Bair Ranch Foundation Seminar Dates Announced

The Bair Ranch Foundation Seminar Dates have been announced.

The very first seminar of The Bair Ranch Foundation Seminar Series is next week, Wednesday, September 19th.  Vince Smith will give two seminars, a research/technical seminar at Noon in ABB 134 and a Community Talk at 6:00 pm in ABB 134.

There will be a reception starting at 5:30 pm in the Atrium before the Community Talk, everyone is invited.  Please share with anyone you think might like to attend.

If you have any questions please contact Carl Yeoman ([email protected]) or Lance McNew ([email protected]).

Bair Ranch Foundation Seminar Series – Fall Semester 2018

Wednesday, September 19:

MSU Seminar @ Noon in ABB 134

Vince Smith, Professor, Department of Agricultural Economics and Economics, Montana State University

“Food Aid Cargo Preference:  Costs, Benefits and Implications for US Humanitarian Aid Efforts”


Community Talk @ 6:00 pm in ABB 134

Vince Smith, Professor, Department of Agricultural Economics and Economics, Montana State University

“US Agricultural Policy:  Where Have We Been and Where Are We Going?”



Wednesday, October 3:

MSU Seminar @ Noon in ABB 134

Kevin Ellison, Grasslands Ecologist, Northern Great Plains, World Wildlife Fund

“Landscape Scale Interactions between Birds and Agriculture”



Wednesday, October 17:

MSU Seminar @ Noon in ABB 134

Amilton de Mello, Ph.D., Nevada Meat Science Lab, University of Nevada – Reno

“Beef Industry in the U.S. – Challenges and Perspectives”


Community Talk @ 6:00 pm in ABB 134

Amilton de Mello, Ph.D., Nevada Meat Science Lab, University of Nevada – Reno

“Beef Industry in the U.S. – Challenges and Perspectives”



Wednesday, October 31:

MSU Seminar @ Noon in ABB 134

Matthew Cronin, Scientist with Northwest Biology Company

“Population Genetics of Wildlife and Livestock”



Wednesday, November 14:

MSU Seminar @ Noon in ABB 134

Matthew Spangler, Professor, Beef Genetics Specialist, University of Nebraska – Lincoln

“Genetic Selection of Livestock:  Why it Matters to You”


Community Talk @ 6:00 pm in ABB 134

Matthew Spangler, Professor, Beef Genetics Specialist, University of Nebraska – Lincoln

“Genetic Selection of Livestock:  Why it Matters to You”


Montana Stockgrowers Foundation offers $1,000 scholarship

The Montana Stockgrowers Foundation is offering an Educational Heritage Scholarship in the amount of $1,000.

“Thanks to the vision and hard work of  Stockgrower members in Southeastern Montana, the Montana Stockgrowers Foundation is once again able to offer our Educational Heritage Scholarship,” noted Foundation Chairman, John Grande.  “Every year we are impressed by the quality of the college students who apply for this scholarship and we again look forward to selecting and meeting a new winner.”

To be eligible for the Educational Heritage Scholarship, students must currently be enrolled in college and have completed at least one semester of coursework, be a member of Montana Stockgrowers Association (MSGA), and demonstrate a cumulative GPA of at least 3.0.

Applicants must complete the application form, include a copy of their current transcript, write a 500-word essay discussing their educational pursuits, and include two letters of recommendation.


For more information on this scholarship and to apply online, visit the MSGA website at For questions, please email Kori Anderson at [email protected]. If you are interested in these scholarships but are not currently a member of MSGA, join today. Student memberships start at just $20.


The Montana Stockgrowers Foundation is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization established to ensure the future of Montana’s cattle industry through producer and public education, and promotion of MSGA programs. Its mission is to invest in Montana’ ranching community through leadership, education, and conservation.

Know Ranch Employee Needs to Improve People Management

In this video, Casey Risinger, DVM, Risinger Veterinary Hospital, Terrell, Texas, says you have to change yourself to help your team succeed. “I wasn’t sure if this program was something that would work in a veterinary clinic or if it was specifically for a feedyard or dairy. And it wasn’t at all. It was all about if you manage people.” Learn more at

In this video, Casey Risinger, DVM, Risinger Veterinary Hospital, Terrell, Texas, says you have to change yourself to help your team succeed. “I wasn’t sure if this program was something that would work in a veterinary clinic or if it was specifically for a feedyard or dairy. And it wasn’t at all. It was all about if you manage people.” Learn more at

Dr. Casey Risinger is a veterinarian. But he is also a manager of people.

Until now, Dr. Risinger had never given a review to any of his team members. He didn’t know how much he, his staff and business needed it.

“I’ve been told by other people, yes, you need to do this, but I had put it off and put it off,” said Dr. Risinger, of Risinger Veterinary Hospital in Terrell, Texas. “I just think everybody knows what’s going on and what to do. I know what I expect and surely everybody reads my mind. But I realize they don’t.”

Learning how to communicate in new ways with staff helped him see how much he could support his team.

“The reviews really helped me have a better understanding of what was expected of me and what they thought I was expecting out of them,” Dr. Risinger said. “They want to know how they can get better, where I think they can get better, and then they want to be able to express what I can do to help them.”

It even made him aware of issues he had never considered before.

“I would realize there was a problem, but I really didn’t understand where it was coming from,” he said. “I never thought about that, and I think that was one of the key things, is just understanding where people are at and where I can help them. Now I’ve got the tools to do that.”

The only way your business gets bigger and better is through your ability to manage people, he continued.

“I have to change first,” Dr. Risinger said. “The better I get, the better I should be able to help staff, help new employees, help existing people find out the needs they have. I can help the staff, and the more they know, and the more they’ve been trained, the more they can help the customer.

“Encouragement is always the best motivator, and when clients give comments and feedback, this gets everybody excited about trying to do a better job.”

In this video, hear more from Dr. Risinger about how you can learn to help your team. For help identifying ways to build a better team and veterinary clinic, operation or business, contact your local Zoetis representative or visit

This is part of a series on rancher continuing education articles and provided by Zoetis. To see more rancher education posts, click here.

A Different Age of Managing Ranch Employees

In this video, Jason Gerstberger, yard manager at Pioneer Feedyard in Oakley, Kansas, shares why managers need to better understand employees. Learn more at

In this video, Jason Gerstberger, yard manager at Pioneer Feedyard in Oakley, Kansas, shares why managers need to better understand employees. Learn more at

Every employee has a different way of working, thinking and communicating, especially when it comes to different generations. It’s easy to see those differences and challenges, but it’s not as simple to manage.

Rather than just trying to change the team or individuals, it’s important that managers learn how to recognize generational differences and adapt. For Pioneer Feedyard near Oakley, Kansas, this required a different way to manage.

“There’s always challenges with age, race, even males and females in the industry,” said Jason Gerstberger, yard manager at Pioneer Feedyard. “The biggest one was learning to deal with different generational gaps and how to get one generation to understand another generation without causing too many problems or issues. In the older generation, they didn’t ask why, they just went ahead and did the work. But with the younger generation, they want to know why before they go do it.”

Gerstberger understands that to overcome this challenge and get the most out of each employee, managers and supervisors need to take the time to understand each person — and what keeps him or her motivated. It means taking time to understand how to best communicate with people as individuals.

To better learn how to do this, Pioneer Feedyard sent managers through the PeopleFirst™ Supervisory Certificate Program from Zoetis.

“PeopleFirst — we invested in it to get the benefits that we could, to get the most potential out of our employees that we could, not only by work, but by understanding what they’re doing,” Gerstberger said. “And in doing those things, get more out of our people.”

“What it allowed us to do is push our foremen a little bit more,” he continued.

“It helps to tell the older generation, ‘explain to these guys why you’re doing it, and they’ll be able to get it done a lot better and be able to do it with you,’” Gerstberger said. “The foremen are probably more engaged with the individuals they are working with. They can understand how we’re doing it and why we’re doing it. They understand what they’re seeing, what the problems are and help them to fix and increase their profitability on their issues.”

Gerstberger knows that adapting your management style can go a long way.

“Individuals, if they can learn to react a little different to certain situations, they’ll get more respect from the people working under them and, therefore, we’ll get more benefit out of it here at this yard,” Gerstberger said. “You’re going to get more profitability, which they can put back into the cattle.”

In this video, hear more from Gerstberger about what you can do to help your team understand the value of their role to the company’s success. For help identifying ways to invest in and strengthen your employees, contact your local Zoetis representative or visit

This is part of a series on rancher continuing education articles and provided by Zoetis. To see more rancher education posts, click here.

Next Generation Conference Draws Ranchers from Across Montana

Image via Next Generation Conference

Image via Next Generation Conference

If you live in Montana, almost everything starts with a drive. This statement held true for the Montana’s Next Generation Conference held in Shelby, MT on January 30 and 31.  Walking among the crowd nametags declared Malta, Billings, Chinook, Box Elder, Butte, Fort Benton, Geraldine and other far destination were common.  In addition to the travelers approximately 130 participants were locals, meaning they drove 50 miles or less to attend the conference.

Many people have the misconception that farms and ranches are just given to the children when parents are ready to retire.  In reality it just doesn’t work that way.  The first day of the conference focused on Succession Planning, which is about how to get your business operation from one generation to the next or how to include the next generation into the current operation.   There are communication issues, control issues and responsibilities that don’t allow an easy hand off without detailed planning.   Succession is as much about the people involved as it is about the financial aspect.

This year there were repeat attendees who had listened to Kevin Spafford’s workshop last year and returned bringing with them more family members.  Many families find it hard if not impossible to start the conversation about how do we make this transition from one generation to the next work and how do we plan for the future generations.  The younger generation fears rejection and the generation in place fears giving up control of what has been their life’s work, their pride and their income.  Spafford’s presentations helps people to see that delaying that conversation basically means failure to ensure that the family farm or ranch will stay in the family.

Spafford repeatedly pointed out that the attendance is larger at Montana’s Next Generation Conference than many national conferences.  Also for two years in a row he has been delighted by the fact that attendance of the younger oncoming generation out numbers the in place or middle generation by such a great amount.  It shows there are young people waiting and wanting to take over.

Saturday kicked off at the High School where there were 36 high quality breakout sessions and two panel discussions covering livestock production and cropping.   Cindy Halley, Carter, stated, “At all the workshops I attended I gained knowledge and great information.  I learned lots and now need to go home and do my homework (on bull genetics and selection).”

Kenny Benson, Sunburst, is looking to moving back to the family ranch.  After attending Lyle Allen, Lewistown Livestock Auction, and Gary Buffington’s, Northern Video Representative, presentation on Beginning Beef Cattle Marketing he stated, “There were a lot of good tips for getting more dollars. There are so many things to think about.”

Kory Fauque, KW Insurance, has been a favorite presentation of attendees and his facilitating of the Cropping Panel is well done.  Fauque frequently knows the producers and what questions to ask them to spotlight their knowledge and skills.

When asked why he drove all the way from Billings, William Archembault stated he had been told by his FSA Officer that this was the best (borrowers) training in the state.   FSA requires borrowers to get training on how to manage their finances and records. They can get the mandatory training condensed into one weekend by attending the Montana’s Next Generation Conference, which is a great time saver for many.

Lacy Roberts, FSA Loan Officer from Glacier County, the Borrower Trainer and one of the main organizers of the event stated, “I was very excited to see the participation from across the state of Montana and enthusiasm for learning. It is great when people come up to you after the conference and say they wish they could have had another day of workshops to learn more! We are very appreciative of all the speakers and sponsors who helped make this event possible along with all the great help we received from the Toole and Glacier County FSA offices, Marias River Livestock, the Glacier and Toole County Extension Agents and Farm Bureau. We really have a great team to work with!”

Beef Council Contractor Spotlight: Montana Beef Quality Assurance

Montana Beef Council logoBeef Checkoff dollars help fund the Montana Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) program that provides critical guidelines for safe and humane beef cattle production. Each year it becomes more important for all stakeholders to learn best management techniques in a continuing effort to build and maintain consumer confidence in our product. BQA is a voluntary commitment from responsible producers because it is the right thing to do!

Montana Beef Quality Assurance BQA Show You Care AdCheckoff dollars help spread the message and tell our story throughout the state of Montana. In 2014 we told the BQA story across the state to rancher-attended seminars and conventions, livestock auction barn audiences, 4-H Clubs, FFA Chapters and Conventions, VoAg Instructor groups, Facebook posts and email news blasts to greatly increase the numbers of Montana stakeholders registering for and completing online BQA certification.

According to Dee Griffin, DVM, MS University of Nebraska, co-founder of the BQA Program, “Beef Quality Assurance is nothing more than thoughtful, responsible cattle management!”   Funding from the Checkoff Program makes it happen. Go to and register today!

Upcoming events include a Calf Whisperer halter breaking event at Winter Fair on Sunday, February 1, 2015 at the fairgrounds in Lewistown. Everyone is invited and encouraged to watch as we halter break a heifer calf safe and humanely. For more information, to host or participate in a BQA event in-person, contact Bill Pelton at (406) 671-5100 or [email protected]

Two Days of Producer Education Headlines Cattle Industry Convention

Terry Haughian Kinsey Montana San Antonio Cattle Industry Convention

Kinsey, Montana rancher, Terry Haughian, participates in a Cattlemen’s College Session on Water Issues of the U.S. on Wednesday, February 4

SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS – The Cattle Industry Convention kicked off with two days of producer education on Feb. 3-4, 2015. Cattlemen’s College, sponsored by Zoetis Animal Health, has become widely known as one of the most thorough, in-depth educational events offered to cattlemen and women in the country. Celebrating its 22nd year, the event saw outstanding attendance with more than 1,350 attendees.

Hands-on cattle demonstrations kicked off the event Tuesday night, highlighting how beef producers can add value to their market cows. Industry experts, including Dr. Gary Smith, Dr. Keith Belk, and Dr. Dale Woerner, explained how cattlemen can improve the quality, consistency and competitiveness of beef produced from market cows through management decisions on the farm or ranch. Later, attendees were treated to some southern hospitality at a reception sponsored by Certified Angus Beef.

Also, as part of the industry effort to increase producer education, the checkoff-funded Beef Quality Assurance program introduced and updated Cattle Care and Handling Guidelines at the Producer’s Forum Tuesday evening. The guidelines, which are industry-wide standards for cattle care and handling, now include the 2014 BQA supplemental guidelines, advice on cold stress management, and guidelines for the judicious use of antibiotics in the cattle industry.

“Cattlemen take great pride in properly caring for their livestock and the BQA program has proven very successful in providing guidelines that producers can adapt to fit their needs,” said Josh White, director of producer education for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association. “This refreshed handbook provides additional information with updated graphics and a revised look.”

Cattlemen’s College started back up early Wednesday morning with a keynote address by Chef Mike Erickson, who is a champion at connecting consumers to how beef is raised. Erickson advocates for the beef industry and dedicates his time to teaching others in culinary about how beef gets from pasture to plate.

“I think it is important for people in the culinary world to understand how beef is raised and get to know the people who spend their lives producing such a fine product for us,” said Erickson. “If those of us preparing the beef are educated on how it is raised, we can help spread the positive story of beef. The cattle industry has so much good going for it and we have to get that message out to people.”

Throughout the day attendees could choose from a wide range of informative, hands-on educational workshops designed for cattle operations of every size and sector. Classes ranged from understanding the economics of rebuilding the domestic herd, land and water rights issues in the United States, to proper cattle nutrition and the future use of antibiotics in food animals. Each session delivered stimulating and thought-provoking information to help cattlemen and women generate higher returns back home on the ranch.

For more information about the Cattle Industry Convention and NCBA Trade Show visit and follow #CIC15 and #BeefMeet on Facebook and Twitter.

MSU Extension offers advice on evaluating soil health

Image via:

Image via:

BOZEMAN – Experts with Montana State University and MSU Extension have recommendations for growers on evaluating soil quality and health.

The concept may seem subjective, but there are ways to measure and improve soil health. It takes time to measure, monitor and manage to improve soil health, but it can be worth the effort for potential benefit in sustainability and productivity.

“With ‘soil heath’ now being a frequently heard term, we want agricultural producers to be aware of what factors contribute to soil heath and how they can be reliably measured,” said Clain Jones, Extension soil fertility specialist at MSU.

Soil productivity is influenced by its chemical characteristics, physical structure and biological activity. Measurements of these properties provide an estimate of the soil’s ability to produce crops. Indicators of soil productivity can be tracked over time, compared in side-by-side fields, or compared to a reference soil and are useful to assess the effect of management or evaluate problem areas.

Chemical soil characteristics, including pH, soil organic matter, nutrient levels and cation exchange capacity are often part of routine soil analyses done by analytical labs. The physical properties such as available water holding capacity (also called plant available water), bulk density, porosity and aggregate stability, are also most reliable if measured by an accredited lab, yet not all labs perform these measurements. Field tests are available for many of these soil properties but they often rely on subjective interpretation of potentially imprecise measurements. Microbial activity is also important, yet has the least defined set of measureable factors by which it can be quantified.

For a quick assessment of soil health, get out a shovel and dig. Compare a cropped soil with undisturbed fence-line soil. How deep do roots go? Does it break apart easily? Does it smell earthy? Is there evidence of worms? Darker color indicates more soil organic matter or soil carbon.

“The shovel test can give the grower an idea of their soil quality and identify what problems they might be facing,” said Jones.

Major steps towards increasing soil health are to reduce tillage, increase crop diversity and reduce fallow time by including alternative crops or cover crops into the rotations.

For more detailed information on soil health indicators and measurements, see Jones’ The Soil Scoop on his website, or contact Clain Jones at [email protected] or 406-994-6076.

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


Montana Range Days Scholarship Applications Havre Montana

Montana Range Days Offers Three Scholarships – Due April 30

Montana Range Days Scholarship Applications Havre MontanaMontana Range Days, Inc. is an annual event that celebrates the importance of range and provides opportunities for learning about range and range management. To encourage young people to continue with education and careers in Range Science and related fields, three scholarships are offered through Montana Range Days.

Montana Range Days Scholarship ($1,000.00)

To assist young Montanan’s education of rangeland, Montana Range Days, Inc. has established the Montana Range Days Scholarship. To be eligible, the applicant must be majoring in Range Science or a related field. The scholarship winner will be awarded $1,000.00 upon successful completion of the semester of college.

Harold and Lillian Jensen Scholarship ($1,000.00)

Harold and Lillian Jensen, long time ranchers from Baker, established a scholarship of $1,000.00 annually, to assist a young person who has an interest in Range Science. Harold was a past Chairman of the Montana Range Days, Inc. Steering Committee, and was the local Chairman for the 1985 and 1986 Range Days events hosted in Baker by the Fallon county Range Committee. The recipient must be present for the presentation of this scholarship at Range Days in June! The Scholarship has to be used at a Montana University or college.

Bob Sitz Memorial Scholarship ($1,000.00)

Bob Sitz was a rancher committed to improving range management. He believed in the youth of Montana and sought to ensure a bright future for Montana’s rangeland through education. Bob was a strong supporter of Montana Range Days. In memory of Bob, the Sitz Family has established a scholarship of $1,000.00 annually and to be announced at Montana Range Days. The winner will receive this scholarship upon successful completion of one semester at a Montana university or college.

Montana Range Days, Inc. is committed to providing learning opportunities, which enable participants to develop a better understanding of the importance of Montana’s rangelands. To further this commitment, Montana Range Days, Inc. encourages high school seniors or college students to apply for the Montana Range Days Scholarships. Members of the Montana Range, Inc. Steering Committee will select the scholarship winners based on the following criteria:

  1. Involvement in range activities and youth events.
  2. Leadership in school and community activities.
  3. Academic achievement.
  4. Financial need.

Applications must be received by the Montana Range Days, Inc. Steering Committee by April 30, 2014. Submitting one application qualifies the applicant for all three (3) scholarships. For more details and a copy of the application form, visit the Montana Range Days website.

Enhanced by Zemanta