Learning how to advocate for agriculture has been a one-year endeavor for eight motivated Montana Farm Bureau members who have graduated from the ACE program. ACE, which stands for Advocate. Communicate. Educate. emphasizes leadership development, issue advocacy and the engagement of local communities. The participants spent 2020 honing skills at six seminars to help them learn to be stronger communicators and create lasting connections within their local communities.

2020 proved that agriculture and rural America is still a necessary and powerful component to the security and economy of our country. It became clear that we need agricultural leaders now more than ever. ACE is the perfect program to help accomplish that for Montana farmers and ranchers.

ACE Coordinator Chelcie Cargill talked about the innovative program. “Taking a slightly different approach to advocacy training, ACE challenges participants to take a hard look at mainstream advocacy strategies and their individual leadership talents.  The program emphasizes thinking critically about how our own communication may be hindering our ability to connect with people outside of agriculture. 
“All of the ACE participants invested much of their time, energy and talent into becoming stronger leaders. They worked hard to build leadership and communication skills that will help create positive and lasting connection with people outside of agriculture,” said Cargill. “It was an honor to work with each of them and I’m excited to see them put their skills and talents to use in their own communities and for Montana agriculture.”

The 2020 ACE Graduates

  • Joy DePuydt, Saco – operates a cattle and crop farm with her husband and family. Is a retired nurse and current MFBF District 7 Director. Member of Phillips County Farm Bureau
  • Katharine Taylor, Bozeman – The programs and office manager for the Montana FFA Foundation. Member of Gallatin County Farm Bureau.
  • Kris Descheemaeker, Lewistown – operates a cattle ranch with her husband and family. Current MFBF District 3 Director. Secretary/Treasurer of Fergus County Farm Bureau.
  • Dominique Woodham, Big Timber – works as an MSU extension agent in Gallatin County focusing on natural resources. Member of Sweet Grass County Farm Bureau.
  • Mary Hill, Raynesford– raises Gelbvieh cattle and quarter horses with her partner. Vice president, Judith Basin County Farm Bureau.
  • Pam Converse, Conrad –Pondera County Weed Coordinator. She also ranches with her family near Augusta. Member of Front Range County Farm Bureau.
  • Ed Bandel, Floweree – MFBF’s District 8 Director and wheat farmer. Member of Chouteau County Farm Bureau.
  • Doreen McClure, Roy – She and her family own a cattle ranch and an insurance business in Lewistown.  Member of Fergus County Farm Bureau.
For more information about the ACE program click this link.