Two Dot Rancher completes term as Stockgrowers Director

Jed EvjeneJed Evjene of Two Dot recently completed his second term of Director for the Montana Stockgrowers Association (MSGA) representing the South Central District. Evjene was recognized for his contributions at MSGA’s 131st Annual Convention and Trade Show at Rimrock Auto Arena in Billings on December 5.

“I have truly enjoyed my time as a Board member, meeting and visiting ranchers from all across this great state of Montana,” says Evjene. “In the last four years, I have been amazed at the growth in the younger generation’s participation in Stockgrowers. The interest and leadership younger people are showing in the industry gives me the confidence that our industry is going to continue to thrive and move forward.”

Jed and his wife, Annie, manage the American Fork Ranch near Two Dot, a commercial cow-calf operation, which was recognized in 2014 for outstanding work in stewardship, conservation and sustainability through the Montana Environmental Stewardship Award Program (ESAP). The Evjenes have focused on improving range utilization through intensive rotational grazing management, extensive projects to improve water availability and improve habitat for wildlife surrounding the ranch. The Evjenes were recognized in June as winners of the Region V ESAP and will compete for the national award, to be announced in January.

The Evjenes have three sons: Tanner and his wife Amanda, Levi, and Andrew and his wife Catie. Jed has been active in his local organizations, serving as past Director of the Crazy Mountain Stockgrowers Association in Big Timber and Wheatland County Stockgrowers in Harlowton.

Outside of the beef industry, Evjene has served on the Hamilton Fire Department Board of Trustees; was safety training officer and past member of Region 5 Advisory Board for FWP; is a past registered EMT; and currently serves as a volunteer for the Melville Fire Department.

Evjene was elected by MSGA members to the 13-member board in 2011 and re-elected in 2013.

The Montana Stockgrowers Association meets annually to discuss and vote on policy measures, which guide the Association in representing its members on local, state and federal issues. MSGA’s 2016 MidYear membership meeting will take place June 9-11 in Great Falls. To learn more about Stockgrowers programs or membership, contact the office in Helena, (406) 442-3420.

Click here for more 2015 Annual Convention coverage from Montana Stockgrowers.

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.

Dietetic interns participate in a beef from pasture to plate tour

2015 MDI Tour press release picBILLINGS – Earlier this week the Montana Beef Council hosted another successful pasture to plate tour for nearly twenty Montana Dietetic Internship (MDI) students pursuing a career as a Registered Dietitian. The tour was conducted in Two Dot, Montana with local ranchers Jed and Annie Evjene where the attendees were able to experience first-hand where and how beef is raised on the American Fork Ranch.

This year’s tour began at the historic ranch headquarters where the Evjene’s explained the family ranching operation and the history of the area to the interns to help them understand the importance of agriculture and specifically beef production.

“It is important for me to help you understand where food comes from,” Jed Evjene told the interns. “There is a lot of misinformation out there about ranching practices and we are here with our gate open for you to see real ranching practices first-hand.”

Throughout the tour the interns not only had the opportunity to see cattle and horses, but also calving facilities, rangeland and more. Jed shared his passion for maintaining the land and water as they are vital to sustainability. While touring around the ranch the interns learned about the entire beef cycle and that cattle spend the majority of their lives on pasture. Evjene’s also shared their experience of being chosen as Regional Environmental Stewardship Award recipients and the responsibility they feel to continue teaching others about ranching and their commitment to care for the cattle and natural resources.

Next, over a healthy beef lunch, the interns learned about beef nutrition from Registered Dietitian Lisa Murray, including lean cuts of beef, optimal protein levels in the diet, beef’s fatty acid profile, and new research showing beef’s positive role in heart healthy diet.

“Beef has 10 essential nutrients and just 150 calories per three-ounce serving and there are more lean beef choices today than ever before so you can feel confident in helping your patients keep beef in their diet,” said Murray.

Leaving the pasture, the tour headed to The Grand Hotel in Big Timber where Chef Amy Smith demonstrated multiple ways to cut beef as well as providing samples of recipes from The Healthy Beef Cookbook.

“Steak is cool,” exclaimed one intern after the presentation.

To complete the day, the interns then toured Pioneer Meats of Big Timber to get a back-of-the-house look at a custom butcher shop with owner Brian Engle. Brian’s passion for quality was evident as he detailed every aspect of their award-winning family-run processing facility.

The theme of the internship is a systems approach to sustainability and sustainable foods and Montana Beef Council has worked with Montana State University, Bozeman to provide this tour as a tangible learning experience during their internship. Following this tour, the interns will disperse across the state to continue their dietetic internship with rotations in clinical dietetics, community nutrition, and foodservice management.  Interns successfully completing MDI will obtain a certificate that qualifies graduates to take the dietetic registration exam.

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The Montana Beef Council is organized to protect and increase demand for beef and beef products through state, national and international consumer marketing programs including promotion, education and research, thereby enhancing profit opportunities for Montana beef producers. For more information, contact Lisa Murray, RD at (406) 656-3336 or lisa@montanabeefcouncil.org.

Montana Stockgrowers Seeking Applications for 2015 Environmental Stewardship Award

montana environmental stewardship award programHelena, MT – Do you know a Montana rancher who is a leader in stewardship and sustainability, implementing conservation practices to ensure the social, economic, and environmental sustainability of their operation? Encourage them to apply for the Montana Environmental Stewardship Award, presented by the Montana Stockgrowers Association (MSGA). Applications for the 2015 award are due June 30.

Each year, MSGA honors Montana ranches that exemplify environmental stewardship and demonstrate commitment toward improved sustainability within their communities. This award recognizes Montana ranchers who are at the forefront in conservation and stewardship and are willing to serve as examples for other ranchers.

“Montana ranchers are leaders in this country when it comes to being stewards of our environment and conserving the natural resources that help make Montana such a great state to live in,” said Gene Curry, MSGA President and rancher from Valier. “We are asking the community to get involved in helping us identify ranches that really go above and beyond when it comes to environmental stewardship and conservation in their local areas.”

American Fork Ranch Environmental Stewardship Jed Evjene David StevensLast year’s recipient of the ESAP recognition was the American Fork Ranch, a commercial cow-calf operation in Wheatland and Sweet Grass counties. The American Fork is owned by the Stevens family and is managed by Jed and Annie Evjene, long-time active members of MSGA.

Over the past 17 years, the Stevens and Evjene families have focused on establishing relationships among all key aspects of the ranch: rangeland, water, crop production, cattle herd, wildlife, cottonwood forests, employees, family, community and the beef industry to integrate a model of sustainability. These cooperative efforts have led to relationships and projects in coordination with professionals from numerous universities, state and federal agencies, area and state Stockgrower organizations, and several youth programs.

Today, the American Fork Ranch is home to a diverse population of plant species and managed wildlife populations. Intensive record keeping, over a decade of range monitoring, water development projects and weed management have led to pasture conditions that promote diverse plant species and thick stands of stockpiled forage for year-round grazing. A heavy focus on riparian area management has allowed for recovery of plant species, Cottonwood forest regrowth, improved water quality and enhanced wildlife habitat, even in the presence of livestock grazing.

Read more about the American Fork Ranch on our blog.

Ranches wishing to apply for the 2015 ESAP award and recognition are asked to complete an application packet (available on our ESAP page), due to MSGA by June 30. Nominations can be submitted by contacting the MSGA office. Ranches must be a member of the Montana Stockgrowers Association to qualify for the award.

The ranch chosen for the award will be announced at MSGA’s Annual Convention and Trade Show in Billings, Dec. 3-5 at the MetraPark in Billings. The Montana ESAP winner will then prepare their application for the Regional and National Award competition, which is typically due in early March of the following year.

Since 1992, Montana Stockgrowers has honored 22 state winners, ten of whom went on to win the regional award and two named national award winners. To learn more, visit mtbeef.org, or contact Ryan Goodman at ryan@mtbeef.org or (406) 442-3420. The Montana Environmental Stewardship Award is funded in part by Montana Beef Producers with Checkoff Dollars.

Meet the American Fork Ranch | Environmental Stewardship Award Winners

American Fork Ranch Environmental Stewardship Jed Evjene David StevensMontana’s ranchers depend on the land and its resources to be successful business enterprises. As such, it is imperative to be good stewards of their environment and its resources, implementing practices that promote sustainability and conservation. Since its inception in 1991, the Environmental Stewardship Award Program (ESAP) has honored ranchers across the United States who implement these practices and are great examples of being stewards of their resources.

For the past 25 years, Montana Stockgrowers Association has proudly sponsored the Montana ESAP program, and with support of the Montana Beef Council, recognize this year’s Montana recipient, the American Fork Ranch of Two Dot, as a ranch going above and beyond to implement good stewardship practices for their land, resources, wildlife and community.

The American Fork Ranch (Facebook), a commercial cow-calf operation in Wheatland and Sweet Grass counties, is owned by the Stevens Family and is managed by Jed and Annie Evjene. Jed is a long-time active member of the Montana Stockgrowers Association and currently serves as Director of the South Central district for the Association.

American Fork Ranch Environmental Stewardship Annie Evjene“The Stevens family, Annie and I, along with all of our crew could not be more proud to receive this recognition,” says Jed Evjene. “Over the past 17 years, we’ve worked hard to preserve the legacy of this ranch, improve its pastures, croplands and cattle. Making a ranch like this work while being conscious of the environment around us takes a good team and we’re honored to be Environmental Stewardship Award recipients.”

The ranch, established in 1882 as a sheep operation, was purchase by Colonel Wallis Huidekoper and designated “The American Ranch”. An idealistic soldier, Huidekoper built a series of whitewashed and red-roof structures along a plumb line, to form an orderly village that still stands today. In 1945, Col. Robert T. Stevens purchased the operation and renamed it as “The American Fork Ranch”. Steven’s vision was that the ranch would remain as a consistent and economically viable unit in the community, rather than a vacation or leisure home for future generations of the family.

As current ranch managers, Jed and Annie Evjene, joined the ranch in 1998, a consensus among the owners had already began to refocus the ranch’s efforts to be better stewards of the land, conserve their natural resources and ensure the ranch’s economic and environmental sustainability. The changes focused on the principles of utilizing the best available scientific knowledge and business practices, enhancing stewardship values with long-term perspectives to invest in the land and environment, and to preserve the ranch’s historic value and beauty.

Over the past 17 years, the Stevens and Evjenes families have focused on establishing relationships among all key aspects of the ranch: rangeland, water, crop production, cattle herd, wildlife, cottonwood forests, employees, family, community and the beef industry to integrate a model of sustainability. These cooperative efforts have led to relationships and projects in coordination with professionals from numerous universities, state and federal agencies, area and state Stockgrower organizations, and several youth programs.

The Evjenes have a knack for intensive record management, allowing them to use that information to tract what works and what does not when managing the ranches resources. The results have been implementing grazing practices, with the use of more than 25 miles of interior fencing, 15,500 feet of stock water pipeline, spring water development, and weed control to develop grazing systems that better utilize resources in a manner that complements the landscape and environment.

American Fork Ranch Environmental Stewardship Jed EvjeneThe cowherd at the American Fork has been managed to adapt to its environment over the past two decades. Reducing cow size, along with management of grazing and water systems, has allowed for better and more uniform utilization of forage supplies, increased calf weaning weights, minimized cow inputs and overall improvements in cow efficiency and operation sustainability. The calves are raised and marketed without the use of artificial hormones or supplements, and have shown consistent adaptations to market demands using improved herd genetics. A severe drought in 2012 threatened feed supplies for the herd, but thanks for foresight in grazing management and temporary herd reduction, the ranch survived the drought period with minimal negative impacts.

Today, the American Fork Ranch is home to a diverse population of plant species and managed wildlife populations. Intensive record keeping, over a decade of range monitoring, water development projects and weed management have led to pasture conditions that promote diverse plant species and thick stands of stockpiled forage for year-round grazing. A heavy focus on riparian area management has allowed for recovery of plant species, Cottonwood forest regrowth, improved water quality and enhanced wildlife habitat, even in the presence of livestock grazing.

“Even though the Stevens family may not live here year round, they are all involved in the ranching operation,” says Annie Evjene. “Especially the third and fourth generations of the Stevens family know a lot about the ranching business and are trying to carry on to the next generation.”

“The Stevens kids are like our own. When they come to the ranch, they jump right in with the crew, can run any piece of equipment, move cattle and are excited about sharing the experience of this ranch with others. It’s an all-around team effort,” says Jed.

MESAP logo PNGAs recipient of this year’s Montana ESAP recognition, the American Fork will submit an application this month for the regional ESAP awards, to be announced in July 2015. Throughout 2015, Montana Stockgrowers will continue to share more about the American Fork Ranch, the Stevens and Evjene families, and their work as examples of Environmental Stewardship within the Montana ranching community.

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.

Update from South Central Montana Ranchers

Jed EvjeneWinter has returned to central Montana, as I am writing this article it is -18 below zero! We have been blessed with great Fall weather, high cattle prices and plenty of grass in the pastures.

There has been a lot going on around South Central Montana with calves being shipped and cattle work wrapping up just in time for this first winter blast of cold weather. There has been much discussion around the subjects of EPA’s Waters of the U.S., bison being moved to Fort Peck and elk overpopulation here in the Crazy Mountains.

Your Board of Directors has been busy attending local affiliate meetings around the state during November. It is exciting to travel around to the different affiliate meetings, visiting with people and learning about different issues in each area. This is a time when we as MSGA Directors can lend a helping hand and hopefully keep members up to date on issues that are facing ranchers on a state and national level. So please call us of the MSGA office with any questions on issues ranchers are facing in your area.

One of the pressing issues discussed at my local Crazy Mountain Stockgrowers meeting was the overpopulation of elk on the eastern slopes in Sweet grass County. The elk population is placing heavy grazing pressure on area forage stands and competing with hay production on local cattle ranches. Local ranchers have been discussing opportunities to work with hunters to address the issue.

Tim Todd and myself attended the Musselshell Stockgrowers banquet in Roundup in October. We gave an update of what MSGA has been up to. We are very excited to see this group getting back together and offered up any assistance that we can to help that process along. So welcome back Musselshell Stockgrowers!

We’re looking forward to the MSGA Annual Convention in Billings on December 11-13 and hope to see you all there! On site registration will be available if you weren’t able to preregister. The 14+ Cattlemen’s Colleges available, along with all the usual Association meetings will make the trip well worth your time!