Montana Ranchers Compete At National Level In Young Farmers & Ranchers Competitive Events

San Juan, PR - An Alder rancher and couple from Choteau had the opportunity to compete in the Young Farmers & Ranchers Competitive Events during the 104th American Farm Bureau Convention which runs through January 11 in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Mark Boyd, who had won the Montana Farm Bureau Young Farmer & Rancher Discussion Meet in November, spent Saturday talking about agricultural issues with other young producers, ranging from supply chain issues to ways young agriculturalists can begin or remain in agricultural production. The Discussion Meet, which is open to Farm Bureau members age 18-35, is meant to simulate a committee meeting with ideas discussed and solutions developed.

“Competing at the national level allowed me to visit with some of the other competitors and learn about the diversity of other farms and ranches across the country,” said Boyd. “During the competition, I had to keep in mind that although we in Montana might all agree on an issue, people in different parts of the country have different perspectives.”

Boyd said he prepared at the national level by contacting prior MFBF Discussion Meet winners to learn what worked and what were the challenges in competing at the national meeting.

Ben and Karli Johnson, who had been the MFBF YF&R Achievement Award winners from the MFBF Convention, were one of 27 competitors for the national Achievement Award. The Johnsons, who were both raised in agriculture, started Sevens Livestock in Choteau, MT and raise seedstock and commercial cattle. Achievement Award contestants are evaluated on a combination of their farming operation growth and financial progress of the farm or ranch, and Farm Bureau leadership, as well as leadership outside of Farm Bureau.

Ben said that although they didn’t have much in common with some of the other competitors, such as wine grape growers, they had the opportunity to share commonalities with cattle stockers and other young farmers and ranchers who raised livestock.

“Working on the application enabled us to realize how our decisions on our farms or ranch impacted our balance sheet,” said Karli. “Being in this competition made us not only be reflective of what we have achieved, but also what our next steps will be.”

A delegation of 46 Montana Farm Bureau members have been attending the Young Farmer & Rancher Competitive Events, workshops, general sessions and the trade show.


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