by Tara Becken, Program Coordinator, REAL Montana
REAL Montana (Resource Education and Agriculture Leadership) recently held an alumni tour in the Billings and Huntley areas focusing on the sugar beet and malt barley industries. Participants included current REAL Montana class members, alumni, and several guests from the Northern Ag Network. The group started at the MillerCoors elevator in Huntley to learn about malt barley production. They also traveled to Swartz Farms and Michaels Farms for a first-hand look at sugar beet harvest, and then on to the Western Sugar factory in Billings.
REAL Montana is a two-year program that features eight in-state seminars; a four-day national study tour in Washington D.C.; and a ten-day trip to Colombia in January 2017. Seminars include training in natural resource development, agriculture institutions and agencies, public speaking/media, economics, state and federal policy, international trade, urban/rural relationships, water issues, and other current industry topics.
REAL Montana is funded through a partnership with Montana State University Extension and private industry. Oversight is provided by an advisory board of industry leaders. The program will start accepting applications for Class III in the spring of 2017.
Photo Caption: REAL Montana tours MillerCoors elevator in Huntley.
(L to R): Tara Becken, Jami Howell, Augie Aga, Belinda Holloway, Taylor Brown, Darcia Patten, Jill Herold, Fritz Schneider, Tom Hougen, Mike Killen, Casey Hoskins