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

  Resource Education and Agriculture Leadership
September 2016

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Class II learns about Coal and Livestock Production

Class II recently returned from Miles City and Colstrip as part of REAL Montana (Resource Education and Agriculture Leadership). This was the sixth seminar in their two-year educational program, and focused on “Livestock and Coal Production”. While in Miles City the class learned about current livestock industry issues including sustainability, animal health, the veterinary feed directive, and federal grazing. They took part in a skill building training on effective cooperation and collaboration, and toured the 91st Annual Montana Wool Growers Ram Sale and Solaris Feeders. Class II also traveled to Colstrip to discuss energy production, legislation, and community successes and challenges. Tours included the Westmoreland coal mine and Colstrip Steam Electric Station. A seminar highlight was the networking banquet where class members interacted with local program sponsors and industry leaders.

Photo: Class II at the Westmoreland Coal Mine

Scenes from Seminar 6

MT Wool Growers board members Kevin Halverson, Dave McEwen and Executive Secretary Jesse Wallewein address the class at the 91st Annual Ram Sale

Ovando rancher Jim Stone and Greg Neudecker with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service lead a skill building session on cooperation and collaboration

Lori Shaw (Colstrip United); Jim Atchison (SE MT Development Corp), John Williams (Colstrip Mayor) and Gordon Criswell (Talen Energy) discuss Colstrip community successes and challenges

Class members learn about coal extraction and energy production

Class II at the Colstrip Steam Electric Station

Senator Eric Moore explains cattle industry issues at Solaris Feeders

Seminar 6 Insights

"We take so much for granted, from the food we eat to the convenience of a light switch. Seldom do we stop to appreciate the technologies and science that have made our food and electricity the most abundant, safe, sustainable, and affordable in the world. The livestock and coal industries not only provide abundant food and electricity, but vast numbers of jobs and millions of dollars of revenue that go directly into our local economy. We need to stand up for the evidence and actual facts and continue to prosper."
-LaVon Wagler: Store Manager, Rocky Mountain Supply, Belgrade

"The Livestock and Coal seminar was packed with great information.  I really enjoyed learning more about the Blackfoot Challenge, and the Rosebud Mine and Colstrip Steam Electric Station tours were very educational.  The jobs created by the coal industry have a huge economic impact on Montana. We have abundant natural resources and we control our own destiny as stewards of the land."
-Nick Miller: Construction Manager and Vice President, Missouri River Contractors, Helena

Class II Profiles

Jill Herold: Sustainable Solutions Specialist, Syngenta, Shepherd

Growing up in the suburbs of Denver the closest I got to a farm was riding horses. College was my chance to bloom into agriculture and it welcomed me with open arms. I applied for REAL MT as chance to expand my horizons and advocate for one of the last best places on earth.  I hope to become a leader that can help those who grew up like me better understand their food and natural resources.

The highlight of the REAL MT program has been the people in it. I am continually amazed at the impact REAL MT has had on the lives of everyone it touches. We have so much potential to make a difference in this world.

Hobbies: Riding horses, helping friends work cattle, and being with friends and family that make it all worth it

Farrah McGregor: Customer Solutions Specialist, Northwest Farm Credit Services, Cascade

My passion for agriculture has allowed me to pursue a number of opportunities with my family and in my career. Our natural resource industries face more challenges each and every day. To successfully move forward in the face of these challenges we need a network of informed and united leaders. REAL Montana provides knowledge and skill development to ensure the success of the next generation of leaders in the agriculture and natural resource industries.

REAL Montana has helped me develop a network throughout the natural resource industry. The relationships I have gained in coal, timber, energy, oil, construction and extension will allow me to be a better advocate for agriculture and the industries that are important to the viability of the state of Montana.

Hobbies: agriculture, running a cow/calf operation with my husband, raising two sons in agriculture, teaching Sunday school, cooking, and watching high school and college football

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.






Community resilience and collaboration were key themes during our Livestock and Coal seminar last week. The class heard inspiring accounts of how relationship building can greatly improve chances of success for stakeholders on all sides of issues.

- Janelle Booth
Director, REAL Montana

Seminar 7: International trade and hard rock mining, November 17-19 in Butte

Seminar 8: International trip, January 2-12 in Colombia



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