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

  Resource Education and Agriculture Leadership
May 2017

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Class II completes REAL Montana training with timber seminar and Kalispell graduation

REAL Montana Class II attended the final seminar in their two-year educational program May 11-12 in Kalispell. Experts presented on the current state of the Montana timber industry, forest health, state and federal regulation, trade, and how timber harvest impacts local economies. The class toured a timber harvest site, the F.H. Stoltze Land and Lumber sawmill, Weyerhaeuser MDF plant, F.H. Stoltze Trumbull Creek Educational Forest, and SmartLam Cross Laminated Timber manufacturing facility. The seminar concluded with a graduation ceremony for the Class II members, attended by program sponsors, spouses, and industry leaders. Bruce Vincent, an inspirational speaker and 3rd generation logger from Libby, provided a keynote address. In addition, REAL Montana Advisory Board member Taylor Brown served as emcee. In his charge to the class, Brown stated, “We are counting on you to use real science, real facts, real compassion, and to invest real commitment to make a real difference.”

Photo: The graduates of REAL Montana Class II.

Scenes from Seminar 10

Farrah McGregor introduces Mark Boardman and Bernard Gnam at the F.H. Stoltze sawmill

Preparing to tour the Weyerhaeuser Medium Density Fiberboard Plant near Columbia Falls

Learning about forest health at the F.H. Stoltze Trumbull Creek Educational Forest

Class II member Bryan Lorengo explains the timber harvest process

SmartLam President Casey Malmquist describes cross laminated timber manufacturing

Advisory Board member Taylor Brown addressing the Class II graduates, as family members provide an official graduation pin

Seminar 10 Insights

"The timber seminar allowed us to gain a better understanding of this valuable resource. There are 510 million cubic feet of mortality in Montana’s forests each year, with an average of 6 million forest acres burned in the United States annually from wildfires. Montana’s forest sustainability requires proper health management to decrease the risk of fire danger and increase soil fertility, while providing economic growth, social stability and a highly demanded consumer product."
-Chaley Harney: Executive Director, Montana Beef Council, Billings

"I was excited to learn about the science and technology that goes into the timber production process. Our timber industry does an amazing job of managing our forests to maintain ecological balance, soil health, tree health and wildfire mitigation using voluntary best management practices.  As an agronomist I related with how they manage forests and preserve genetics for continuous improvement."
-Jill Herold: Agronomist and Sustainable Solutions Specialist, Syngenta, Shepherd

Class II Profiles

Paul Babb: Community Relations Manager, NorthWestern Energy, Butte

I consider myself a constant learner, and applied for REAL Montana to improve my leadership skills and build strong relationships with other natural resource industry leaders. I have attended numerous training and leadership programs throughout my career, and REAL Montana is by far the best.

REAL Montana is a hands on and full-participation intensive training. The most memorable part of my REAL Montana experience is the friendships and comradery that I have developed with my classmates.  We have come a long way from where we started two years ago, and I know I am better person for this experience. 

Hobbies: Running, boating, hiking, hunting, fishing, skiing, and spending time with my family

Lacey Ehlke: Co-owner, Ehlke Herefords, Townsend

Growing up on a ranch, I learned the value and importance of hard work and perseverance from my parents. We need knowledgeable leadership in agriculture to make sure our voice is heard. REAL Montana was the perfect opportunity to push myself personally and professionally so that I could become a stronger leader for the future of agriculture.

The highlight of REAL Montana has been the amazing people I have met along the way, including high caliber speakers, local and national leaders, my fellow classmates, REAL Alumni, and the advisory board. I have learned more from these people than I can ever appreciate, and I cannot thank this program enough for that.

Hobbies: Spending time with family and friends, Montana Stockgrowers events, riding horses, chasing my Corgi around the yard, cooking, golf and fishing

Applications for Class III Close May 31

Are you or someone you know passionate about the future of natural resource industries in Montana? Is there a leader in your business or local community that is ready to step into a bigger role and is looking for intense professional development? If so, REAL Montana (Resource Education and Agriculture Leadership) is now accepting applications for Class III! The application period closes May 31, 2017. Class III members will be announced in July and the first seminar kicks off in Bozeman on September 7th.
For complete program information and to apply, visit

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.






Twenty of the top leaders in Montana just transitioned from members of Class II to official REAL Montana Alumni in the presence of their families, friends, and colleagues. REAL Montana keeps getting bigger and better with each class and we are excited to start a brand new cohort this fall! The application deadline for Class III is fast approaching. Please be sure to get all materials in before May 31. Complete application information is available at

- Janelle Booth
Director, REAL Montana

Application Deadline for Class III: May 31, 2017

Class III participants announced: July 2017

Class III Seminar 1: September 7-9, 2017 in Bozeman


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