Women in AG Panel Showcases Home-grown Ingenuity
The 9th Annual Women’s Conference kicks off on February 4th, and this year is all about getting re-connected. In 2021, Montana Farmers Union switched to a virtual event in light of the COVID-19 situation, and everyone is glad to be back face-to-face.
In addition to speakers and workshops on topics from Indigenous teas to marketing, the weekend event will offer a Women in Agriculture Panel focused on “Getting creative” with successful farming and ranching endeavors. The women on the panel, although coming from diverse backgrounds and experiences, all share creativity and passion for agriculture and rural communities. The panel, “You’re Going to have to Get CREATIVE!”, is slated for Saturday, February 5 at 2:30pm and will be available to virtual participants. More event info
Women in Ag Panelists include:
Candace Weeda Strobbe lives near Cascade, Montana where she manages a diversified cattle ranch with her husband. The duo has crafted their business to include land management, cow/calf ranching, custom cattle feeding, custom haying and selling grass-fed beef. Candace has deep roots in agriculture and a masters of ranch management from the King Ranch® Institute for Ranch Management. She is also the founder of Cascading Wellness- a wellness company determined to enrich the quality of life for rural Americans through yoga, dance, art, community experiences and other expressive outlets. Candace believes the resiliency of rural communities hinges on the overall health (mental, physical and spiritual) of the people who live in these rural spaces to steward land, livestock and natural resources. She is passionate about quality food systems, holistic land management and healing with nature.
Erica Mannix is one of 5 members of the 5th generation currently working on the Mannix Ranch in Helmville, MT. The ranch is currently managed by members of both the 4th and 5th generation and is currently working through the process of succession. It is largely a cow-calf and stocker operation in addition to growing a direct to consumer meat brand called Mannix Family Grass-Finished Beef. Erica moved back to the ranch two and a half years ago after years attending undergrad and graduate school, working as an elementary teacher, training horses, and working as Holistic Ranch Management intern. She now works about ¾ time for the family ranch, works part-time for the Quivira Coalition’s New Agrarian Program doing workshop and education coordination, and fills her remaining hours with custom leatherwork.
Cheyenne Glade Wilson
Cheyenne Glade Wilson is a fifth-generation rancher. She, her husband, and their son reside on their Lazy Six Nine Ranch near Big Timber, MT where they breed half-draft/draft cross horses and run a cow-calf operation. Cheyenne is an enrolled member of the Oglala Lakota Sioux tribe which is how she came up with her blog website name, The Native Cowgirl. In addition to the half-draft horse breeding program, Cheyenne is a writer, blogger, network marketing saleswoman, entrepreneur, certified health coach, photographer and cowgirl/horsewoman. She has found a way to diversify and expand her knowledge to bring in a steady income to provide for the ranch to succeed. Cheyenne is passionate about entrepreneurship and helping others succeed in their own journeys by embracing who they are and leading with a healthy lifestyle. She also offers business coaching for rural entrepreneurs.
Caroline Nelson and her husband Justin own Little Creek, a direct to consumer grass-fed lamb & pasture raised beef company based in Townsend, Montana. In addition to their ranch raised meats, they offer a wide variety of value added products as well as an annual Farm Club and an ever-expanding roster of ranch experiences. Little Creek is strongly rooted in sustainability, regenerative agriculture, transparency, and a mission to help revitalize rural Montana communities. In 2020 Caroline was featured as a virtual presenter at the Emmy Awards as part of their essential worker highlight.
Before founding Little Creek, Caroline toured the country as a singer-songwriter, opening for Brandi Carlile and Chris Stapleton among others. In addition to her work with Little Creek, she also works with Western brands to help tell their stories, and shares advice to other farmers and ranchers looking to market products directly to consumers at conferences throughout the West.
Heather Bilden and her husband Bart own Coulee Creek Ranch in Lavina, Montana. They founded Coulee Creek Ranch in 2017 on land that had been in the Bilden family for four generations. They continued the family’s cow-calf operation and also started a direct-to-consumer grassfed beef business with the goal of providing nutritious, locally-raised food to their community in central Montana. Over the past year, they branched out to add pastured pigs and Icelandic sheep to the mix. Much of the ranch work is done in partnership with draft horses. Future business plans include hosting ranch experiences and wagon rides for guests.
Heather has a background in biology and worked as an education director prior to moving to Lavina. She currently teaches natural history to adults through the Montana Master Naturalist program in Billings.