Montana Farm Bureau members attending their organization’s convention Nov. 12-15 in Billings will have the opportunity to hear keynote speakers on distinctly different topics: leadership, genetically modified crops study results, and the importance of mentoring.

Sunday’s schedule features committee meetings, an ag safety presentation and the Collegiate Discussion Meet, with the convention officially starting Monday morning with a presentation by Dr. Garry Lacefield, professor emeritus, University of Kentucky.  “My presentation will focus on seven major areas that I, along with many Americans, take for granted,” said Dr. Lacefield, who has an extensive background in the livestock forage industry. “I spent 41 years as a professor of agriculture and I traveled to 56 countries. I have a passion for agriculture and our country. As I traveled the world, I realized Americans take their food supply and freedom for granted, as well as their friends, family and faith. I developed a talk highlighting those very important gifts.” 

Switching gears at Monday’s lunch, Professor Emeritus Dr. Gary Brester will cover his research on comparing U.S. and European Union (EU) crop yields, namely looking how the EU’s ban on genetically modified technologies have affected their crops. Dr. Brester explains, “Genetically modified (GM) crops are defined as plants in which DNA has been altered in a way that does not occur naturally through plant breeding.  The process transfers selected individual genes within or across plant species using genetic engineering to produce plants that are resistant to insects, viruses, and certain herbicides.  The technology obviates the need to use insecticides and fungicides to control insects and viruses, while herbicide-resistant traits greatly increase the efficacy of weed controls.” 

He says that recently several authors have claimed that yield trends have not differed between the United States and the EU even though the latter has banned GM technologies. Dr. Brester has found that isn’t necessarily so, and will share his interesting findings that U.S. soybean and corn yields have continued their linear trend, while EU yields have flattened over the past two decades.   

Tuesday’s lunch speaker is Curt Swenson, vice president of FutureSYNC International, Billings, will share his personal experiences with mentors that allowed him to be where he is today.  Participants will be inspired to grow their mentor relationships, seek opportunities to be mentors and understand the foundations for an effective mentoring relationship. 

“I will help people understand the core components of effective mentoring relationships, as well as realize how mentorships can grow an industry’s culture and leverage the value of leader,” Swenson explains. 

At the Tuesday evening awards banquet speaker Jolene Brown will entertain the audience with her humorous talk “It’s a Jungle Out There” geared toward using humor to handle all of the challenges farmers and ranchers face daily. 

The MFBF Convention features workshops all day Monday, along with the MFBF Young Farmers and Ranchers Discussion Meet first round and final four. The important Resolutions Session takes place Tuesday, where voting delegates discuss and vote on Montana Farm Bureau policy for the coming year. 

Be sure to check out Montana Farm Bureau Federation on Facebook for selected live coverage and posts.