My name is Brooke Smith and I am the president of the Young Farmers and Ranchers Montana Western chapter. I am from Whitehall, Montana and have been raised on a ranch all of my life, where my parents run one hundred head of Charolais/Angus cross mother cows and calves. We also put up our own hay and raise pigs, sheep, and elk on the family ranch, which is run by my dad and his four brothers. I am currently a sophomore at Montana Western and am majoring in Health and Human Performance, which I plan to use to catapult me into the medical field by becoming a physician assistant.
CYF&R was relatively new to me coming into my first year of involvement. I had heard it mentioned by my teammates on the rodeo team and others, but I never thought of becoming involved until Ms. Iola Else talked me into it. I joined, thinking it would be not only a fun extracurricular to be involved in, but also because I thought it could help me learn about the financial side of the agriculture industry. I had no intention of running for a leadership position, but peers nominated me, and I’ve never been known to back down from a challenge! I took on this leadership role and have not regretted a single minute of it.
My involvement in CYF&R has been extremely beneficial to me. With guest speakers coming in from the local Farm Bureau and discussing topics such as loans and collateral; I learned more than any financial class in high school taught me. Also, the mentorship and guidance of our club advisor, Olie, has been so wonderful and appreciated.
Some of the activities our club is currently involved in include readings once a week to the Dillon elementary children, the Heritage Days booth set up to educate children about agriculture and where their food comes from, and also meeting with representatives from the Farm Bureau here in Dillon to discuss finances.
As president, some of the goals I have for the club include higher levels of involvement with the community and listening to their past experiences in the agriculture industry by inviting guest speakers from ranches or farms in the valley. I would also like to see increased membership in the club. I hope to accomplish this by putting our name out there throughout campus and sharing what CYF&R might mean and be about.
I believe college students can benefit substantially from being a member of CYF&R on the Montana Western campus. Not only can students involved learn more about the ins and outs of the agriculture industry, but also boost their involvement in the community who supports this club so much. Involvement in this CYF&R club opens many doors and gives numerous opportunities for growth and engaging communication.
After graduation, I plan to continue to be involved in Farm Bureau activities through continuing to carry on the Smith Ranch after my parents retire. I will undoubtedly be seeking advice from those in the Bureau who can help me find my way through the financial aspects of running a cattle ranch and guiding me through the dreaded paperwork that will be never ending but necessary.
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