If you live in the country or in the city…….Montana Farmers Union is right for you. The Montana Farmers Union is a statewide grassroots organization working for family farmers, ranchers and rural communities through conferences, scholarships and other educational opportunities as well as legislative representation and support for producer-owned co-ops.
MFU Announces Members Chosen for 2016-2017 Beginning Farmers Institute
Amanda Schaub Justin Loch and wife Brandi
Montana Farmers Union is pleased to announce that two members have been chosen to participate in the 2016-2017 Beginning Farmers Institute, a program by National Farmers Union. In all, seventeen beginning farmers and ranchers from across the country are participating. The two chosen from Montana are Justin Loch of Great Falls and Amanda Schaub of Havre.
“We are honored to have two outstanding beginning farmers chosen to participate in the BFI program,” said President Alan Merrill. “They are the future of Montana agriculture and will represent our state well.”
According to National Farmers Union agriculture diversity continues to be a focus of the BFI program. Participants come from a diverse background. The program offers hands-on training through sessions hosted in Washington D.C. and California and concentrates on building confidence in beginning farmers through leadership training.
Amanda Schaub says she is thrilled to be chosen to participate.“This is an amazing opportunity to grow through agriculture, and I look forward to sharing what I have learned with others,” said Amanda. Amanda says one of her main goals in participating in the BFI program is to sharpen her financial skills. “Farming and ranching requires some pretty intimidating input costs especially for beginners. I want to obtain a solid grasp on the reality of farm finances and succession planning.”
Justin Loch, the second BFI participant, is originally from Dutton where his parents Dennis and Tina operate the family farm with help from Justin and wife Brandi and Justin’s sister. Justin is the Membership Director for Montana Farmers Union. “I’m honored to be chosen to represent Montana in the BFI program,” said Justin. “It’s a great program and will certainly help me the other participants with skills and education to ensure a stronger and more successful future in Agriculture.” “I hope to bring back new skills and information that I can share with members of MFU but also apply them to the success and future of my family’s farm and ranch to help ensure a strong future.”
For more details on the BFI program visit http://nfu.org/education/beginning-farmer-institute.
MFU launches multi-media TV/Radio campaign to highlight importance of Montana agriculture
Montana Farmers Union is launching a multi-media ad campaign this week focusing on the role Montana agriculture plays at the national and international level.
The campaign is multi-faceted with two animated TV commercials which includes one: 30 TV/Radio spot and one: 60 TV spot produced by MurMax Productions.
What’s unique about the campaign is the animation component. “We wanted to do something fresh and different,” said Lyndsay Bruno, Communications Director. “The graphics are appealing, colorful and most importantly educational. Montana’s farmers and ranchers contribute billions to the national economy. They are the backbone of our rural communities.”
The spots provide a window into the types of products Montana farmers and ranchers produce. Montana farmers produce 10% of the nation’s wheat and 22% of the nation’s barley. Montana is a leading producer of certified organic wheat, dry peas, lentils and flax. The spots will air on several MTN News stations, Northern Ag Network and Cherry Creek Radio.
Senator Tester Accepts Golden Triangle Award
Chouteau County Farmers Union President Tom Clark presented Senator Jon Tester with the coveted Golden Triangle Award at the Grand Union in Fort Benton in June. The Golden Triangle Award is presented to members of Congress who have demonstrated leadership and who support policies that benefit America’s family farmers, ranchers, fishermen and rural communities. The Golden Triangle Award is National Farmers Union’s highest legislative honor. Senator Tester has received the honor eight times.
“I was a Farmers Union member before I was elected to any office along with my grandparents and parents, and there is a reason for it,” said Senator Tester. “I very much respect Farmers Union’s perspective on issues in agriculture because they come in and talk about issues that are real. That makes it a lot easier when we are advocating for policies in Washington D.C.”
Senator Tester talked about his work on the Senate Agriculture Committee and issues he sees as important including a labeling system, agribusiness, research and Canada’s current wheat grading system.
The Golden Triangle Award is based on NFU’s symbol – a triangle with “legislation” and “cooperation” forming the sides and “education” the base. The Golden Triangle Awards have been presented every year since 1988.
With AG news in Montana ever changing and so many fantastic stories to tell we decided we needed a larger format to really provide our members with good, quality news and information! This month we are unveiling Montana Grassroots, a publication that will come out 10 times each year with two combined editions. We came up with the title after looking through archived publications in the office. The tagline was submitted by member Becky Nelson. Check back for the first edition!
Farmers markets play a valuable role in promoting healthy communities. It’s an opportunity for consumers to enjoy locally grown foods and a fantastic way for farmers to sell directly to their customers.
The Montana Department of Agriculture has a great online resource to locate farmers markets in your area! Check it out!
This Mother’s Day, Montana Farmers Union would like to celebrate the women who support the state’s number one industry – Farm and Ranch Moms! Read on to learn the story of two mom who juggle work, kids and ranch life!
Barbara Mothershead, mother of two: Dalaney, age 8 and Justin, age 3 – Husband, Brian
Barbara and her husband Brian raise their son and daughter in Circle, Montana. As moms do, Barb wears many hats. She is an insurance agent for Farmers Union Insurance, owns a floral and fabric shop in town and helps Brian on the ranch which is 13 miles from town. Barbara and Brian are the current Farmers Union Enterprise couple and active members in Montana Farmers Union.
Barbara has strong family ties to agriculture. After living in and out-of-state it was a goal of hers to return home and raise her children in a rural community. Barbara and Brian were married in August of 2007. Two children and nearly a decade later she finds herself as busy as ever shuffling kids from school to sports, helping out on the ranch and running her own business. Barbara says it wasn’t easy when she decided to purchase inventory from the flower and fabric shop.
“My 82 year-old grandma gave me poster with a picture of a gym and a basketball hoop that read: OPPORTUNITY, You’ll always miss 100% of the shots you don’t take. When I feel like my world is coming down around me and wonder why I got myself into all this I look over at that black and white copy and remember that even if everything doesn’t work I know I took a shot at it. This goes the same for being a ranch wife and mother. I have to remind myself of this every time I hear that the calf price futures are down and look at all the cows we bought when the market was high. However, my kids keep me grounded and put in to perspective what is important.”
As to Barbara’s ultimate mother’s day: “It would probably have to be a day at a spa getting the works, then coming home to a clean house, laundry done, and dinner on the table with her family.” Her husband Brian is always thoughtful and definitely keeps her guessing when it comes to a mother’s day gift. “One year it was a plastic popsicle maker that was missing half of the sticks. Last year I was the lucky recipient of a pancake batter dropper. I think Justin was more excited to use it than I was. I look forward to these random and sometimes very useful gifts every year.”
Barbara says being a mother and a rancher are one in the same and she sees the humor in the little things. “It is a thankless 24/7 job, but at the end of the day I have accomplished something that is worth writing home about. I look at my kids and I see a beautiful mix of me and Brian. Watching them grow is the most rewarding part of being a mother. To be honest Brian has the “Favorite Parent Award” in the bag. I wouldn’t be able to raise these two without him. Every day I strive to give them some kind of advice or experience that will hopefully mold them into productive adults.”
Sara Paulsen, mother of 9 year-old Emma, 6 year-old Westen & 4 year-old Hayden- Husband Theron
Sara and her husband Theron ranch near Chinook. They married in 2007. Sara is originally from Minnesota, and moved to Montana at nineteen. Sara grew up on a horse farm and still loves to ride. You will often find her saddling up their three year-old mare for a ride.
A typical day on the ranch starts early with getting the kids dressed and out the door to school. Then it’s time to tend to the animals with her youngest by her side. Sara is very active in the day-to-day operations of the ranch. As with all farmers and ranchers her job duties vary depending on the season. In fact on Mother’s Day this year she will be branding. “I don’t mind. I’m just happy to get the calves branded and vaccinated. Then we will bring them out to summer pasture, irrigate and hay. Soon a typical day for me will be on tractor. What I like best about ranching is being outdoors and working with the animals.”
Sara says her kids love living the ranch life. In the summers they enjoy swimming and fishing on the river next to their house. Her daughter Emma is taking on more responsibility this year, which Sara says Emma enjoys! “I find the most rewarding part about being a mother is teaching them something and seeing them get better and better at it. It’s very awesome to watch them grow and become more independent utilizing the skills you’ve taught them!”Sara says an ideal Mother’s Day would be a fun and new family activity. She says learning to juggle ranch life and kids can be challenging, but she has some valuable advice for new or soon-to-be moms. “Don’t take on more than you can handle. If you focus on trying to be perfect then you will be stressed. The time when kids are little does go by fast and should be cherished. Find the time to play with the kids and get your work done. It’s a balancing act, but it can be done.”
One fun fact about Sara, her middle child was born the day after Mother’s Day in 2009. Now that’s one unique Mother’s Day gift!
A big thank you to Barbara and Sara for sharing their story! It’s always fun to highlight women in agriculture! Happy Mother’s Day to all the hardworking moms committed to raising the next generation of farmers and ranchers in Montana!
The Farmer’s Share put out by National Farmers Union shows the gap between what the consumer pays and how little our farmers and ranchers receive for their goods. You have the power to effect change! Join Montana Farmers Union, start a local chapter in your area, participate in our lobbying efforts by attending the annual fly-in to Washington D.C. and get involved at the state level by leading and voting on policy that affects Montana farmers and ranchers at our annual convention. Together we can reverse this trend!
Register for Arrowpeak Camp here. Camp scholarships are available to members/nonmembers. Contact camp director Kathryn Peterson at 781-6001 for details.
|D.C. Fly-in||September 12||D.C.|
|5K On the Farm||September 17||Bangs Family Farm
|2016 Montana Farmers Union Annual Convention||Oct 21-22||Great Falls, Best Western Heritage Inn
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Click on the icon above to learn more about our Women’s Leadership Program, Centra.
Attendees at Young Producer Conference tour Northern Ag Research Center Livestock Operations
Cows at Northern Ag Research Center/ Young Producer Conference