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.

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 Opens for 2014 Young Ag Leadership Conference!

YALC Young Ag Leadership Conference MontanaRegistration is now open for the eleventh annual Young Ag Leadership Conference (YALC)! This exciting, one-of-a-kind conference is set to take place October 3-5 at the Holiday Inn in Bozeman, MT. 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 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.

The weekend kicks off on Friday with never-before-offered industry tours! This optional excursion will depart the hotel at 1PM and return in time to join the rest of the incoming attendees for the social at 6 PM. Friday evening offers “Dinner and a Movie” to get participants ready for Saturday’s full schedule of workshops, discussion groups and networking opportunities.

During Saturday’s breakfast, Matt Rush will wake everyone up with his keynote, “There is a Snake in My Bumper!” Participants will then choose from an expanded slate of workshop topics including everything from using Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) on your operation to water rights and what employers look for during the interviewing process. Back by popular demand, we are excited to have Dr. John Paterson of NCBA talk about opportunities available for young producers in today’s cattle market, as well as other leadership development and industry-important topics on our agenda. Saturday’s luncheon will feature an insightful and entertaining talk called “Estate Planning is Easy…If You Have a Time Machine” by Debra Conroy of Fairfield & Woods, P.C., which will be followed up with more workshops and the always well-liked discussion groups. This year’s topics highlight two important themes facing young ag producers today: Ag Issues at a Glance, a lively discussion highlighting the current issues affecting today’s agricultural industry; and Local Food Co-ops, buying local is all the rage, but where does conventional farming fit in and how can these two industries work together?

Saturday will wrap up with supper and a good old-fashioned barn dance but the event doesn’t conclude until we hear “The Impact of One” from Janice Person, Online Engagement Entrepreneur for Monsanto Company on Sunday morning.

The cost of registration is only $25 for the entire conference, with all meals provided. After the pre-registration date of September 26, fees increase to $35. To register, go to www.mfbf.org or contact Mariah Baumann Shammel at (406) 462-5639 or paisleyprairies@gmail.com.