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A Rancher’s Best Friend

Stock dogs’ earned place in the changing landscape of agriculture The Border collie’s shoulder twitches ever so slightly with anticipation as it lowers its front legs in a stealthy crouch. The dog’s eyes simultaneously shift back and forth almost undetectably as he watches intensely to catch what seems to be a trivial movement by his…

Red Lodge: A Resort Town with a Down-to-Earth Attitude

A sense of excitement pulses through the small town of Red Lodge, Montana. Snuggled at the base of the Beartooth Mountains, the community of 2,500 could hardly be described as “typical” small-town Montana. Boasting drop-dead scenery, limitless outdoor adventures and a thriving arts and cultural community, Red Lodge shines with a vibrancy that attracts newcomers…

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Northwest Farm Credit Services

The Fort in Big Timber

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Raised in the West
PO Box 23204
Billings, MT 59104



Shari DeSaveur

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Opal Harkins: Part Rhinestone, All Cowgirl

Montana’s Miss National High School Rodeo Queen She sparkles. She dazzles. And that’s before she even puts her rodeo queen attire on. After visiting for just a few moments with Opal Harkins, it’s easy to see why judges selected her out of 44 candidates to be crowned Miss National High School Rodeo Queen 2016. The…

Advocating for Farm Life in Rural Montana

The Farver Family Shares Food & Family It’s 20 below in Scobey, Montana on a bright Saturday morning. After a hearty family breakfast, Terry Farver dons his Carhartts and heads out the door. The country is vast and blanketed in fresh snowfall, and all is quiet save for the distant mooing of his Black Angus…

A Plot of Your Own

Community Gardens foster food & friendships Whether raising a few tomato plants or turning under hundreds of square feet to grow your own food, a garden is the epitome of the self-reliant spirit. Raising food is a very Montanan thing to do, yet not everyone has the space, or the knowledge, to tackle a garden…

A View from the Saddle

Barbara Van Cleve documents the humanity in ranching On her daily walks, Barbara Van Cleve keeps an eye on the sky. There’s something about the voluminous clouds, so unique to the Montana landscape that lure her in. As she’s gotten older, they’ve captivated her more and more. At 81, Van Cleve isn’t mesmerized by the…

Born, Shorn & Worn in the USA

Alpacas of Montana  – the perfect fit for Sarah & James Budd When Sarah and James Budd of Bozeman decided they wanted to shift their career focuses, becoming alpaca farmers wasn’t even on the radar. And considering Sarah’s background in manufacturing and psychology along with James’ field as an Orthopedic Physician Assistant,  it’s no wonder…

Powell: Where Americana meets cutting-edge amenities

A visit to Powell comes with a warning: for those drawn to small towns, this Wyoming community of 6,500 might just tempt you to pull up stakes and start shopping for real estate. If you’re just driving past, you might miss Powell’s allure. But take a short detour off Highway 14A – the road that…

Flavors of the Land

Prairie Heritage Farm honors time tested grains Most farmers rely on equipment like the drill seeder when they plant their grain fields, but Jacob and Courtney Cowgill of Prairie Heritage Farm in Power began their operation one seed at a time trialing over 200 varieties of ancient and heritage grains. Sometimes Jacob only had 30…

The Bold & Fresh Taste of Farmstead Cheese

Poor Orphan Creamery brings artisanal cheeses to the table Lark Gilmer has the state’s noxious weed law to thank for her livelihood.  Gilmer is not a state inspector, an herbicide vendor or plant pathologist. She’s a shepherd and cheesemaker. Montana’s County Weed Control Act, Title 7, Chapter 22, Part 21 of the state code, means…

All in the Family

Running auctions is more than just another day at work for Rick Young & Sons It’s at least an hour before Rick Young will flip the switch on his cordless microphone, but the parking lot at the Anipro Event Center south of Absarokee is already full. Everyone is inside milling around long tables and displays…

Pollen Powerhouses

Leafcutter bees prove to be an alfalfa crop’s biggest ally The leafcutter bee doesn’t look like much. At first glance, it could easily be mistaken for a fly, but this little winged creature is a vital link in the process of raising certified alfalfa seed. Leafcutter bees are alfalfa’s most efficient pollinator, and they have…

The Perfect Fit

Rand’s Custom Hats caters to all walks of life There is a hat for every person. At least that’s what the crew at Rand’s Custom Hats believes. There are the curve-brimmed cowboy hats for the western outdoorsmen, and the classic black bowlers trimmed with ribbon for the debonair gent. Other models are purposefully distressed to…

A Breed Apart

At ORIgen, seedstock producers call the shots Fifteen years ago, nobody thought it would work. Six ranchers were proposing to start their own bull-breeding business, bypassing the big artificial insemination outfits to gain more control over the process and to keep more of the profits in their own pockets. Their business, ORIgen, was designed from…

A New Breed of Ranching

00Royal T breaks new ground with a few woolly beasts As soon as I arrived, I knew that the Royal T Ranch wasn’t like the other cattle ranches I’d seen, and the owner, Natalie, wasn’t your average ranch gal. The Royal T Ranch, owned by Tim and Natalie Thurman, is tucked away in a quiet…

His Heart is on the Land

Tak Ogawa is still farming at 91 “This country’s been good to me,” says Tak Ogawa. When he speaks the words, you come to understand that this immigrant is referring to both Powell, Wyoming where he’s lived for 67 years, and the United States as a whole. Tak came to the Big Horn Basin as…

They’ve Got You Covered

North 40 Ag has right mix for healthier fields On her husband’s farm 25 miles east of downtown Billings, Kate Vogel is standing amid green blades of annual ryegrass on what would normally be bare soil between silage stalks. She is holding a forage collard plant, its tangled roots clinging to a big mass of…