Speaker Bios

 

Aimee Arnaud grew up on a wheat farm in eastern Washington. She completed her BS in Marketing in 2008 and her MBA in 2014, both from the University of Montana. As a Relationship Manager for Northwest Farm Credit Services in Missoula, she specializes in financing for Young, Beginning, and Small producers. Aimee also loves to read, fly fish, and fail at Pinterest projects.

Brad Cook was born and raised in Deer Lodge and graduated from the University of Montana in 1997. Since that time, he has gained valuable experience working in public accounting in Montana, Nevada and Oregon for small and large firms alike. He joined Galusha, Higgins & Galusha in 2007, which recently merged with Wipfli, and provides tax and accounting services for privately held businesses, individuals, trusts and estates. Brad has specialized industry knowledge in the areas of agriculture, construction and estate planning. He currently serves on the board of directors for Helena Food Share and is the treasurer for the Helena Estate Planning Council.

Joel Farkell owns CENTROL, LLC with his dad Jeff, which they purchased from Mountain View Coop in 2011. Joel’s previous experience includes being an Agronomy Manager for CHS, Inc. and Mountain View Co-op. He has been a Certified Crop Adviser since 2007 and is a licensed chemical applicator.  Joel is a member of the Montana Agricultural Business Association (MABA) and has served on the Board of Directors since 2008. He is currently the president of MABA.  Joel has a degree in Agricultural Business Management from Montana State University. Joel lives in Conrad with his wife Kody and their two young daughters.

Korey Fauque grew up in Sunburst and attended MSU Northern in Havre, MT where he earned a degree in Ag Technology.  He worked at CHS in Cut Bank as an agronomist & salesman for five years.  Korey and his wife Wendy are actively involved in farming and ranching and have operated KW Insurance since 2003.

Colleen Gustafson and her husband Barr ranch south of Browning, MT.  Their lands are crossed by the Two Medicine River, the Two Medicine Canal, Highway 89 and several BIA highways.  These waterways and roadways provide valuable water and legal access, but they are also vectors for the out-of-control noxious weed problem in their area.  For the past 25 years they have had an aggressive weed control program including spraying, pulling and insect releases.  They are happy with their results, but also very frustrated with the new and re-emerging infestations coming from the roadways, waterways and neighboring lands.

The weeds of primary concern on the Gustafson Ranch are spotted knapweed and burdock.  Unfortunately, in the past three years they have found two very small patches of leafy spurge; one in an irrigated hayfield that likely came down the river or canal and one in the middle of a pasture, where the seed likely came from a bird or deer.

Colleen and Barr have two children, Greta who is a Junior at Montana State University studying Microbiology and Immunology with the intent to go to Veterinary School and Owen who is a Freshman at Dickinson State University studying Integrated Ranch Management and competing on the DSU rodeo team.  Both Greta and Owen hope to return to the ranch after completing their degrees and working elsewhere for several years.

Colleen currently serves on the Glacier Electric Cooperative Board and Farm Credit Service Local Advisory Committee.  She has previously served on the Farm Service Agency Committee, Glacier County Weed Board, and as a 4-H Leader.

Cort Jensen: Cort Jensen was born in Circle, MT and obtained his Bas (Psychology, Political Science, History) from Concordia College (MN).   He obtained his JD from University of Montana Law School.  Prior to working for the Department of Agriculture, Cort was the chief consumer attorney for the State of Montana in both the Department of Administration and Department of Justice.  He is the former president of the Public Law Section of the State Bar and serves on the Bar’s Technology Committee.  He currently is an adjunct professor at the Alexander Blewett III School of Law teaching Agricultural Law.

 

Michelle Erickson Jones: Michelle is a fourth generation farmer married to a fourth generation rancher working on raising the fifth generation on the family farm and ranch in south central Montana. Michelle had an interesting trip back to the farm after earning a degree in History and minor in Political Science from College of Wooster in Ohio and then worked for UPS and Amazon Fresh while going back to school for two MBAs (Operations Management and Mediation/Dispute Resolution). Michelle returned home to the family farm in 2012 and married a local rancher. Since then, she has become active in the Montana Grain Growers Association serving as the President as well as serving on the National Association of Wheat Growers board.

Kristen Juras: Kristen Gustafson Juras is a fourth generation Montanan who has been an attorney since 1982, specializing in agricultural, business, and tax law. Her passion is assisting farmers and ranchers with the transition of agricultural operations from one generation to the next. She has taught courses in property, tax, agricultural law, and business law at the University of Montana Law School since 2000.

Roland Kroos has been providing on-site assistance as well as teaching Holistic Management since 1986. He trained extensively with Allan Savory, founder of Holistic Management, in 1985 and is a recognized Certified Educator with Holistic Management International.

In the last 29 years, Roland has helped hundreds of ranches throughout the western United States and Canada become healthier and more productive. He has witnessed the striking potential for positive change that can take place on landscapes and within operations with a little commitment to better planning and managing whole systems.

Roland and his wife, Brenda, live in Bozeman, Montana with their faithful hound, River.

Scott Kulbeck is currently the Director of Membership Development for Montana Farm Bureau Federation and the coordinator of the Montana Farm Bureau Foundation.  Scott began his career with the organization in July of 1995 as Eastern Montana Regional Manager.  His duties now include development and marketing of membership services, website development, supervising and coordinating membership acquisition and field services.

Scott was raised on a wheat and barley farm in north-central Montana and is a graduate of Montana State University.  Scott enjoys coaching youth baseball and football and currently lives in Belgrade with his wife Casey and sons Zachary, 15 and Aidan 10.

Brian Lee: Born and raised in Shelby, Montana, Brian is a Shareholder in Lee Law Office PC. Upon graduating from Shelby High School in 1995, Brian enlisted in the U.S. Army where he spent his entire enlistment serving in the 2nd Battalion of the 75th Ranger Regiment in Fort Lewis, Washington. Brian earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Sociology from Montana State University in Bozeman in 2002 and a Juris Doctorate from the University Of Montana School Of Law in 2005. Following graduation from law school, Brian returned to Shelby and began practicing with his father, Don.

Kari Lewis is an MSU Animal Science graduate, where she was actively involved in numerous organizations including the livestock judging team.  She completed the Nebraska Feedyard Management internship, and received her Master’s Degree in Animal Science (Ruminant Nutrition) from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in May, 2013.  Lewis is actively involved in her family’s registered Angus operation near Kevin and County Extension Agent in Glacier County.

Neil McCormick, Lead for FBN Montana. Neil has spent his life living and working in Montana agriculture, and is excited to bring FBN technology to his home state.

After moving back home to work in the family business, Neil started exploring software solutions that would help his implement customers take advantage of their precision equipment. When he came across FBN, he was impressed not only with the insights it gave his customers, but also with the depth of the FBN team’s knowledge and experience in agriculture.

Not only is Neil passionate about helping farmers use their data to make better decisions, he’s also excited to see how FBN members could use the data to drive biologically-driven farming and good design in agriculture. Neil has spent a lot of time exploring resilient and innovative agricultural systems, while staying firmly rooted in the reality of profitably producing cash crops in the current agricultural economy. He’s interested in being part of experimental farming in Montana, where he sees a lot of potential for new crops and management practices to make farming more profitable, resilient, and productive for farmers.

Marsha McCubbins: Marsha has been involved in agriculture since her childhood when she earned her State FFA degree in 1994. She has continued this with a lifelong love of animals. She and her husband enjoy spending time in the Bob Marshal Wilderness during the summer. They make Shelby their home with three kids, two dogs and six horses.

Dr. Emily Meccage is a PhD graduate from University of Minnesota and is working as the Forage Extension Specialist for Montana State University as well as being an Assistant Professor in the Department of Animal and Range Sciences. Emily has done extensive research on forage/animal/soil interactions, livestock and equine grazing issues, promoting best forage management practices, small acreage land management and will cover these and many more topics for producers looking to maximize their hay production and utilization.

Lacy Roberts – If you have ever been confused about how to put together your financials to renew your operating loan and felt confused, you are not alone. Lacy Roberts, Glacier County FSA Farm Loan Manager, will help producers understand how to build a Balance Sheet, Cash Flow Projection and assemble the actuals that FSA requires as a FSA loan borrower. This class will satisfy FSA’s requirement for financial management training.

Lacy grew up on a Registered Black Angus operation, attended Montana State University where she obtained an Ag Business and Economics degree and continues to run her own cow herd with her husband, Chris. They have three children that keep them quite busy as well.

Matt Roberts: Have you ever considered the different roles you play as a farmer or rancher? Agronomist, herd health manager, grain elevator, transport specialist, machinery operator, land speculator, futures speculator and capital allocator just to name a few. Is it possible to balance all of these roles and make wise financial and production management decisions that will allow your family operation to be successful and move into the next decade? Matt Roberts will bring a unique perspective to this year’s 2019 Montana’s Next Generation Conference as he delivers Friday’s keynote address.

As an expert in Agriculture, commodity markets, energy and biofuels, Matt has a very diverse background starting in Bolivar, MO where he grew up in the markets and opened his first online trading account in 1986. By 1996, Matt was working as a broker in Vienna, Austria with CA Global Futures. He followed that up with work in the Office of the Chief Economist in DC and has taught economics and grain marketing at Ohio State University for 15 years. He also is the co-owner of a chain of indoor rock climbing gyms in Central Ohio, which gives him another perspective of business management.

Karoline Rose: Karoline Rose is a second-generation cattle buyer from Three Forks. She started her own company, KRose Cattle Company, which she buys and sells cattle thru as well as being a rep for Superior Livestock. Rose graduated from Montana State University in May 2015 with a degree in Animal Science. During her time at MSU Karoline co-founded the Collegiate Stockgrowers Association and served as co-president the first year of its existence.

Roger Sammons:  Roger, with wife, Lisa, has been managing his farm’s dryland grain production near Cut Bank since 1983.  In addition, Sammons operates a grain elevator on the BNSF mainline and additional ag related businesses.  Roger has tried numerous crops throughout the years, focused on diversification, and prioritized efficiency and relationships with employees, neighbors, and vendors.  After first arriving home, Roger faced a farm that had very little if not a negative net worth at a time when interest rates were very high and drought was underway. Gradually, through planting unconventional crops such as waxy barley, mustard, and oats as well as selling chemical, custom application, and whatever else they could do, the operation has grown successfully and expanded.

Roger has been active in the pulse industry for the past several years growing many different types of pulse crops himself as well running a custom harvest operation and Pardue Grain. Roger currently serves on the Business Board of the USA Dry Pea and Lentil Council and was appointed to the Montana Pulse Crop Committee.

Scott Shearer: Have you ever wanted to be a fly on the wall during trade negotiations to see how it really happens? Attendees to the 2019 Montana’s Next Generation will have the next best thing. Scott Shearer will share his over three decades of experience in international trade and agricultural policy expertise during his keynote address on Friday, Jan. 25.

Scott served as co-chairman of the Agricultural Coalition for U.S. – China Trade and co-chairman of the Agricultural Coalition for Trade Promotion Authority (TPA), Scott was instrumental in the successful passage of China permanent normal trade relations and TPA.  He worked with the Embassy of Australia to help win Congressional approval of the U.S. – Australia Free Trade Agreement.  In 1999, Scott was named a private sector member of the U.S. delegation to the World Trade Organization (WTO) Ministerial Conference in Seattle. Prior to joining the firm in 2003, Scott was Director of National Relations for Farmland Industries, Inc. He also served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Agriculture, directing the agency’s legislative efforts including the 1996 Farm Bill, trade policy, USDA reorganization, crop insurance reform, food safety and nutrition. In the mid-1980s, Scott was executive director of the National Corn Growers Association after serving as a legislative assistant to Senator Alan J. Dixon (IL).

He is the past president of the Washington Agricultural Roundtable, St. Louis Agri Business Club, Illinois Group, Illinois State Society, and the Missouri – Kansas Forum. Scott was awarded in 2009 the University of Illinois College of Agriculture, Consumer and Environmental Sciences (ACES) Alumni Association’s Award of Merit. This is the association’s highest honor given to an alum.  Scott received in 2013 the U.S. Meat Export Federation’s Distinguished Service Award in which USMEF called Scott “one of the leading advocates for American agriculture and agriculture exports.”  In 1997, Scott received Alpha Zeta’s Centennial Award, which recognized the top national leaders of agriculture.

Travis Standley is a Montana native who grew up on the family ago operation near Cascade. He attended Northwest College in Powell, Wyoming competing on the livestock evaluation team.  He transferred to MSU Bozeman where he earned a bachelor’s degree in animal science with an emphasis on livestock management and industry and followed it up with a master’s degree in Ruminant Nutrition. Travis served as MSU Extension Agent for many years, first in Stillwater County, then in Carbon and Teton Counties. He is currently working for Westfeeds and will combine this experience to provide a wealth of knowledge for participants.

Anna Stitt grew up on her family ranch in Helmville, Montana. Growing up in this small ranching community brought her a deep respect for the industry and the way of life. She is a tax consultant for both individuals and businesses, focusing in the agricultural industry.

Sarah Wheeler grew up in rural small town Montana and got her first taste of Ag at the age of 6 with her very own heifer, Betsy.  She earned her BS in Business Management with Finance Minor and Honors Baccalaureate Degree from Montana State University in 2014. As a Relationship Manager for Northwest Farm Credit Services in Conrad, Sarah is proud to work exclusively in agricultural lending.  She and her husband, Pat, farm small grains and pulse crops near Valier.  She enjoys hunting, fishing, music, and excel spreadsheets.

Bill Wilson: Bill was born and raised on the family farm/ranch in western Nebraska. He has graduated from University of Wyoming in Agroecology. Since that time he has worked in crop consulting and agribusiness industries with Servi-Tech Inc. consulting on dryland and irrigated farms, CHS, JR Simplot for 17 years as crop advisor/manager for 13 years and the past four years as the Specialty Products Area Manager for Simplot One.

Lance Wilson: Lance has started his own marketing consulting company after being a market coach with Agri-Trend and working in marketing for the past six years.  Lance was raised in north central Montana, graduated from Conrad High School, and received an Agricultural Operations Technology degree from Montana State University-Northern.  Before becoming involved with Agri-Trend he was an important part of BW Futures Inc.