MSGA member, Cooper Hereford Ranch, recognized as one of Montana’s top family-owned businesses

In Montana agriculture few names are as readily recognized as the Cooper Hereford Ranch, a pioneer in the production of purebred Hereford cattle. Over a hundred years in the making, the business was recognized as one of Montana’s top family-owned businesses in the Old Business Category of the 2016 Montana Family Business Awards presented by the Montana State University’s Jake Jabs College of Business and Entrepreneurship. State Farm Insurance sponsors the awards and Montana Chamber of Commerce sponsors the annual awards luncheon in Bozeman.

The Cooper Ranch, located near Willow Creek, Montana, is currently passing into the hands of a fourth generation, having been first established in 1914 as a homestead called the Silver Brook Farm by their great grandfather, Frank Oscar Cooper. Establishing and holding onto his 480 acre enterprise was no easy matter. Frank raised farm animals and harvested a large garden before losing the land during the Great Depression. He was able to repurchase the farm, after getting a Land Bank loan for $200. In 1946, Frank’s son Jack bought the land and continued to run a general farming operation for several years. The ranch grew to its current 4,500 acres.

Jack and his wife, Phyllis, launched the legacy of the family business as one of the first producers of the Hereford Line One foundation stock in 1947. Following the recommendation of his brother-in-law Dr. Ray Woodard, a Line One Project Leader at the Experiment Station in Miles City, Montana, Jack bought his first foundation stock – 15 Line One females – from the U.S. Range Livestock Experiment Station.
By the time the Montana Beef Performance Association was formed in 1957, with Jack as a charter member, he had ten years of experience with Line One Herefords and performance testing. Jack later joined the American Hereford Association’s “Total Performance Records” program in 1960.

In 1977, after studying Ag-Production at Montana State University, Jack’s son Mark returned to Willow Creek to assist with the ranching and farming operations. He and his wife, Cristy, managed the ranch where they also raised four daughters. Two of those daughters, Kelsy and Katie, and son-in-law Dave Hanson, are also involved with the ranch operations. They believe that bigger is not always better and have focused their efforts on land improvements rather than acquisitions. The family displays acts of land stewardship through implementing weed and rodent control, water conservation, and innovative farming and ranching practices into their business plan. Land improvements made during the last two years include a large river restoration project along the Jefferson River, maintenance and grading to roads throughout the property, and the planting of numerous tree belts and natural windbreaks along with the design of irrigation systems to properly water both.

The fourth generation has transitioned the business from traditional record keeping to an online data system. They maintain their website in-house and create their annual sale catalog and many advertisements in-house as well.

A big Congratulations to Cooper Hereford Ranch, the award is well deserved!



Report highlights best practices in Montana ‘Beef to School’ partnerships

A team of Montana State University researchers, stakeholders and community partners known as the Montana Beef to School Project has written a case study report to help Montana beef producers, meat processors, schools and communities explore what factors make beef to school programs successful and encourage the use of local beef in every Montana school. The report was released online this week to coincide with National Farm to School Month in October.

‘Farm to school’ efforts are increasing nationwide and, as beef is one of Montana’s top agricultural products, ‘beef to school’ efforts are increasing in Montana, according to Carmen Byker Shanks, assistant professor in the MSU Department of Health and Human Development and principal investigator of the USDA Western SARE-funded Montana Beef to School Project.

Montana has just over one million residents, approximately 2.5 million cattle, thousands of beef producers, approximately 20 state and federally inspected beef processors and about 145,000 students across 821 schools, Byker Shanks noted.

“Beef is a natural component of farm to school efforts in Montana,” she said.

At the same time, schools, processors and ranchers are facing successes and challenges when attempting to make beef to school programs viable, Byker Shanks noted. Between 2015 and 2018, the Montana Beef to School Project is developing an operational framework and toolkit to decrease barriers and increase opportunities for Montana beef to school efforts. The case study report is one output of that work.

“These case studies provide lessons learned for producers, processors and schools when entering beef to school partnerships,” Byker Shanks said. “We want this report to contribute to understanding how to make farm to school generally more feasible in Montana. Farm to school programs are one way to ensure that students are connected with their state’s local agriculture and that meals provided at lunch are high in nutrients for optimum growth and development.”

Joel Schumacher, co-principal investigator of the Montana Beef to School Project and MSU Extension economics specialist, said the case studies are designed to highlight the needs of all key stakeholders in the beef to school process and inform strategies to make it easier to offer local beef to Montana schools. The partnerships represented in the case study span six school districts (Dillon, Hinsdale, Kalispell, Livingston, Somers Lakeside, Whitefish) that include 28 schools and 11,149 students, two producers (Lazy SR Ranch and Muddy Creek Ranch), two processors (Lower Valley Processing and Ranchland Packing) and one integrated producer and processor (Bear Paw Meats).

“Producers and processors seem very open to working with schools and expressed pride in the quality of products and services they could offer,” said Tommy Bass, co-principal investigator of the Montana Beef to School Project and MSU Extension livestock environment associate specialist. “While a variety of local beef supply chain models were documented in the case study, all included community values, trust and economic potential as key to beef to school partnerships.”

The Montana Beef to School Project is a three-year collaborative project between several Montana beef producers and processors, schools and many stakeholders represented in the Montana Beef to School Coalition. It is funded by a $220,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Western Region Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program.

The case study report was authored by Byker Shanks and Janet Gamble at MSU Food and Health Lab in the College of Education, Health and Human Development’s Department of Health and Human Development, Bass and Schumacher of MSU Extension, Aubree Roth of Montana Farm to School, and Demetrius Fassas and Mallory Stefan of National Center for Appropriate Technology. An additional list of report reviewers and contributors is listed on page two of the case study report.

The report, “Moooooving Forward Together: Strategies for Montana Beef to School,” can be downloaded at

For more information, contact Byker Shanks at

Contact: Carmen Byker Shanks, (406) 994-1952 or

Source: MSU News Service

MSU to honor Jim Hagenbarth as Outstanding Agricultural Leader

BOZEMAN — Jim Hagenbarth of Hagenbarth Livestock in Dillon has been named the 2016 Outstanding Agricultural Leader on behalf of Montana State University’s College of Agriculture and Montana Agricultural Experiment Station. The public is invited to congratulate Hagenbarth at a Montana-made breakfast to be held at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 12, in MSU’s South Gym of the Marga Hosaeus Fitness Center during the college’s annual Celebrate Agriculture event scheduled for Nov. 11-12 at MSU.

MSU Vice President of Agriculture Charles Boyer said Hagenbarth is a successful and respected agriculture leader for Montana and a great example for current university agriculture students.

“Jim Hagenbarth represents some of the very best of Montana agriculture: commitment to the stewardship of land, resources and people and an impressive dedication to public service,” Boyer said. “We’re pleased to honor Jim with this award, not only for his family’s successful livestock and ranching business, but because he has worked tirelessly to engage in difficult conversations and processes at local and national levels, to find common ground among diverse voices and agendas. In agriculture, that is not easy.”

The award is given annually to individuals or couples who are engaged and well-respected in the state’s agricultural community. Recipients are those who have impacted many with their accomplishments, have a lifetime of achievement in agriculture, are industry leaders or innovative producers and are actively involved in the agricultural community.

Hagenbarth exhibits outstanding leadership in agricultural and public service to Montana and MSU, according to members of the selection committee. The Montana Stockgrowers Association and the MSU Department of Animal and Range Sciences nominated Hagenbarth for the award. Letters of support for his nomination were received from the United States Department of Agriculture, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks, the Department of Natural Resource Conservation and a host of Montana ranchers.

Nominators said Hagenbarth is well-respected among livestock ranchers, wildlife and fisheries biologists, government agencies, special interest groups and watershed groups. They add that he has been an exemplary, composed leader in contentious and high-stakes natural resource discussions and as a farm and ranch policy advocate for Montana producers. He has also successfully forged private and public partnerships in species management protection and for natural resources at state and national levels.

Perhaps Hagenbarth’s most notable influence, according to support letters, is his work with the Montana citizens working group for the Interagency Bison Management Plan, a cooperative, multi-agency effort that guides the management of bison and brucellosis in and around Yellowstone National Park. His work with this effort led him to testify before the U.S. Congress regarding Montana’s cattle and bison interactions, particularly surrounding the brucellosis disease. Additionally, Hagenbarth has lobbied in Washington, D.C. for the Big Hole Watershed Committee, of which he was a founding member and currently serves as vice president. His dedication to the Upper Snake Sage-Grouse Local Working Group resulted in a 38-page plan drafted between citizen ranchers and state and federal agencies to increase sage-grouse populations in the upper Snake River region of Idaho. He has also been an invited speaker to numerous national conventions, including National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and the First National Bison Symposium.

Hagenbarth is a volunteer on the Montana Board of Livestock, National Cattlemen’s Association and the USDA-ARS Forage and Range Research lab in Logan, Utah. He has served as a research advisory council member of the Montana Agricultural Experiment Station and is active in the Knights of Columbus, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, Montana Stockgrowers Association and the St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church.

Hagenbarth’s family history in Montana’s sheep and cattle industries dates back to statehood, when Hagenbarth’ s grandfather managed 150,000 sheep and 500,000 cattle on nearly two million acres of range. Hagenbarth’s family still owns and manages the 120 year-old cattle ranch today.

Hagenbarth received a bachelor’s degree in business management from the University of Notre Dame before returning to work on his family’s ranch.

Hagenbarth and his wife, Laurie, have three adult children: Mark, John and Kate.

The selection committee for the Outstanding Agricultural Leader award is comprised of three Montana agriculture representatives, a College of Agriculture faculty member and an MSU student. MSU’s College of Agriculture has presented Outstanding Agricultural Leader awards since 1999.

Contact: Susan Fraser, 994-3601,

MSU to host agricultural outlook conference Nov. 11

BOZEMAN – The Montana State University Department of Agricultural Economics and Economics and MSU Extension will host an agricultural economics conference, “Agricultural Production Trends and Changing Food Systems,” on Nov. 11. The Department of Agricultural Economics and Economics is a joint department of the MSU College of Agriculture and MSU College of Letters and Science.

At the conference, MSU agricultural economics and Extension faculty will speak about topics tailored to the Montana agricultural industry, including grain and cattle markets, banking regulation, crop viruses, farm bill updates, Montana poverty statistics and agricultural profitability under the statewide agricultural production research grant with the Montana Research and Economic Development Initiative.

“The annual conference is an opportunity for university economists and specialists to share their research findings and value with our state’s stakeholders,” said Joel Schumacher, MSU agricultural economics Extension specialist. “We look forward to the conference each year because it’s a chance for us to connect and talk with public supporters, who ultimately guide and direct our research priorities.”

The conference’s guest M.L. Wilson Speaker this year is Jayson Lusk, who will discuss “The Future of Food.” A Regents Professor and Willard Sparks Endowed Chair in the Oklahoma State University Department of Agricultural Economics, Lusk is often cited as one of the country’s most prolific commenters on food policy and marketing and agricultural marketing topics related to consumer behavior. He is a fellow of the Agricultural and Applied Economics Association and author of more than 100 peer-reviewed articles and six books, including “Unnaturally Delicious” and “The Food Police.” He has also published editorials in The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times.

Thursday’s conference speakers include Joe Janzen, MSU assistant professor of agricultural economics, who will speak about grain market fundamentals, and Eric Belasco, MSU associate professor of agricultural economics, who will speak on cattle market fundamentals. Gary Brester, MSU agricultural economics professor, will address the impacts of emerging bank regulations on agricultural loan competition. Conference registration includes a hosted a lunch with comments from Vincent Smith, MSU professor of agricultural economics, on MSU’s new Center for Regulatory and Applied Economic Analysis.

After lunch, two in-depth breakout session will be offered. One will feature a selection of ongoing research featuring MSU Agricultural Economics Extension Specialist Kate Fuller and Nina Zidack, director of the MSU Montana Seed Potato Certification Program, who will speak on the economics of disease screening in the Montana seed potato industry. Schumacher will share Montana poverty statistics, followed by a second session that will feature faculty involved with the Montana Research and Economic Development Grant, aimed at increasing general agricultural profitability across Montana. Speakers include Anton Bekkerman, MSU associate professor of agricultural economics; George Haynes, MSU Extension agricultural policy specialist; Bruce Maxwell, MSU professor of ecology; and Colter Ellis, MSU assistant professor of sociology.

The conference will run from 8:30 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. The morning session will be held in the Procrastinator Theater in MSU’s Strand Union Building. Conference registration is $25. Participants should call 994-3511 to register. A full schedule is available at

The 10th annual conference is part of MSU’s larger Celebrate Agriculture weekend, set for Nov. 10-12 and hosted by the MSU College of Agriculture. More information about Celebrate Agriculture is available at

REEF Announces winner of scholarship

MSGA’s Research Education and Endowment Foundation announces winner of Educational Heritage Scholarship

Amanda Williams has been chosen as the recipient of the $1000 Scholarship. Amanda is from Miles City, Montana where she grew up on the family ranch, 2DO Ranch. She is currently attending Montana State University where she is majoring in Animal Science with a minor in Rangeland Management and Ecology.


Though she is only finishing her second year at MSU, she is already at a junior status. She plans to become a county extension agent after graduation following in the steps of her father, grandfather and grandmother. Amanda believes this will be an excellent career for her because she will be able to work with not only the children of the community but also the adults and producers. Some of her fondest memories have been with members of the community through my jobs and helping people work cattle or working with a group of extension agents.

Another goal for Amanda is to return to the family ranch and try to expand it. She hopes through her coursework at MSU and the many hands on experiences will make her better equipped to help out and expand the ranch. The ranch is one of her favorite places to be and there are few things she enjoys more than working on the ranch or helping someone work cattle.

Amanda is currently serving as the President of the MSU Collegiate Stockgrowers. She is also active in the Range Club, College of Ag Student Council, Collegiate Cattlewomen, Collegiate FFA, Collegiate Young Farmers and Ranchers, MSU Plant ID team, and the Undergraduate Range Management Exam team. She has been on the Dean’s List twice and the President’s List!

Amanda hopes to continue her education throughout her life, whether that is through college classes, work or life experience. Her education at MSU will be crucial in her career path of extension and expansion of the family ranch. Amanda plans to continue her education for years to come and help others, as well as remain involved in the cattle industry and Montana Stockgrowers Association.

Congratulations to Amanda, MSGA looks forward to seeing your future accomplishments!


The Montana Stockgrowers Association, a non-profit organization representing nearly 2,500 members, strives to serve, protect and advance the economic, political, environmental and cultural interests of cattle producers, the largest sector of Montana’s number one industry – agriculture.

From the Great Falls Tribune: Death Camas Warning Issued in Yellowstone County

What is Death Camas and why is it killing Montana cows?

Source: Great Falls Tribune

David Murray,


Death Camas

The slender green plant is known as Death Camas, and given the right environmental conditions it can easily live up to its ominous name.

Over the past week, at least four cows in Yellowstone County have died after consuming lethal quantities of the plant. In one case a dead cow was found with a Death Camus plant still hanging out of its mouth.

“I have a producer that had three cows die in one night,” wrote Ag Extension Agent Steve Lackman in an email to Montana State University range scientist Jeff Mosely. “My producer tells me that the camas is the same height as the grass and they are eating it with the grass. My producer is alarmed and thought I may need to put out a warning to (other) producers.”

Significant concentrations of the toxic plant also have been reported in pastures in Custer County, though no livestock deaths have been attributed to it there. Range scientists are cautioning Montana livestock producers to keep on the lookout for Death Camas, warning that current environmental conditions are nearly perfect for a dangerous outbreak.

“It is something that comes around every year,” Chouteau County Ag Extension Agent Tyler Lane said. “It’s probably more common in years following drought because a lot of times after drought there isn’t very much carry-over grass from the previous year. The carry-over grass kind of helps buffer the toxins, so that even though (livestock) might eat the same amount it doesn’t reach a toxic concentration.”

“I think a warning to your producers is a good idea,” Mosely responded to Lackman’s email. “Death Camas is highly toxic in the spring, especially the underground bulb. When soils are moist, livestock can pull the bulb out of the ground and ingest it. Death Camas greens up earlier than most other plants, making it more palatable than other plants in the spring, thereby contributing to livestock eating toxic amounts.”

Death Camas has been a natural part of Montana’s prairie ecosystem far longer than cattle or sheep have grazed here. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Death Camas is a member of the lily family and can be found growing in pastures and fields from Texas to Alaska. Native American tribes were familiar with it, and were careful to avoid Death Camas while picking Common Camas, a native plant food source prized by tribes throughout the Pacific Northwest.

All parts of the Death Camas plant contain a steroidal toxin called Zygacine. Eaten in small amounts, Zygacine causes stomach upset, vomiting and diarrhea. Swallow too much of it and the toxin in Death Camas will trigger varying degrees of paralysis and only rarely death. There is no cure for Zygacine poisoning.

Yet the risk associated with Death Camas is typically low. Given an adequate alternative food source, livestock will usually avoid the green Death Camas shoots. A unique set of environmental conditions have combined to make this year’s emergence of Death Camas a more immediate concern.

“The weather can play a role in the concentration of the toxins,” Mosely said. “The molecular structure of the toxins in many plants change depending on the barometric pressure. When the pressure goes low the molecular structure of the toxin changes into a more toxic form. A lot of time, right as storms are coming in, the plant develops into a more toxic state. Those are times when poisoning is more apt to happen.”

Less than two weeks ago a high-pressure system stalled over Montana, keeping temperatures unseasonably warm. That was followed by a fast-moving low-pressure system that brought a spring snowstorm to many parts of the state. Since then, the weather has remained cool and wet, a near perfect combination to promote the most toxic phase of Death Camas development.

“That fits,” Mosely said of recent weather patterns. “Death Camas is not the only plant that does that. Low Larkspur is also a plant that’s on these spring ranges and can be a problem sometimes.”

Mosely stressed that there is likely a narrow window through which Death Camas will remain a concern. As the grasses continue to mature they will quickly displace Death Camas as a significant grazing source. He recommends livestock producers make a general survey of their pastures, and if at all possible, delay turning animals out into pastures where a significant presence of Death Camas appears to exist.

“By delaying the turnout two things will happen,” Mosely said. “The Death Camas will get more mature and less palatable, and the grass will grow more so there will be more grass in the diet of the animals to buffer the toxin.”

Ranchers and sheep producers who’ve recently added new animals to their herds and flocks should take extra precautions.

“There is some evidence to suggest that the resistance to Death Camas poisoning is genetic,” Mosely added. “For producers who have purchased cattle outside of their immediate area and brought those cows in, those would be ones to watch and to be more concerned about.”

Over the long term, good land management remains the key to reducing the threat from noxious and toxic plants like Death Camas.

“It does become more abundant in pastures that are less healthy, and that don’t have as much grass,” Mosely said. “It’s a native species, but you can exacerbate the problem if you don’t take good care of the range.”

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.

Call for MSU Steer A Year Donations

SAY MeatsThe 2015-2016 academic year has begun which means it is time to start “rounding up” steers for the Montana State University Steer-A-Year (SAY) program. In this program, steers donated by Montana ranchers are fed to finish on campus.

Donated steers make a direct impact on MSU students, particularly those on the livestock judging team. The funds allow judging team members to compete and represent Montana State University at a national level.

In addition, SAY contributions are important in enhancing the educational experience for students in the College of Agriculture. The steers are used to allow for “hands-on” learning experiences in courses such as Beef Cattle Management, Livestock Management-Beef Cattle, Meat Science, and Livestock Evaluation. Additionally, the newly created “steer-a-year” class allows students to be involved in all aspects of managing steers.

The Steer-A-Year class is a student run class that focuses on feedlot production and finishing. Steers are donated to the University by Montana producers to be used not only for this class but also for many classes on campus. Those include Livestock Evaluation, Beef Practicum, Beef Management, and Meat Science.

The donation is completely tax deductible and producers will be recognized at Celebrate Ag weekend. In addition, producer who donate receive a monthly update on the performance of all the steers in the program.

Donations made to SAY directly impact our students and these contributions can be made either in the form of a donation of a live steer, cash, proceeds from an auction market sale, and/or gifts of feed grain or forage. Delivery of steers will be taken during the period of October 30 to November 13, 2015. Steers will be housed at the Bozeman Agriculture Research and Teaching Farm. Performance data will be taken and sent out to donors as collected. Awards will also be presented to the Best Initial Feeder Steer, the steer with the Top Rate of Gain and Best Carcass.

If you would like more information about the Steer-A-Year program, or would like to donate a steer, please contact Hannah DelCurto at (406)994-3752 or

MSU to host Agricultural Economics Outlook Conference

montana state extension logo

BOZEMAN – Montana State University’s Department of Agricultural Economics and Economics and MSU Extension will host the 9th annual Agricultural Economics Outlook Conference on Nov. 6.

This year’s conference, “Montana Agriculture: Global Trade to Local Foods,” will run from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. in the Procrastinator Theater in MSU’s Strand Union Building.

The conference’s keynote speaker is Colin Carter, professor of agricultural and resource economics at the University of California Davis and director of the Giannini Foundation of Agricultural Economics. Carter’s research is focused on international trade, futures and commodity markets, and he has published more than 130 research papers and authored more than 15 books.

“Dr. Colin Carter is one of the world’s leading experts on international agricultural trade and trade policy issues,” said Vincent Smith, professor of economics in the MSU Department of Agricultural Economics and Economics. “He works extensively with both U.S. and international government and non-governmental agencies and interest groups on trade related disputes, and his academic research has been widely recognized for its insights and importance.”

Carter will address agricultural trade and the Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership Agreement (TPP), a proposed regional free trade agreement currently being negotiated among the United States, Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam. TPP is a trade policy of President Obama meant to expand American goods and services exports to new markets while setting high standards of global trade, according to the Office of the United States Trade Representative. The TPP has important implications for Montana’s agricultural exports, according to Smith.

The conference, which is part of MSU’s Celebrate Agriculture weekend, is also designed to provide Montana agricultural, business leaders, agricultural bankers, producers and others in agriculture with quality, unbiased information about issues facing Montana agriculture.

“The outlook conference is an outstanding example of MSU’s commitment to the land-grant mission of bringing high-quality, relevant research findings to the citizens of Montana,” said Jeff Bader, director of MSU Extension. “The event brings important insights about the current standing and future of agriculture from a research perspective, which is always appreciated by our stakeholders.”

During the morning session of the conference, MSU agricultural economics professors will share their expertise on aspects of Montana’s agricultural industry. Speakers include Kate Fuller, who will discuss the status of Montana agriculture; Joe Janzen, who will discuss marketing Montana pulse crops; and Eric Belasco, who will discuss cattle market fundamentals and prices. Registration is $25 for the morning session and lunch. Those who register by Wednesday, Oct. 28, will receive a free parking pass. To register, please visit

Following lunch at 1:45 p.m., two in-depth breakout sessions will be offered. The first session will focus on innovations in price risk management from MSU economics professors Gary Brester, Janzen, Joe Atwood and Belasco. The second session will focus on producer and consumer relationships in local food markets and will feature Dawn Thilmany McFadden, professor of agribusiness at Colorado State University, and MSU Agricultural Economics Professor George Haynes. Several local food businesses will also share their perspective with attendees. Registration is not required for the breakout sessions.

For a full schedule of events and speakers at the conference, please visit

A full schedule of events for the Celebrate Agriculture weekend event is available at:

MSU Students Place Second in Regional Animal Science Competition

Rachel Endecott, Montana State University Extension Beef Cattle SpecialistBy Dr. Rachel Endecott, MSU Extension Beef Cattle Specialist

Happy summer! This month, I’m proud to feature this press release from MSU News Service about the MSU Academic Quadrathlon Team.

BOZEMAN – Four students from Montana State University’s Department of Animal and Range Sciences in the College of Agriculture placed second in the Western Region Academic Quadrathlon, held June 22-23 in Ruidoso, N.M.

The regional contest was held in conjunction with the 2015 Western Section American Society of Animal Science meetings, hosted by New Mexico State University. The MSU team competed with four other universities in the western region, including California State University-Chico, New Mexico State University, Oregon State University and Utah State University.

L to R, Elena Combs, Alyson Hicks-Lynch, Bailey Engle, Emily Griswold

L to R, Elena Combs, Alyson Hicks-Lynch, Bailey Engle, Emily Griswold

Elena Combs of Missoula, Bailey Engle of Big Timber, Emily Griswold of Millerstown, Pa., and Alyson Hicks-Lynch of Hood River, Ore. competed in a four-part contest that consisted of a comprehensive written exam, impromptu oral presentation, hands-on lab practicum and a double-elimination quiz bowl tournament.

“Elena, Bailey, Emily and Alyson did a spectacular job representing MSU at the contest,” said Rachel Endecott, team adviser and MSU beef cattle extension specialist. “I’m extremely proud of them and their hard work.”

All four students graduated in May from the department. Endecott said Combs has been accepted into the Washington, Idaho, Montana and Utah (WIMU) Regional Program in Veterinary Medicine and will complete her first year of veterinary school in Bozeman this fall. Engle will begin a five-year Ph.D. program in breeding and genetics at Texas A&M University. Griswold works as a veterinary technician at Sorenson Veterinary Clinic and is applying for vet school this year. Hicks-Lynch will begin a master’s degree program at Oregon State University in range management and ruminant nutrition this fall.