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MOA's 15th Annual Conference and Member Meeting
“Organic Resiliency in a Changing World”
December 7-9, 2017, Mansfield Center, Great Falls, Montana

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Chandee Bomgardner
, Owner, Bomgardner Catering, Loma, Montana. Specializing in local and organic catering, Chandee and her team provide outstanding service for memorable events, both large and small. From a buffet reception with specialty cheese selection to Missouri River bank picnic, Chandee’s delicious food brings people together. Her thoughtfulness, creativity, professionalism, and careful planning take the worries out of event planning. Bomgardner Catering provides freezer meals to make hectic times, including harvest dinners, a whole lot easier and healthier.

Nathan (Nate) Brown, MOA Board Member (Past Chair), Farmer/Owner, Amaltheia Organic Dairy. Nate works at Amaltheia Organic Dairy in Belgrade, Montana, with his parents, Sue and Melvyn. They produce organic goat cheese, vegetables and whey-fed pork. They compost all of the animal manures and spread them on their fields for soil building. He has a keen interest in learning about soil science and growing tomatoes in his high tunnel greenhouse. Nate participates in organic events around the region including Bozeman Farmers’ Markets.

Rick Caquelin, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, Area Range Specialist at Great Falls. Rick, his wife, two kids and a herd of cows are trying to make the most out of life and have a great time doing it. He has worked for the NRCS for almost 30 years all across Montana and still has the farm he grew up on in Northern Illinois.

Dr. Patrick Carr, Superintendent/Associate Professor of Cropping Systems, Montana State University, Central Agricultural Research Center. Patrick received a Ph.D. in Crop & Soil Science from Montana State University in 1989. He was a post-doctoral research associate working on alternative crops and cropping systems, primarily, intercropping, at the North Dakota State University (NDSU) Carrington Research Extension Center in east central North Dakota from 1989 to 1992. From 1992 through 2015, Patrick was an Associate Agronomist/Agronomist/Research Professor at the NDSU Dickinson Research Extension Center. He began conducting organic farming research while in Dickinson, culminating in the first approved research project on organic farming at NDSU in 2007 and having the first land at any NDSU research facility certified organic. In January, 2015, Patrick began as an associate professor of cropping systems at the MSU Central Agricultural Research Center just outside Moccasin, Montana. In July, 2016, Patrick took on the additional duties of superintendent at the center. Presently, there are 30 acres at the research center being transitioned for certified organic research.

Alyssa Charney, Policy Specialist, National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC). Alyssa is advocating for federal food and policy reform. She leads NSAC’s Conservation, Energy and Environment committee, and also works on organic agriculture, climate change, and the annual appropriations process. Alyssa holds an M.S. in Agriculture and Food Policy and an M.P.H from Tufts University, as well as a B.A. in Environmental Studies from Vassar College. She has worked on food and agriculture policy at the Center for Rural Affairs, New England Farmers Union, and the National Farm to School Network, and also served two years as a FoodCorps service member in Red Lodge, Montana.

Dan Collins, Entrepreneur in Residence, Bay State Milling Company. Dan is the former EVP of Business Development at Bay State Milling, and is now working on the cultivation of Montana-based supply chains for new and emerging plant-based ingredients. His early recognition of the demand for nutritious and affordable plant-based ingredients resulted in his cultivation of exclusive grower relationships on a global scale. Dan has traveled the world extensively on behalf of developing the company’s Certified Partner Sourced Ingredient program.

Jacob Cowgill, Farmer and Baker, Prairie Heritage Farm & Blue Truck Bread. Jacob and his wife Courtney own and operate Prairie Heritage Farm, a certified organic, diversified farm near Power, Montana, on the short-grass prairie where the Rocky Mountains meet the plains. They grow vegetables, vegetable seed, and heritage and ancient grains. They’ve recently added a micro-bakery called Blue Truck Bread, where Jacob is milling flour and baking sourdough artisan bread. Over the past nine years, Jacob has been trialing many different varieties of ancient and heritage wheat and barley. The trials have migrated from the field to the kitchen and opened the door to the notion of terroir, or taste of place.

Doug Crabtree, MOA Board Chair, Organic Trade Association Board, Farmer/Owner Vilicus Farms. Doug and his wife Anna Jones-Crabtree own and operate Vilicus Farms, a 5,000-acre certified organic dry-land farm in northern Hill County, growing 12 to 15 grain, pulse, broadleaf, and oilseed crops annually. Having started the farm “from scratch,” they share a passion for beginning farmers. Prior to launching the farm, Doug managed the State of Montana’s Organic Certification Program. Growing up on a conventional managed farm in Ohio, Doug never imagined he’d be anything else than a farmer. Doug and Anna established a mentoring apprenticeship program to actively engage new farmers in growing organically, giving them hand-on skills needed to farm successfully.

Jonda Crosby, Organic Inspector, Organic Educator, Food Safety Auditor, International Organic Inspectors Association. Jonda Crosby serves as IOIA’s Training Services Director. Jonda brings a wealth of educational and practical experience to IOIA with a lifelong commitment and career in sustainable and organic agricultural. Jonda’s broad experiences include: organic inspector, Co-owner of a certified organic farm, Co-founder of Big Sky Organic Feed, Executive Director (AERO), Cooperative Extension in both Pennsylvania and New York State, and Vo Ag teacher New York State. Jonda recently completed extensive food safety training to become a PrimusLabs GAP Auditor and HACCP, USDA Group GAP and GHP, Cornell Cooperative Extension GAP and Farm Food Safety Plan Writing. Jonda earned an MS and BS in Agriculture from Murray State University and an AS in Animal Science from SUNY Alfred. Jonda grew up on a small dairy farm in Western New York State.

Samantha Day
, Soil Scientist, Everything Organic Nursery, Kathmandu, Nepal. Samantha received her Master’s in Soil Science from the University of Wyoming in 2014. She went to Nepal with a Fulbright research grant in 2015 and spent a year traveling and exploring organic soil management practices, permaculture techniques, and traditional subsistence farming styles. She stayed an additional year in Nepal working with a small agricultural village cooperative in central Nepal (Gorkha District, Reep Republic Cooperative). In January, she will return to Nepal to work with Judith Chase at Everything Organic Nursery near Kathmandu. She will be the project manager for an initiative to generate rural income through cultivation of high-value fruit and nut trees, as well as bringing heirloom village crops to urban markets.

Heather Estrada, Ph.D., Associate Professor and Agriculture Program Director. Heather has been a professor and the director of FVCC’s Agriculture Program since 2013. Before becoming a teacher, she worked as an agronomist in Kalispell, Montana and Edmonton, Alberta, studying grain, pulse, and oilseed crops. Heather’s current agricultural interests include organic cropping systems, plant breeding, soil biochemistry, the social impacts of farming in America. She has been on the MOA Board since 2014 and currently serves as the Treasurer of the organization.

Ian Foley, Hemp Program Coordinator, Montana Department of Agriculture. Ian is a Montana State University (MSU) trained entomologist and has been with the Department of Agriculture since 2008.  In that time, he has worked with the pest survey, honeybee, leafcutter bee, nursery, and export certification programs prior to industrial hemp. 

Laura Garber, Owner/Co-operator, Homestead Organics Farm, Hamilton, Montana. Laura has been working for over a decade to grow community connection and involvement by making her farm a gathering place for learning. In 2016, Laura started an on-farm experiential learning and giving program in cooperation with Ravalli County Council on Aging. The program, Cultivating Connections, employs eight high school students as Youth Farm Interns, learning and growing food over the summer for the Meals On Wheels Program. Laura has facilitated five years of ‘Farm Camp,’ a weeklong day camp at Homestead Organics Farm, as well as four years of ‘Special Abilities Camp’ for children on the autism spectrum. She helped form the Loyal to Local Community and Agriculture Cooperative in 2014 and manages its Multi-Farm CSA, was a founding member of the Triple Divide Organic Seed Cooperative, and was a board member of the Hamilton Farmers Market Cooperative. Working with the Montana Poultry Growers Cooperative, Laura was a key player in building the first cooperatively managed poultry processing facility in the country. 

Wes Gibbs, Integrity Ag Services. Wes provides organic crop advising services. A Certified Crop Advisor (CCA), Wes performs soil testing, field monitoring, and follow-up analysis. He provides input on soils, rotations, and weed management, and also assists conventional growers to organic transition.

Jay Hould, President of Big Sky Wholesale Seeds, Inc. of Shelby, Montana/Executive Secretary of the Montech Seed Group. Upon graduation from MSU with BA in accounting, Jay passed the Certified Public Accountant Exam in 1987. He returned to North Central Montana and purchased Big Sky Wholesale Seeds, Inc. in 1987 and has served as president of the organization for over thirty years. Jay was one of the founding partners of Dynamic Seeds in Fairview, Alberta, Canada. Today Big Sky Wholesale Seeds is one of the principal owners of the Montech Seed Group. Big Sky Wholesale Seeds is active in grass seed, legume seed, lentil, field pea and cover crop and annual forage seed distribution. Jay has been active in the following seed trade organizations: American Seed Trade Association, Montana Seed Trade Association, Canadian Seed Trade Association and Pacific Seed Trade Association.

Kristina “Kiki” Hubbard, Director of Advocacy & Communications, Organic Seed Alliance. Kiki has worked on seed policy issues in the areas of antitrust, biotechnology, intellectual property, and organic regulation for 15 years. She currently leads efforts to promote policies and actions that support organic seed systems, including managing OSA’s State of Organic Seed project. Kiki lives in Missoula, Montana, with her husband and son.

Dr. Stephen D. Jones, Director, The Bread Lab, Washington State University (WSU). Stephen has a Ph.D. in Genetics from the University of California at Davis and teaches graduate courses in advanced classical genetics and in the history and ethics of genetics. His first wheat crop was on five acres at Chico State University in 1977. Together with his graduate students, he breeds wheat and other grains for local uses to be grown on small farms in the coastal West, the upper Northeast and other regions of the country. The Bread Lab is a combination think tank and baking laboratory where scientists, bakers, chefs farmers, maltsters, brewers, distillers and millers experiment with improved flavor, nutrition and functionality of regional and obscure wheats, barley, other small grains and beans.

Anna Jones-Crabtree, Ph.D., Owner/Farmer, Vilicus Farms; Executive Director, Vilicus Training Institute. Vilicus Farms is a 6800 acre, first generation, organic, dryland crop farm in Northern Hill County, Montana. Owned and operated by Anna and her husband, Doug Crabtree, Vilicus Farms grows a diverse array of organic heirloom and specialty grain, pulse, oilseed and broadleaf crops under five and seven-year rotations. Vilicus Training Institute is a non-profit project of the farm with the purpose of bringing the next generation of land stewards to the Northern Great Plains through formal apprenticeships. Anna is a Donella Meadows Leadership Fellow and a recipient of the White House Greening Government Sustainability Hero Award. She holds a Ph.D. in Civil and Environmental Engineering with a minor in Sustainable Systems from Georgia Institute of Technology.

Jeff Kostuik, Hemp Genetics International Inc. Jeff Began his agriculture career working in applied research with Manitoba Agriculture for 23 years. In 2015, Jeff began his career with Hemp Genetics International where he takes a lead role in sharing his agronomy knowledge to the HGI client base. Hemp research continues to be a focus for Jeff, both in Canada and abroad, determining what varieties will perform in varying conditions and climates. The company joins the global stage in working with producers and research affiliates to provide quality products as the benefits of hemp become more recognized. Along with his work with HGI, Jeff is an enthusiastic hemp farmer working with his brother in law on the family farm producing pedigreed hemp seed.

Al Kurki, Sustainable Ag Program Specialist, National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT). Since late 1994, Al has worked for the USDA Western region Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) grants program. He has been involved in Montana sustainable agriculture issues since 1984, which included working for AERO and serving on one of Montana OCIA’s first certifying committees.

Ron Larson, Coordinator, Montana Ag Safety Program. Since August of 2015 Ron Larson has had a small business, S&R Consulting LLC, centered on part-time work as a coordinator for the Montana Ag Safety Program. He retired from work with MSU in June of 2015, where he served as manager of the Montana Seed Growers Association for 25 years. He also served as interim manager of the Montana State Seed Lab for the last seven years of that time. Ron served as a member of the Board of Directors for AOSCA (The Association of Official Seed Certifying Agencies) from 2009 through April 2015, serving 3 two-year terms as a representative of AOSCA members from the Western Region of the US. He was employed at the Montana Agricultural Experiment Station, Southern Agricultural Research Center at Huntley as a technician and research associate in agronomy from April 1975 until March 1990. He graduated from Montana State University with a BS degree in agronomy.

Daryl Lassila, Farmer, Montana Farmers Union, Organic Advisory and Education Council (OAEC). Daryl worked for Western Montana Co-op for four years and ten years at what is now Mountain View Co-op in the fertilizer/chemical department. In 1998, Daryl started transitioning to organic. Wheat, barley, lentils, peas, flax, and spelt are the main crops grown. Daryl has become an advocate for organic agriculture being elected to the Board of Directors of the Montana Organic Association in 2010 and serving as its Chairman in 2011 and 2012. He is a Torchbearer and member of the Montana Farmers Union, twice visiting Congress members in Washington, DC, on ag issues. Daryl is a founding board member of OAEC. Daryl and his wife, Linda, have been very fortunate to raise their children Trista and Brady on the fourth generation family farm east of Great Falls.

Nathaniel (Nate) Lewis, Farm Policy Director, Organic Trade Association. Nate provides staff support to OTA’s Farmer Advisory Council, on-the-ground outreach to OTA’s organic farmer membership community and analysis of policy issues that affect organic crop and livestock producers. He interacts directly with government officials and the organic supply chain on behalf of the grower segment of OTA’s membership. Prior to his current position, Nathaniel served as Certification Coordinator for Washington State Dept. of Agriculture’s organic certification program where he managed WSDA’s material review program and gained certification experience in all scopes of organic production. Nathanial holds a Bachelor’s of Science from The Evergreen State College with a focus in agricultural science and organic chemistry.

Dr. Bruce Maxwell, Co-director, MSU Institute on Ecosystems and Professor of Agroecology/Applied Plant Ecology in the Department of Land Resources and Environmental Science at Montana State University. Bruce came to MSU in 1992 from the University of Minnesota, and holds a doctorate degree in Crop Science and Forest Ecology from Oregon State University. He completed his MS degree in 1984 in Agronomy and a BS degree in Botany in 1977 at Montana State University. Bruce grew up in Hamilton, Montana, attended University of Montana and was in the Peace Corps in Micronesia following his BS degree. Maxwell was instrumental in creating the interdisciplinary Sustainable Food and Bioenergy Systems (SFBS) undergraduate degree program. Maxwell was lead author of the Agriculture Sector of the Montana Climate Assessment.

Dr. Perry Miller, Professor of Sustainable Cropping Systems in the Department of Land Resources and Environmental Science at Montana State University. Perry came to MSU in 1998 from the Semiarid Prairie Agricultural Research Center of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, located in Swift Current, Saskatchewan. Perry holds a doctorate degree in Agronomy and Plant Genetics from the University of Minnesota. His MS degree was in Crop Science at the University of Guelph, and a BS degree in Agronomy from the University of Saskatchewan. Perry was raised in a the rural community of Carrot River, SK, and farmed, mostly unsuccessfully, while working three years as a specialty crop agronomist and buyer for a small private seed company near Carrot River.

Dr. Zach Miller, Assistant Professor and Director of the MSU-Western Ag. Research Center (WARC), Montana State University, Department of Research Centers. WARC’s focus is on high-value specialty crops including fruits and vegetables. Zach’s expertise is in plant and pest ecology and integrated pest management. He’s conducted research around the globe, from the rain forests of Central and South America to the high plains of the Highline. He received his doctorate from the University of Michigan. At Montana State University, Zach has used this approach to address a variety of challenges facing farmers in the region. He’s collaborating with scientists at MSU and across the country to improve integrated pest management of weeds and disease in a variety of crops. In horticultural crops, Zach is researching a variety fruit and vegetable production topics, including vegetable varieties suited for organic projection, maximizing yields and returns for high tunnels, cold-hardy fruit, including grapes and cider apples.

Ole Norgaard, Organic Advisory and Education Council Chair, and Farmer, North Frontier Farms. Ole currently leases an organic farm (650 acres) 13 miles west of Lewistown, Montana, where he grows peas, barley, wheat, sanfoin seed, triticale, alfalfa and grass hay and a special black/purple Indian corn. Ole is also working on his own value-added product line with a pancake and cornbread mix. He has been involved in farming all his life and holds a Bachelor Degree in Agricultural Science and a Specialized Degree in Agricultural Economy and Management. He has served on the Montana Organic Association board as Treasurer and Board Chair.

Bill O’Haire, Sales and Support, Wilbur-Ellis Company. Bill grew up in the Sun River Valley with a farm background. He began his career with Wilbur-Ellis in 1984. He is a seed specialist and sits on Wilbur-Ellis’ Organic Committee.

Judy Owsowitz, MOA Board, Owner Terrapin Farms. Judy has seen a lot in her more than 40 years of farming experience, and there is so much more to see! A passion for diversity has led her to grow over 500 varieties, many of which are also cultivated for seed development and production. Judy was on the steering committee to set up the Montana Organic Certification Program and on its first Advisory Council. In addition, she was on the steering committee for the Montana Organic Association and served as its first president. She also was on the steering committee and board of the Triple Divide Organic Seed Co-operative.

John Porterfield, President of Ignimbrite Minerals, Inc. Ignimbrite Minerals is leading a green revolution in agriculture with the introduction of the first organic silicon product in US Agriculture history (AAPFCO/Montana Dept. of Ag Nov 2011). Ignimbrite is defined as an Energy Efficient Fertilizer by USDA standards boosting the effectiveness of nitrogen, reducing water requirements, and unlocking phosphorus from soils. The company mines a food-grade silicon derived from some of the world’s finest non-crystalline devitrified amorphous volcanic tuff minerals, and produces products to National Organic Program standards. John serves as a private sector representative and mentor to numerous committees at the State of Montana including the 21st Century Community Learning Centers, F1 in Schools Program, Montana After-School Network, STEM Education Task Force and the Montana Youth Restoration Partnership. John served as an adviser to the Washington Corporation’s Early Care Education Study conducted by The Montana Office of Public Instruction. John grew up on a farm in southern West Virginia.

Nathaniel Powell-Palm, Independent Organic Inspector, Farmer. Nathaniel currently owns and operates Cold Springs Organics, a certified organic cattle and grain farm located outside of Bozeman, Montana. First certified organic by the Montana Department of Agriculture in 2008, Cold Springs Organics focuses on integrated livestock and crop production in the heart of the Gallatin Valley. Since 2012 Nathaniel has worked as an independent organic farm, livestock and processing inspector, contracting with certification agencies from California to Pennsylvania and 22 states in between. He holds a B.S. in Environmental Science from Montana State University, Bozeman.

Dr. Robert “Bob” Quinn, Founder and President, Kamut International. Bob is recognized as a progressive leader in promoting organic and sustainable agriculture throughout the state of Montana and the world. Bob helped form Montana’s first Organic Crop Improvement Association (OCIA) chapter in 1987, served on the first U.S. Department of Agriculture National Organic Standards Board, and has served on a USDA agriculture research advisory committee. In 1986, Bob Quinn’s company, Montana Flour & Grains, introduced the natural food industry to an ancient khorasan wheat variety. This grain is marketed as KAMUT® Brand khorasan wheat. Bob’s other agricultural businesses include The Oil Barn® and Big Sandy Organics (Kracklin’ KAMUT®). Bob works closely with various agricultural research institutions on testing of crops, including dry land vegetables for local markets, as well as new farming methods. In 2017, he grew a trial organic industrial hemp crop. He promotes food production systems based on producing high nutrition and quality rather than high yields. He earned a Ph.D. from the University of California at Davis in 1976 and studied to be a plant scientist.

Dr. Cheryl Reichert, MD, PhD, Emeritus Member, College of American Pathology. Cheryl is a Great Falls native. She became interested in medical science during high school when she received an American Cancer Society fellowship to work in the laboratory that later became the McLaughlin Research Institute. After completing M.D. and Ph.D. degrees at the University of Michigan, she studied Immunotherapy at the Pasteur Institute in Paris, France. She completed anatomic and clinical pathology residency training at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, Maryland, and then joined the faculty. While at the NIH, Dr. Reichert authored the first autopsy study of AIDS, co-authored the first successful use of cytokine immunotherapy of cancer and participated in a study that established the first model system for Parkinson’s Disease. In 1987 Dr. Reichert returned to Great Falls to practice pathology until her retirement. She was repeatedly named as one of the Best Doctors in America. She has served as State President of the Montana Pathology Society. She contributed to 44 original research articles and peer review scientific journals and eight book chapters.

Shelly Rolando, Chief Program Specialist, USDA-Farm Service Agency (FSA) in Bozeman, Montana. FSA assists farmers and ranchers with stabilizing income, conserving land and recovering from natural disasters. Shelly oversees the Risk Management Division for the Montana FSA, which administers ARC-PLC, disaster and compliance programs through a network of 48 local FSA offices across Montana. Shelly graduated in 1998 from Montana State University with a bachelor’s degree in Animal Science and has worked for FSA since 1999.

Jim Sargent, Auctioneer, News and Sports Director with STARadio, Great Falls. Jim “Sarge” Sargent can be heard on KINX 102.7 FM and mid-morning and early afternoons on 1049, the Wolf. Sarge grew up on a farm south of Chester. He worked in production agriculture growing wheat and barley and raising cattle. He also worked with Cargill elevators, buying and shipping grain. Sarge has been in the radio business at all levels for more than twenty five years. He has received a number of awards for sports broadcasting in addition to being recognized by the FFA Foundation and the 4-H Foundation for his work supporting the Future of Agriculture. Sarge has been married to his lovely wife of 33 years, Sue Sargent, who is a retired teacher that educated kids for over 34 years.

Margaret Scoles, Executive Director, International Organic Inspectors Association (IOIA). IOIA is a global nonprofit membership association of organic inspectors with primary activities of inspector training and promoting integrity in the organic certification process. Margaret has 29 years of organic inspection experience for different certifiers including inspection of farms, livestock, and processors. She served on the Steering Committee of IFOAM- North America, a regional affiliate of IFOAM Organics International. She holds a B.S. in Agriculture (Agronomy Major) from the University of Arizona. Margaret and her husband manage a cow/calf operation in southeastern Montana. 

Eric Sommer, State Statistician, USDA – National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS). Eric was raised on a small diverse farm in southern Idaho and is a graduate of University of Idaho with a degree in Economics focusing on Agriculture. He has worked with NASS for twenty years and has spent his career sharing the story of western U.S. agriculture working in Idaho, Colorado, Utah, and Montana. In Colorado, his work focused heavily on the livestock and the grain storage industries. In Utah and Montana, his experience has been broader to encompass agriculture as a whole in the state. As State Statistician, Eric has the opportunity to help Montana producers share the health of Montana’s Agricultural industry.

Jennifer Swanson, Assistant Professor of Biology, University of Providence (formerly called University of Great Falls). Jenn grew up in California, attending college at UC Davis and graduate school at UC San Francisco. In 1996, she followed her family roots back to Montana, and put down roots of her own. Although her academic background is in cell biology and pharmacology, she spent more than a decade raising cattle and has an ongoing passion for all things agricultural. She currently teaches Cell and Molecular Biology, Science Writing, and Anatomy and Physiology at University of Providence, Great Falls.

Ben Thomas, Director, Montana Department of Agriculture. Most recently, Ben served as the Deputy Under Secretary for the Marketing and Regulatory Programs Mission Area at USDA, where he helped oversee the Agricultural Marketing Service, the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, and the Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration. He served as the Chief of Staff for the Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services Mission Area. Prior to joining USDA, Ben served as Legislative Assistant and Counsel to Senators Max Baucus and John Walsh, helping write and implement the 2014 Farm Bill. Ben graduated from Austin College in Sherman, Texas, with a Bachelor of Arts degree. He received his Juris Doctor from Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, and his LL.M in Agricultural and Food Law from the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville.

Mariann Van Den Elzen, Produce Category Manager, Quality Foods Distributing. Mariann founded both Field Day Farms, a certified organic produce farm (2008) and Market Day Foods, a Montana food distribution business (2010). MDF sourced locally grown foods from over 80 Montana farms, ranches and small-scale food producers. The business started as an online retail market, servicing communities in southwest Montana. However, MDF grew quickly, adding wholesale distribution to food service, grocery and institutional accounts. In May 2015, Market Day Foods was purchased by Bozeman-based Quality Foods Distributing, broadening the reach of local and regional foods to communities throughout Montana and into northern Wyoming and southeast Idaho.

Michael Vetere, Owner, 2J’s Fresh Market, Great Falls, Montana. 2J’s is the go-to market in Great Falls for organic and local, grown in Montana produce, meat, dairy and baked goods. 2J’s opened its doors in 1986 and has been serving the Great Falls community as a locally owned and operated business ever since. They began as a wholesale produce company that transitioned into a natural food store to better meet the needs of their customers. They are committed to delivering the freshest products at the best possible prices. Whenever possible they source their products locally and organically. In addition to their produce department and full-service butcher block, they offer a wide variety of bulk foods, as well as an extensive selection of supplements and health and beauty products.

Georgana Webster, Organic Program Manager, Montana Dept. of Agriculture/Commodity Services Bureau/USDA NOP Accredited Certifier. Georgana has a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Animal Science from Cal Poly University. She has been deeply involved in her work and private life with agriculture, livestock production, livestock judging, 4H, FFA, and agriculture extension. This includes commercial livestock production management in swine, dairy, and sheep. Georgana has conducted clinical and research activities as a Staff Research Associate with the U.C. Davis Veterinary Teaching and Research Center. Georgana came from the Washington State Department of Agriculture’s Organic program where she worked for eight years as their Organic Livestock Field Specialist in two states.

Becky Weed, Thirteen Mile Lamb and Wool Company, Farm/Ranch/Wool Mill jointly owned with her husband Dave Tyler. Sheep/grass/lamb have been the main enterprise since they started Thirteen Mile 30 years ago, but the business has included grass-fed beef off and on (including some pasture for Goldhahns’ C5 Organics), wool products, and custom wool processing for Thirteen Mile and other sheep producers since 2003. In 2016-17 Becky worked with Bruce Maxwell at MSU on the Agriculture Chapter of the Montana Climate Assessment. Becky has served on the boards of the Wild Farm Alliance, the Montana Board of Livestock, Lava Lake Land & Livestock, and Predator Conservation Alliance (now People & Carnivores). Her interest in the interface between agriculture and conservation stems in part from her ranching experience, but also from her education and work as a geologist in some very wild, and some very urban places. Her degrees in Geology are from Harvard University (B.A.) and University of Maine (M.S.).

Phillip Winkler, Chef, Great Falls Benefis Hospital.

David Wise, Independent Contractor, GAP Internal Auditor/On Farm Food Safety Specialist, Montana Farmers Union/National Farmers Union Food Safety Collaborative. David has a background in small and medium scale vegetable farming across Western Montana. He has also worked on orchards, dairies, and ranches. In addition to his previous experience managing and working within local food systems, in 2014 he started a small value added food company with a friend giving him experience in managing a local food business. Through his endeavors, David began learning about and attending trainings for regulations pertaining to farms in Montana. His experience and training led to his work with farmers across Montana to help them implement changes on their farms in order to meet relevant regulations.


If you’d like more conference information or would like to volunteer or make a scholarship donation, call Patti Gregerson at (406) 333-1054 or email her here.

Vendor spaces are going very quickly this year. Please contact Jamie at (406) 251-9418 to make a reservation.

If you'd like to make a donation for the silent auction, call Cliff Merriman at (406) 654-4391 or email him here.

Image by iStock/leolintang

©2017 Montana Organic Association