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

  Resource Education and Agriculture Leadership
February 2015

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REAL Montana Class I travels to China!


Members of the brand-new REAL Montana program (Resource Education and Agriculture Leadership) took part in their first international study seminar to China on January 8-18, 2015. Four days were spent in Beijing, where the class met with Ambassador Max Baucus at the U.S. Embassy and received briefings on U.S./China agriculture and energy issues. The class toured a modern ecological farm, the Fu-Hua Meat Company feedlot and processing facility/restaurant, and the Hopefull Grain & Oil soybean processing company. Cultural activities in Beijing included climbing the Great Wall and visiting Tiananmen Square and the Hutong neighborhood. The class traveled via overnight train to Hohhot in Inner Mongolia, China’s largest producer of milk and coal, where they toured the dairy farm and processing facility of Yili Industrial Group and an open pit coal mine. They also visited the Dazhao Temple, a Tibetan Buddhist temple built during the Ming Dynasty. The final days of the trip were spent in Shanghai, where the class met with representatives from the U.S. Agricultural Trade Office and U.S. Meat Export Federation and joined them for a retail tour of the CitySuper specialty grocery store. A day was spent in the Caoyang residential community where the class interacted with residents at their cultural center, library, and neighborhood market. Throughout the trip, participants heard from experts on Chinese agriculture, natural resources, and history and shared meals in the homes of local people.

Photo: Class I at the Great Wall of China near Beijing

Scenes from China

Class I meets with Ambassador Baucus at the U.S. Embassy in Beijing

Fu-Hua feedlot near Beijing

Small group coal

Beijing night market

Hopefull Grain & Oil soybean processing facility, Beijing

Open pit coal mine, Inner Mongolia

Yili Dairy & Industrial Group, Hohhot



Class I at the retail tour of CitySuper grocery, Shanghai


Shanghai wet market

Class member Walt Anseth presenting "The Story of Wheat" to a Shanghai community library


Lunch in the home of local Shanghai residents

International Seminar Insights

"You often hear that China has the fastest growing economy in the world as well as the most rapid middle class expansion. This the most honest statement I have ever heard. My REAL MT classmates and I received a tremendous amount of firsthand education and experience in regards to China's incredible growth and future economic possibilities. Endless opportunities exist for Montana products and products from across the U.S. The growing middle class in China craves quality and nutrition, which creates a potential growth for all classes of natural resources from our beautiful state."
-Dan Kerslake, Lazy KR Ranch, Stevensville

“From the cows to coal mines and Hutong to Pudong, China was the most amazing experience of my life! By seeing firsthand the back-breaking work it takes to raise a crop on a small patch of land that you can't even call your own, it made me very aware of the struggles that China is having to feed and provide for their ever growing population. This experience also gave me insight to the possibilities of future US agriculture and natural resource exports to China.”
-Whitney Klasna, Klasna Farms, Lambert

Class I Profiles

Tyler Smith: Owner/estimator of Lakeside Excavation, Inc., Havre

REAL Montana introduces me to experiences I wouldn’t do on my own.  As the leader of my organization, I’m often the one that is guiding the direction and issuing the challenges.  REAL has given me the opportunity to be the one that is pushed.  It has given me a better perspective of what happens in this state.

Hands down, the most interesting part of the REAL Montana program has been the media instruction: how to get your message out, whom to talk to and how to craft your message in way that is constructive.  Often the biggest reason our industries are targeted is that we are not getting our views and our side of the story into the public view.

With the skills and education I am gaining through REAL, I plan on being a better leader in my community and perhaps one day running for state office.

Hobbies: My wife and I are avid snowmobilers

Walt Anseth: Ag finance officer at MT Department of Agriculture, Helena

WaltThe most significant benefit I have gained through REAL is the networking.  I have met people through this program that will be lifelong friends and resources.  These contacts have helped me realize that all people in our resource industries are working to make Montana the best it can be. 

The most interesting part of the program has been the travel.  Every stop that we have made in the class has provided excellent learning opportunities.  I have been able to visit places that without this class would have never been possible. 

The skills I'm gaining through REAL will help me be a more effective advocate for our natural resource industries.  There are people that want to focus on the negatives that we face every day.  The more education we receive, the easier it is to spotlight the positives that impact Montana’s number one industry. 

Hobbies: Rodeo, golf

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.





Our first international seminar was a success! Class I experienced firsthand the culture, economy, and natural wonders of China.

Applications for Class II of REAL Montana will be available March 1-May 31 at

- Janelle Booth
Director, REAL Montana
MSU Extension

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

Seminar 10: Timber; Class I 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