Siderius, Fritz Newly Elected to Top Roles in MFU’s Flathead Local

Siderius, Fritz Newly Elected to Top Roles in MFU’s Flathead Local

Grassroots Organization Works Across Montana to Strengthen Family Farms

The Flathead area Montana Farmers Union local chapter recently elected officers to lead the group as they work to strengthen family farms and ranches in their area.

Mark Siderius was elected president, and is joined by Chris Fritz as vice president, Heather Siderius, as secretary/treasurer, and Ron deYong as legislative chairperson.

The elections mark the reinvigoration of the Local, which is part of a network of what MFU refers to as Locals and Counties across the state that help inform MFU’s work. 

“The meeting had a great turn out – we had first-generation members and fourth-generation members in the same room, which to me really represents the diversity in ag and its producers in a positive and well-rounded way. When we all meet each other where we are, we really account for what Montana Farmers Union stands for: collaboration, cooperation, and education,” MFU Membership Ambassador Carissa McNamara said. 

McNamara took on the newly formed role of Ambassador earlier this year as part of MFU’s concerted effort to involve more producers in the organization’s grassroots efforts on behalf of agriculture operations across the state. Part of her work has been with the Flathead Local. 

“When we all meet each other where we are, we really account for what Montana Farmers Union stands for: collaboration, cooperation, and education.”

Carissa McNamara, MFU Ambassador

Meeting again in the Flathead excites third generation MFU member Mark Siderius. 

“The high-point of starting up again is having old members showing back up, and the new members, and young members showing up on their own,” Siderius said.

Local and County groups meet to discuss policy and work in alignment with and to inform MFU priorities and work, which takes a three-prong approach focused on education, legislation and cooperation. 

“Members gathering in their local communities to talk about the issues and priorities in agriculture that matter to them, build community, and figure out how they can make a difference is what is so important about local gatherings,” said Rachel Prevost, MFU Membership Services and Government Affairs Director.  

“Whether it be through lobbying locally elected officials on MFU’s member-voted priorities, hosting educational workshops for youth and adult education, being an active part of the MFU community through the local is an incredibly important way in getting members mobilized to do something about the things in their communities that are most important to them,” Prevost said. 

“The focus and our mission is to be a constant support in a producer driven state.”

Mark Siderius, Flathead Local President

Local gatherings provide a space for social and professional community, focusing on agriculture and rural communities. Each region’s local gatherings are different, as communities all across the state are different. Locals can host member meetings, discuss and work on policy resolutions for the State MFU Annual Convention, bring in informational and educational speakers for the community, lobby local officials on MFU priorities, sponsor events, offer higher education scholarships and camperships to MFU’s summer youth camp, and more. 

Siderius said the Flathead local’s goal moving forward is to be supportive of producers. 

“The focus and our mission is to be a constant support in a producer driven state. We would like to provide opportunities to our members, especially youth, whether its’s women’s conference, fly-ins, or conventions,” said Siderius, who is a third generation MFU member. 

People involved in agriculture can learn more about how to become involved by contacting any of MFU’s Membership Ambassadors or visiting www.montanafarmersunion.com/membership

“The best way to get involved is to reach out to us or attend meetings anywhere they are being held. Please come be a part, we will find everybody a niche,” Siderius said. “My dad used to say, ‘All agriculture is good agriculture.’ He always believed we can promote all ag differences without it being negative, so just reach out.”

Ambassadors can be reached at: 

Custer/Rosebud counties: Eleanor Ferrone at eferrone@montanafarmersunion.com

Flathead County/NW Montana area: Carissa McNamara at cmcnamara@montanafarmersunion.com,

Gallatin/Broadwater/Lewis and Clark counties: Samantha Ferrat at sferrat@montanafarmersunion.com

Hill/Liberty/Blaine counties: Gwyneth Givens at ggivens@montanafarmersunion.com 

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Press Information: montanafarmersunion.com/media-press-kit/

MFU President Walter Schweitzer: 406-799-3782

Montana Farmers Union has worked more than 100 years for family farms, ranches, and rural communities. MFU supports its members through: Strong education programs for both youth and adults, by advocating member-driven policies and legislation at the state and federal level, and cooperation through producer-owned co-ops. For more information, visit montanafarmersunion.com.

 

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