My name is Sarah Boyer. I live on the Boyer Ranch, a homestead that has been in my husband Lee’s family since 1900, where we moved when Lee retired from the Montana Department of Agriculture in 2013. The property is currently leased to our neighbor who farms the irrigated land and runs cattle on the range land. We first joined Montana Farm Bureau in Lewis and Clark county in 2007, and then transferred to the Carbon/Stillwater Counties Farm Bureau in 2013. I was the secretary/treasurer for several years, and am still a director.
In April, 2019, Lee was taken from us by leukemia; an event that had a profound and quite honestly, a devastating impact on my life. Everything changed. Where did I go from here? What was my purpose going forward? Lee had always been an advocate for agriculture, it was truly in his blood. This passion and love of the rural culture was something that he passed on to me on a daily basis. He was my mentor and I learned so much from him. I was aware of the A.C.E. program, but had the misconception that it was targeted to the younger Farm Bureau members. Our county president, Rhonda Hergenrider, cleared that misconception for me. She was also the person who encouraged me to take the steps and apply for A.C.E. And I am very thankful for that encouragement and confidence in me.
My strengths are in the areas of research and collating data and information, making one of my goals upon completion of the A.C.E. program to be a proactive and positive force supporting our counties programs providing relevant research and information to back up their efforts. My other goal is to become a voice in our communities about the importance of Farm Bureau and how a grass root organization has a voice that is heard and makes a significant difference in agriculture policy locally, statewide, and nationally. This will also use historical information and living examples about how Farm Bureau has made a difference impacting policy and policy development as well as caring for and promoting the rural culture in our state.
Traditional agriculture in our country is facing more issues than any other time in history. Almost every area is under attack by government, ngo’s and private entities. And based on recent actions, I am troubled that the new administration is not going to be supportive of rural needs. That being said, I am particularly concerned about the radical animal rights movement. It is my hope to develop skills enabling me to effectively align with and learn from existing pro-ag organizations and individuals to support our farmers and ranchers.
Why do I believe it’s important for farmers and ranchers in rural Montana to continually develop their leadership and advocacy skills? The future of agriculture in Montana, and the country as a whole, is going to be heavily dependent on farmers and ranchers developing their leadership and advocacy skills. We have an important story to tell from being stewards of the land to our responsible and caring animal husbandry. Agriculture has, and continues to cloth and feed the country.
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.