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.

The 2017 Montana Farmers Union Women’s Conference        


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Whistle-Stop Tour Highlights Solar Energy in Montana

What: Brad Van Wert known as the “Solar Guy” and co-owner of Harvest Solar, is making stops in Billings, Bozeman, Kalispell, Missoula and Great Falls as part of a state-wide tour to bring Montanans together to learn about solar. The “Solar Guy” will be visiting a variety of locations in the state with a seminar in Great Falls sponsored by Montana Farmers Union.

The cost of solar is dropping, the industry is growing but Montana doesn’t have the right policies in place to keep up with technology or demand. That is the message Solar Guy will be bringing in a five-stop tour of Montana that kicks off next week.

“Montanans deserve the freedom to make our own energy choices,” says Brad Van Wert, a solar installer from Bozeman, who recently took on the social media persona of Solar Guy to harness demand for better solar energy policies in Montana. “Just as we harvest our own vegetables, meat or fish, we have the power to harvest our own energy too.”

The Montana State Legislature is already considering several bills dealing with net metering, a policy that allows customers who generate their own power to put energy back on the grid and receive credit for excess power. Van Wert is concerned that the bills presented so far are either modest gains or policies that would actively limit energy choices.

“Montana Farmers Union is pleased to support efforts to educate the public on alternative forms of energy,” said President Alan Merrill. “We support a broad based energy policy to reduce our dependence on petroleum and nuclear energy through the development of alternative sources including solar energy.”

When: February 6, at 2 pm

Where: Celtic Cowboy; 116 1st Ave S; Great Falls

Visit  www.ChargeMT.org. for videos of the Solar Guy. The event is free and open to the public. No registration is required.

The full schedule for Solar Guy Whistle-Stop tour is as follows:

  • Tuesday, January 24 – 4pm at the Bozeman Taproom, Bozeman, MT
  • Wednesday, January 25 – 4pm at Last Chance Pub and Cider House, Billings, MT
  • Tuesday, January 31 – 4 pm at Kalispell Brewing Co., Kalispell, MT
  • Thursday, February 2 – 4 pm at Draught Works, Missoula, MT
  • Monday, February 6 – 2 pm at the Celtic Cowboy, Great Falls, MT

 Check out our video on the 2017 Women’s Conference!                                

                        Montana Farmers Union       

 2017 Membership Drive /Farmers Union Insurance Agents Quarterly Recruitment Contest

Jan-Mar          $1000

Apr-Jun           $1000

Jul-Sep             $1000

Oct-Dec           $1000

To qualify agent must recruit at least 10 new members for the quarter.

 MFU Members Quarterly Recruitment Contest

Jan-Mar          $500

Apr-Jun           $500

July-Sep          $500

Oct-Dec           $500

 To qualify member must recruit at least 5 new members for the quarter. 

We hope that all members and insurance agents will join in this effort throughout the year.  Not only will this help grow our organization, but also give new members a chance to have Montana Farmers Union be a voice for them.  Thanks for all you do as members and agents!

 MFU Holds Mock Legislative Hearing Showcasing Agritourism Bill

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In December at the Montana Expo Park Family Living Center, Montana Farmers Union hosted a mock legislative hearing coordinated by Chouteau County Farmers Union, Teton County Farmers Union and Cascade County Farmers Union. Area legislators including Brad Hamlett of Cascade, Bob Mehlhoff of Great Falls, Rob Cook of Conrad, Mary Moe of Great Falls, Casey Schreiner of Great Falls and Tom Jacobson of Great Falls. The mocking hearing was an educational opportunity for members of the community and Farmers Union to members to do a dry run in anticipation of the upcoming legislative session. The hearing examined a bill on agritourism drafted by Court Jensen with the Montana Department of Agriculture. Proponents and opponents testified on the bill. Proponents included Farmers Union members Eric Bergman, Levi Ostberg and with the MFU state office Chris Christiaens. Anders Blewett of Hoyt and Blewett and MFU Board member Erik Somerfeld provided mock testimony in opposition of the bill.

The draft bill would add agritourism to the list of Montana recreational activities in which participants assume the liability for inherent risks of these activities.

Eric Bergman, owner of Groundworks Farm in Fairfield and President of the Farmers Union Cascade County Headquarters local, spoke on behalf of the bill. He testified that agritourism can be a great revenue opportunity for farmers and ranchers especially with low commodity prices. “If you want to render a fee for people to come on your farm or ranch then the protection is not there,” said Bergman. “Agritourism is a great educational opportunity for youth and others to learn about farming and ranching.”

Levi Ostberg, lobbyist for Montana Farmers Union, clarified and answered questions brought up by the committee. After conclusion of the hearing, committee members provided feedback on the mock testimony including ways to successfully communicate. Suggestions included: avoiding vague language, keeping testimony as tight as possible, having testimony well- crafted and using narratives or compelling stories to emphasize their given position. They also advised utilizing informational witnesses to provide to context and to answer questions.

If you are interested in testifying at the 2017 legislative session contact Chris Christiaens at the MFU state office at 452-6406.


MFU launches multi-media TV/Radio campaign to highlight importance of Montana agriculture

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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.

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Upcoming Events

Community Solar SeminarFeb. 22Lewistown
Solar Rally - inquire with MFU office Feb.23Helena
Gap On - Farm Food Safety Plan Writing WorkshopMarch 2-3
Climate Change ForumMarch 3, 1:30-3:30Lewistown, Eagles Facility
National Farmers Union Women's ConferenceMarch 3-5San Diego
Gap On - Farm Food Safety Plan Writing WorkshopMarch 6-7Corvallis
National Farmers Union Annual ConventionMarch 5-8San Diego
Gap On - Farm Food Safety Plan Writing WorkshopMarch 9-10Kalispell
MFU Producer ConferenceMarch 24-25Havre
2017 MFU Convention October 19-21Great Falls

Click on the icon above to hear our latest Podcasts from the National Farmers Union Conference in MN.