The Montana Farm Bureau Summer Conference’s theme “United for Agriculture.” will cover a variety of subjects ranging from leadership to new technology June 6-8 at Fairmont Hot Springs.  The Summer Conference is a time when advisory committees meet to discuss current agricultural issues and concerns, and surface ideas for policy development.  Ben Thomas will be our keynote speaker during the lunch Wednesday, June 7.

Ben Thomas, Montana Director of Agriculture Ben Thomas is the Director of the Montana Department of Agriculture. Most recently, Ben served as the Deputy Under Secretary for the Marketing and Regulatory Programs Mission Area at the U.S. Department of Agriculture where he helped oversee the Agricultural Marketing Service, the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, and the Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration. Prior to that, he served as the Chief of Staff for the Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services Mission Area, which encompasses the Farm Service Agency, Foreign Agricultural Service, and Risk Management Agency. In that role, he oversaw the department's international activities and worked to implement provisions of the 2014 Farm Bill.

Prior to joining USDA, Ben served as Legislative Assistant and Counsel to Senators Max Baucus and John Walsh, helping write and implement the 2014 Farm Bill. He also provided counsel on trade, telecommunications, nutrition, the environment, rural development, and more. Prior to his Senate experience, Ben served in various policy positions at the Farm Service Agency and Risk Management Agency, and as a Law Clerk to the Chairman of the Federal Trade Commission.

Ben graduated from Austin College in Sherman, Texas with a Bachelor of Arts degree. He received his Juris Doctor from Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, and his LL.M in Agricultural and Food Law from the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville.

Ben was raised on a farm near Morton, Texas, where his family still farms.

Register for the 2017 Montana Farm Bureau Summer Conference, or on-site at the Fairmont Hot Springs in Anaconda June 6-8.