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.
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.
|Chouteau County Farmers Union Meeting||May 17 @ 5:00||The Clubhouse, Fort Benton|
|MFU Board Meeting||June 6||Great Falls|
|Montana Farmers Union Annual Convention||Oct 21-22||Great Falls, Best Western Heritage Inn
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Attendees at Young Producer Conference tour Northern Ag Research Center Livestock Operations
Cows at Northern Ag Research Center/ Young Producer Conference