The Roundup -

Sidney Resident Learns The Importance Of Montana Grain Industry


Class II of REAL Montana toured the Rainbow Dam hydroelectric plant on January 15. Front (L to R): Megan Hedges, Karli Johnson, Molly Schwend, Nicole Rolf, Lacey Ehlke, Janelle Booth, Maggie Nutter, Katie Cooper, Tracy Mosley. Back (L to R): Jerry Gray (NorthWestern Energy), Tom Hougen, Nick Miller, Brian Marler, LaVon Wagler, Jill Herold, Darcia Patten, Blaine Juedeman, Bryan Lorengo, Paul Babb, Tara Becken, Farrah McGregor, Chaley Harney.

Sidney resident Karli Johnson just returned from three days in Great Falls as part of REAL Montana (Resource Education and Agriculture Leadership). For Karli and other members of REAL Montana Class II, this was the third seminar in their two-year educational program.

The focus of the seminar Jan. 14-16 was "Crop Production Economy & Issues". Class members heard from experts on Montana's role in domestic and global agricultural markets, rail transport, public policy, the Farm Bill, GMOs, and the H2A visa program. A speaker panel consisting of conventional, organic, and no-till farmers briefed the class on current issues in crop production. Representatives from Senator Tester, Senator Daines and Congressman Zinke outlined legislative issues to prepare the class for their upcoming trip to Washington D.C.

The class took part in a skill building training on fundraising, shared a meal at the Hillcrest Colony near Vaughn, and toured the Rainbow Dam hydroelectric facilities. The seminar included a networking banquet where class members interacted with local program sponsors and industry leaders.

"I am continually amazed at what I learn each session even in industries and areas that I am familiar with. I can't wait to learn more about our area in June."

REAL Montana is a leadership class designed to take emerging leaders in the natural resource industries to the next level. Twenty of Montana's sharpest leaders were competitively selected from a pool of qualified candidates representing a wide variety of agriculture and natural resource industries across the state to take part in Class II of REAL Montana.

The two year program features eight in-state seminars, a four-day national study tour in Washington D.C. and a ten-day international trip.

Seminars include training in natural resource development, agriculture institutions and agencies, public speaking/media, economics, state and federal policy, international trade, urban/rural relationships, water issues, and other current industry topics.

The class will be in Sidney and the surrounding area June 9-11 studying oil and natural gas production.

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 program will start accepting applications for Class III in the spring of 2017.

Complete program information is available at or by contacting Janelle Booth, program director, at (406) 994-6480,


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