2016 Montana’s Young Ag Leadership Conference

September 30 – October 2 ♦ Holiday Inn ♦ Great Falls

Once again, we are proud to present Montana’s Young Ag Leadership Conference! This is a one-of-a-kind event, packed with everything relevant to being a young[ish] person in today’s exciting, changing world of agriculture. With workshops on marketing, finance issues, crop and livestock programs, emerging technologies, leadership development and more, there is something here for everyone.

A committee of your peers from Montana’s leading ag organizations planned this conference to create a unique experience and you won’t find a better opportunity to network with other young
leaders and industry leaders as you gather new insight on improving and promoting agriculture in our state. We hope you choose to be a part of this event, as well as take an active role in Montana’s agriculture…it’s your industry and your way of life. See you in September!
2016 YALC Planning Committee

Schedule of Events

Friday, September 30

12:30-5:30 PM  – Area Ag Tour – Tentative stops include Frontline Ag, Giant Springs Fish Hatchery, McKamey West Ranch, Sponsored by Great Falls Chamber of Commerce Ag Committee
4:00-7:30 PM  – Registration Open
6:00 PM  – Social
6:30 PM – Dinner & Keynote Four “Musts” for Nailing Your Unique Brand of Leadership (And Why It Matters, Even if You Never Want to be “The Boss”) – Sarah Bohnenkamp, Millennial
Leadership Coach, Sponsored by Independence Bank, Monsanto, & Farmers Business Network

Saturday, October 1

7:30 AM-5:00 PM – Registration & Trade Show Open
8:00-9:00 AM  – Breakfast & Opening Session – Going Global with Beef Genetics, Darrell Stevenson, Stevenson Angus, Sponsored By Torgersons, LLC & Crop Production Services
9:15-10:30 AM  – Workshops – Sponsored by CHS, Inc and Agriclear

  • UAV’s (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles) In Agriculture, Brandon Ewen, Ag Data Source, PC
  • Planting the Seeds of Success: Financial Management Basics, Damon Alm, Northwest Farm Credit
  • The Veterinary Feed Directive Rule: Changes in the Use of Feed-Grade Antibiotics for Livestock, Rachel Endecott, MSU Extension Beef Specialist

10:30-11:00 AM  – Coffee Break and Trade Show, Sponsored by CHS Nutrition  
11:00-12:15 AM – Workshops:

  • Agriculturalists & Meteorologists-Deciphering the Weather, Megan Vandenheuval, National Weather Service
  • Sustainability and Stewardship Practices to Benefit Your Bottom Line, Leon LaSalle, LaSalle Ranch, Inc
  • Generation Elvis to Bieber: Generational Differences in the Workplace and How to Succeed Among All Age Groups, Jaime Edmundson, Montana FFA Foundation

12:30-1:45 PM – Lunch – Our Leadership Journey, Dan Manella, Cherry Creek Radio – Sponsored by Montana Farm Bureau Foundation
1:45-3:00 PM – Workshops:

  • Food For Thought? Discussion Panel, Carrie Mess AKA Dairy Carrie & Ryan Goodman
  • How the Organic Movement Effects Our Business, Bob Quinn, President of Kamut International
  • Estate Planning: Keeping the Ground in the Family, John Heyneman, Plank Stewardship Initiative

3:00-3:30 PM – Coffee Break and Trade Show, Sponsored by MT Livestock Ag Credit
3:30-5:00 PM – Entrepreneur Spotlights: Sponsored by Montana Land Reliance

3:30-4:00: Prairie Heritage Farm w/ Electric City Coffee
4:00-4:30: Parker’s Hangover Tonic
4:30-5:00: PinkSpurs & Co.

5:30 PM – Buses Depart for Centene Stadium
6:00 PM – Social, Sponsored by Northwest Farm Credit
6:30 PM – Dinner and Dance at Centene Stadium, Sponsored by Montana Beef Council, Stockman Bank & Farmers Union Insurance

Sunday, October 2

9:00-10:30AM – Closing Breakfast, “What Do Our Customers Really Want From Us?”, Carrie Mess, AKA Dairy Carrie, Sponsored by Mountain West Farm Bureau Mutual Insurance Co.


To REGISTER head to the Montana Farm Bureau Federation’s website or download the form HERE. Register before September 23rd to take advantage of early bird pricing!

Young Ag Leadership Conference is heading to Great Falls

GREAT FALLS—Mark your calendar! Montana’s thirteenth annual Young Ag Leadership Conference (YALC) is set to take place September 30-October 2 at the Holiday Inn in Great Falls, MT. Young people involved and interested in agriculture, aged 18-40, are invited to attend this one-of-a-kind conference where leadership, personal development, education and networking take center stage.

This year’s agenda boasts top-notch speakers, including the well-known advocate for agriculture, Dairy Carrie. There will be cutting-edge workshops, exciting entertainment and new this year, an Entrepreneur Spotlight of local businesses. YALC’s action-packed program is put together specifically with young agriculturalists in mind by representatives from each of these organizations: Montana Agri-Business Association, Montana 4-H Foundation, Montana Wool Growers Association, Montana Grain Growers Association, Montana Farm Bureau Federation, Alpha Gamma Rho Alumni, Montana FFA Foundation, Montana State University College of Agriculture and the Montana Stockgrowers Association.

Look for more conference details, including registration information, to be released shortly. For questions regarding the 2016 Young Ag Leadership Conference, contact Jesse Wallewein at (406) 450-3429 or mtwga@outlook.com.

Podcast with Janice Person on Controversial Conversations and GMO crops

Janice Person Monsanto YALCDuring the 2015 Young Ag Leadership Conference in Billings, guest speaker, Janice Person from Monsanto, helped attendees learn more about Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) and how to find resources about the crops and technology online. While at the conference, Janice also conducted a workshop with Daren Williams of NCBA, where the two shared their experience handling controversial topics. Their workshop gave attendees great insight on how to handle these topics in conversations with others who may not know much or may be skeptical of modern agriculture practices.

In this week’s podcast, Ryan Goodman and Janice Person discuss these topics along with Janice’s favorite crop – cotton, which isn’t normally seen in Montana. Also discussed is a major crop in Eastern Montana, sugar beets, and how those farmers have utilized and invested in GM technology.

Connect with Janice online at janiceperson.com and follow her on Twitter and Instagram as @JPLovesCotton.

To learn more about GMO technology and crops, visit GMOanswers.com and discover.monsanto.com.

Young Ag Leaders Tour Billings Area Businesses

Montana Young Ag Leadership Conference Farm Tour OrigenMembers of several Montana agricultural organizations met in Billings this past weekend for the 2015 Young Ag Leadership Conference this past weekend. The annual meeting offers a variety of workshops, discussion groups and guest speakers to young farmers and ranchers who want to learn more about their respective industries. This year’s meeting had approximately 175 young agriculturalists attend from all corners of the state.

Trailhead Spirits Billings Montana Young Ag LeadershipThe conference kicked off on Friday afternoon with a tour of three area businesses from different sectors of agriculture. Participants visited Trailhead Spirits in downtown Billings, where they learned about the distilling process from local business owner, Casey McGowan. Trailhead’s primary grain source for its products is McGowan’s family farm in the Highwood area of North Central Montana, making the distillery’s products truly Montana Made.

Montana Origen Jared MurninNext stop on the tour was Origen, a Breeder to Breeder Genetics Service located in Huntley. Origen offers a number of genetics services to livestock owners in the region, including bull stud, semen collection, handling, shipping and storage, as well as embryo harvesting and in vitro fertilization. General Manager, Jared Murnin, and Origen staff walked tour participants through each step of their processes and explained how their services provide area ranchers with tools to improve genetics in their cattle herds.

Montana Sugar Beet Young Ag Leadership ConferneceThe final stop on Friday’s YALC tour featured Diamond X Farms, also near Huntley. Tour participants learned about growing sugar beet crops in southern Montana and much of the work involved in the process. The farmers explained how beneficial biotechnology has been to their business by increasing yields and reducing the number of inputs required to grow the crop in the region.

The Young Ag Leadership Conference continued with workshops and speakers on Saturday and Sunday at the Crowne Plaza, with a dinner and live music event with local food trucks at ZooMontana.

A special Thank You to Montana agriculture organizations and businesses who sponsored the event. To learn more, contact your local agriculture organization and look for details of the 2016 Young Ag Leadership Conference, which will take place in October.

View photos from the 2015 Young Ag Leadership Conference by visiting the Montana Stockgrowers Association Facebook page.

Preview of Culinary Extravaganza at Young Ag Leadership Conference

YALC Young Ag Leadership Conference MontanaThe 2015 Young Ag Leadership Conference is less than a month away! If you have not registered, be sure to do so (Click Here!) and reserve your rooms for a great rate at the Crowne Plaza in Billings before September 18. More details are on our event page.

We have a great line up of speakers, workshops and discussion groups this year that covers a wide range of topics for Montana’s farming and ranching communities. Everyone ages 18-40 is welcome and encouraged to attend.

YALC will kick off Friday afternoon, October 2, with an industry tour including stops at a local field-to-tap distillery, a visit at a local bull stud and semen collection facility, and wrapping up with an opportunity to experience sugar beet harvest at a local farm. Seats for the tour are limited, so be sure to submit your registration early!

Friday night will feature a Culinary Extravaganza! To learn more about this interactive beef dinner, we caught up with Chaley Harney of the Montana Beef Council with a few questions about the event and what the Beef Checkoff is doing in Montana.

Click here to listen to the podcast.

Register now for the 2015 Young Ag Leadership Conference!

YALC Young Ag Leadership Conference MontanaRegistration is now open for the twelfth annual Young Ag Leadership Conference (YALC)! This exciting conference is set to take place October 2-4 at the Crowne Plaza in Billings, MT. YALC is a collaborative effort between nine of Montana’s agricultural organizations, offering attendees a chance to take part in various workshops, discuss current ag issues, meet with industry leaders and network with fellow young people who live Montana agriculture.

Anyone aged 18-40 and involved or interested in agriculture is encouraged to attend. The conference is put together by a committee of representatives from each of the following organizations: Alpha Gamma Rho Alumni Association, Montana Agri-Business Association, Montana 4-H Foundation, Montana FFA Foundation, Montana Farm Bureau Federation, Montana Farmers Union, Montana Grain Growers Association, Montana State University College of Agriculture, and the Montana Stockgrowers Association.

The weekend kicks off on Friday with our industry tours. This optional excursion includes stops at Diamond X Farms for a sugar beet harvest, ORIgen, Inc. Genetic Services and Trailhead Spirits Distillery. Later that evening, attendees will enjoy a hands-on demonstration and presentation about marketable meats for today’s consumers by culinary experts from the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA).

During Saturday’s breakfast, Mitch Smith, Director of Quality Systems for McDonald’s Corporation, will present “Farm to McMarket,” where he will discuss product sourcing between McDonald’s, the worldwide hamburger chain, and Montana producers. Participants will then choose from an expanded slate of workshop topics including everything from Retirement Planning for Farmers and Ranchers and Running a Successful AI program to Crop Rotations and Beekeeping 101. With nine workshop titles to choose from, there is something on the agenda for everyone. Saturday’s luncheon will feature an entertaining talk by Janice Person of Monsanto titled “GMO’s: The Real Story;” the day will wrap up at Zoo Montana with a Food Truck, Brewery Bash and Dance where Sweet Briar will provide the music. The entire conference will conclude on Sunday morning with, “It’s Just You and the Media: Being Heard Above the Crowd,” a motivating talk by Daren Williams, Executive Director of Communications at NCBA.

The cost of registration is only $40 for the entire conference, with all meals provided. After the pre-registration date of September 25, fees increase to $50. To register, go to mfbf.org or download a 2015 YALC registration packet. For more information, contact Ryan Goodman at MSGA (ryan@mtbeef.org). You can also check out our event page on Facebook.

Register now, you don’t want to miss this!

Young Ag Leadership Conference Kicks off with Agriculture Tour

YALC Young Ag Leadership Conference MontanaThe 2014 Young Ag Leadership Conference was off to a great start on Friday as young farmers and ranchers from across Montana converged upon Bozeman for an impressive lineup of speakers over the weekend.

Friday night was highlighted by dinner and a movie as the film, Farmland, was shown. The James Moll documentary features young farmers and ranchers from across the country as they encounter challenges making a living in modern agriculture. The film is available for viewing free on Hulu this month. Learn more in yesterday’s blog post.

Prior to the opening dinner session, YALC hosted its first every bus tour of local businesses to acquaint attendees with agricultural-related businesses they may not encounter on a regular basis.

The tour’s first stop was the Madison River Brewing Company in Belgrade. Started in 2004, the Brewery has been a growing establishment in the Gallatin Valley craft brew scene. On the tour, YALC participants learned more about the process of turning locally sourced grains into beer. The tour described the process of utilizing the sugars available in grains, combining them with other ingredients like hops and yeast to make the recipe for popular local craft brews. The spent grains (brewer’s mash) is then given to local livestock producers as a high quality by-product feed.

YALC Friday Tour Madison River Brewery2

The next stop for the YALC tour visited the Montana Gluten Free Processing facilities in Belgrade. MT Gluten Free produces food products for consumers who are gluten intolerant or have celiac disease. They have a few individually labeled products, including baking mix, pancake or waffle mix, dessert mixes, and raw oatmeal. Most of their products are made from oats, which are grown in Montana, mostly in the Gallatin Valley. 90% of their products are sold domestically in states like California, Oregon, Washington and Colorado. Israel is their largest export market. The gluten free products are part of a growing trend for value-added agriculture products in the state of Montana.

YALC Friday Tour Gluten Processing5

The YALC tour wrapped up with a short drive to the Leep Dairy Farm near Toston (local newspaper feature from 2009). The dairy is one of the larger in the state, milking nearly 750 cows. The Leep dairy farm is operated by a father and two sons and is the only dairy in Broadwater County. Their milk goes primarily to liquid markets (meaning for liquid consumption, not used to make cheese, butter, or similar products) sold under the Dairygold label, which is a farmer-owned. Their products can be found in grocery chains such as Costco, Walmart, and many others in the Northwest.

YALC Friday Tour Leep Dairy Shane

According to the 2012 U.S. Census of Agriculture, there are only 92 dairies in the state of Montana, ranking fifth in agricultural products with 1.1% of the state’s agricultural sales. The Montana climate is ideal for dairy cows. The animals are able to stay cool in the summer and during the winter, enclosed barns are able to keep the cows comfortable and warm despite the sometimes-harsh weather. A limiting factor for Montana dairy farm growth is capacity for processing their products. There is no large cheese or specialty processing facility nearby.

The Leeps are very cognizant of keeping their animals, milk and environment safe. The farm uses mostly local forages for their silage. All of their solid and liquid wastes (manure and run-off water) are collected; solids composted, and used as fertilizer for neighboring farms. In turn, the Leeps are able to cooperate with the local farms to grow better forage crops for their cattle. All milk from cows treated with antibiotics or other medicines is discarded and every load of milk is tested for safety before it enters the milk supply chain. The farm is very aware of public concerns of animal welfare in the dairy business and continually works with their co-op, inspectors, and employees to make sure tasks on the farm are completed correctly and the animals are treated humanely.

YALC Friday Tour Leep Dairy Parlor

The Young Ag Leadership Conference continues through Sunday morning in Bozeman. Participants will attend several workshops and participate in discussion panels on various topics including row crop farming, livestock issues, local food, property rights, and many more. To follow online, use the hashtag #YALC2014. View more photos on the Montana Stockgrowers Association Facebook Page.

Registration Open for the 2013 Young Ag Leadership Conference

Register now for the Young Ag Leadership Conference (YALC), set to take place October 11-13 at Fairmont Hot Springs Resort.

The YALC is a collaborative effort between nine of Montana’s agricultural organizations, offering attendees a chance to discuss current ag issues, take part in various workshops, meet with industry leaders and network with fellow young people who live Montana agriculture.

Anyone aged 18-40 and interested or involved in any facet of agriculture is encouraged to attend. The conference is put together by a committee of representatives from each of the following: Montana Agri-Business Association, Montana Cattlemen’s Association, Montana 4-H Foundation, Montana FFA Foundation, Montana Farm Bureau Federation, Montana Farmers Union, Montana Grain Growers Association, Montana State University College of Agriculture, and the Montana Stockgrowers Association.

“Ag Venture 2013,” a day camp for children ages 3 & up, will be offered for the first time this year. Ag Ed students from Montana State University will engage kids in a fun and positive environment to promote agriculture. This camp will take place all day Saturday, allowing parents to fully participate in the jam-packed agenda while knowing their youngsters are enjoying a fun day of activities and learning.

Registration will open at 4PM on Friday, October 11 with the social beginning at 6 PM. The weekend’s festivities will kick off with dinner and an entertaining program. Saturday’s schedule is full of workshops, discussion groups and networking opportunities. Participants can choose between six workshop topics and two discussion group themes. The topics included in this year’s workshop sessions range from drought management to bioethics, improving soil health to risk management for beginning farmers and ranchers. Saturday’s luncheon will feature an insightful and entertaining talk by Cort Jensen of the Montana Department of Agriculture. The discussion group topics offered are “America & The World”: A look at U.S. commodities, trade and the current issues affecting them and “Montana Ag Business: Getting a Job and Making it Last.”

After a day full of information and networking, Saturday will wrap up with dinner and an evening of relaxation in the many pools and tubs offered at Fairmont Hot Springs. The weekend will be capped off with Amanda Radke of BEEF Magazine’s “5 Simple Ways to be a Better Agvocate Now.” Register now so you don’t miss this exciting, one-of-a-kind weekend!

Cost of registration for the YALC is only $25, with all meals provided and enrollment costs for the “Ag Venture Day Camp” is $10 per child. After the pre-registration date of October 4, fees increase to $35.

To register for YALC go to the Montana Farm Bureau Federation website or contact Mariah Baumann Shammel at (406) 462-5639 or paisleyprairies@gmail.com.


Registration now open for the 7th Annual Young Ag Leadership Conference

Young Agriculture Leadership Conference Montana

Register now for the 2010 Young Ag Leadership Conference (YALC) October 1-3 at the Rock Creek Resort in Red Lodge. This unique conference—a partnership between seven of Montana’s primary agricultural groups—allows young producers from throughout the state to come together across organization and commodity lines for hands-on workshops, discussion groups and networking.

The conference is designed for anyone ages 18-40 who is involved with or concerned about Montana’s agricultural industry. Conference hosts include Montana Cattlemen’s Association, Montana 4-H Foundation, Montana Farm Bureau Federation, Montana FFA Foundation, Montana Grain Growers Association, Montana State University College of Agriculture, and the Montana Stockgrowers Association.

“This conference is a great opportunity to showcase agricultural groups in Montana working toward the same goal of developing the industry’s next generation of leaders,” said Todd Smith, YALC planning committee chair. “We hope attendees walk away with a greater understanding of how important it is to get involved – for their industry and their future.”

The conference begins Friday, October 1 with registration beginning at 4 p.m. at the Rock Creek Resort, followed by a social, dinner and entertainment. Saturday will offer participants a selection of six different workshops, featuring presenters from the Cattle-Fax, the Center for Ag & Rural Banking, the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, the University of Nebraska and more. Workshops will include topics such as using social media to tell agriculture’s story, family communications/estate planning, a cattle industry outlook, utilizing “precision agriculture” technology, and tracking the activist to name a few. In addition, discussion groups led by organizational staff, state leaders and Congressional offices representatives will allow attendees to ask the tough questions about issues facing their industry. Dinner, entertainment by hypnotist Dr. Al Snyder and live music at the Bear Creek Saloon will round out Saturday’s events. Attendees are in for a real treat on Sunday morning as nationally-known speaker Trent Loos, will wrap up the conference with a can’t-miss keynote on the importance of being a champion for agriculture.

Cost of registration for the YALC is only $25, with all meals provided. The registration deadline is September 24. To register for the YALC go to http://www.mfbf.org/ or contact Sue Ann Streufert at (406) 587-3153 or sueanns@mfbf.org to receive a registration form.