Oh, what a year it's been!  

You would certainly have to be naïve to say that Montana agriculture has not faced a bevvy of diverse challenges over the past 12 months. It started with a drought, followed by fires in the summer that blazed into the autumn. The seasons moved on leading us to blizzards across the state and snow piling up like it hasn’t in a long time. This created serious hardships for many ranchers as they tried to haul feed to their cattle and find calves through drifts and crusted snow. The whiteness of the land was followed by a slow warming that led to muds and floods. I’d be remiss not to mention the crud many of us tackled while still trying to care for our animals. There is no such thing as a “sick day” for ranchers.

However, spring is now here and with it always comes new hope and optimism based on the faith that great things will come. We look forward to the scene of calves running joyfully in mobs around the feed ground and the awakening of winter wheat fields along with the anticipation of spring crops being sown in great moisture. We have anticipation of the perfectly timed rains that will result in bountiful crops and the best grass we’ve seen in years.

At Montana Farm Bureau, that enthusiasm for the year to come is contagious. We are excitedly anticipating the celebrations that lie ahead with our plans for our Centennial celebration in 2019. Yes, Montana Farm Bureau turns 100 in 2019. What great commemorations we have planned! The Montana Farm Bureau Foundation Board of Directors has initiated an admirable goal to raise $100,000 during 2018 that will be reinvested into community-stimulating projects during our Centennial year.  You will see other articles in the MFBF Spokesman talking about the Centennial, and we are well underway with the research on the history of Montana Farm Bureau. I promise you that it's exciting and interesting and stimulating. I don't believe you will be able to read of our history without being rededicated to the core values of Farm Bureau. It will inspire you to recruit your friends and neighbors to join us! In addition to a history book (and cookbook!) on MFBF’s past, we have plans for MFBF Centennial wines, a commissioned print, a Centennial ranch sign and so much more. Stay tuned.

Now is the greatest time ever to be a member of Montana Farm Bureau. I encourage you to give generously to our MFB Foundation so it meets its goals. I strongly encourage you to recruit members so we may become stronger in numbers. 

This past year we have had great opportunities for legislative changes in Helena as well as in Washington, D.C. We are recognized more than ever for being one of the most influential groups. We have a very favorable reputation for our fair and honest viewpoints in Helena, and both of our U.S. Senators and Congressman know some of our members and staff well.

I wish all of our Farm Bureau members a glorious spring filled with hope of new beginnings, healthy calves, great crops in the field, and plenty of pasture and bounty for all. I look forward to seeing a large number of our members at our Summer Conference June 12-14 at Fairmont Hot Springs.

Thank you so much for the opportunity to serve as your president during this exciting time.