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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August 26th, 2016: Rural Entrepreneur Challenge: Select-A-Catch snaring device

The Farm Bureau Rural Entrepreneur Challenge is the first national business competition focused exclusively on rural businesses in food and agriculture. The Rural Entrepreneur of the Year is awarded $30,000 in startup funds for their innovative business proposition.  Learn more by visiting the Strong Rural America website

Montana Farm Bureau Federation was proud to have three innovative Montana businesses submit applications.  One of those applicants was the Select-A-Catch.  Allen & Terri Denzer, Mike Hoggan and Steve DeMers created the Select-A-Catch as a selective, humane and effective snaring device. Here’s what prompted them to start this business and what they hope to achieve through the Rural Entrepreneur Challenge:

Parnters and co-inventors Mike Hoggan & Allen Denzer with the first order of the SAC1000.

Parnters and co-inventors Mike Hoggan & Allen Denzer with the first order of the SAC1000.

Our background is in cattle and sheep production, two of our three partners are wildlife managers. In this day and age, it seems like one of Montana’s leading agricultural exports is its children. Our innovation is a tool that will not only provide jobs in Montana through manufacturing or distributing, but also can be used in rural and urban areas for private wildlife damage control.

In the eastern United States, many young people have started businesses in private animal management.  This tool not only works in rural settings but in urban settings as well. The molding for our Universal Select-A-Catch® unit will be done in Columbia Falls, the boxes to ship the product will be made in Bozeman, the snares will be manufactured as well in Montana. By supporting our website designers in Chinook, we are helping to provide much needed jobs and opportunities for young people in these rural communities. Some of the components are also being produced on farms near the communities of Choteau and Augusta, Montana.

SAC 1000 Select-A-Catch

SAC 1000 Select-A-Catch

Since starting this venture, our vision has been to manufacture an animal capturing device that is far more superior to any other product on the market today. We believe we have achieved this goal and protected our investment through patents in the United States and Canada. This humane, selective and effective capturing device will work on a wide variety of animals from fox to bears. The applications can be used in Montana, as well as, worldwide and will provide jobs for young people and introduce a valuable tool for American agriculture. We have just finished having our molds produced and are ready to start our venture.

Steve DeMers, the original inventor of Select A Catch

Steve DeMers, the original inventor of Select A Catch

Winning this challenge will provide much needed capital and publicity to rocket start our business.  We believe this contest will help entice young people to be inventive and will create a strong business opportunity in the agricultural and business industries.

What better way to get our message to rural America than through this Farm Bureau challenge!

We feel our product fits into the rural entrepreneurship category and will not only provide jobs, but will also introduce a valuable tool to protect America’s agriculture. We thank Farm Bureau for the opportunity to compete.


August 22nd, 2016: Quit your belly achin’ — write some policy!

You can cuss and discuss at the coffee shop all day, but there's only one way we know we can made a difference: make policy that supports and defends our farms and ranches.

You can cuss and discuss at the coffee shop all day, but there’s only one way we know we can made a difference: make Farm Bureau policy that supports and defends our farms and ranches.

You’ve heard it a million times.

It might be the local diner, a church potluck or across the hood of pick-up on the county road. The conversation is often a mixture of mild chatter about variable weather conditions, volatile market prices and probably a little local gossip. However, you  save the best for last and the conversation doesn’t end without discussing those cursed government agencies, environmental groups, animal rights activists and others who target American agriculture and attempt to regulate us straight out of business.

It’s true, there seems to be new demands on our management practices and products every day.  The reality is that’s not going to change any time soon and, unfortunately, lamenting with our closest family and friends isn’t going to fix the problem either.

But being a member of the Montana Farm Bureau Federation and participating in the policy development process can.  As a voting member you have the ability and authority to create, discuss, and ultimately pass new policy that guides the organization.

As a grassroots organization, it all starts at the local, county Farm Bureau level.  This time of year many county Farm Bureaus are holding policy development meetings—so don’t miss your chance!  If you’d like to find out if your county Farm Bureau is holding a policy development meeting, contact your Regional Manager or your county President.

All you need to get started is an idea, but here are a few suggestions to help you out along the way.

Three tips to writing Farm Bureau policy:

  • The formatThe policy book has 54 sections and each of those sections contains lines of policy. When crafting your policy, be as concise and specific as possible.  Most policies begin with ‘We support’ or ‘We oppose’ but there are plenty of exceptions.  For more on crafting the perfect policy resolution, watch for the next post in this series!
  • The process — Policies start with your ideas. Then, at the county annual meeting, they must be voted on and approved.  From there, a policy is submitted to the state Policy Development Committee for their consideration and, finally, must be discussed and voted upon by the voting delegates at MFBF Annual Convention.
  • The delegates — You are the delegates! Each county Farm Bureau appoints voting delegates to represent them at the annual convention.  Those voting delegates have the ability to change and vote on all the policy resolutions submitted that year.  Voting delegates are appointed at the annual meeting, so if you’re interested be sure to attend your county annual meeting.

Be sure to check out the earlier posts in this series:

Policy development: keeping the wolves at bay.

Reviewing policy could save y(our) bacon.

Next, we’ll be discussing how to write your policy resolution and correctly submit it to your county Farm Bureau.


August 18th, 2016: Reviewing policy could save y(our) bacon.

Checking the existing Montana Farm Bureau Policy Book to determine where the grassroots organization already stands could save your bacon. It not only prevents us from have contradictory or repetitive policy proposed, it also keeps our organization up-to-date and relevant.

Checking the existing Montana Farm Bureau Policy Book to determine where the grassroots organization already stands could save your bacon. It not only prevents us from have contradictory or repetitive policy proposed, it also keeps our organization up-to-date and relevant.

Developing thoughtful policy ensures MFBF is always prepared and in a position to act upon important issues when they arise. But it’s just as important to regularly review policy that’s already in the book.

Reviewing policy isn’t nearly as bright and shiny as breaking new ground and developing policy we haven’t seen before. But, it’s still just as necessary, and arguably, more important than developing new policy each year.

Why policy review matters:

  • Farm Bureau has been around awhile. We’re almost 100 old and have been making policy all the while. We’ve evolved over the years and our policy should, too.
  • Avoid doubling up. When considering developing a new policy at your county meeting, be sure to carefully check the current policy book to make sure there isn’t already a policy in place. As simple as it sounds, it’s not uncommon for a new policy to be proposed only to discover there is already sufficient policy on the topic in place.
  • Quality over quantity. There is a lot of policy in the book. So much in fact, sometimes policies get forgotten. They become outdated and irrelevant to current agricultural issues and organizational priorities. It’s a priority to avoid having conflicting policies in the book, but that means you, the members, must be diligent in reviewing policy.

Reviewing every piece of policy is a daunting task for any county Farm Bureau to tackle.  However, Rome wasn’t built in a day and we can’t review all of the policy at once. Take it step by step.

  • Start with bite-size pieces. Don’t try to review the entire book at one meeting. In fact, it shouldn’t be the responsibility of a few members or counties to review the entire policy book.  To get started, select one section of the policy book and start reviewing there.
  • Make it a standing agenda item. Even if you don’t think you’ll have much discussion at the county policy development meeting, schedule it anyway. If there is time, put policy review on the meeting agenda and ask members to thumb through the section of the policy book you’ve suggested.
  • Review policy throughout the year. This is an easy way to keep policy development on the agenda at each board meeting.  Select a section to review and spend a little time working through it at each board meeting.

How to develop new policy:

Policy development: keeping the wolves at bay.

Plus, review the Montana Farm Bureau’s Policy Book online.


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