Colorado Springs, Colorado
I was raised in an Air Force family, with my officer father piloting a variety of planes and commanding multiple units. During my childhood, I lived and traveled all over the nation, sometimes living in agriculture communities, at other times living in the suburbs. My agricultural experience included raising and showing livestock in 4H and ranch-hand labor, helping to build fences in the mountains of Idaho. The rural lifestyle and my enjoyment of raising animals set the course of my life, leading to university study in agricultural disciplines. In 2002, I graduated from Colorado State University with two Bachelor of Science degrees, in Agricultural Business and Animal Science. In 2004, I received my Master’s of Science in Agricultural Economics, married Jim Fryer and began working in Billings, MT. Shortly thereafter and for the ensuing ten years, Jim and I have embraced career progression opportunities by moving to several locations in the US, Europe and Asia. My family feels very fortunate to have returned to Jim’s native Montana by settling in Central Montana almost four years ago. Jim works at Bos Terra, where the operation uses local grains to produce national beef. Our three children are thoroughly immersed in Montana country life.
Office manager for home business; occasional cowpuncher; school board member; proposal editor; aspiring photographer
What sparked your interest in agriculture?
My family has always enjoyed the great outdoors; hunting, camping, fishing and riding horses. When we lived on the east coast, we would visit the Pennsylvania farm where my father was raised. I was involved in showing livestock in 4H and fell in love with raising and caring for the animals.
What makes a great leader?
Great leaders possess many traits. They have a clear set of principles guiding their lives and actions, a strong code of ethics, and the courage to stick to their principles and ethics as they strive to accomplish the goal.
They enjoy working with others to solve problems and reach solutions. They communicate early, often and clearly. Many issues are difficult and they take perseverance and courage to discuss. Great leaders aren’t afraid to tackle tough issues.
Often times we need to stop and ask questions, listen, and hear what others are saying. The more you learn about other perspectives, the more you’ll discover how much (or how little) you know about your own. These are sometimes difficult topics for everyone. If you get defensive and attack, you’re not contributing to productive dialogue. No one accomplishes much alone, and no one can know everything about everything.
If you could learn to do anything, what would it be?
Rope a calf and drag it into the branding fire successfully.
Where do you hope to be in five years?
I hope to be in rural Montana, working in agriculture research partially, publishing agriculture articles and photographs, riding as much as possible and raising my family. Recently, I was visiting with an Emergency Room doctor (but that’s another story) whose husband is a native Montanan, she said, “You can take the man out of Montana once, but if he returns, he’ll never leave again.” My kids and I hope she’s right and we think she is.
What do you hope to gain from the leadership series?
I hope to positively contribute to the agriculture industry as we continue to feed an ever growing world population. As the world continues to grow, agriculture businesses, leaders and policy makers can hopefully help expand our markets. Stockgrowers and other producers can continue to spread a positive message that we care for our animals, crops, land and we want to ensure food safety. Our voices are incredibly important to agriculture, to our communities, to our interests and to our country. I want to learn how to better help our industry through advocacy and policy.