Update from MSGA President Gene Curry

Gene Curry

As I sit down to write this article it occurs to me that this will be my last article in the newsletter as your president. That thought comes with extremely mixed emotions! I have tremendously enjoyed my time representing you all in the ten years in leadership of this outstanding organization. Whenever I am asked about my role in MSGA, I always respond by saying that I get to work for the best bosses in the state. It is an honor to represent MSGA whether it be in DC, at a NCBA function, in meetings with state government officials, legislators, or at a local affiliate meeting and I always try to keep in mind that I am there representing all of you, not just myself. I have truly enjoyed every minute spent serving our industry in this “very large” state and will miss those opportunities. That being said, I know this organization will be in good hands with Bryan Mussard as your new president.

Monday the 10th we woke up to our first taste of winter here in northern Montana with over 6 inches of new snow here in Valier and about a foot west of town at Jeremy’s. It snowed off and on all day and we had another inch overnight. Like some of you, I am never as ready as I should be for winter and hopefully this is just the proverbial shot over the bow and Mother Nature will give us more time to prepare. Most of the calves are still on the cows and some are still west on summer pasture, but it sounds like the end of the week will be better.

I am still attending the BOL meetings and have offered to help any way I can in the upcoming legislative session to be sure the DOL budget gets through the legislature with enough money to provide the services the livestock industry expects and deserves. We all know that money will be tight this year, but I believe that with the present board and administrators we have in the department, the proposed budget will be accurate and much easier to defend. Getting General Fund money for the diagnostic lab will be crucial to having a budget that fits the needs of the industry. I expect at the next BOL meeting we will see the results of an analysis of the lab budget by Dr. Layton, Executive Officer Honeycutt, and Vice-chair John Scully. They are looking at the fee schedule and doing a cost analysis of various procedures to determine what costs can be attributed to human health. This information will be very valuable when defending the budget request.

Wayne Slaght, Jay Bodner, and I are still working with FWP on the Grizzly Bear issues that are expanding out of traditional Grizzly habitat onto surrounding farm and ranch land and into communities. As much as we all would like to see the Grizzly stay in the mountains, this potential conflict is not going away and in my opinion will only continue to escalate until the Grizzly is delisted. Even then, with the rules that will be in place upon delisting, I am not sure we will see much improvement. My one hope is that somehow we can re-instill a fear of humans that it seems the bears have lost. We are working on a list of mitigation procedures that some of us can use to reduce the potential for conflict. I know that the Rocky Mountain Front is not the only area that is seeing an increase in Grizzly activity and we intend to be involved wherever the potential for conflict exists. Just contact the office and we will share any information and help in any way we can.

I am looking forward to attending as many local meetings as I can this fall, so get your date into the office as soon as you can so we can schedule someone to attend. It is always rewarding for me to hear from members at these local events, to update you on what MSGA is doing for you, and to find out what else you would like us to do.

The Annual Convention is approaching fast and will be here before we know it. The date, as most of you know, is December 7-9 and the change you need to note is that this year we run from Wednesday through Friday instead of our traditional Thursday through Saturday. Hope to see you all there!


A big thank you to President Gene Curry for his service and commitment to not only MSGA but also Montana’s ranching industry as a whole. Be on the lookout this week for more information on the nominees for the MSGA Board of Directors.

Montana State Ag College to Recognize Outstanding Alumni

Montana State Celebrate AgricultureThis weekend (November 6-7), Montana State University will Celebrate Agriculture with a number of events on campus to recognize contributions of the College of Agriculture and Montana’s largest industry. Friday’s events will include an Economics Outlook Conference with a number of great speakers. Read more about the included topics. Friday evening, our Collegiate Stockgrowers will host a reception at the Animal Bioscience Building beginning at 4 p.m.

Saturday’s events will include a Harvest Breakfast, recognizing several leaders and award recipients, followed by Bobcats Football taking on Southern Utah at 1:40 p.m.

MSGA is excited to share that our current President, Gene Curry, MSU alumni, will be recognized as the college’s honorary and outstanding alumni, along with Jerry Nielsen, MSU Professor Emeritus, during the college’s Celebrate Agriculture Harvest Breakfast event..

Nielsen taught at MSU from 1966-1999 and has a long history of supporting and advocating for soil science at MSU. He was also instrumental in the recent legislation naming the Scobey Soil Series as Montana’s official state soil and a newly remodeled campus soil lab.

Curry is an Animal and Range Sciences graduate of the college and manages a family cattle operation in Valier, Mont. Curry has a lengthy career of service in supporting Montana agriculture and MSU programs, evidenced by his contribution to myriad boards and committees.

MSGA congratulates both these gentlemen on their accomplishments in Montana’s agricultural community. We hope you’ll take the opportunity to thank them and take part in the MSU Celebrate Ag events in Bozeman this week.

New President Looks Forward to 2015

Northern Ag Lunch Gene Curry Lane NordlundBy Gene Curry, Valier, MSGA President

First, I want to thank you all for the confidence and trust you have placed in me to lead this great organization. The process we just went through to set the policy and direction this organization will take gives all of us in leadership a mandate to go to the legislature as your advocates. It also guides us in our daily business with members, government officials or others who want to know our stance on a particular policy or issue. You have drawn up the blueprint; all we need to do is follow it!

I will lead this organization in a way that will make you all proud to say you are members of MSGA. If you have any questions or concerns, my phone line is always open and I am willing to listen. This is your organization.

What timing! What a time to take over as president of the Montana Stockgrowers!

I have always thought timing in life is what takes us down the road we follow. Timing, a little luck, a lot of perseverance, maybe some work ethic instilled by our parents or other mentors, and the grace of God brought us all where we are today.

Perseverance is something all of us in this industry have and we see the fruits of this in the cattle market today. Perseverance also is a quality my wife Cheryl has in volumes along with many other attributes that have kept her by my side for 46+ years. She took care of the family and the cattle while I was off trucking and later took on a full time, off-farm job, to help pay for the ranch. When she went to work full time, someone else had to fill in. That is where all our kids did their part in keeping hay put up, cows fed, fences mended and all the other work around the ranch.

We all know without family most of us would not be where we are today, and for me that goes 10 fold! Cheryl and I are very fortunate that Jeremy decided to come back to the ranch and that there is room for him. He and his family, along with our hired help, are the reason I have the time to take on this commitment. Cheryl and I, Jeremy and Shannon, and the rest of our family have been working on a transition plan for about 9 years and without this help, I don’t think Cheryl’s and my dream of a multigenerational family ranch would be where it is today.

With the prices and optimism in the cattle industry, there is a tremendous opportunity for the next generation to come back to the ranch. It was so encouraging to see the number of young people at the annual convention and local meetings I have attended. When it is time to bring that next generation back I would just like to ask you all to

  • Have a plan
  • Make sure everyone involved knows what the plan is
  • Most importantly, have the plan written down because life is fleeting

There is a Vince Lombardi quote I think is very fitting. “Individual commitment to a group effort; that is what makes a team work, a society work, and civilization work.”

I would also like to add that this is what makes MSGA such an effective organization — “individual commitment to a group effort”. It just stands to reason that the more committed individuals you have the more effective your organization will be!

Therefore, I have one request for each and every MSGA member: Go out and find one neighbor, friend, or family member who is not a member of MSGA and sign them up!

Thank you all for being members and a special thanks to those of you who had the time and made the effort to attend what I thought was a wonderful convention. For me it was the best ever because of the opportunity you have given me to lead this remarkable organization!

I also want to take this opportunity give a special thank you to my predecessor, Tucker Hughes for his dedicated service to the MSGA.

Thanks again. – Gene