Marias River Livestock Association

Meetings & Minutes

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October 27, 2015


OCTOBER 3, 2016

The Marias River Livestock Association held their Annual Membership Meeting on Monday, October 3, 2016 at Ringside Ribs Restaurant in Shelby, MT. Liberty County Director, Bob Thompson, started off the evening by welcoming those who were in attendance. 

Thompson introduced Dr. Jeanne Rankin who talked about the Disaster Readiness training that was held in Fort Benton, MT. She discussed the need for each county to have a plan in place in case of a wildfire, flood or major storm. It is important to have the DES Coordinator working with the firemen, EMT's, County Commissioners, Extension Agents, farmers, ranchers, and local law enforcement all prepared and ready to respond in a swift and safe way for the threatened livestock. Rankin states she would be willing to hold a Livestock truck wreck training in our area if we would like.

Rankin also spoke about just receiving a grant that will allow her to present at 6 different locations in MT for CART (Community, Animal, Response, and Team). This training has to do with helping evacuate livestock from wildfire, flood or storm situations and understanding the Emergency Response Team Command. She asked if MRLA would be willing to host the training in our area sometime during the upcoming year. She also passed around a sign-up sheet for those producers who would like to volunteer for CART.

Next, Bob introduced Lesley Robinson, who is a Phillips County Commissioner, 4th-generation family rancher, and running for Lieutenant Governor with Greg Gianforte. She gave the audience a brief history of what organizations she has been an officer of and why she decided to run for Lieutenant Governor of MT. She answered questions from the audience and encouraged the crowd to write our legislators and vote in November.

Our next speaker was Gene Curry, President of Mt Stockgrowers. He updated the crowd on what Stockgrowers is working on nationally and locally for our industry. He noted that they are preparing for the upcoming legislative session on the following issues, MT Board of Livestock budget, and the corner crossing bill, water legislations and the concern of market volatility. Stockgrowers is going to have another leadership class with 8 students. They are looking for nominees. He invited the members to attend the Stockgrowers convention on Dec. 7-9, 2016 in Billings, MT. 

Following the guest speakers, Bob started the meeting with 24 people in attendance. Carrie read the minutes from the Mid-Year Membership meeting and the Treasurer's report. Butch moved and Kathy Rankin seconded to accept the minutes and Treasurer's report as read. Motion carried.

At this point the directors in attendance gave county reports. Butch has attended several meetings in the last couple of weeks.  He noted the U.S. Cattle Producers Forum in Billings was very educating and well attended. 

Paul Turner reported that he worked with Chuck Bartlebaugh and the Be Bear Aware Campaign educating local residents in our 4 county area about bear safety. Turner and Trina Bradley organized 7 different events. Trina also helped organize having an education person from Montana FWP at many of these events.

Jesse Wallewein helped plan the Young Ag Leadership Conference in Great Falls last week. She had recently finished organizing the Ram Sale in Miles City, and attended the 100th anniversary of the Sheep Station in Dubois, ID. Wallewein is currently working on organizing the Montana Woolgrowers Convention, December 1-3, in Billings, MT. Wallewein also reported on MRLA's new sheep Public Speaking award that was won by Delaney Clark at the Marias Fair. 

Bob Thompson reported on touring the Blackfoot Challenge last week near Ovando, MT. He talked about what we learned and about how their carcass composting project works. The ranchers in that area have been using electric fencing to help keep the bears out of the pastures and it seems to be successful. Their biggest economic challenge is coming from the elk. 
Maggie Nutter reported that the MRLA board of directors took on more leadership roles throughout the year, planning events and attending conferences. They have been very successful in achieving their goals.

Carrie Lerum reported on the Prime Rib and Rib Tickler Dinner preparation. She also talked about how successful the Breeding Project awards at the Marias Fair were this year. She reminded attendees of the Youth fund auction that would be held at the Rib Tickler. There will be two of Dick Kinyon's cooked Prime Ribs and the Pie Auction. There will be three pies auctioned off with a key attached to the bottom of each pie. One of the keys will be to the trigger lock on a gun. (The Gun is a Weatherby Vanguard chambered in a 300 Winchester Mag. Retail value of $849)

Dave McEwen, President of MT Woolgrowers Association, reported that they had a meeting with Montana FWP about a fraudulent report completed by Mike Madel on a bear mortality and a concern that there is more that are also incorrect. McEwen is expecting a response within 60 days from MFWP on resolving the issues our area has been having with bear management.

There are some issues coming up that MRLA members should be aware of. First is Initiative 177 that prohibits the use of traps and snare for animals on any public lands within MT and establishes misdemeanor criminal penalties for violations. MT is 37% public land. For ranchers the inability of controlling predators on school sections and other state or Federal lands would be costly and inconvenient. Nutter also asked that we advocate for waiver for livestock haulers from current hours of service implemented by the Federal Motor Carriers Safety Administration. This will be difficult for livestock haulers to comply with when electronic logging devise become mandatory in December 2017. There are strict driving limits which will effect shipping our animals to the feedlots in central US. There is a possible bill for water rights re-alignment simplification, a corner crossing bill, and the right to use for real and private property issue. MRLA is closely watching the Bison change in status from domestic to wildlife. We want to make sure that if there was a per-capita tax paid on the bison, then they should not be able to have a change in status and re-classified wildlife. We are also staying up to date on the Helle law suit concerning grazing domestic sheep on public lands where there are Big Horn Sheep.

Dave McEwen gave an update on the new proposed Lab Complex that would house the MFWP lab, MT Veterinary Diagnostic lab, 2 seed labs, and wool lab. It would be built on MSU property. Right now the project is being assessed by MSU Manufacturing Extension. Curry reported that the Board of Livestock is currently doing a cost analysis tests run at the Diagnostic lab to ensure that the costs of each test are understood. The report will be available for use during the upcoming legislative session.

At this point of the meeting, Bob stated that the Pondera County Director's term was up. Trina Bradly agreed to continue being the Pondera County Director for MRLA.  Butch Gillespie moved and Paul Turner seconded that nominations cease. Motion carried. Trina Bradly was elected as the Pondera County director.

Julia Arnold from the Montana Bison Association (MBA) was asked to explain their views on the current bison issues. She stated that the MBA is not aligned with the American Prairie Reserve. MBA board had visited and toured the APR and found that they do not have the same goals for bison. MBA is composed of commercial producers and align themselves with other livestock producers. MBA asks MRLA and other livestock associations to please be careful in verbiage when preparing policy concerning bison so as not to hurt the commercial bison industry. MBA agrees with MRLA that there should not be changes in the status of bison from domestic to wildlife and they are concerned about management issues pertaining to bison across the state of MT.

Seeing no further business, the meeting was adjourned.

Respectfully Submitted,
Carrie Sue Lerum, Secretary



October 27, 2015



The Marias River Livestock Association held their Annual Membership Meeting on Tuesday, October 27, 2015 at Ringside Ribs Restaurant in Shelby, MT. Maggie Nutter called the meeting to order and the pledge was said.

Carrie Sue Lerum introduced Lisa Grace, Executive Director of One Montana who spoke about their Rural-Urban Educational Entrepreneur High School Student Exchange. They are currently looking for a school within 2 to 3 hours from Great Falls to partner with a school there. She also updated the members of the status of a potential processing plant in Montana.

Then, Maggie Nutter introduced Joe Sherwood from Alexander Blewett III School of Law, University of MT, in Missoula. He gave a presentation about the history of the Blackfoot reservation with an explanation of Fee land vs Trust land and property rights of land owners.

Butch Gillespie then introduced Jack Holden who is a Director for Montana Stockgrowers. Butch himself, is running to be on the Stockgrowers board of directors and asked for our votes. Jack reported on national and state issues that Stockgrowers are currently working on including but not limited to the Trans Pacific Partnership for trade, National Waters of the US, COOL, MT Department of Livestock, and CSKT. He encouraged members to come to the MT Stockgrowers convention and trade show the first week of December. They are also starting a Stockgrowers Leadership Series, and applications are due October 31. He also promoted the Stockgrowers Top Hand program where our organization could win a Gator. It was emphasized to show up to vote at state conventions so our voice can be heard.

Carrie read the minutes from the Mid-Year Membership meeting. The minutes stood approved as corrected. She also passed out the Treasurer's Report, and asked that all members sign in to record attendance.

Next, each board member gave a report about what our members concerns are from each county they represent. Bob Thompson reported that there is a black bear with cubs south of the Sweet Grass Hills. He also had a hunter swear that he saw a wolf in the Sweet Grass Hills. Marvin Kimmet stated that producers in Glacier County are still concerned about the grizzly bears and bison running on the Rocky Mountain front. He thanked Colleen Gustafson for coming to help us prepare a comment on the Bison Environment Impact Statement. Marvin encouraged our members to continue pushing to get the grizzly bear delisted. Toole County director, Paul Turner, reported that the bears are still very active along the Marias River. Butch Gillespie informed the members that he represented MRLA by attending a bear meeting in Choteau, MT that Cody Yeager organized. Yeager manages a feedlot in Choteau that has an average of 7 to 9 bears visiting every night. Over 180 people attended the meeting along with Mike Madel from FWP. They are going to organize a group to start actively working on the grizzly bear management issues, including delisting the grizzly. Maggie Nutter asked that our members keep watching and be vigilant on the bison issue especially in our area. She reminded the attendees that the state of MT wants to introduce bison on the Blackfoot Reservation.

Old Business:
Maggie updated those in attendance on the latest information we had on our local bison issues. She also encouraged people to get their tickets from Rick Schock for the Prime Rib and Rib Tickler dinner on November 14, 2015. They are $30 a person. Maggie gave the basic agenda of the Next Generation Conference scheduled on January 30-31, 2016.

New Business:
A group of people including Cody Yeager, Trina Jo Bradley, Maggie Nutter and a few Choteau area people are forming a committee on Grizzly Bear Management. They are going to focus on human and livestock safety. They are looking for stories about the bears and the problems they have caused. Maggie also announced that there is now a blog on the MRLA website at

Maggie called for an election of officers and asked Marvin to run the proceedings. The results were:

Maggie Nutter- President
Butch Gillespie- Vice President
Jesse Wallewein- At-Large Director
Trina Jo Bradley- Pondera County Director

Maggie invited our members to come to the Non-Lethal Predator Control Workshop in Conrad, at the Pondera Shooting Sports Complex from 9-5.

The meeting was adjourned.

Respectfully Submitted,
Carrie Sue Lerum, Secretary



October 8, 2015



On Thursday, October 8, 2015, the Marias River Livestock Association Board of Directors held a meeting at 4 Corners Bar and Restaurant at 5:30 p.m. In attendance were: Bob Thompson, Marvin Kimmet, Paul Turner, Butch Gillespie and Carrie Lerum. Guests in attendance were: Diana Thompson and Dennis Garcia.

Vice President, Butch Gillespie, called the meeting to order. Marvin moved and Bob seconded to accept the minutes as emailed and the Treasurer's report as presented by Carrie. Motion carried.

Butch requested Board member reports. Bob stated that North 40 won't be sponsoring the Rib Tickler dinner this year because they require a request at least 60 days in advance. Paul reported that he broke his ankle. Marvin reported on the FWP reorganization meeting in Aug. He thanked Colleen Gustafson for her input at our last meeting for the bison issue. He also has visited with his sponsors and received positive input.

Dennis Garcia submitted important information on the new Livestock Forage Program. He explained the benefits for livestock owners in Teton, Toole, Pondera, and Glacier Counties. He also talked about cost share improvements for burned existing fences at Heart Butte area and livestock losses due to the fires this summer.

Butch attended the bear meeting in Choteau on October 7th. Cody Yeager who runs the feedlot in Choteau organized the meeting because on average they see 7-9 bears daily. Mike Madel with FWP was there. Public wanted the bears delisted. Butch promoted our Non-lethal Predator Control workshop on November 2. Basically, people are trying to get organized to take care of the growing concern of grizzlies.

Butch asked the board to write Daines office to preserve the integrity of the meat label. 

Bob mentioned his concern to stagger the election of President and Vice President officers so one be elected after 1 year and one up for election of the other office the 2nd year to be staggered. It was decided to check the By-Laws to determine the action of President and VP positions.

Butch reported that the Annual Membership meeting is Tuesday, October 27th at 6 pm at Ring Side Ribs. Lisa Grace from One Montana will be our guest speaker. Each board member will give updates from their areas. We will also have updates from Stockgrowers and perhaps Farm Bureau. This year there are two open Director Positions that need to be filled. We will also vote for President and VP. The nominating committee selected: 

  • Trina Jo Bradley from Valier for the Pondera County Director position
  • Jesse Ann Wallewein from Whitlash for the At Large position
  • Butch Gillespie from Ethridge for Vice President
  • Maggie Nutter, Sweetgrass for President

Nominations will also be opened up at the meeting if someone wishes to nominate themselves or another person for any of the positions up for election.

The Managing Predation using Non-Lethal Management Effectively meeting will be November 2, 2015. Janet will be cooking Sloppy Joes; Maggie will provide buns and salads. Diana will bring brownies, Butch, Marvin and Carrie will bring 3-4 dozen cookies. Bob moved and Marvin seconded to approve funding at Maggie's discretion to purchase fruit tray and donuts along with Shooting Sports building costs. Motion carried.

Carrie reported on the Rib Tickler dinner. We will sell 225 tickets. Ticket sales start on October 10th and end November 5th. Rick Schock is in charge of tickets so if you have any left over, all inquiries go to Rick.

Mary Whitt agreed to clean for $250 and the Civic Center costs $350.  Carrie asked that all board members bring old lanterns, saddles, milk cans, lariats, and/or anything lying around your ranch that may work to help decorate for the dinner. SET UP TIME is 10 a.m. Coyote Club is catering the bar and Kinyon is catering the food. Jim Fritz has agreed to auctioneer. Janet Hawks has offered to donate 2 wine racks with wine for the youth auction. We will also auction off 2 of Kinyon's prime ribs.

The Next Generation Conference is January 29 and 30, 2016. A follow-up date for those wanted to meet with Succession planners for an advanced course will be on February 13th.

Seeing no further business, Butch adjourned the meeting.

Respectfully submitted,
Carrie Sue Lerum, Secretary




September 3, 2015



On Thursday, September 3, 2015, the Marias River Livestock Association Board of Directors held a meeting at Ringside Ribs Restaurant in Shelby, MT at 5:00 p.m. In attendance were: Maggie Nutter, Paul Turner, Marvin Kimmet, Butch Gillespie, Janet Hawks and Carrie Lerum. Guests in attendance were: Pamela Enneberg and Colleen Gustafson.

Carrie Sue found a less expensive insurance for MRLA that covers for general liability and Director/Officer coverage. It will be a $360.00 savings from last year. Marvin moved and Janet seconded to purchase the new insurance from Philadelphia Insurance Companies. Motion carried.

There is a MT Stockgrowers Director Position opening. Maggie asked Butch Gillespie if he would be willing to run. Butch accepted the nomination.

Carrie Sue reported that we have successfully sold Bull Bucks to 14 cattle stock producers and one Columbia Sheep producer. Because of the inclusion of the sheep, it was decided to call it "Bull Bucks Plus" for now on.

The MRLA Annual Meeting is set for Tuesday, October 27, 2015 at 6 p.m. at Ringside Ribs in Shelby, MT. Maggie will ask Lisa Grace from One MT and Joe Sherwood a professor in Indian Law from the University of Montana to come and give a 15 to 20 minute presentation for each subject matter. Janet Hawks and Paul Turner volunteered to be on the nomination committee. The Directors positions that are up for election are At Large and Glacier. The President and Vice President positions will be up for election fall of 2016.

At this point in the meeting, the Board had a working meeting to prepare a comment on the Bison Environmental Impact Statement to send to the Governor and FWP. Each board member was assigned a section of the EIS and gave input on how the Board would respond to each Alternative available. Colleen Gustafson gave a short presentation on the different land owner/property rights on and near the Blackfoot Reservation. Maggie will take the draft and sight some references before submission.

MRLA will be hosting a Non-Lethal Predator Control Clinic on November 2. We will try to hold it in Conrad at either Norley Hall or the Shooting Sports Complex. Janet Hawks volunteered to prepare Sloppy Joes, Maggie will bring salad and buns, Carrie will bring some dessert (we will ask Diana Thompson if she will also bring one of her yummy desserts). John Steuber is putting together the speakers for the event. Maggie wants to promote the clinic by putting it on the radio, in our newsletter and press release. It will be nice if those who are able could show up early to help set up tables and chairs.

The Rib Tickler dinner will be on Saturday, November 14, 2015 at the Shelby Civic Center. Dick Kinyon has agreed to cater the event again this year and is hunting for a good deal on meat. Janet offered to donate 2 items for the Youth Auction and we will auction off 2 prime ribs prepared by Kinyon. Kyle Shobe and his band will be the entertainment and MC for the evening. Carrie has invited the MRLA Beef Breeding show winners to attend the event. She has also lined up Janet Hawks, Diana Thompson, and Luanne Wallewein to be on the committee. Maggie will print the tickets. Janet moved and Paul seconded to charge $30 per ticket for the Rib Tickler Dinner this year. Motion carried. Maggie will email out a list of our sponsors and which director is assigned to contact them.

The Next Generation Conference is scheduled for January 29 – 30, 2015 in Shelby, MT. It will start at 1 p.m. at the Shelby Civic Center on Friday and 8 a.m. at the Shelby High School on Saturday. Saturday night's entertainment will be at the Coyote Club. Marvin moved and Janet seconded to sponsor the event for $1500.00. Motion carried. MRLA will also advertise the conference on our website. 

Maggie asked the board who we would like to nominate to attend the Young Couples Conference this year. The following people were nominated: Jesse Wallewein and Chance Thompson, Jeff and Brittani Thompson, Tobin and Julia Arnold, Hugh and Shandy Bradley, and Pete and Trina Bradley. MRLA would sponsor $200.

Montana's Young Ag Leadership Conference is set for October 2-4 at the Crowne Plaza in Billings, MT. MRLA sent a sponsorship payment of $200.00.

The Montana Stockgrowers Association is presenting a yearlong Young Stockgrowers Leadership Series. Any member of the Montana ranching community from the ages of 25-45 who want to build upon their leadership strength and become more involved in our industry and organization may apply. Applications are due October 31, 2015.

There is a Women Stepping Forward conference on September 11-12, 2015 in Billings, MT. Carrie moved and Janet seconded to reimburse Lindsey Habets for up to $250.00 if she would like to attend the conference.

Seeing no further business, the meeting was adjourned.

Respectfully Submitted,
Carrie Sue Lerum, Secretary/Treasurer



August 11, 2015



On Tuesday, August 11, 2015, the Marias River Livestock Association Board of Directors held a meeting at Ringside Ribs Restaurant in Shelby, MT at 5:30 p.m. In attendance were: Maggie Nutter, Paul Turner, Butch Gillespie, Marvin Kimmet, and Carrie Lerum. Guests were: Kathleen Rankin, Jim Bjorkman, Lindsey Habets, Richard Stuker and Laurie Brown.

Maggie started the meeting by introducing Laurie Brown from FWP and Richard Stuker FWP Commissioner who were invited to come to meet with the MRLA board to answer questions about the Environmental Impact Statement concerning Bison Conservation and Management in Montana. They talked about the 4 Alternatives being considered by Jeff Hagner. They also address concerns the board had about different aspects of the Impact Statement. Richard Stuker advised the board that when we draft our public comment form, we should address each alternative with our arguments or endorsements with substantial comments supported by facts and not emotion. Maggie asked each board member read assigned sections of the EIS to help her break down the task of forming a public comment from the MRLA. The board will meet on Thursday, September 3, at Ring Side Ribs at 5 pm to discuss thoughts over their section.

Lindsey Habets reported on how the Beef Breeding Project Interviews went this year at the Marias Fair. She was very happy with the increased numbers participating and noted that the youth came prepared. There were 7 heifers shown and 6 cow/calf pairs shown. The winner of the 1st year calf project was Brett Stoltz from Valier, MT. He won a belt buckle and $75.00. The winner of the 2nd year cow/calf project was Garrett Fritz from Brady, MT. He won a belt buckle and $150.00. She asked the board to consider modifying the contest possibly into different age levels because of the increase of participation. The Board asked Lindsey and Carrie to put together the new modifications with the addition of adding a one year sheep breeding contest for the 2016 Marias Fair and to present their ideas at the meeting in October. Lindsey also suggested the board have some sort of sign or put up a board for the photo opportunities.

Carrie reported that she is currently applying for new insurance for MRLA. The due date to renew is September 6, 2015. She will update the board on what she found at the next meeting on September 3.

Maggie asked the board to comment on COOL and send a letter or email to the other affiliates and Senator Daines about keeping the labels as voluntary. Paul moved and Marvin seconded our statement should read, “We support the definition of born, raised and harvested”. Motion carried.

Maggie reported that on the Waters in the USA, there is a bill to repeal. It tells the EPA and Army Corps of Engineers to rewrite. Daines has cosponsored and Tester in on the committee. Marvin moved to support the verbiage of the repeal that it should be sent back and rewritten unless there is any unnecessary amendments attached that are not Ag related. Paul seconded, and motion carried.

There is a Bison Scoping meeting on August 18, in Great Falls, MT. All public comments are due in to FWP no later than 5:00 p.m. on September 11, 2015.

FWP has asked for public input on what we think their goals and vision should be in the next 15 years, it is called 15 & Forward. MRLA board came up with these recommendations:

  1. No more land purchases over 15 acres.
  2. FWP needs to be more responsible for the care and management of the land they have already acquired.
  3. Better control of population management
  4. More consideration of property owners and their rights

At this time we do not have a Pondera Co. Board member for MRLA. Maggie is going to try to talk to Tobin Arnold.
The meeting was adjourned.

Respectfully Submitted,
Carrie Sue Lerum Secretary/Treasurer

MRLA August Meeting


June 1, 2015


MONDAY, JUNE 1, 2015

The Marias River Livestock Association held their Mid-Year Membership Meeting on Monday, June 1, 2015 at Ringside Ribs Restaurant in Shelby, MT. Maggie Nutter called the meeting to order.  Secretary, Carrie Sue Lerum read the minutes from the last membership meeting in November and she passed out the Treasurer's Report to those members in attendance.

Next, each board member gave a report about what our members concerns are from each county they represent. Maggie reported that Pondera County members are worried about the drought and grizzly bears. Jeff Habets has resigned as the Pondera County director, so MRLA is currently trying to fill that position. Paul Turner reported that members from Toole County have concerns about Fish & Game, worker visas, and no grazing on public lands. Bob Thompson stated that Liberty County is trying to stay updated on grizzly bears to wolves, sage grouse, COOL, and adding an extra dollar beef check-off. Next, Marvin Kimmet represented Glacier County's issues about grizzly bears and bison. He also received positive feedback on MRLA's newsletter. Butch Gillespie informed the audience that some milk produced in Montana is testing high in Sulphur. The milk industry is actively trying to problem solve this issue. The Board of Livestock is having a meeting on June 3. Janet Hawks encouraged those in attendance to log on and listen to the Board of Livestock meeting.

Following the board member's reports, Maggie introduced Jack Holden who is a Director for Montana Stockgrowers. He reported on national and state issues that Stockgrowers are currently working on including but not limited to National Waters of the US, MT Board of Livestock, Sage Grouse, and CSKT. Jack encouraged member to come to the MT Stockgrowers Mid-Year meeting in Bozeman.

Janet Hawks gave a Wool Growers update on legislative issues for Dave McEwen who was unable to attend. Wool Growers supported the McKay bill and they successfully got the Dubois Sheep Station going. They also secured funding for the MT State Wool Lab. 

Maggie then invited our members to attend the Interagency Grizzly Bear Council Meeting on June 16th and 17th at Many Glacier. The public is able to give a 2 minute comment and to share their bear stories.

At this time, Ervin Calson and Kendall Adins was invited to speak about the Iinnii Initiative. He gave insight on how they are progressing and what their long term goals are for bison to be roaming along the Rocky Mountain Front and into Canada.

The Marias River Livestock Association board discussed and proposed new policy:

MRLA is supportive of domestic bison industry. MRLA is opposed to free-roaming bison on all State, Federal and private lands.
Butch Gillespie moved and Paul Turner seconded to accept this policy. Motion carried.

Natural Resources
MRLA opposes further regulation by government agencies of water, energy and land use. John Fritz moved and Doreen Gillespie seconded to accept this policy. Motion Carried.

Natural Resources-Water
MRLA opposes Water of the United State regulation as currently passed/put in place by the EPA. Marvin Kimmet moved and Bob Thompson seconded to accept this policy. Motion carried.

MRLA is opposed to any individual waiving Montana administrative rules (related to livestock) without the Board of Livestock's approval. 
Butch Gillespie moved and Rick Schock seconded to accept this policy. Motion carried.

Seeing no further business, the meeting was adjourned.

Respectfully submitted by,
Carrie Sue Lerum, Secretary/Treasurer



November 3, 2014

2014 Annual MRLA Meeting



The Marias River Livestock Association held their annual Membership Meeting on Monday, November 3, 2014 at Ringside Ribs Restaurant in Shelby, MT. Maggie Nutter called the meeting to order. The pledge and a prayer were said. Secretary, Carrie Sue Lerum read the minutes from the last membership meeting in May and she passed out the Treasurer’s Report to the members attending.

Maggie asked John Youngberg who is the Executive Vice President of Montana Farm Bureau to report on some of the issues Farm Bureau is actively working on in preparation of the upcoming MT Legislative session. John reported that we lost 3 rural seats due to redistricting and emphasized how important it is for people in the Agricultural Industry to vocalize our opinions to our legislators. John also answered questions from the audience.

Maggie then introduced Jack Holden who is a Director for Montana Stockgrowers. He encouraged our members to come to the MT Stockgrowers annual convention and to keep encouraging our friends and neighbors in the industry to become a member of Stockgrowers. He then reported on what they are actively doing on issues including but not limited to National waters of the US, Beef Check Off, Dept. of Livestock, and Sage Grouse. Jack then answered questions from the audience.

Maggie asked Carrie how many members we currently have enrolled in MRLA. Carrie stated that as of November 3, 2014 we have 130 active members, 5 youth members, and 20 associate members. Then Maggie gave a brief summary of what MRLA has done in the last year including: Co-Sponsoring the Next Generation Conference, Hosting the Gentle Hand Conference with Temple Grandin and Curt Pate, Holding the Prime Rib and Rib Tickler dinner, hosing educational meeting with FWP and MT Dept. of Livestock, mailing The Post Rider Newsletters, Sponsoring a two year heifer breeding project for area youth, and Sponsoring Riding for the Brand Film review in Choteau, MT.

At this point each MRLA board member expressed what they personally enjoyed and thought was affective use of Association time and effort.

It was time to vote for new Directors for Liberty and Toole counties. The Nominating committee selected from Liberty County, Bob Thompson and from Toole County, Paul Turner. Nominations were also invited from the floor for both positions. Marvin Kimmet moved and Butch Gillespie seconded to cast a unamoius ballot for Liberty Co. Director to be Bob Thompson. Motion carried. Butch Gillespie moved and Janet Hawks seconded to cast a unanimous ballot for the Toole Co. Director to be Paul Turner. Motion carried. 

Seeing no more business, the meeting was adjourned.

Respectfully Submitted, 

Carrie Sue Lerum, Secretary/Treasurer



August 27, 2014



On Wednesday, August 27, 2014 the Marias River Livestock Association Board of Directors held a meeting at Four Corners Bar & Restaurant. The meeting was called to order by President, Maggie Nutter. In attendance were: Maggie Nutter, Burch Gillespie, Marvin Kimmet, Bob Thompson, Janet Hawks, Carrie Lerum and guest Diana Thompson. The minutes were sent via email. Carrie passed out the Treasurer’s report with more information on the Gentle Hand Conference expenses. The only bill left was to reimburse Carrie for the $65.00 of pizza that was ordered the night we set up for the Gentle Hand Conference. Marvin moved and Butch seconded to pay Carrie Lerum.

We have received positive remarks from the participants and sponsors regarding the Gentle Hand Conference. The Sponsors thought it was worthwhile and the speakers were very good.

Carrie is happy to announce that MRLA has received a notice from the IRS stating that we have been accepted as a Tax Exempt Organization. She will be sending the appropriate information to the MT Department of Revenue for their approval.

Bob Thompson reported on the Property Rights Conference in Billings. Bob, Diana and Maggie all attended. If the Salish Kotanee Water Compact doesn’t go through it will affect all water rights on the Marias River and its tributaries. That would be half of the state including us. If a utility or pipeline (not just public but private as well) want to cross your property, they have that right. Hertha Lund wrote an excellent article in the Western Ag Reporter that covers the Pros and Cons of this debate. She is a water rights attorney.

Maggie updated the Board on the Montana Next Generation Conference planning. It will be January 30-31, 2015 in Shelby, MT. We will have Kevin Spafford present two workshops on Friday and the Keynote Speaker will be Sandra Heir from Helena, MT. We have out grown the Coyote Club so Friday’s events will be held at the Shelby Civic Center. Saturday will be at the Shelby High School. The planning committee is looking for help organizing and promoting the event.

MRLA’s liability insurance needs to be renewed by September 4, 2014. It needs two board member’s signatures and payment.

The fall MRLA membership meeting is Monday, November 3 at 6:00 p.m. in the Ringside Ribs Restaurant back room in Shelby, MT. If for some reason we can’t use Ring Side Ribs, then we will use the Sports Club. The nominating committee consists of Maggie, Butch and Marvin. The Directors whose positions are up for election are BJ Brown and Bob Thompson. Bob Thompson accepted the nomination. The nominating committee will meet at a later date to discuss other nominations. It was decided to invite Chelsea Kramer and John Youngberg from Farm Bureau to come and give a legislative update. We will also ask the members attending what topics they would like to learn more about or concerns they may have. It was suggested that we have PSA’s on the date and time of our Fall Meeting on the radio.

Maggie stated that Hugh McLananlin will not be able to perform for us at the Rib Tickler Dinner this fall as expected because of new international laws concerning entertaining and visas. Therefore, Maggie asked for input on who we should book instead. It was decided to ask first Rob Quist and then if he can’t we will ask the Ringling 5. Maggie is concerned that they both will be over our budget of $3000.00. Hugh was also going to be the MC so we came up with 3 choices: 1- Will Rasmussen, 2- Stan Rasmussen, and 3- Art Taft. 

Carrie, Diana and Janet are on the decoration and set up committee.  Carrie will rent the chairs from Mid-Way Rental, talk to Lona Cross about her round tables and call Rick Schock about helping with the ticket sales again this year. Janet moved and Butch seconded to order tickets. We will sell a max of 250 tickets. Marvin and Butch offered to help set up and clean up. Marvin also agreed to pick up the rental chairs.

The meeting was adjourned.

Respectfully Submitted by,
Carrie Sue Lerum



May 9, 2014


MAY 9, 2014

On Friday, May 9, 2014, the Marias River Livestock Association held their Mid-Year Membership Meeting at the Frontier Bar and Supper Club in Dunkirk, MT. A Social hour for members started at 5:30 p.m.  Marvin Kimmet welcomed the members to the gathering.

The meeting was called to order by Maggie Nutter. She reported on the upcoming Gentle Hand Livestock Conference that will be on June 27th and 28th. On Friday, June 27th, Jude Capper will speak about Beef Sustainability. Then Temple Grandin will speak about Low Stress Handling of Livestock and have a question and answer period. Following lunch, Curt Pate will have a live demonstration on Low Stress Livestock Handling. We will also have a trade show and Temple Grandin will have a book signing. On Saturday, there will be a Foreign and Emerging Livestock Disease workshop put on by Dr. Jeanne Rankin and other specialists in the field. We will also be hosting a workshop on How to Promote Agriculture through social media by special guests, Jude Capper, Dairy Carrie and Ryan Goodman.

Maggie also reported on the Iinnii Initiative relating to the Black Foot Nation. She is actively acquiring more information on the initiative and how it will not only affect the Black Foot Reservation but the Rocky Mountain Front.

There will be an Environmental Quality Council in Helena. The agenda covers bison, grizzly, sage grouse and Federal Lands Management.
Gene Curry and Jack Holden gave an update from Stockgrowers and encouraged MRLA members to join the MT Stockgrowers Association.

There was a drawing for the Firearms Raffle. The prizes and winners were as follows:

1st Prize: Ruger Hawkeye 270 Winchester Mag Stainless steel barrel with synthetic stock and rings for mounting scope.
Sponsored by: Ben Franklin, Cut Bank MT
Won By: Tom Armstrong, Cut Bank MT 

2nd Prize: Smith & Wesson Body Guard 380 with Integrated Laser site and 6 round clip.
Sponsored by: Shelby Paint and Hardware, Shelby MT
Won By: Ken Morrison, Shelby MT

3rd Prize: Henry Lever Action 22 H001 series Walnut Stock blued barrel and lever.
Sponsored by: Bullhead Sports, Conrad MT
Won By: Shane Berthelote, Sunburst MT

4th Prize: Savage MDL 42 22lr/410 Rifle Shotgun combo Matte blued receiver and barrels, black synthetic stock with recoil pad.
Sponsored by: Grizzly Sports, Choteau MT
Won By: Mike Coen, Cut Bank MT 

5th Prize: $100 Gift Certificate for Ammo
Sponsored by: Hi-Line Hardware, Chester MT
Won By: Doreen Gillespie, Ethridge MT

The meeting was then adjourned.

Respectfully Submitted,
Carrie Sue Lerum, Sec./Treas.



March 25, 2014



On Tuesday, March 25, 2014, the Marias River Livestock Association Board of Directors held a meeting at Four Corners restaurant. The meeting was called to order by Maggie Nutter. In attendance were Maggie Nutter, Janet Hawks, Marvin Kimmet, Jeff Habets, Doreen Gillespie, Butch Gillespie and Carrie Sue Lerum. Carrie passed around the Treasurer’s Report. Carrie Sue submitted a bill for $175.40 from Elayne Wickum for decorations she made for the 2013 Rib Tickler dinner. Maggie also reminded the board that we had voted to purchase a trailer from Elayne for $700.00. Marvin moved and Butch seconded to pay Elayne for the decorations and trailer for a total of $875.40. Motion carried.

Maggie brought the Gun Raffle Tickets that we will use to raise money for Temple Grandin day. She handed tickets out to the board members present. Carrie Sue volunteered to be in charge of ticket sales and money for the raffle. Maggie reported that we need to sell at least 200 tickets. The raffle will be held and the Mid-Year membership meeting on May 9, 2014.

Speaking of the May meeting, we needed to plan a place and time. Marvin moved and Jeff seconded to have the Mid-Year Membership meeting at the Frontier Bar and Supper Club in Dunkirk, MT. Motion carried.  Social hour will start at 5:30 pm and the meeting will start at 6:00 with no-host dinner to follow. Carrie will contact the Frontier and set it up.

Fish, Wildlife and Parks have requested that we host a budget meeting. Some NGO's are talking about "tags for non-participants that would be sold so that they could support FWP and not hunt. There is concern over how that would influence the culture and goals of FWP. After some discussion, it was decided to host a meeting on Friday, April 11, 2014 at 5:30 pm in the Ringside Ribs restaurant in Shelby, MT.

The Lewistown Bison meeting will be April 15-16th at the Yogo Inn. Maggie will be going on the 14th. Janet, Jeff, and Marvin all expressed interest in attending as well.

The Shelby Chamber of Commerce will be hosting a Candidates Forum for the slate of candidates in the primary election. The forum will be on Thursday, April 24 at 7 pm at the SHS Auditorium at 7 pm.  Letters of invitation will be mailed this week to all the candidates. Maggie asked if the MRLA board of directors would like to host something similar in Liberty or Pondera counties. It was decided not to at this time.

Maggie asked Jeff Habets what the Fair Board decided about the use of the fair grounds for the Temple Grandin event day. Jeff reported that the Fair Board approved the usage. He was also very appreciative of the paint that Maggie lined up for the buildings on the Fairgrounds.

Kurt Holtzen from the National Wolf watcher Coalition in West Yellowstone asked Maggie if we would host an informational session on "Non-Lethal ways to live with predators". The board voted not to host at this time.

The Department of Livestock has some budgeting and bison issues that Maggie wanted the board to discuss. First, the Dept. of Livestock is $900,000 in the hole. They want to raise the per capita and brand fee. Second, FWP is pushing to get the Dept. of Livestock to allow 400,000 more acres and designate it as Wildlife area. The board decided that our opinion is “We oppose the increase in fees until we see a balanced budget and plan of action.” Maggie encouraged us to call or write an individuals and a group and let the Dept. of Livestock board know how we feel about these issues.

Maggie asked what we need to be doing to prepare for the Marias Fair. Janet wanted to know how much we wanted to budget for the Breeding award for second year and first year winners. The budget will be about $500.00 with buckles approximately $240, and cash $75 for the first year winner and $150 for second year winner. Janet will order the belt buckles. MRLA will announce the winners of the buckles at the rodeo again this year. We will ask Carl Clark and/or the Cut Bank Saddle Club to provide some more riders for organization’s "wagon float" in the Marias Fair parade. We will have our booth in the same spot as last year’s fair.

Young Ag Leader Conference asked for $100.00 sponsorship again this year. Janet moved and Jeff seconded to sponsor. Motion carried.

With no further business to discuss, the meeting was adjourned.

Respectfully submitted by,

Carrie Sue Lerum, Secretary



November 1, 2013


MRLA Membership Meeting Nov 2013


On Friday, November 1, 2013, the Marias River Livestock Association held their membership meeting at 6 p.m. at Ringside Ribs Restaurant in Shelby, MT. The meeting was called to order by Maggie Nutter and Carrie Lerum summarized the minutes from the last meeting. Carrie also gave the Treasurer's Report stating that we currently have $11,320.08 in checking.

Maggie reported that we are almost sold out of Rib Tickler dinner tickets. She suggested that if you haven't gotten yours, to call Rick Schock at 937-6400. The board has been very successful in acquiring sponsorships for the Rib Tickler dinner and for our youth program. 

Maggie updated the crowd on FWP wolf issues. FWP has added verbiage saying they will determine kills in addition to or instead of Wildlife Services. Currently Wildlife Services are in charge of confirming wolf kills, and we would like it to stay that way. On December 3, 2013, there will be a comment period in Great Falls, MT. Maggie recommended that if you go, to please bring a written comment that you can give verbally and submit for them to save. You can also email comments.

Ryan Rauscher from FWP flew around our area and counted wildlife. This is done every other year, and he has determined how many of each species of wildlife can be hunted. Moose numbers have gone up and elk has been increased significantly. 

Our Pondera County director is Jeff Habets and his term is up. The nomination committee has nominated Jeff to be re-elected. Jeff gave a speech as to why he would like to be on the board. Doreen Gillespie moved and Janet Hawks seconded that nominations ceased. Motion carried. Butch Gillespie moved and Marvin Kimmet seconded to cast a unanimous ballot for Jeff Habets. Motion carried. Jeff's term will last for 3 years.

Maggie announced that the Marias River Livestock Association in conjunction with FSA is going to host a Young Leaders Conference on January 24-25, 2014 in Shelby, MT. There will be multiple workshops given including but not limited to The Legacy Project, EPD information, financial training, and Wildlife Services. We will also host a panel of livestock producers and crop producers for a question and answer period.

At this point of the meeting, Maggie asked if there is any policy that members would like to bring forward so MRLA could present at the Farm Bureau or Montana Stockgrowers conventions. Marvin Kimmet moved that "Marias River Livestock Association is for total ag exemption on fuel storage containment systems for agricultural based businesses". Butch Gillespie seconded the motion. Motion carried.

Butch Gillespie moved for "MRLA to support North Central MT Livestock Association for COOL". Bob Thompson seconded the motion to further the discussion. After some discussion from the membership, Cheryl Curry friendly amended Butch’s motion to remain neutral on COOL and encourage more membership education on the subject matter. Butch seconded Cheryl's motion. Motion carried. Then there was a vote on Butch’s motion. Motion carried.

Maggie talked about the current situation concerning free roaming bison in the state of Montana and the latest from the meeting in Lewistown that was held in October. She stated that we need to remain vigilant and that it isn't just FWP that is for free roaming bison, there is international support for this issue.

Gene Curry, 1st Vice President for Montana Stockgrowers Association gave a report on what they have been doing for our industry. To learn more go to He also invited us to attend the Montana Stockgrowers annual convention which is December 12-14 in Billings, MT.

Butch Gillespie moved to adjourn the meeting, Carrie Lerum seconded. Motion carried.

Respectfully Submitted,
Carrie Sue Lerum



November 26, 2012


Directors Meeting

On Monday, November 26, 2012, the Marias River Livestock Association (MRLA) Board of Directors held a meeting at the Coyote Club and Events Center. The meeting was called to order at 6:15 p.m.  Members in attendance were: Maggie Nutter, Butch Gillespie, Marvin Kimmet, BJ Brown, Carrie Lerum and Bob Thompson. Guests in attendance were: Diana Thompson and Travis Clark.

The Treasurer's Report was passed around, and no minutes were read. Maggie said that she was going to request a second hearing for testimony over the Milk River Land deal for Monday, December 10 in Great Falls, MT. Discussion ensued over the previous testimony provided in Helena by Maggie Nutter, and that even though the news reported otherwise; the land deal wasn't official yet. Maggie encouraged the board to come and testify in Great Falls at the Regional Office at 9:00am.

There are some new positions available on advisory boards, councils and commissions under our new Governor-Elect Bullock. Maggie encouraged the board to do a two page resume and become involved. the "work with us" tab.

Travis Clark came to talk to the board about a business opportunity with MRLA, Northern Montana Insurance Services and Nationwide Agribusiness. It was decided that the board would think about it and discuss feasibility at the next meeting.

Carrie presented the bills for the Prime Rib and Rib Tickler dinner. Butch moved and Bob seconded to pay the bills. Motion carried.

The board reported on the responses they received over the Rib Tickler dinner. All agreed that the food was excellent and were happy with the large attendance. It was suggested that the Rib Tickler dinner be held at a bigger venue, possibly the Shelby Civic Center that can hold 300 people. The Kountry Kids 4-H Club earned $311.00 in the tip jar. It would also be advantageous to have a larger socializing area. Maggie is shooting for November 15, 2013 as the date for next year’s Rib Tickler dinner.

On Monday, December 17, 2012, four young women who are FFA students from Chinook, MT are coming to Shelby to do a presentation entitled "Federal Land Grab". After some discussion, Marvin moved to host the FFA students at the Coyote Club and Convention Center. If we have no sponsorship available to help defray the costs of the venue, MRLA will cover the cost. B.J. Brown seconded the motion. Motion carried. The FFA students will start their presentation at 7:30 p.m. The board decided that it would be a great idea to invite the County Commissioners and local politicians.

Butch: Toole Co. Commissioners
Bob: Liberty Co. Commissioners
Marvin: Glacier Co. Commissioners
Maggie: Pondera Co. Commissioners, Rob Cook, Lou Jones and Lila Whitford
B.J.: In charge of making sure there will be coffee, punch, and cookies available for our guests

Upcoming Newsletter:
Maggie has requested Ward Marshal to write an article about property rights.
From the "MT policy Institute" Carl Graham will write about the Federal Government transfer of property rights to the state. This has happened in Utah.  There will be one full page reserved for thanking the Rib Tickler Sponsors. A list of what MRLA has achieved just this fall will also be included.

Maggie also reported on the Wolf meetings that were held in Whitlash and Valier on November 20, 2012. The Valier wolf meeting turned into a grizzly meeting. They have some very big concerns about the activity of grizzly bears in their little community. The board discussed the need to get grizzly bears delisted. To be effective in that goal we need to work with FWP commission, legislators and getting the word out in our newsletter. The County Use plan needs to be addressed in each county. We will try to get Nancy Eurex to come in February to advise the board on that subject.

Maggie listed the upcoming events for December:
December 1 - Cattlemen’s convention
Nov 30-Dec 1 – Woolgrowers convention
Dec 4 - Citizens advisory council FWP Region 4 in Great Falls
Dec 10 - Second session of testimony for Milk River Land Deal in Great Falls 9:00am
Dec 13-15 - Mt Stockgrowers convention

Meeting was adjourned.

Respectfully Submitted,
Carrie Sue Lerum



September 20, 2012


Membership Meeting - Coyote Den and Events Center (Elks Club)

The meeting was called to order by President, Maggie Nutter. She introduced Ryan Tauscher with FWP, Mary Ann Ries who is running for District Judge, Debbie Brandon, Rick Ripley (State Senator for District 9), Quentin Kujala (Sections Coordinator for Wildlife Bureau), Jeanne Rankin, DMV, (MT Extension Agro-emergency), Jesse Fulbright (Liberty Extension Agent).

Maggie announced the Marias River Livestock Association has over 70 members. She also read the Treasurer’s report. MRLA is coordinating the Bull Bucks Program and Maggie explained how it worked. She announced that two Bull Buck vouchers will be drawn at the Marias River Livestock Association meeting on November 16, 2012. Bob and Diane Thompson reported on the MRLA booth they set up at the Liberty County Chamber Harvest Festival on Saturday, September 15, 2012. Maggie announced that there were copies of the last meeting available for anyone interested.

Maggie reported that the State is now reevaluating private property rights and every water right permit. There are people in Montana who are losing water rights that they have owned for nearly one hundred years, and she asked the membership to comment on that issue to BLM. She also notified the members that the board will be sending out ballots on current issues to get an accurate representation so the Marias River Livestock Association can make statements on those policies.

Maggie Nutter then introduced the first speaker of the evening. Quentin Kujala spoke on what the Working Group came up with for Guidelines on Elk Management in Areas with Brucellosis. They will be up for public comment in November.

The second speaker of the evening was Jeanne Rankin, DMV and Agro-Emergency Project Coordinator for Montana. She gave a presentation about the disease Brucellosis. She covered everything from how it’s contracted to detection to treatment. 

Last, but certainly not least, was State Senator from District 9, Rick Ripley. He explained the process of how a bill becomes a law. He also invited Marias River Livestock Association members to keep letting the law makers know how we feel about the issues they are working on in Helena. Senator Ripley said it is important for rural citizens to communicate with their Senators and Representatives.

Respectfully Submitted by Carrie Sue Lerum, Secretary.  



June 21, 2012


MRLA June Meeting 2012

Membership Meeting - Marias Fairgrounds Exhibit Building

The meeting was called to order at 6:45 p.m. by Maggie Nutter and she introduced Mike Waite, Regional Director for Congressman Denny Rehberg, Debbie Brandon who is running for Toole County Commissioner and Jesse Fulbright, Liberty County Extension Agent. Lindsey Foard, who designed the Marias River Livestock Association website, gave a virtual tour of the site. 

540 Marias River Livestock Association newsletters were mailed last month which resulted in 9 new memberships. We now have $3,310.00 in dues for membership. 

Old Business-

The bison scoping meetings were attended well. It was noted that people don't understand the "Free Roaming Bison" concept. It was also good to hear what the opposition was saying. Maggie Nutter encourages those attending to keep sending letters to get our opinion out. She said addresses are listed on the website.

Ms. Nutter reported that the Marias River Livestock Association will have a booth set up at the Marias Fair in July, 2012 to promote our new association and to increase membership. 

New Business-

Maggie Nutter then introduced our guest speaker Cory Swanson who is the attorney for MT Property Owners United and Citizens for Balance Use. He is currently working on the case that stopped the movement of bison from Yellowstone Park to Fort Belknap and Peck reservations. "The problem is that when the bison are moved, someone has to be responsible for them. Someone has to deal with the fences, the feeding, the ongoing maintenance and if bison get out, how do you get the animals back in, how do you pay for the damage that they caused", said Attorney Cory Swanson. Another problem is that the bison have dual classification which means bison can be considered "livestock and wildlife" depending on their origin.

Cory also talked about the number of wolves there currently are in Montana and how there is an urgent need to develop an aggressive management plan to get the numbers back down to 150 which is where the numbers are currently set to be. Cory listed some suggestions on how our state could implement newer, more aggressive management plans, which mirror how our neighboring states are successfully lowering numbers. Mr. Swanson expressed that this could be changed if a special session of the Legislature was called.

The meeting was adjourned.

Respectfully submitted,

Carrie Lerum







May 10, 2012


Member Meeting - Marias Fairgrounds Exhibit Building

MRLA Member Meeting May 2012

The meeting was called to order at 6:45 p.m. by Ms. Maggie Nutter. After some brief introductions of local state representatives and others running for public office the floor was turned over to Mr. Bruce Lee, Director of the Montana Cattlemen’s Association.

Mr. Lee talked about the role of the Cattlemen’s Association and how affiliation with that group or livestock association did not have to be mutually exclusive but compatible. Questions from the audience were then taken.

Mr. Kraig Glazier and Mr. Mike Hoggan of Wildlife Services were then introduced and given a few minutes to tell a bit about their involvement with livestock their mission of protecting agriculture, specifically from animals such as wolves and coyotes. There was further discussion about current meetings occurring and planned for the state regarding wolf control measures. Questions were then taken from the audience.

A meeting held in Lincoln, MT recently by Fish, Wildlife and Parks was recently held concerning wolf control and was attended by Maggie Nutter. A discussion of the meeting dynamics and results of the meetings were discussed.

Mr. Butch Gillespie of the Nominating Committee was asked to present the slate of officers to be voted upon. It was felt that in order for the Marias River Livestock Association to have a presence at this year’s stockgrower’s and cattlemen’s meetings that this organization was important at this time. According to bylaws the officers of the association will include President, Vice President, and a Board of Directors from each of the four counties involved in the association (Toole, Liberty, Glacier and Pondera) and one Director At-Large position. A secretary/treasurer will be appointed at a later time by the President. Terms for these positions are two years, with the exception of some directors to be determined later only serving one year terms initially to avoid the entire board leaving at one time. Board meetings will be held monthly and general membership meetings to be held twice a year.

The nominating committee put forth the following individuals for offices: Maggie Nutter, President; B.J. Brown, Toole County Director; Bob Thompson, Liberty County Director; Marvin Kimmet, Glacier County Director; and Jeff Habets, Pondera County Director. A motion was made by Gene Curry to close the nominations and cast a unanimous ballot for Maggie Nutter as President. Janet Hawks seconded. Motion carried. A motion from the audience was made for Butch Gillespie as Vice President. Darin Stanley made a motion that nominations cease and to cast a ballot. Jeff Habets seconded. Motion carried. Rick Shaw made a motion to close the nominations for Toole County Director. Toni Wehr seconded. Motion carried. A motion to close the nominations for Liberty County Director was made by Doreen Gillespie and seconded by Jeff Habets. Motion carried. A motion to close the nominations for Glacier County Director was made by Darin Stanley and seconded by Janet Hawks. Motion carried. A motion to close the Pondera County Director nominations was made by Janet Hawks and seconded by Helen Brown. Motion carried. All votes were directors were unanimous. Helen Brown nominated Janet Hawks to serve as Director At-Large. Doreen Gillespie moved to close the nominations and cast a ballot. Butch Gillespie seconded. Motion carried. The vote for the Director At-Large position was unanimous for Janet Hawks. Congratulations new officers!

President Nutter brought the question of how to communicate most effectively to the membership. It was suggested that e-mail between directors might work and then directors would let their county members know of any issues that needed action. Emphasis was also added to the fact that not everyone has e-mail so hard copies of issues to be decided upon needed to go out to some people as well. There is also a Facebook page that has already been created for the Marias River Livestock Association. A website will be discussed at a later date.

Mrs. Doreen Gillespie asked to speak briefly and emphasized that the new organization needed to talk to people and let everyone know what the livestock association is.

Director Kimmet asked about dues. Dues will be $100 for the 1st year per person if one chooses to be a charter member or $50 for dues for one person per year.

A discussion was held on statements that the new association should hold to. On bison it was voted by the Membership that all were in agreement with the following statements.

  1. Bison - no matter where they were located or where they came from they should be regulated as livestock in the State of Montana.
  2. There are a number of herds of Bison in Montana and in the United States and Canada. There is no need for a free roaming herd.

The members also brought forward that we should gather facts on Bison health issues, safety of humans and other property and the possibility of bison being sexually active with cattle.

It was decided that more time was needed to discuss a stance on wolf control issues. 

A general membership meeting is to be held in late June. A motion to adjourn the meeting was made by Jeff Habets and seconded by Helen Brown. The meeting was adjourned at 8:30 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Jesse Fulbright, Liberty County Extension Agent



March 30, 2012


Founding Meeting

The meeting began with a welcome for everyone present and a background for the meeting was given. From a meeting held previously in Sunburst in November 2011, the initial interest in developing a local livestock association was determined.

Maggie Nutter introduced Vicki Olsen and Gene Curry, both of who are involved in the Montana Stockgrowers Association. Vicki is also involved in several other local, state and national livestock and grazing organizations. Maggie also talked about the need for bylaws for a new local stockgrowers organization and will take volunteers at the end of the meeting to work on bylaws. The next general meeting will take place in 4-6 weeks in order to form an association before the Montana Stockgrowers Mid-Year meeting, which will be in Great Falls.

Vicki Olsen of south Phillips County, Montana State Cattlewomen’s President, spoke on the need for a stockgrowers association. She stated positive effects of an association, including the need to be represented, to stick together to defend private property rights and our way of life, and to help producers in general. There are also representatives from stockgrowers at the legislative session which lobby for stockgrower related issues. Further benefits of belonging to the state association include contacts via e-mail and newsletter.

Gene Curry, 2nd Vice President of the Montana Stockgrowers Association, spoke of the good relationship that the state association has with the state legislature dealing with issues such as wildlife concerns, including bison and wolf, water rights and disease. There were approximately 350 anti-stockgrower related issues in the last legislative session in 2011. He also related an instance in which stockgrowers helped with resolving a freeze branding issue statewide.

The meeting was then broken up into groups to discuss four different issues related to organizing a local stockgrower association.

  1. Membership, board composition and voting rights
  2. Issues of concern-What’s affecting or could affect livestock operation, business, community, and rights.
  3. How should we communicate: modes and frequency of meetings and places
  4. What do you hope to get from this group?

At the conclusion of the small group discussions a group of people were asked and/or volunteered to form a subcommittee to write draft bylaws. This group will get together on Friday, April 13th at a place to be determined and will include the following individuals from the four county region: Butch Gillespie, Maggie Nutter, Buster Brown, Jeff Habets, Bob Thompson, and Marvin Kimmet.

The next general meeting, to go over the bylaws and formally organize the Marias River Stockgrowers Association will be held Thursday, May 10th at the Marias Fairgrounds Exhibit Building.

The meeting was adjourned at 8:35PM.

Respectfully submitted,
Jesse Fulbright, Liberty County Extension Agent




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