Having the opportunity to tour the venerable Matador Ranch, learn about the purebred cattle business, find out about seed potatoes, and get an overview of a sheep-to-garment local business was what the Montana Farm Bureau Young Farmer and Rancher Tour was all about. This annual tour was held in Dillon which offers a true diversity of agriculture. Stops included the Matador Ranch, Beaverhead Brewing, Sitz Angus Ranch, Cottom Seed Potatoes, Helle Rambouillet and Big West Management (Reminisce Angus/Mussard Family).

Lacey Sutherlin, who serves on the MFBF YF&R Committee, said the tour provided great networking. “I had the chance to meet new people, as well as better myself when I could hear and see what others are doing. Being a cattle rancher, I especially enjoyed the Sitz Angus tour, as well as a visit to Reminisce Angus where the Mussard family shows how a family business can be successful and diverse in agriculture.”

Sutherlin added, “Of course, learning something completely new is great, like our stop at the Cottom Seed Potato Farm. I learned how much production goes into making seed potatoes. I encourage all young farmers and ranchers to make this tour a priority to meet people in your industry as well as other agricultural enterprises, and build your professional network.”

Baylie Johnson agrees. The senior at UM-Western and Collegiate Farm Bureau president, said the entire event was enjoyable and brought new ideas to the table. “Even though I attend college in Dillon and heard about these places, such as the famous Matador Ranch, I never would have had the opportunity to visit these facilities and be able to ask questions if I hadn’t gone on the tour. I really enjoyed Reminisce Angus, especially because we took the tour in a horse-drawn wagon. It was a great atmosphere and they answered all of my questions.”

Johnson said Sitz Angus sale auction yard and sale barn were interesting, as was seeing their cattle facilities. “I was inspired at Helle Rambouillet. I used to raise 4-H lambs and hope to become a 4-H leader, possibly raising 4-H lambs again. It was very educational to see how they raise their lambs.”

She enjoyed seeing new faces in the YF&R tour group. “There were people with different backgrounds in agriculture. The entire tour was very inspiring.”

Tyler Hamm, who sits on the YF&R Committee, said it was great to see some new country and see what other farms and ranches are doing. “As a young rancher, having the chance to gain insight into how reputable farms and ranches do business should be taken advantage of by all young people interested in agriculture. It's not always easy to get away for events like these, but they are definitely worth your time.”

Hamm, who manages a ranch west of White Sulphur Springs, noted, “All of the stops had something interesting to offer. I now know it is quite a process to get a potato ready to be a seed. The Duckworth clothing line was interesting to learn about, knowing it all starts with locally grown wool. The hosts were very gracious in giving their time to meet with us and our committee would like to thank them.  It was rewarding that the hosts were appreciative toward Farm Bureau’s YF&R members for taking our time to gain knowledge about and being a voice for agriculture.”

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