Convention Speakers

Convention Speakers

2016 MFU Convention logo and date_for web


Dr. Joe Outlaw –  Farmers Union Insurance Luncheon Keynote Speaker, Friday 

Dr. Joe Outlaw

Dr. Joe Outlaw is a Professor and Extension Economist in the Department of Agricultural Economics at Texas A&M University. He also serves as the Co-Director of the Agricultural and Food Policy Center (AFPC) at Texas A&M University. In this role, Dr. Outlaw frequently interacts with members of Congress and key agricultural committee staff to provide feedback on the likely consequences of agricultural policy changes. Dr. Outlaw led the team of Texas A&M economists who received awards in excellence for their 2002 farm bill education efforts from the American Agricultural Economics Association, the Southern Agricultural Economics Association, the National Public Policy Education Committee, USDA-FSA, and the Vice Chancellor in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Texas A&M University. Outlaw is originally from Devine, Texas. He received his B.S (1987), M.S. (1988), and Ph.D. (1992) degrees from Texas A&M University, all in agricultural economics.






3D Cutout Profile Pict“The Unmanned Farmer” Robert Blair on the Use of Drones in Agriculture, Saturday

Robert Blair is the VP of Agriculture for Measure, Drone as a Service and a fourth generation farmer from north central Idaho managing 1,300 dryland acres of wheat, barley, peas, lentils, chickpeas, alfalfa, and cows. The farm is situated on the edge of the rolling hills of the Palouse and not far from his Alma Mater the University of Idaho where he received his B.S. in Agriculture Business.

His journey with precision agriculture started in 2003 using a PDA for simple mapping. That evolved into all different types of equipment, including Unmanned Air Systems (UAS) in 2006. Robert is the first farmer to own a use a UAS. His vision and advocacy of these technologies helped him become the Precision Ag Institute’s 2009 International Farmer of the Year. Robert has been on the leading edge of the precision agriculture utilization in the PNW and U.S.
Since that time, Robert received an Eisenhower Fellowship in 2011, taking him to South America for six weeks studying these technologies. During the fall of 2012 he spent three weeks in Germany on a McCloy Fellowship for agriculture. In Idaho he was recognized as one of the most influential U of I College of Agriculture and Life Science (CALS) alumni, received the 2013 Governor’s Award for Agriculture Technology and Innovation and was honored as a 2015 U of I CALS Distinguished Alumni.

Robert’s vision and leadership ability has been recognized by the positions he has held including president of the Idaho Grain Producers Association, chairman of the National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG) Research & Tech Committee, chairman of the U.S. Wheat/NAWG Joint Biotech Committee, Idaho Farm Bureau Federation county president, an initial member of Idaho’s UAS steering committee, and an initial advisory board member of the Drone World Expo.Read Robert’s lastest blog:  “Precision Agriculture: A Legacy of Learning.” 


Eric Mcelvenny, Youth Luncheon, Saturday

Eric is an endurance athlete now living in San Diego, California. He earned a mechanical engineering degree from the United States Naval Academy while preparing for his service as a Marine Corps Infantry Officer.

Eric Running (3)

Eric deployed three times as a Marine and on his final tour, an incredible experience in Helmand Province, Afghanistan, was wounded after stepping on an IED. Eric suffered the amputation of his right leg below the knee, a life-changing opportunity that began his next journey.

Faced with a physical challenge and an uncertain future, Eric made a promise to himself to run an Ironman Triathlon. On his journey from the hospital bed in southern California to the finish line in Kona Hawaii, he realized that the challenge and adversity he was up against and the techniques he used to reach the finish line could be used against the challenges we all entertain. Visit Eric’s website at for more on his story and clips of his speeches!





Entertainment Friday Night, Plowed Under Band!!  

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2023 Montana Farmers Union Annual Convention

October 27, 2023 - October 28, 2023
Heritage Inn, Great Falls MT