On the Trail

Travels with MFBF’s State Staff and Volunteer Leaders

Montana Farm Bureau wants to keep you “in the know” with the federation’s activities. Tune in regularly to see what your county leaders are up to and how MFBF is promoting agriculture!

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July 27th, 2016: How to add some flavor to your county fair booth

It’s mid-summer and fair season is upon us! Does your county Farm Bureau have ideas to spruce up your booth or presence at your local county fair? If you are stuck in a slump with the same old booth or activities we have come up with a few to rejuvenate your involvement at the fair and hopefully increase the fun for your community and your county Farm Bureau volunteers!


Sponsoring prizes or events at your county fair is a great way to support the next generation of agriculturalists and promote the work your county Farm Bureau does to care for your county!

Sponsoring prizes or events at your county fair is a great way to support the next generation of agriculturalists and promote the work your county Farm Bureau does to care for your county!

Many Counties across our great state generously provide some form of sponsorship to their local County Fair. Requiring little volunteer input, but often making some of the greatest impacts, Counties providing sponsorships definitely do not go unnoticed.  Here are a few ideas for sponsorships that you might not have thought of:

  • 4-H/ FFA Livestock Carcass Contest or Ultrasound
  • Awards or Prizes
  • 4-H/FFA Livestock Classes
  • Herdsman Awards
  • Exhibitor Lunch or Dinner
  • Concert or Entertainment
  • General Donation

Celebrity reader

Have a local celebrity? Ask them to visit your booth on a certain day and read a few of the Ag Accurate Books available through the Montana Farm Bureau Foundation.  A quick story and short activity is sure to draw a crowd to your booth. Ag Accurate books provide factual information about agriculture and are suitable for elementary aged students.  As the guest reader has the kids’ attention- your member volunteers could talk to mom and dad about joining or supporting Farm Bureau. Your Regional Manager can provide you some great books through the Montana Farm Bureau Foundation!

Ask a Farmer or Rancher

Story time at the County Fair — check out the selection of Ag Accurate books and organize a fun reading between shows or for the youngsters not ready for the show ring yet.

Story time at the County Fair — check out the selection of Ag Accurate books and organize a fun reading between shows or for the youngsters not ready for the show ring yet.

Instead of the same old boring booth that folks walk by and maybe take a pen and engage in small talk, give them an opportunity to connect with a real farmer or rancher!  This is especially important in our more urban fair settings. Work with your regional manager to create a sign for your booth to let folks know that your booth is informational.

  • Schedule volunteer experts from a few different ag areas
  • List specific times that your experts will be available
  • Rotate your experts throughout the day – less time commitment for them and more info for your booth!
  • Provide a brochure or resource if people have follow up questions

Beat the heat- watch an ag movie

One thing we all can agree is that fair season can get uncomfortably warm! Your county Farm Bureau could offer fair-goers a chance to cool down and watch a movie in a tent or barn. Farmland, the movie, is a great documentary that profiles young Farmers and Ranchers and their daily life in the industry. Ask your Regional Manager about other great ag movies!

Plan a scavenger hunt

One of the best things about the fair is different things to see and do each year. Your county could plan a small scavenger hunt that includes visiting different places around the fairgrounds and collecting agriculture facts along the way. Put your creative thinking cap on- the opportunities with a scavenger hunt are as simple or elaborate as you wish to make it. Don’t forget to offer a prize at the end!

Booth goodies- make it your own!

Of course MFBF has promotional items that your regional manager can help provide, but if there is room in your county’s budget, order some personal promotional freebies!

  • Letter openers
  • Chip clips
  • Pens
  • Gloves
  • Lip Balm or Sun Screen
  • Notepads


July 26th, 2016: Working with our neighbors to control noxious weeds

The MFBF Commodity Advisory Committees provide a forum for committee members to proactively discuss current issues within their specific commodity area. There are 12 committees specific to commodities or program areas that meet during the MFBF Summer Conference.  These videos provide a glimpse inside a few of the committee meetings.

2016 Montana Farm Bureau Weed Committee

Montana Farm Bureau Weed Committee Chair Steve Johns shares how biological bug controls can be used to eliminate noxious weeds from the Montana landscape. The Weed Committee is always looking for new, innovative ways to promote the eradication of noxious weeds to enhance the health and productivity of our lands.

Become a Montana Farm Bureau member: www.mfbf.org.

While policy development happens at the county Farm Bureau level, these committee meetings provide a chance to discuss important topics with a variety of individuals who have varying input and expertise.  Based on the discussion held during the meetings, the committee may make suggested policy recommendations that members then discuss at the county level and vote on during their county annual meetings.

Sounds interesting—how do I get on a committee? 

Each committee is made up of 10 primary members (one representative from each district) and 10 alternates.  Nominations must be made during the district caucuses held each November during annual convention.

Not sure what district you’re in? Find out here: http://mfbf.org/county-farm-bureau/.

After the district caucuses, the nominations are submitted and the President makes the final committee appointments following annual convention. Each committee is assigned a MFBF staff contact.  This contact works with the committee chair and members to set the agenda for each meeting, share pertinent information between meetings, and collect resources for the committees to use when discussing policy.

Weed Committee members:

  • District 1—Alan Knudsen, Thompson Falls
  • District 2—Harris Wheat, Dillon
  • District 3—Earl Bricker, Moore
  • District 4—Theo Yanzick, Absarokee
  • District 5—Jenny Olson, Broadus
  • District 6—Todd Wolff, Vida
  • District 7—Scott Cassel, Glasgow
  • District 8—Bob Quinn, Big Sandy
  • District 9—Steve Johns, Canyon Creek
  • District 10—Chuck Plymale, Townsend

Do you have a voice in shaping the issues that impact your livelihood? Find out what district you would be in, reach out to your grassroots members and join the Montana Farm Bureau Federation today.

July 25th, 2016: Fresh fair booth ideas for your county Farm Bureau.

We’ve all seen the Farm Bureau booth set up at the local fair with a table covered in brochures. This has become a tradition for many county Farm Bureaus, but is this really the best way to spread your message? Whether you are trying to recruit new members, share information about agriculture with the general public, update folks on a recent ag issue or a combination of all of three, we have some fresh ideas to get your message out at a local event as popular as the fair.


Ice cream cone coupons at the Montana State Fair are always a hit!

You scream, I scream, we all scream for ice cream!


Coupons are an easy way to get your message in the hands (literally!) of many people. For example, the Montana Farm Bureau Foundation has been sponsoring $1 coupons for the 4-H ice cream booth at the Montana State Fair for a few years. They are spreading an ag message, supporting youth in ag, and putting their name out there to show their support. Your county Farm Bureau can use this idea locally!

Why fair booth coupons are easy & effective:

  • The amount of coupons you provide is whatever fits your budget!
  • It’s easy to set up with the concession stand, 4-H club, etc. for ice cream, a soda, bucket of popcorn, or just $1 in value toward a menu of items.
  • Inform the group or business what amount you are sponsoring and ask where to send the check.
  • Print your coupons (ask your Regional Manager for help!) and regardless if all of the coupons are redeemed, inform the group or business you will still pay the pledged amount.
  • Use the coupons to thank an active Farm Bureau family, reward a hard working pig showman, thank a sponsor, introduce yourself to a potential member, etc.Dairy Coupon

Other ideas to consider for tour fair booth:

  • Dairy Coupon 2Ask your local MWFBI agent to double your sponsorship if you add their name on the coupon.
  • Include a fun farm fact to send a positive agricultural message.
  • Ask if you can hang your banner in the barn or exhibit hall as a return for your sponsorship.

It is so valuable to have a Farm Bureau booth at the county fair with literature for those who pass by. But thinking of new ways to get out and shake hands with new and old faces while personally giving them a gift. Who doesn’t love a coupon? Especially if it is for ice cream!

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