) to receive the early registration discount.

Here is a review of the incredible events we have planned for you June 13 & 14 in Miles City, Montana. Go to to purchase your registration.

The Bellamy Brothers Concert

Join us on Friday night June 13th for an amazing concert featuring The Bellamy Brothers! The Bellamy Brothers have received nearly every music award there is to have, and they even hold the record in both the Academy of Country Music and the Country Music Association for the most duo nominations. They’ve written countless worldwide hits, crossed the globe like their music has crossed genres, brought reggae to the Grand Ole Opry, and recorded 45 albums. Wait, that’s not all!

We are also bringing in Copper Mountain Band as the opening act! Copper Mountain Band is a fresh, high-energy country music group from the great state of Montana. With a fiery passion for their craft and an appeal to all audiences, they incorporate music from many genres and styles into their performances. Copper Mountain Band appeals to all audiences as they incorporate music from many genres and styles into their performances. They have found a way to give cover tunes a whole new dimension and they have outstanding original material as well. CMB has recorded two albums featuring several songs written by band members Jacque Jolene, Israel David, and Nate Norman. They have also received praise for their rendition of Cher’s “Just Like Jesse James”.

Opening General Session

Join other progressive ranchers at the Opening General Session at 10:30 a.m. on June 13th! This portion of Mid-Year will gather ranchers together to discuss current issues affecting Montana’s livestock industry. Our keynote speakers will be Gov. Steve Bullock followed by NCBA President Bob McCan.

Old Times All-Horse/Livestock Parade

Saturday, June 14th will bring more fun and excitement at the Old Times All-Horse/Livestock Parade.

Tailgate Luncheon

Hosted by the Young Stockgrowers, this luncheon will feature a networking opportunity and delicious BBQ lunch/beverage gardens out at the Fairgrounds before we cheer on the teams at the Miles City Ranch Rodeo!

Miles City Ranch Rodeo

Cheer on your favorite team at the Miles City Ranch Rodeo. Watch teams of cowboys from Montana ranches compete with one another in one of a kind ranch rodeo events!

Mosquito Festival Street Dance

Dance the night away and enjoy great company at the Miles City Mosquito Festival Street Dance. The Street Dance will feature Copper Mountain Band and will be held on Friday, June 13.

Young Stockgrowers Workshop

Thursday, June 12 at 1:00 p.m. will feature an educational workshop for our Young Stockgrowers. This workshop will feature four different speakers. See our previous post for more on this workshop and speaker topics.

Please visit to register for the 130th Mid-Year Meeting. You can also find a printable registration form for those that would like to register by mail, email, or fax. Register TODAY, June 2 to receive preregistration discounts. For questions please call the MSGA office at 406-442-3420 or email

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