I’m Ben Meyer from Stevensville; a member of the Ravalli County Farm Bureau. My wife and I have been members since 2006. I remember being first introduced to Farm Bureau through a neighbor who used to host the county picnic at his ranch. I later worked for MFBF while in college helping to administer special funding that MFBF secured through Senator Burns to help ranchers who lost hay to wildfire. I served as a district director while living in Ronan in the 2000s for NW Counties Farm Bureau.

My interest in lifelong learning sparked my desire to participate in ACE. I work in a profession that strongly promotes and encourages leadership development for youth. I saw ACE as an opportunity to personally grow in this space too in a way that aligns with my values and my profession.

Once completing the program, I hope to work more closely with my county leadership and officers to help advance Farm Bureau in Ravalli County and engage more of our membership. I want to be a part of outreach to existing Farm Bureau members to develop and encourage participation and engagement. Farm Bureau does good work in a multitude of areas but needs to hear from all stakeholders to be the best representation of the industry. Ag producers have a lot to manage on a day-to-day basis and it’s hard to be an active participant in everything. I hope to help bring focus and direction in my county to key areas for involvement that yield maximum results.

Agriculture professionals are really, really good at sharing our stories with each other. We’re also really, really good at explaining problems, issues, and outlining why we do or don’t like various government policies, again to each other. We need to continue to develop leadership and advocacy in the area of explaining our profession and our issues to everyone outside of the profession. That first comes with acknowledging that an opposing viewpoint has validity and meaning. Trying to educate someone who sees things differently starts with being willing to see the issue from the opposing point of view and then looking for common ground.