MISSOULA, Montana—Mark Boyd, a young cattle rancher from Alder, topped three other competitors to win the Montana Farm Bureau Young Farmer and Rancher Discussion Meet. He received the keys to a Polaris Ranger® and will be eligible to compete in the national competition which will be held during the American Farm Bureau Convention in January in Puerto Rico. The three other contestants were Morgan Kuntz from Dillon, Gwynn Simeniuk from Glasgow and Nick Courville from Charlo. The Final Four competition of the Discussion Meet was held November 15 during the 103rd Montana Farm Bureau Annual Convention.

The Discussion Meet, which is open to Farm Bureau members aged 18-35, is meant to simulate a committee meeting with ideas discussed and solutions developed. The question for the final round: How can Farm Bureau effectively support and equip young farmers and ranchers to successfully manage economic and infrastructure challenges to ensure healthy and sustainable farms and ranches across the country?

During the discussion, Boyd surfaced the idea of finding mentors to help a young farmer or rancher manage risk, including navigating available programs and loans to help get started—or expand—their business. “Of course, economically, timing is everything for young people trying to start a farm or ranch, or even planning to carry on a ranching tradition,” said Boyd.

The Southwest Counties Farm Bureau member said he was drawn to the Discussion Meet because post-college, there are not as many opportunities to compete. “Being in the Discussion Meet compels you to research, practice and participate in a friendly competition,” Boyd said.

“I want to give a big thank you to the participating Montana Polaris dealers, Montana Farm Bureau and all of the competitors for making the Discussion Meet possible,” said Boyd. “I look forward to representing Montana at the national competition.”

Choteau ranchers Ben and Karli Johnson, who own Sevens Livestock, won the MFBF YF&R Achievement Award. Achievement Award contestants are evaluated on a combination of their farming operation growth and financial progress of operation, Farm Bureau leadership, as well as leadership outside of Farm Bureau. 

Johnson said she and her husband decided to participate in the award because they enjoy having high-level, strategic business discussions; the Achievement Award provided the format to do that at the national level. 

“The judges look at how your strategic business plan has affected your business growth and how you pair that with leadership in your county Farm Bureau and your community,” Johnson said.  She and Ben will travel to Puerto Rico to compete in the national Achievement Award against other state Farm Bureau winners. 

“Competing in person on the national level provides an excellent opportunity to network and meet other young producers with similar challenges,” the Front Range County Farm Bureau member said.

The 103rd Annual Montana Farm Bureau Convention runs November 14-17 at the Hilton Garden Inn in Missoula.

Thanks to these Polaris dealers for supporting the MFBF Young Farmers and Ranchers: Gallatin Recreation, Bozeman; Helena Cycle Center, Helena; Yellowstone Polaris, Billings; Beaverhead Motorsports, Dillon; Riverside Marine & Cycle, Miles City; Redline Sports, Inc, Butte; Lewistown Honda & Polaris, Lewistown; Sports City Cyclery, Great Falls, Russell Motorsports, Missoula, Kurt’s Polaris, Seeley Lake and Bliss Cycle, Conrad. Stop by these dealerships to say thank you for supporting the Montana Farm Bureau Young Farmers & Ranchers.