For those of you that I have not had the pleasure of meeting yet, my name is Katharine Taylor. I am an alum of Montana State University with a degree in Agriculture Communications with an emphasis in Leadership and was hired by the Montana FFA Foundation in August 2019 as the new Programs and Office Manager.

MFBF ACEOriginally, I am from San Luis Obispo, California where I spent a large part of my life involved in sports and 4-H, raising and showing lambs, hogs and dairy heifers for 9 years. In college I was an active member of the Stockgrowers and Young Farmers and Ranchers (YF&R) chapters on campus. I had the ability to attend our state Young Ag Leadership Conference and the National YF&R Conferences several times.

Both conferences led me to build a lot of connections in the state and across the country with other YF&Rs, industry professionals, helped develop my leadership skills and taught me more about pressing issues that are happening in agriculture across the country so that I can be a better advocate for agriculture. 

Now that I have been out of college for a year, I was feeling the need to continue my education. After talking with some Farm Bureau staff I knew the A.C.E. program would be the best way for me to continue learning through leadership and applying myself in other ways than what I had grown custom to in college. So far, the A.C.E. program has made me step out of my comfort zone and has helped me understand myself on a whole new level.

I’m currently the Young Farmer and Rancher chair in Gallatin County. I would really like to build the relationship between the County and Collegiate YF&Rs by working together to foster stronger relationships with our industry professionals and local ag producers. I believe that by getting more involved with the MSU students while they are in Bozeman, we will see a greater return of students joining their local Farm Bureaus when they return home or finally settle in a new town.    

Currently, I think that an issue that often gets overlooked is on a local and statewide level. What comes to mind is our advocacy practices and involvement. There are so many ways to be an effective advocate or get involved. I think that by getting ourselves and our neighbors better involved we will be able to share our stories, connect with consumers and effectively influence decision makers about country wide issues. 

Through my own leadership development, I will be able to bring fresh and innovative ideas to my County Farm Bureau and local community. I believe that it takes one person to get the ball rolling so by becoming a mentor to those in my community it will help to build a close-knit network of people all from diverse backgrounds. 

Everything in this world is constantly changing and by not being open to new and innovative ideas or criticism, you stunt your own growth not only in your personal life but also as a leader. By continuing to develop our leadership and advocacy skills I believe that we will be able to better advocate for the industry that we are all so passionate about. Everyday our industry becomes an even hotter topic for those that don’t understand or are quick to judge our practices, so by doing our best to learn from past mishaps we can continue to influence minds and build up our industry.