My name is Tyson Reese. I grew up on a ranch in the booming metropolis of Wisdom, MT (population 100). I was raised on a cattle ranch where my dad was a ranch manager and my mom worked for the Forest Service. From a young age, I developed a love of sports and have always been drawn toward competition. Growing up in a small agricultural community instilled a sense of pride and appreciation for farmers and ranchers. Over the past few years, I have been involved with Farm Bureau through my work in the agricultural finance industry and became a Farm Bureau member in 2022.

I first learned about the ACE Leadership program at the 2022 Farm Bureau Annual Convention and was immediately interested based on the positive feedback from members of the previous class. Former participants spoke very highly about the program and encouraged me to apply. I further saw an opportunity to learn key leadership skills and become more involved with Farm Bureau. I was fortunate enough to be accepted into this year’s ACE Class and am very thankful to be part of such an amazing program.

Upon completion of ACE, I have goals to continue and further my involvement within Farm Bureau. My goals are to continually seek out opportunities to be a leader in the community by using the skills obtained through participating in ACE. Specifically, I am passionate about helping the next generation of agricultural producers and will be a leader and resource in this space.

A current issue I’ve observed is a disconnect between the agriculture community and those not directly involved in the industry. Everyone is impacted by agriculture in one way or another (everyone eats). Furthermore, there are an increasing number of families moving to Montana from other states, many of which are moving from metropolitan areas. I feel as though there is an opportunity to welcome new residents and engage with those individuals to ensure they are aware of what is happening in local communities. A single vote in Montana carries the same weight regardless of whether you are a new resident or have lived in Montana your entire life. In the first session of ACE, we had the privilege of listening to Bruce Vincent. He spoke of the importance of welcoming new people to our communities where they run their businesses, attend school, and contribute to the local economy. Bruce explained that by looking at life through the lens of those who sit across the table you can begin to understand people and find common ground.

I plan to implement the skills I’ve learned in ACE by showing up, listening, and taking action. Much of what has been taught and learned through ACE deals with communication and problem-solving. Gather facts, study the problem, and identify a solution. ACE has taught me that taking action and having a positive impact can come in small forms. “If you can’t do big things, do small things in a big way” - Ona Wright.

I think it is crucial for farmers and ranchers to continually develop their leadership and advocacy skills because the agriculture industry simply needs more advocates. They experience firsthand the challenges of the industry, and it is important to ensure their voices are heard. Farmers and ranchers are extremely hard-working and serve the noble cause of “feeding the world”, which is something worth advocating for.