Learning to listen, lead for better rural communities
Hi, this is Scott Stoner, a 2021 member of the ACE class! I live on a small acreage property near Montana City, 5 miles south of Helena, where we raise dry land hay and a few registered Quarter Horses. I've been a member of Farm Bureau since 1996. We became a member initially because it was the only place we could find insurance for our ag property and equipment at that time. I am on the Lewis and Clark county Farm Bureau Board of Directors as well as the Montana Farm Bureau Federation Board of Directors.
I wanted to join ACE training because of all the great things I've heard about it from previous attendees. Several other directors on the state board are past graduates of ACE and I've visited with them about the principles of ACE and how that has made them better leaders. They encouraged me to apply! Once I've completed the ACE training, I would like to take our county Farm Bureau to a new level of participation by taking the leadership role of engaging current members and reaching out to new members that we don't see and execute a plan of making contact with them.
One of the current issues in my area that is greatly affecting agriculture is zoning. Our county commissioners want to zone the entire Helena valley. Many members feel this is a taking of private property and that it will limit what they can and can't do with their farms and ranches. I hope to be able to learn how to see both sides of the issue and advocate on behalf of Farm Bureau members.
One of the techniques I hope to utilize from ACE training is to have the ability to effectively listen in order to understand and see both sides of an issue. Too often we get caught up in thinking that there is only one way to solve issues when there may be other solutions as well as common ground to achieve a compromise that all vested parties can agree to and live with.
And finally, I believe that it's important for all farmers and ranchers to be constantly learning and seeking ways to improve their communication skill set because if we don't speak up on issues and advocate for our way of life, then who will?
Montana Farm Bureau’s ACE program is designed to empower Farm Bureau members to be confident, effective leaders in their County Farm Bureau and local communities. Advocacy follows leadership and with practiced, ever-evolving leadership skills, participants will be prepared to actively advocate on key industry issues. Learn more about the ACE program and how you can build your local leadership skills here.
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