Parents and Family News: Published by the Parent and Family Association
  December 2014

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REAL Montana studies international trade during Seminar 7 in Shelby


REAL Montana (Resource Education and Agriculture Leadership) held a seminar focusing on international trade in Shelby on Nov. 13-15, 2014. During the seminar, industry experts presented on the Montana trade economy, rail transportation and port issues, value-added agriculture, customs and homeland security, trade barriers, and how to develop international markets for Montana products. The class discussed the economic development opportunities of Shelby and toured the NaturEner wind farm, CHS shuttle loading and fertilizer facilities, Ryder Logistics, and Shelby multimodal facility. In preparation for their upcoming trip to China in January, members of Class I received training on Chinese etiquette and protocol from both an Asian and Western perspective and presented group research projects on Chinese politics, religion, agriculture, energy development, infrastructure, and other topics. Networking opportunities and public speaking practice occurred throughout the three-day seminar.

A big thanks to our Seminar 7 sponsors: City of Shelby, Dick Irvin Trucking, Dr. Larry Bonderud, First State Bank of Shelby, Frontline Ag, KLJ Engineering, Lakeside Excavation, Lee Law Office, Port of Northern Montana

Photo: Class I toured the NaturEner Glacier Wind Farm on Nov. 14

Seminar 7 Activities

Mayor Larry Bonderud speaks to the class about leadership in Shelby

Class I tours the CHS fertilizer plant

Small group coal

A birds-eye view of Class I on their tour of the CHS fertilizer plant

Sarah Boyer instructs the class on Chinese etiquette

Tyler Smith, Joe Dooling, & Shaud Schwarzbach present on Chinese infrastructure

Class members at the networking dinner at Ringside Ribs

Photo credits: Tara Becken

Seminar 7 Insights

"REAL Montana continues to impress me. Each seminar showcases the successes of natural resources in our backyard.  Seminar 7 in Shelby was no exception.  It showed with great leadership and collaboration of various sectors of government, private businesses, and elected officials, a strong, self-sustaining community can be built and thrive. It gives me optimism to work with local organizations to implement similar concepts used in Shelby to improve my community."
-Kate Vogel, Owner & Agronomist, North 40 Ag, Ballantine

"We often hear how rural areas of Montana are dying, and urban areas are the only growing communities in the state.  During the recent REAL Montana visit to the Shelby area, this belief was shaken.  It is apparent there is a partnership between city and county employees, business leaders, and elected officials in and surrounding Shelby.  Entities including the wind farm west of town, the private prison, the intermodal facilities, the new CHS fertilizer distribution center, and numerous other developments, all reflect that  growth is still occurring in diverse regions of our state.  It is impressive to see how numerous natural resource facilities have banded together to occupy and support Montana’s rural areas."
-Howard Skjervem: Community Relations Manager, NorthWestern Energy, Helena

Class I Profiles

Kristen Krueger: Owner/operator of Krueger Farms, Kalispell

The biggest benefit from participating in REAL Montana the first year would be the friendships and teamwork. The most interesting part of the REAL program so far was the Sidney seminar - I learned so much about the oil & gas industry and how it positively impacts the state of Montana. The tours were incredible.

With the skill and education I gain though REAL Montana, I hope to be a more rounded leader in my community and state. I want to help educate people on the “hot” topics of coal, timber, aggregate, oil, natural gas and agriculture. I want to take the fear out of Montana’s natural resources; with proper access and stewardship for theses resources we can help the economic growth of the state  which will lead to better wages and lower taxes for the people of Montana.

Hobbies: Jewelry making, hiking in NW Montana, spending time with family

Bryan Mussard: Owner/operator of Reminisce Angus Ranch & Big West cattle feedlot, Dillon

The biggest benefit to participating in the first year of REAL MT would have to be the awareness and knowledge I received from other natural resource industries.  We all run diverse operations, but we have a lot of common ground in the resource industry that ties us together and can make us stronger as a voice of reason and sustainability to the public.

The most interesting part of the program has been learning how to actively engage good ideas, not just deliver "armchair" opinions. I plan to use the skills and knowledge I have learned to become the best Montana Stock Grower president I can be in two years.  I plan to continue to use these skills to empower others to become better advocates for Montana's renewable resource industries.  

Bruce Wright: Owner/operator of Bruce Wright Farms & Co-owner of Montana Gluten Free Processors, Bozeman

The biggest benefit from participating in REAL Montana is the skill sets I've been able to develop and hone through the hands-on training we've been receiving. The practice in public speaking and how to do interviews has proved especially helpful for me. 

The most interesting part of the REAL Montana program has been the travel and tours. We have traveled over most of the state so far, and have gone to places in Montana that I haven't been to for years. Then, when we visit these locations, we get to tour the surrounding areas and see the effects that resource development is having on the communities. The trip to Washington, D.C. was very enlightening, with new insights into the governmental agencies operations and attitudes. The upcoming trip to China should be the granddaddy of them all.

Hobbies: Travel (both domestically and abroad), dining, shooting, reading

Meet Class I!

The inaugural class of REAL represents a diverse cross-section of natural resource industries across Montana. Nineteen participants were competitively selected based on leadership capabilities and willingness to serve in decision-making roles upon completing the program. For photos and biographies of Class I, CLICK HERE.

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.





Over the past months, members of Class I have promoted REAL at a number of industry conventions including the Treasure State Resource Industry Assoc., MT Wood Products Assoc., Women Stepping Forward for Ag, Young Ag Leaders Conference, MT Farm Bureau Federation, MT Grain Growers Assoc., and MT Stockgrowers Assoc.

The big event on the horizon is our upcoming study trip to China January 8-18, and we look forward to updating everyone on our travels in the next newsletter!

- Janelle Booth
Director, REAL Montana
MSU Extension

Seminar 8:
Class trip to CHINA, Jan. 8-18, 2015

Seminar 9: State Government & Water Issues, March 12-14, 2015 in Helena

Seminar 10: Timber & GRADUATION, May 14-16, 2015 in Kalispell


REAL Montana
Janelle Booth
Program Director

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

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