Leadership Series | Guest Blog Post | Weston Merrill

Post by Weston Merrill

Weston

I was asked to write a blog post about my leadership brand. What intimidated me most were the words “blog post”! This relates to my leadership brand because my brand is difficult to define. I am all about being the maker of your own destiny. Whether we believe it or not at the end of the day we have control over how successful we will be. This includes how we feel about ourselves and others.

My brand is not something that has one ingredient or that can even be defined in one word. It’s much bigger than a blog post. The only way I can describe it would be that it can’t be contained and that it’s contagious, watch out!!!!!!!! The word that comes closest to adequately describing what my brand is ” animo” which is a Spanish word that doesn’t have a direct English translation but means excitement and energy! It’s an ever changing and adapting attitude so that you are not stagnate or stuck on one way to do things or way of thinking.

Developing and living my leadership brand is a lifelong process. Being able to objectively look at people, things or situations so as not to be confined by outside stigmas or presumptions. I know my brand fits me and is all mine. My involvement in the leadership series is giving me an opportunity to grow and learn from others. It’s helping me to put into practice what I just talked about. Look at others and their brands objectively and not subjectively. I’m excited to learn from fellow members of the leadership series this year and far into the future! The opportunity to network with people who are like me and NOT like me is so rewarding. I’m excited to hit the world with my brand.

My goal for the leadership series is to get my brand burning hot enough that it leaves a lasting mark when I stick it on the cow hide!

The Leadership Series is made possible through the support of MSGA’s Research Education and Endowment Foundation. Want to learn more about our Leadership Series? Check out the website or email kori@mtbeef.org.

Leadership Series | Guest Blog Post | Casey Knudsen

 

Post by Casey Knudsen

Casey

Leadership has always been an important concept to me.  Growing up heavily involved in sports, I realized early on that without an efficient and empathetic leader, a team cannot perform to its full potential.  This understanding of group dynamics between a team and its leader has carried over with me from sports and other extracurricular activities into my post-secondary education and professional endeavors.  I strive on a daily basis to lead by example. I do not always meet my goal, but I believe that the ability to self-examine, understand where I am deficient, and try to improve in those areas is important in any leadership role.

I also believe that a leader cannot be above any task that a team is presented with, whether that task is time-consuming or uneventful.  A team is much more likely to trust in their leader and perform even the most menial job when they know that their leader is willing to do the same.  As I said before, many of these leadership skills I learned when involved in sports.  I do not believe that sports are the most important thing in a high-schooler’s life, but they are a very vital method of teaching young people how and how not to be an effective leader later in life.

In my experience, sports almost taught me how NOT to be a leader more than they taught me the correct way to lead.  I have had many great coaches in my athletic career, but it seems that the coaches that performed and treated their teams poorly had more of an impact on my leadership style than the good ones.  These poor coaches impressed on me the importance of being an empathetic leader and understanding the struggles of not only the above average team members, but the team members that need greater support as well.  Being a leader does not only mean utilizing your team as they are, but trying to improve your team and develop them into something greater.

Agriculture has also taught me a great deal about being a leader.  Work ethic has always been a heavily emphasized skill on the ranch, which translated into the professional world.  Working cattle has been a great teacher as well.  Being able to stay calm, cool and collected when working cattle is paramount, as the more upset you act, the wilder cattle tend to behave.  This is something every leader must understand, since being able to steel yourself in the face of adversity not only allows you to think straight yourself, but it keeps your team from breaking down.

Being involved in the Leadership Series has not only taught me valuable skills, it has proved to me that my leadership style can be effective.  This series has also shown me that no matter how good you think you might be at whatever you are doing, there is always room for improvement.

 

The Leadership Series is made possible through the support of MSGA’s Research Education and Endowment Foundation. Want to learn more about our Leadership Series? Check out the website or email kori@mtbeef.org.

Leadership Series | Guest Blog Post | Trina Bradley

2016 MSGA LEADERSHIP SERIES

Post by Trina Bradley

Trina

Last fall I applied and was accepted into the inaugural Montana Stockgrowers Leadership Series, which is a year-long “class” that will help mentor and develop fourteen young ag leaders from across the state of Montana.

As you all know, I am a born and bred cattle woman. I eat, sleep and breathe cows, and I want to make sure that my daughter has every opportunity to carry on this lifestyle and keep this ranch in the family for years to come. Therefore, I have been working on stepping up and getting involved in ag advocacy for the past few years. I have recently become a Director for the Marias River Livestock Association, I am a 4-H Cloverbud leader, and I have been working on establishing a CattleWomen association in my area.

The Leadership Series is a perfect opportunity for me to focus my energy and hone my skills as a leader, as well as being the perfect place to network with fellow lovers of ag from all over Montana.

We are now four months into the program, and I have come to realize several things about what true leadership is to me. I have also had to some serious soul searching, and admit to myself some things that I really didn’t want to admit to.

I could go on and on about the things that I am not, and the things I suck at as a leader. HOWEVER, our insanely wonderful and slightly crazy leadership coach has impressed on us NUMEROUS times that we do not need to focus on what we aren’t – we need to focus on what we are.

So here are some things that I know to be true about my leadership skills:

  1. I am bossy. I know what needs to be done, and I know who needs to do it. I have no problem giving orders, and I expect things to be done in a timely manner, and done right.
  2. I work hard. When there’s a job to be done, I don’t quit when I’m tired, I quit when I’m done. A good leader doesn’t just give orders; a good leader gets her hands dirty.
  3. I’m stubborn. I’m not going to take no for an answer, and when I get a great idea, I get after it, no matter the obstacle.
  4. I love to learn. I love learning about everything, and that comes in handy when I take on a project I’m not 100% familiar with, or when a new issue comes up.
  5. I’m a good listener. I always have an ear to lend for a friend, and I am learning to listen to the “other side” – the people that oppose ag, or certain ag practices, etc. In order to be a great advocate for our ag community, I need to be able to listen to the concerns of our consumers and look at things from their point of view.

This Series has been eye opening to me in many ways, and I have made a plethora of new friends along the way. I cannot wait to see what Sarah and Ryan (our coaches) have in store for us in the coming months.

I am hoping that this program will continue well into the future, and I encourage every young rancher in Montana to apply next year. You won’t regret it for a second.

The Leadership Series is made possible through the support of MSGA’s Research Education and Endowment Foundation. Want to learn more about our Leadership Series? Check out the website or email kori@mtbeef.org.

Leadership Series | Guest Blog Post | Chisholm Christensen

My personal leadership story and why I’m stepping up to live larger by being a part of this program

Post by Chisholm Christensen

Chisholm

Writing is one of the more difficult and important tasks a person can undertake; requiring the author to think critically and explain effectively their topic of choice. Through writing, more so than speaking, we are able to fine-tune, rework and continually reanalyze our position free from external judgement or input until we ourselves are satisfied with the presentation and tone of our offering. This very personal task provides the writer an opportunity for personal growth while at the same time cementing his or her ideas and thoughts about the theme to be drawn upon when future circumstances dictate. We have all heard again and again how important effective communication is in any type of relationship and I think this is an area I personally excel in and a good place to start telling you my individual leadership story.

My passion for an array of subjects led me at a very young age to have an impact on my surroundings. I have a clear picture of how I think things I am passionate about should be and I learned that if I didn’t have a voice or speak up many times those things took a course leading to an outcome altogether different and many times less exemplary than the one I was wishing for. I learned that wishing doesn’t get it done. Getting mad or excessively frustrated or disrespectful didn’t have a positive effect either. I had to learn not only how to make myself heard but also how to exert an influence on other individuals involved.

Most of this learning took place at the middle and high school level as I became more confident in myself and more zealous about circumstances affecting me or having an effect on things I cared about. Being low on the executive ladder posed a problem as well. The opinion of a student, no matter how well stated, carries far less weight than that of a teacher, staff, or any adult. A sad truth I had to deal with but one that taught me the importance of team and tone. When and how you say something can be just as important as what you are saying. I was at a disadvantage at school again because it is not a democracy. In the end the teacher or adult makes the choice. I may have had a voice but I did not have a vote and that taught me how to influence people and plead my case. It has made me, in my mind, an effective communicator and flows directly into how I lead.

I put my hat in the ring to be a part of this leadership series because my passion has not waned and I am passionate about agriculture. And just as I wished to exert an influence on themes deemed significant in my past I continue to desire exemplary results in areas I am passionate about now. This leadership series is providing me with the tools to sharpen my leadership skills and a platform from which my voice can be heard.

The Leadership Series is made possible through the support of MSGA’s Research Education and Endowment Foundation. Want to learn more about our Leadership Series? Check out the website or email kori@mtbeef.org.

Leadership Series | Guest Blog Post | Heather Fryer

Post by Heather Fryer

Heather

This year, I was selected to participate in the Inaugural Stockgrowers Leadership Series, a 12 month program hosted by the Montana Stockgrowers Association, designed to help participants succeed in their careers. What I have gathered from the class in the first four months has been more than I could have imagined.

The networking has exceeded my expectations. My classmates are hilarious, friendly people, who support each other, and we’ve all made friends in this leadership series.  We’ve learned about various operations and perspectives, shared ideas and had great discussions.  We don’t have to agree but we have to listen, be respectful and practice empathy.

We’ve met and listened to guest speakers who are knowledgeable in their subject areas. The Montana Stockgrowers work with many state agencies and boards, legislatures, leaders and other agriculture affiliates and agribusinesses. It’s beneficial to know we can call our organization and other associations with questions and it’s important to be able to work together to ensure the future of Montana ranching.

Montana agriculture has a very bright future ahead and these individuals are stepping up to leadership roles in their communities. We have some common goals.  We want to continue to our way of life, improve our operations, and help our agriculture community.  Our voices are incredibly important to agriculture, to our communities, to our interests and to our country.

I applied to the class because it sounded like a terrific opportunity and I wanted to learn how to better help agriculture through advocacy and policy. I believe this class is most beneficial for individuals who want to be involved in their communities but aren’t quite sure where to begin.  For producers and business owners, who have been working on their operation for a while and are ready to take it to the next level.  For individuals, who want to have input in the future of Montana ranching.  This series has improved our listening skills, showed us our individual strengths and given us the tools to spread our positive message of what we do for a living, why it’s important and how much we love our work!

 

The Leadership Series is made possible through the support of MSGA’s Research Education and Endowment Foundation. Want to learn more about our Leadership Series? Check out the website or email kori@mtbeef.org.

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.

Amanda

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!

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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.

REEF Announces Selections for Young Cattlemen’s Conference

MSGA’s Research & Education Endowment Foundation Announces Selections for Young Cattlemen’s Conference

Helena, MT – Montana Stockgrowers Association’s Research & Education Endowment Foundation (REEF) has selected two delegates to represent MSGA at the Young Cattlemen’s Conference this year. Andy Kellom of Hobson, MT and Ariel Overstreet-Adkins of Helena, MT will represent MSGA at this year’s conference. The Young Cattlemen’s Conference, held June 1 – June 9, is an opportunity for cattlemen and cattlewomen between the ages of 25 and 50 to visit segments of the beef industry in other parts of our nation with young cattlemen from other states. Facilitated by the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA), participants will travel with national attendees to Denver, Chicago and Washington D.C.

The primary objective is to develop leadership qualities in young cattlemen and expose them to all aspects of the beef industry. The tour helps these young leaders understand all areas of our industry ranging from industry structure to issues management, from production research to marketing. It is through the support of REEF and the Young Stockgrowers that MSGA is able to send two people to this conference.

Andy

Andy Kellom is the cattle manager for Bos Terra LP. He manages the day to day cattle operations for a 7,000 head stocker operation and a 15,000 head feedlot. In addition to his responsibilities at Bos Terra, he also runs a personal herd of 500. He is the Vice President of the Judith Basin Stockgrowers and Chairman of the Cattle Feeders Subcommittee for MSGA. Andy was instrumental in the startup of Verified Beef and development of the USDA Process Verified Program and database to provide Age and Source, NHTC, Never Ever 3, and Grass Fed Verification to cow-calf producers. He believes the knowledge and experience he gains on the YCC trip will be invaluable to him as an individual MSGA member, he intends to continue to “be at the table” to contribute to the process of policy development.

Ariel

Ariel Overstreet-Adkins was the Director of Communications for MSGA until she left to attend law school with the goal of becoming a more effective advocate for rural Montana and agriculture. This May she will graduate from the University of Montana School of Law with her juris doctor degree. After graduation she will spend a year clerking for a U.S. District Court judge in Montana. In the fall of 2017 she will begin work as an associate at the Moulton Bellingham law firm in Billings where her focus will be on natural resource and agricultural law, particularly water and property law. Ariel is confident that the YCC trip will give her further education and insight to be a great advocate for Montana’s family ranchers whether in the courtroom, the Legislature, or in the court of public opinion.

MSGA would like to thank all those that applied and congratulate Andy and Ariel on their selection!

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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.

MSGA Now Taking Applicants for Young Cattleman’s Conference

Don’t miss this opportunity to learn more about the structure of the U.S. cattle industry and gain insight on the legislative process that guides our business. Montana Stockgrowers Association’s Research and Education Endowment Foundation will send one Montana delegate on this year’s Young Cattlemen’s Conference (YCC), held June 1st-9th, 2016. Applications, due March 1, are available on the Young Stockgrowers Page.

The Young Cattlemen’s Conference is an opportunity for cattlemen and cattlewomen between the ages of 25 and 50 to visit segments of the beef industry in other parts of our nation with young ranchers from other states. Facilitated by the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA), participants will travel with national attendees to Denver, Chicago and Washington D.C., visiting JBS Five Rivers facilities, Chicago Board of Trade and Capitol Hill. Last year we had two Montana delegates, Lacey Sutherlin from Stevensville and Dusty Hahn from Townsend.

The primary objective is to develop leadership qualities in young cattlewomen and cattlemen and expose them to all aspects of the beef industry. The tour helps these young leaders understand all areas of our industry ranging from industry structure to issues management, from production research to marketing.

The MSGA Research and Education Endowment Foundation will ensure funding for one participant for the full cost of the tour along with travel expenses. Remaining expenses are the responsibility of the participant, who will be chosen from those who apply. Participants must be a member of Montana Stockgrowers Association and National Cattlemen’s Beef Association.

To learn more about the Young Cattlemen’s Conference and to complete an application, visit the MSGA website, mtbeef.org/young-cattlemens-conference. In addition to the form questions, two letters of reference are required to complete the application process. All applications must be complete and postmarked or received by March 1, 2016. Please mail or fax to MSGA/REEF at the following address: Montana Stockgrowers Association | Attn: REEF YCC, 420 N. California St.  Helena, MT  59601.

If you have any questions about the application process or YCC trip, please call the MSGA Office at (406) 442-3420 or e-mail jesse@mtbeef.org.

Now Taking Applications for Educational Heritage Scholarship

EHS Banner

 

 

Montana Stockgrowers Association’s Research & Education Endowment Foundation (REEF) is offering an Educational Heritage Scholarship in the amount of $1,000. This annual scholarship is awarded to a MSGA student member.

Last year we had two scholarship recipients, Allie Nelson was awarded a $1000 scholarship and Kamron Ratzburg was awarded a $500 scholarship. Allie is majoring in Agriculture Relations with Agriculture Business as a minor and Kamron is majoring in Animal Science. Both recipients attend Montana State University.

To be eligible for the Educational Heritage Scholarship, students must currently be enrolled in college and have completed at least one semester of coursework, be a member of Montana Stockgrowers Association, and demonstrate a cumulative GPA of at least 3.0.

Applicants must complete the application form (mtbeef.org/educational-heritage-scholarship), include a copy of their current transcript, write a 500-word essay discussing their educational pursuits and what they hope to do with their education, and include two letters of recommendation.

Applications must be completed and postmarked or mailed no later than April 1, 2016.

For more information on these scholarships and to apply online, visit the MSGA website at mtbeef.org. For questions, please email Jesse Gill at jesse@mtbeef.org. If you are interested in these scholarships but are not currently a member of MSGA, join today. Student memberships start at just $20.

 

Highlights from the 2015 T-Bone Classic Gala Dinner & Golf Tournament

Hole in One prize provided by Montana Ford Stores

Hole in One prize provided by Montana Ford Stores

Ranchers and leaders from Montana’s business communities had a great time at Big Sky last week for the 2015 T-Bone Classic. The event included a gala dinner and golf tournament, Calcutta auction and a day of great golf on the Big Sky Golf Course with great views below Lone Peak.

The event benefits Montana Stockgrowers’ Research & Education Endowment Foundation and provides an opportunity for networking among leaders of Montana’s leading businesses and industries. With 28 teams participating in the tournament, nearly filling the Big Sky course, this year’s event was the most successful to date.

The top placing teams in this year’s golf tournament included Wasson Ranch, Green Mountain Angus Ranch and Wortman Construction.

Chef Tony was excited to meet the rancher behind the night's beef!

Chef Tony was excited to meet the rancher behind the night’s beef!

Thursday night’s gala dinner, sponsored by BNSF and CHS, Inc., featured specialty cut T-Bone Steaks from cattle raised by Fred Wacker’s Cross Four Ranch in Miles City and provided by Open Prairie Natural Angus Beef.

A Calcutta auction raised $14,700 with a payout of 35:20:10 to 1st, 2nd and 3rd place teams, respectively. The remaining dollars go to support MSGA’s Foundation programs in the areas of youth, education and leadership in Montana’s ranching communities.

Friday morning kicked off with a Welcome Brunch, featuring a great spread sponsored by Wipfli-Galusha, Higgins and Galusha. Teams then teed off for a shotgun start and played all 18 holes at the Big Sky Golf Course. An awards reception, sponsored by MSU Alumni Foundation, concluded the day’s events, recognizing individual hole and tournament winners.

Montana Stockgrowers’ Research and Education Endowment Foundation wants to thank all sponsors and teams who showed up in support of this year’s T-Bone Classic. Pencil in the date for the 2016 T-Bone Classic, August 25 & 26 in Big Sky! To reserve your team’s spot in next year’s tournament, fill out the form provided below or click here to open the form in a new window.

2015 T-Bone Classic tournament winners - Wasson Ranch

2015 T-Bone Classic tournament winners – Wasson Ranch

To view photos of this year’s T-Bone Classic events and golf teams, visit the Montana Stockgrowers Association Facebook page.

Teams participating in the golf tournament included: 3C Cattle Co, American Angus Association, Anderson Zurmeuhlen, Big Muddy Bancorp, Inc., BNSF, Boehringer Ingelheim, Cross 4 Ranch, Ehlke Herefords, Erickson Financial Strategies, First West Insurance, Frontline Ag Solutions, Grande Ranch Co., Green Mountain Angus Ranch, Independence Bank, IX Ranch Co., Jones/Haughian, LaSalle Ranch, Lund Law/Yellowstone Cellars, Montana Land Reliance, MSGA Board of Directors, MSU Extension, Northwest Farm Credit Services, Open Prairie Natural Angus, TransCanada Corporation, Waddell & Reed, Wasson Ranch, WIPFLI LLP, Wortman Construction.

Individual hole winners received cash prizes in the tournament and included:

  • Long Putt at Hole 1 – Don Rehm, Cross Four Ranch
  • Long Drive at Hole 2 – Mike Kellam, LaSalle Ranch
  • Closest to Pin at Hole 3 – Gary Adams, Waddell & Reed
  • Closest in Two at Hole 4 – Tim Todd, Green Mountain Angus Ranch
  • Long Drive at Hole 5 – Jane’a Ehlke, Ehlke Herefords
  • Long Drive at Hole 6 – Mike Kellam, LaSalle Ranch
  • Closest in Two at Hole 7 – Mike Kellam, LaSalle Ranch
  • Hole in One at Hole 8 – No winner
  • Long Putt at Hole 9 – Nate Baltrusch, Independence Bank
  • Long Putt at Hole 10 – Jack Holden, MSGA Board of Directors
  • Long Drive at Hole 11 – Ben Erikson, Erickson Financial Strategies
  • Closest in Two at Hole 12 – Lance Wasson, Wasson Ranch
  • Closest to Pin at Hole 13 – Jeremy Wortman, Wortman Construction
  • Closest in Two at Hole 14 – Don Ravellette, Green Mountain Angus Ranch
  • Long Drive at Hole 15 – Barry Barker, Grande Ranch Company
  • Closest in Two at Hole 16 – Jeff Bader, MSU Extension
  • Closest to Pin at Hole 17 – Roxanne Berg, American Angus Association
  • Long Putt at Hole 18 – Lee Daniels, Waddell & Reed