Stockgrowers Foundation Announces Change in Leadership

Foundation Logo - ColorAt their recent Mid Year meeting in Miles City, the Research and Education Endowment Foundation of the Montana Stockgrowers Association (REEF) announced a change in leadership as Townsend rancher Dusty Hahn finished his five-year term as Foundation Chairman. John Grande of Martinsdale will serve as the newly elected Chairman and Gary Adams of Billings will join the REEF Board as a new Trustee.

“It’s been an honor to have served as the Foundation Chairman for the last five years,” according to Dusty Hahn. “In my nine years as a Trustee, I really feel that the Foundation has helped Montana Stockgrowers become a more proactive organization, and that has been a great benefit to our membership.”

Under Hahn’s leadership, the Foundation has evolved from managing a handful of small projects into one that tackles larger, more complex projects. REEF is a strong supporter of youth and outreach programs in the Montana ranching community, funding projects that raise awareness of Montana ranching families and documenting their work through a detailed book and video series.

The Foundation also sponsors a young rancher from Montana each year to attend the Young Cattlemen’s Conference; which helps participants gain exposure to national industry programs while visiting Denver, Chicago and Washington D.C.

Martinsdale rancher, John Grande, is excited about the opportunities ahead as he takes the reins of the Foundation. “It is a privilege to be asked to take this on and I look forward to the challenge,” says Grande.

“After serving the Foundation for the past five years I have become more familiar with how we have done things to date. Taking over as Chair is an opportunity to guide the Foundation in some new directions as well as sharpening the focus on current activities.”

Grande looks forward to developing new projects for REEF that will help grow the Foundation’s endowment, which in turn to provides scholarship opportunities for students and research programs that benefit members of the Montana ranching community.

“Change is inevitable and I look forward to the exciting change coming for the future of Montana ranching, while feeling confident that some things will not change,” says Grande.

“Great advances will be made in genetics, animal health, nutrition, cattle management, and many other areas, and the Stockgrowers’ Foundation can, and should, play a role in these advances. What will not change is that we will still have dedicated people living on the land, taking care of our environmental and animal resources, while providing a healthy, nutritious product for consumers worldwide.”

Gary Adams of Billings has been active with Montana’s non-profits, serving with the Yellowstone Boys and Girls Ranch and Foundation, engaging with ranchers across Montana for the past 25 years. “I don’t know a better way to give back to MSGA and its membership for all they have done for the kids at YBGR, than to offer my skills to REEF,” says Adams. “At the heart of both organizations is the desire to help youth and to educate through agriculture.”

In his role as Trustee for MSGA’s Foundation, Adams hopes to bring a greater awareness of the creative options available to MSGA members in passing on their ranch to the next generation and ways to eliminate the amount of taxes paid through the sale of the land, cattle and machinery.

The Research and Education Endowment Foundation of the Montana Stockgrowers Association 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. To learn more about REEF programs or to donate to the Foundation, visit or contact the Montana Stockgrowers Association, (406) 442-3420.

Martinsdale Rancher Becomes Foundation Chairman

The Montana Stockgrowers Association’s Foundation is happy to announce that John Grande of Martinsdale, Montana is our newly elected Chairman. He will serve in this position for five years and guide the Trustee board in innovations, awarding scholarships and funding educational and research programs that better the Montana ranching community. In the following Q&A, Mr. Grande shares his thoughts on the future of the Foundation and his new role…

John Grande, MSGA Foundation Chairman

John Grande, MSGA Foundation Chairman

What are the projects you are most excited about being a part of for the Foundation?

I am excited about a mixture of the traditional and the new. For years the foundation has funded projects like the Young Cattlemen’s Conference, the Young Stockgrowers’ Conference, and Montana Range Days, and these remain projects which are vitally important in training our future leaders.  New projects such as what we are doing with social networking are tremendously exciting.  This allows us to look outside of our own group and take our message to a broader audience of people who have little knowledge of the Montana cattle industry and let them know what we do on a daily basis to care for our animals and our environmental and human resources.  Even newer, we have some potential projects on the drawing board which are not ready for announcement, but could prove very beneficial to the industry.

What does it mean to you to be chairman of the Foundation?

It is a privilege to be asked to take this on and I look forward to the challenge.  After serving on the foundation for five years I’ve become more familiar with how we’ve done things to date.  Taking over as chair is an opportunity to guide the foundation in some new directions as well as sharpening the focus on current activities.

What are a few things you are hoping to accomplish during your chairmanship?

First, I would like to take some time to work on focusing our board on what we’re currently doing and where we want to go.  I’d like the trustees to take some time to evaluate our goals and think about what our roles and responsibilities as trustees should be.  Then we need to move forward on new projects.  I would like to significantly grow the size of our endowment, and the opportunity is here.  However, there is no point in growing the endowment just for the sake of growth. The point is to identify specific projects that will move our industry forward, and then grow the endowment for the purpose of being able to fund these projects.

Why is a Foundation important for the Montana Stockgrowers Association?

The foundation is an important avenue for funding education and research projects that benefit the members of the Montana Stockgrowers.  There are valuable projects that the Association should move forward with which cannot be funded by members’ dues dollars alone.  The Foundation provides a 501(c)(3) vehicle to which tax-deductible contributions can be made, allowing donors the benefit of the deduction, as well as of funding important projects.

What do you hope the future of Montana ranching looks like? 

Change is inevitable and I look forward to the exciting change coming, while feeling confident that some things will not change.  Great advances will be made in genetics, animal health, nutrition, cattle management, and many other areas, and the Stockgrowers’ Foundation can, and should, play a role in these advances.  What won’t change is that we will still have dedicated people living on the land, taking care of the environmental and animal resources, and providing a healthy, nutritious product for consumers worldwide.

Anything else to add?

Just that I owe a great debt of gratitude to those who have come before serving the Stockgrowers’ Foundation – to those who had the foresight to create it, to those who have managed it for decades, and to all the donors who have funded it.  Specifically I’d thank Dusty Hahn who has served as chairman of the foundation for the past four years and guided us ably into a new era of creative projects to work on.

To learn more about the MSGA Foundation, please visit us at and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Townsend Rancher Completes Foundation Chair Term

By Dusty Hahn, Outgoing Montana Stockgrowers Association’s Foundation Chairman

Dusty Hahn of Townsend, Montana.

Dusty Hahn of Townsend, Montana.

It’s been an honor to have served as the Foundation chairman for the last 5 years. In my 9 years as a Trustee, I’ve gotten to help evolve the Foundation from one that had a handful of small projects into one that tackles larger, more complex projects. I really feel that the Foundation has helped Montana Stockgrowers become a more proactive organization, and that has been a great benefit to our membership.

The two programs that I feel are a great benefit to MSGA, and I’ve been proud to be a part of, are the Young Cattleman’s Conference (YCC), and the multimedia outreach campaign. The YCC has been part of the Foundation since before I came on board. The multimedia campaign is a relatively new program. Both programs serve to educate MSGA members and enhance the image of our business. The YCC is an integral part of producing new leaders in the livestock industry. The multimedia campaign is putting consumers back in touch with producers in the country, allowing them to put a human face with the products in the store. The Foundation is the vehicle that allows great projects like these to come to fruition.

MSGA and agriculture in general continuously needs talented new leaders to guide us through the challenges the future presents. It is imperative that we not only provide tools for our younger members to excel , but challenge them to make themselves the best leaders they can be. One of the Foundation’s goals is to equip our younger members to meet the future’s challenges head on.

I’m looking forward to continued prosperity in the ranching business, and I’m excited about the many opportunities for the next generation to return to the country and the ranch. I think that even though we are a small percentage of the population, our voice is well respected. And I am excited to have consumers worldwide wanting to learn, see, and interact with Montana ranchers. It will benefit everyone to have the actual producers relaying information about what we do to the end consumers of our products.

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

Winner of the Montana Educational Heritage Scholarship

Ariel - Scholarship Winner.jpgEach year, the Montana Stockgrowers Association’s Foundation awards a student with the Montana Educational Heritage Scholarship, worth $1,000. This year, we are proud to announce that Ariel Overstreet-Adkins has been selected as the winner.

Ariel served as MSGA’s director of communications for five years and has been actively involved in bettering the ranching industry through journalism, lobbying and leadership roles. Currently, Ariel is attending the University of Montana School of Law where she is pursuing a juris doctor (J.D.) degree. She says her goal is to become a more effective advocate for agriculture and rural Montana and focus on natural resource and environmental water law.

“I believe that having strong advocates for agriculture with legal experience and expertise will be very important for the future of our industry,” said Ariel.

Ariel grew up on a small horse ranch outside of Big Timber and attended high school in Reed Point. She went on to study at Princeton University, earning a degree in cultural anthropology with honors. Her senior thesis “High School Rodeo: Growing Up Cowboy,” was based on original field research at high school rodeos in Montana, and was awarded the Senior Thesis Prize in Anthropology.

While working for MSGA, Ariel learned about the many different issues facing Montana’s ranching families, which is what inspired her to go to law school.

“I believe a law degree will help me work to ensure the continued influence of agriculture and rural Montana, and improve the legal, policy, and business climate for farmers and ranchers in Montana and the nation,” said Ariel.

Ariel also volunteers with groups like the Montana Cowboy Hall of Fame, Montana Board of Milk Control, Rural Advocacy League, Princeton Alumni Schools Committee and the Ranchers Stewardship Alliance.

“I was honored and thrilled to be selected for the scholarship. I am so thankful to the great people involved in REEF and MSGA for the assistance and support in my pursuit of a law degree,” said Ariel. 

If you’d like to help support Montana’s students, please consider making a donation to the Foundation. In order to keep our scholarship program active, we need your help! Please call our office at (406) 442-3420 for questions or email Lauren:

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A Day In The Life of Calving Season | Give It Everything You’ve Got

sitz angus ranch cold calving february

The temperature was 20 degrees below zero. Ranchers were dressed in not one, but two pairs of thick Carhartt coveralls. If there was any moisture at all, it froze almost immediately. At the Sitz Angus Ranch in Harrison, Montana, the weather wasn’t going to impede the work needed to be done that February day.

The cowboys spirit knows no boundaries…it was in the thick of calving season on the ranch and with temperatures as bitter as they were, the ranch crew was charged with putting the livestock’s well-being before their own comfort (like every other day) and help cows have healthy baby calves.

I followed along with Rebecca Timm and Kurt Puckett as they brought cows about to calve in from the icy, snow-covered pasture to the warm, straw-filled barn. They moved the cows in the building so the calf wouldn’t have such a temperature shock when it came out of its 100 degree home.

Even with around-the-clock care, sometimes the cows have a quick  delivery and aren’t seen in time to bring into the barn before they calve. That’s what happened the day I was on the ranch to one cow in particular.  Only a few minutes after she delivered her calf, Kurt and Rebecca found the little one and brought it in as fast as they could. He wasn’t up and moving as he should…instead, laid flat and barely was breathing. Here’s what happened…

The ranchers hypothesized that the mother cow may have accidentally sat on her calf which caused him some internal injuries and the inability to urinate. The cold weather wasn’t the only factor to his unfortunate situation. Even though the calf didn’t make it through the night, hundreds of other calves did with tender care from the ranch crew. We all wish that the one featured in the video could have been saved, but the dedicated ranchers gave everything they had for hours on its care. That’s the cowboy spirit!

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Public Lands Council Internship

Washington D.C. intern: Working on behalf of Montana’s Ranchers

The Montana Stockgrowers Association’s Foundation is proud to support our state’s bright and talented youth as they explore opportunities across the country. This fall, we sponsored Rachel Abeh of Livingston, Montana to intern with the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association in Washington D.C. During her time there, she worked with the NCBA and Public Lands Council team as they worked on behalf of not only Montana ranchers, but the nation’s beef producers.

If you are interested in helping us send more students, like this one, on once in a lifetime trips, please consider donating to the Foundation today.


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Montana Stockgrowers Foundation Logo

Montana Stockgrowers Foundation on Social Media

Montana Stockgrowers Foundation LogoHelp Tell the Story of Montana Family Ranching

If you have been browsing Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest lately, you may have seen our newly launched Foundation social media accounts. MSGA’s Research, Education and Endowment Foundation is vital to helping our ranch community thrive…through scholarship opportunities, grants, avenues of public outreach and much more.

Members of MSGA can appreciate the philanthropy of REEF, but we don’t want to stop there. This is why we have created a social media platform for all the Foundation’s work. Having these outreach tools like Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest allows for us to have a much broader reach, connect with other foundations and nonprofits and explore even more ways we can help Montana and the world.

Like the development of the MSGA social media platform, REEF will build its network and create innovate ways to promote Montana ranchers. Even though we are one state association, the products we produce ultimately go beyond our borders and feed the world. REEF is here to help make sure this continues to happen. By using public relations strategies, we can bring in more people, organizations and foundations to help with educational programs and philanthropic endeavors.

Screen Shot 2013-10-08 at 11.18.26 AMWe can’t do it alone!

If you have any ideas or information to share, please contact Lauren Chase: If you are interested in donating to REEF, please visit: Together we can help educate the future of Montana ranchers, help keep our legacy growing strong and help the feed world.

Social media sites:

***Help spread the word! Share these sites with all of your family friends!