Without Ranchers, We Wouldn’t Have This


Helena, Mont. – The Montana Stockgrowers Association (MSGA) has launched a new video to educate the public about how Montana’s family ranchers care for the environment, provide wildlife habitat and maintain lasting rural communities. The video, “Rancher Stewardship: Protecting Montana’s Prairie,” is set in South Phillips County, near the hub of Malta, Montana, where ranchers have called the prairie home for over 100 years. There, ranchers have created a ranch and wildlife haven by working and living in harmony with nature.

“We are just thrilled to introduce this video because it really brings these ranchers’ love for the land, their families and their community to the forefront,” said Tom Hougen, MSGA president. “Their dedication to ensuring that the ranching heritage and superb prairie wildlife habitat can be passed on to the next generation is inspiring.”

“Rancher Stewardship: Protecting Montana’s Prairie” features ranchers Vicki Olson of the Double O Ranch, the Koss family of Mule Tracks Cattle Co., Conni, Craig and Bill French of the Bill and Corky French Ranch, Dale and Janet Veseth of Veseth Cattle Company, Leo Barthelmess, Jr. of Barthelmess Ranch Corp., and Gene Barnard and Jerry Mahan of Barnard Ranch. The ranchers discuss the importance of raising their families there, developing innovative ranch management practices, working in cooperation with each other and building a lasting community to protect the prairielands they call home.

Ben Montgomery, District Conservationist, Pete Husby, State Wildlife Biologist, and Matt Walker, Area Biologist, for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (USDA NRCS) also discuss the importance of ranchers in sustaining this diverse ecosystem and the wildlife species it supports.

“There’s no doubt that we wouldn’t have the great diversity range-wise and biologically without the fine stewardship of Montana’s ranchers,” Matt Walker, Area Biologist for the USDA NRCS, says in the video. “These ranchers have been on the landscape, they’ve grown to appreciate the landscape and what it can provide for them. And while it’s meeting their bottom line of maintaining sustainability, it’s also meeting the bottom line of the birds, the wildlife and it’s just one great ecosystem. Without ranchers we certainly wouldn’t have this.”

“Rancher Stewardship: Protecting Montana’s Prairie” is available on MSGA’s YouTube Channel, Facebook Page and the Montana Stockgrower Blog. It was created by Lauren Chase, MSGA’s multimedia communications intern with help from Linda Poole of the Ranchers Stewardship Alliance in Malta. The project was funded by MSGA’s Research, Education and Endowment Foundation. The video will also air on Helena Civic TV which streams live online.

To learn more about the environmental stewardship practices of Montana’s ranchers, visit MSGA’s website or www.explorebeef.org. Five of the families profiled in this video are Certified Undaunted Land Stewards through the Undaunted Stewardship® program. To learn more, visit www.undauntedstewardship.montana.edu.

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