2016 Cattle Industry Convention Update with Young Stockgrowers Chair, Lacey Ehlke

Young Stockgrowers Chair, Lacey Ehlke, gives us an update on San Diego and the 2016 Cattle Industry Convention & NCBA Trade Show


Leadership Series Kicks Off


leadership series group photo

Group Photo: Front Row (L to R) – Brenda Ochs, Shaelyn Meyer, Heather Fryer, Tony Johnson, Julia Dafoe, Katelyn Dynneson, Trina Bradley, Lacey Sutherlin, Sarah Bohnenkamp. Back Row (L to R) – Weston Merrill, Bo Bevis, Chisholm Christensen, Casey Knudsen, Justin Iverson. Not pictured: Cole Cook. Photo courtesy of Ryan Goodman

Montana is home to a growing group of young professionals in the farming and ranching communities. These aspiring Millennials and younger Generation Xers are passionate about the lifestyle and impact they can have on the industry. To succeed in their careers on multi-generation ranches or by providing industry services, they’ll need tools in leadership, networking and business management.

During 2016, fourteen young ranchers are taking on this challenge through the Stockgrowers Leadership Series – a 12-month program hosted by the Montana Stockgrowers Association to help our future leaders succeed through their endeavors. The Leadership Series consists of workshops each month that will provide participants an opportunity to improve their skills in leadership, policy, business management, networking, communication and understanding of issues important to beef consumers.

Speaking with the Northern Ag Network, class member Heather Fryer of Hobson described the Leadership Series as a well-organized program and opportunity to work with a diverse group of her peers. “Everyone is busy, but we are the voice of Montana ranching and it is important to be involved as the industry evolves. The Leadership Series is a perfect opportunity to learn how to do that.”

On January 20-21, the Leadership Series met in Helena, Montana for a two-day workshop to kick off the program. 2016 participants come from all corners of the state and areas of the ranching communities. The class heard from leadership of Montana Stockgrowers, Department of Agriculture, Department of Natural Resources, Fish, Wildlife & Parks, and Department of Livestock. Representatives each offered an overview of their organization’s structure, role working with Montana ranchers and shared advice from their experience on becoming influential leaders in the industry.

Leadership coach, Sarah Bohnenkamp, worked with the class in a five hour workshop, helping identify their strengths and roles in leading others, whether at home on the ranch or as organization members. The class worked through a number of activities to identify their personal leadership brand, how to leverage those strengths, and learn more about potential to have a leadership legacy. Each month this year, the class will continue building on leadership strengths through webinars and at-home assignments with Bohnenkamp.

While in Helena, the Leadership Series also toured the Montana state capitol, walking through the legislative process and viewing important committee rooms, as well as chambers of the Senate and House of Representatives, where they may one day participate in the legislative process by attending committee meetings or testifying on important bills that influence the ranching industry.

During the Capitol tour, the class visited the Governor’s office and met with Tim Baker, Policy Advisor for Natural Resources. Baker offered insight into all the areas of policy involved with his role in the Governor’s office. He also shared advice with the group on being aware of these important issues and their path to being strong leaders in the industry.

The next meeting for the Leadership Series will take place in March in Helena as the class focuses on the policymaking process, learning how effective policy can be used to address issues faced by ranchers across the state. The class will also learn more about operating a Board of Directors meeting and hear from speakers on industry topics.

2016 is the inaugural year for the Stockgrowers Leadership Series, which is aimed at helping Montana’s next generation (ages 25-45) become stronger leaders of the ranching community. The Leadership Series is organized by Ryan Goodman of Helena with the help of Lacey Ehlke, Young Stockgrowers Chair from Townsend, and Tyrel Obrecht, Young Stockgrowers Vice-Chair from Lewistown.

Originally posted on Agriculture Proud http://agricultureproud.com/2016/01/26/montana-ranchers-building-the-next-generation-of-leaders/

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.

Young Stockgrowers Host Calling on the Capitol – Legislative Conference

Lacey EhlkeBy Lacey Ehlke, Townsend, Young Stockgrowers Vice Chair

This year’s Calling on the Capitol Legislative Conference, hosted by the Young Stockgrowers, was a very informative and productive two days in Montana’s capitol city. We 20 attendees from all over the state become involved in the key issues affecting Montana ranchers.

The event started with a great overview of the issues focused on in the 2015 Legislative Session, presented by MSGA’s Jay Bodner. We then formed a round table discussion to talk about these issues, the major ones being the Board of Livestock Budget, Sage Grouse population, and the CSKT Water Compact. In that discussion, we were able to talk to all participants and find out how these issues directly affected them, as well as getting some questions answered for those affected. The social hour and dinner later that evening allowed us to get to know the fellow attendees, as well as continue some very meaningful discussion.

Calling on the Capitol 2015 Legislative Conference YSGThe next morning, we were fortunate enough to have breakfast with over 15 of our local legislators from both the Montana House of Representatives and Senate. During this breakfast, it was clear the legislators wanted to hear our input on the issues affecting ranchers in the state, which was both encouraging and rewarding. Following breakfast, we had a presentation from both the DNRC and Fish, Wildlife & Parks, and were able to ask questions of the presenters. Errol Rice then gave us a legislative training to prepare everyone for the visit to the Capitol that afternoon.

To wrap up, we all headed to the Capitol to see the legislature in action. The timing worked out perfectly, as we witnessed a joint session of the House and Senate, who were then addressed by Montana’s Congressman Ryan Zinke.

A comprehensive tour of the Capitol building itself followed and we completed the day by listening in to the Senate Natural Resources Committee meeting that afternoon.

As the newly elected Vice Chair of the Young Stockgrowers, I felt extremely lucky to be able to attend such a wonderful event. I am trying to become more involved in the organization, and this was a perfect way to do so. I recommend it to all Young Stockgrowers, not only for all the useful knowledge you walk away with, but for the lifelong friends you will make over the course of two days. These issues the MSGA staff work so hard on affect each one of us as ranchers, and it is crucial that we keep ourselves informed.