Montana State University
Real Montana Banner
Mission
REAL Montana builds a network of informed and engaged leaders to advance the natural resource industries in Montana.
Program
The program is a two-year cycle of classes, tours, networking opportunities, and travel designed to heighten knowledge and enhance skills of emerging leaders.  Participants analyze complex issues associated with agriculture and natural resources while receiving intensive leadership training and exposure to a wide range of experiences and viewpoints. 
Participants
Classes consist of up to 20 participants competitively selected to represent a wide variety of natural resource industries across the state.  REAL Montana seeks diversity in all aspects of class structure, including geography, gender, and industry sectors.  The target audience is adults who earn a substantial percentage of their livelihoods from Montana natural resources who demonstrate the willingness and aptitude for long-term leadership in their respective industries. 
REAL Montana Advisory Board Members
  • Julia Altemus – Montana Wood Products Association
  • Larry Brence – Montana State University Extension
  • Taylor Brown – Northern Broadcasting System
  • Cary Hegreberg – Montana Contractors’ Association
  • Whitney Klasna – Klasna Farms
  • Errol Rice – Montana Stockgrowers Association
  • Nancy Schlepp – Tintina Resources
  • Shaud Schwarzbach – Northwest Farm Credit Services
  • Howard Skjervem – NorthWestern Energy
  • Sue Ann Streufert – Montana Farm Bureau Federation

Past Advisory Board Members

  • Andy Matakis – Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks
  • Shannon Arnold – Montana State University College of Agriculture
  • Lee Boyer – MT Department of Agriculture (retired)
  • Chris Christiaens – Montana Farmers Union
  • Mark Lambrecht – Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, formerly Treasure State Resource Industry Association
  • Dave Phillips – Montana State University Extension (retired)
  • Lola Raska – Montana Grain Growers Association
  • John Youngberg – Montana Farm Bureau Federation
Setup
The program features eight in-state seminars held in rotating locations across Montana. In Year One, participants also travel to Washington D.C. for a 5-7 day national seminar. Year Two includes a 10-day international trip. Each in-state seminar typically runs from Thursday afternoon through Saturday afternoon.
Seminar Topics
Seminars are a mix of leadership training, educational tours, in- and out-of-state travel, and networking opportunities.  Program content includes agriculture institutions and agencies, natural resource development, public speaking/media, economics, policy, international trade, urban/rural relationships, water issues, transportation, labor and production costs, entrepreneurship, and other current industry topics. 

Cost
Each participant is responsible for a $3,000 tuition fee, which covers tours, educational materials, double occupancy lodging, meals, and out-of-state airfare. The tuition fee accounts for approximately 20% of the total cost of the program, the majority of which is made possible through the generous contributions of our sponsors.  Please visit our SPONSOR PAGE for a list of program supporters.

Participants are responsible for costs associated with transportation to and from each in-state seminar and departure locations for out-of-state seminars.

Organizational Structure
REAL Montana is funded through a partnership with Montana State University Extension and private industry.  Oversight is provided by an advisory board of industry leaders.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Montana State University and the Montana State University Extension Service prohibit discrimination in all of their programs and activities on the basis of race, color, national origin, gender, religion, age, disability, political beliefs, sexual orientation, and marital and family status. Issued in furtherance of cooperative extension work in agriculture and home economics, acts of May 8 and June 30, 1914, in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Jeff Bader, Executive Director of Extension, Montana State University, Bozeman, MT 59717.