The MFBF Commodity Advisory Committees provide a forum for committee members to proactively discuss current issues within their specific commodity area. There are 12 committees specific to commodities or program areas that meet during the MFBF Summer Conference.  These videos provide a glimpse inside a few of the committee meetings.

Gail Vennes, Townsend, Montana, is the chairman of Montana Farm Bureau's Animal Health Committee. This year, the committee is focused on tracking brucellosis issues and how ranchers and veterinarians in Montana can best handle emergency response situations.

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2016 MFBF Animal Health Committee

While policy development happens at the county Farm Bureau level, these committee meetings provide a chance to discuss important topics with a variety of individuals who have varying input and expertise.  Based on the discussion held during the meetings, the committee may make suggested policy recommendations that members then discuss at the county level and vote on during their county annual meetings.  Here are a few highlights from the Animal Health Committee meeting:

*Note: the Animal Health and Livestock committees meet together.

  • Department of Livestock (DOL): Mike Honeycutt, the Executive Officer of the DOL, provided the committee a brief update on department activities and efforts.  He also addressed the transfer of Yellowstone bison, potentially carrying Brucellosis, to a quarantine facility on the Ft. Peck Indian Reservation.  MFBF is opposed to the transfer of bison carrying Brucellosis anywhere outside the Designated Surveillance Area (DSA).  DOL is also following this issue closely and working to keep any and all quarantine facilities within the boundaries of the DSA.

  • Open Range vs. State Herd District: While nothing is confirmed yet, MFBF staff reported there may be interest in amending Montana's open range laws to create a state wide herd district in the next legislative session.  At this time, there is no action warranted except to discuss the topic at the local level and propose a policy that will shape MFBF's position on this topic. 

  • Grizzly bear management: Committee members reported on the increased incidents of Grizzly bear depredation on livestock in the last year.  Additionally, the concentration of bears within the limits of towns in north central Montana is an increasing problem.  There is concern that Montana Fish, Wildlife, & Parks is not equipped to respond to this scenarios in a timely fashion.

Sounds interesting—how do I get on a committee? 

Each committee is made up of 10 primary members (one representative from each district) and 10 alternates.  Nominations must be made during the district caucuses held each November during annual convention.

Not sure what district you’re in? Find out here:

After the district caucuses, the nominations are submitted and the President makes the final committee appointments following annual convention. Each committee is assigned a MFBF staff contact.  This contact works with the committee chair and members to set the agenda for each meeting, share pertinent information between meetings, and collect resources for the committees to use when discussing policy.

Animal Health committee members:

  • District 1—Beth Blevins, Ronan

  • District 2—Mark Boyd, Alder

  • District 3—Jeanne Rankin, Raynesford

  • District 4—Casey Mott, Custer

  • District 4—Turk Stovall, Billings

  • District 5—Tom Mott, Miles City

  • District 6—Ben Johnson, Sidney

  • District 7—Dean Reddig, Lustre

  • District 8—James Pribyl, Cascade

  • District 9—Gary Burnham, Helena

  • District 10—Gail Vennes

Do you have a voice in shaping the issues that impact your livelihood? Find out what district you would be in, reach out to your grassroots members and join the Montana Farm Bureau Federation today.