Parents and Family News: Published by the Parent and Family Association

  Resource Education and Agriculture Leadership
March 2016

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Class II travels to Washington D.C. for National Policy Seminar

REAL Montana (Resource Education and Agriculture Leadership) Class II just returned from four days in Washington D.C. The seminar took place March 1-5 and the focus was “Policy on a National Scale”. Class members spent a day on Capitol Hill meeting with the Montana Congressional delegation and receiving briefings from Senate Agriculture and Energy and Natural Resources Committee staffers. The American Farm Bureau Federation hosted the class the following day, where they heard from speakers representing a wide range of interests including the EPA, Federal Forest Resource Coalition, and the Associated General Contractors of America. The class arranged meetings with representatives from federal agencies including the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service, Department of the Interior, Department of Energy, USDA Forest Service, U.S. Trade Representative, and USDA Risk Management Agency. The visit to D.C. was topped off by a guided tour of the Gettysburg battlefield where class members heard leadership lessons from a retired Army colonel. Additional class activities included tours of the U.S. Capitol and other historic sites as well as group dinners with the California Agriculture Leadership Program and the Washington AgForestry Leadership Program.

Photo: Class II with the Montana delegation at the Capitol.

Scenes from Seminar 4

Class II at the Gettysburg battlefield

Chris Miller and Mike Tongour discussing lobbying and the Clean Power Plan

LaVon Wagler talks with Washington Agforestry Program Director Matt Kloes

Senator Steve Daines sharing insights with Class II


Class II members Jill Herold, Megan Hedges and Lacey Ehlke with USDA Risk Management Agency leadership

Senator Jon Tester addressing the class

Seminar 4 Insights

"Through this experience I have grown stronger in my understanding of the black box of information we call Washington. The trip has reinforced the importance of collaboration and commonality across Montana’s diverse industries and has shown me the value we bring as a group to this great state. REAL Montana is an exceptional opportunity and I am proud to be a member of Class II."
-Brian Marler: Marketing and western region asphalt sales, Calumet-Montana Refining, Great Falls

"Our time in D.C. reinforced the importance of collaborated efforts among our diverse group, and the connections each of us have. We can and will make a difference for our state. I feel so blessed to be part of this amazing program."
-Darcia Patten: Co-owner, Graham MT Ranch, Broadus


Class II Profiles
Maggie Nutter: Co-owner, Certain Creek Ranch, Sweet Grass

I applied for REAL Montana because the last few years have really been a growing period for me.   Forming the Marias River Livestock  Association and serving as its president required a new set of skills and a deeper knowledge of many topics.  There is a huge need for people to not only show up, but also be informed and able to convey necessary messages.

The leadership of the program and support from the REAL Montana Board and sponsors has been tremendous.  They are not only willing to help us grow as people, but they have openly stated they have high expectations for us to step up into the places where leaders are needed.  Class II is a group that will form strong links to better Montana.  I am very proud yet humbled to be a part of such a team.

Hobbies: I love being outside with my corgis, cows, and horses and working in my yard. I am also a member of the North American Fruit Explorers and attend their conferences to learn about different agricultural practices.


Karli Johnson: Finance Manager, R&J Ag Supply, Sidney

I come from a long line of Montana miners, loggers and ranchers. On our operation, we believe that advocating is just as important to our longevity as planting in the spring.  REAL Montana is a unique program that allows the natural resource industries to learn from one another and form a strong united voice. Being involved in the Sidney Area Chamber has shown me the value of working across industries. I am thrilled to be a part of a program that is taking that to the next level.

Interacting with my classmates has been a highlight of the program. Being around them makes me excited for the future of our industries.

Hobbies: When you love what you do every day it is hard to choose a hobby!  I love food at every level including growing, cooking and eating.

Meet Class II

Class II of REAL represents a diverse cross-section of natural resource industries across Montana. Twenty participants were competitively selected based on leadership capabilities and willingness to serve in decision-making roles upon completing the program. For a complete list, CLICK HERE.

Our Advisory Board

The REAL Montana Advisory Board consists of 11 industry leaders from across the state who donate countless hours to ensure REAL Montana is a success. CLICK HERE to meet our 2016 Advisory Board.

REAL Montana Sponsors

REAL Montana is made possible through the generous support of a broad group of public and private entities. CLICK HERE for a complete list of program sponsors. For information on becoming a sponsor of REAL Montana, please contact the Program Director.





Our trip to Washington D.C. really emphasized the need for strong leadership at all levels. A highlight of the seminar was spending time with the Washington AgForestry and California Ag Leadership programs. We have much to share with these successful long-term leadership efforts taking place across the nation.

- Janelle Booth
Director, REAL Montana

Seminar 5: Oil and Gas Development, June 9-11, 2016 in Sidney

Seminar 6: Livestock and Coal Production, September 15-19, 2016 in Miles City


REAL Montana
Janelle Booth, Program Director
Tara Becken, Program Coordinator

MSU Extension
Culbertson Hall
PO Box 170535
Bozeman, MT 59717-0535

Tel: (406) 994-6480
Fax: (406) 994-1905