MISSOULA, Montana—Mark Boyd, a young cattle rancher from Alder, outscored three other competitors to win the Montana Farm Bureau’s Young Farmers and Ranchers’ Town Hall meeting. He received the keys to a Polaris Ranger® and will be eligible to compete in the national competition to be held at the American Farm Bureau convention in January in Puerto Rico. The other three competitors were Morgan Kuntz from Dillon, Gwynn Simeniuk from Glasgow and Nick Courville from Charlo. The Focus Meeting Final Four contest was held Nov. 15 at the Montana Farm Bureau’s 103rd Annual Convention.
The town hall meeting, which is open to Farm Bureau members between the ages of 18 and 35, aims to simulate a committee meeting with ideas discussed and solutions developed. The question for the final round: How can Farm Bureau effectively support and equip young farmers and ranchers to successfully manage economic and infrastructure challenges to ensure healthy and sustainable farms and ranches across the country?
During the discussion, Boyd brought up the idea of finding mentors to help a young farmer or rancher manage risk, including navigating available programs and loans to start or grow their business. “Of course, economically, the timing is prime for young people trying to start a farm or ranch, or even considering continuing a ranching tradition,” Boyd said.
The Southwest Counties Farm Bureau member said he was drawn to the focus meeting because after college there weren’t as many opportunities to compete. “Being in Chat Meet forces you to research, practice, and engage in friendly competition,” Boyd said.
“I want to extend a big thank you to the participating Montana Polaris dealers, the Montana Farm Bureau and all of the competitors for making the town hall meeting possible,” Boyd said. “I look forward to representing Montana at the national competition.”
Ben and Karli Johnson, breeders of Choteau, owners of Sevens Livestock, won the MFBF YF&R Excellence Award. Nominees for the Excellence Award are evaluated on a combination of their farm’s growth and financial progress of the operation, Farm Bureau leadership, as well as leadership outside of the Farm Bureau.
Johnson said she and her husband decided to participate in the award because they enjoy having high-level strategic business discussions; the Achievement Award provided the format to do so at the national level.
“Judges consider how your strategic business plan has affected your business growth and how you relate it to your county Farm Bureau and community leadership,” Johnson said. She and Ben will travel to Puerto Rico to compete in the National Achievement Award against other State Farm Bureau winners.
“The in-person competition at the national level provides a great opportunity to network and meet other young producers facing similar challenges,” said the Front Range County Farm Bureau member.
The 103rd Annual Montana Farm Bureau Convention takes place Nov. 14-17 at the Hilton Garden Inn in Missoula.
Thank you to these Polaris dealers for their support of young MFBF farmers and ranchers: Gallatin Recreation, Bozeman; Helena Cycle Center, Helena; Polaris of Yellowstone, Billings; Beaverhead Motorsports, Dillon; Riverside Marine & Cycle, Miles City; Redline Sports, Inc., Butte; Lewistown Honda and Polaris, Lewistown; Sports City Cyclery, Great Falls, Russell Motorsports, Missoula, Kurt’s Polaris, Seeley Lake and Bliss Cycle, Conrad. Stop by these dealerships to say thank you for supporting the Montana Farm Bureau Young Farmers & Ranchers.
Learn more about MFBF at http://www.mfbf.org or follow on Facebook and Instagram @mtfarmbureau.
–Montana Federation of Agricultural Bureaux