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REAL Montana Class V takes part in inaugural seminar September 15-17

Cassi Hammerness, Cardwell, returned from Bozeman as part of REAL Montana (Resource Education and Agriculture Leadership). For Cassi and other members of REAL Montana Class V, this was the first of ten seminars in their two-year educational program.

While in Bozeman, the class completed personality assessments, participated in a high ropes course, and received training on networking and building relationships. Class members participated in the first module in a series focused on fundamental attributes of personal and organizational leadership with Ara Megerdichian. The Class participated in an educational tour of Dry Hills Distillery focused on diversification and innovative ways to expand agriculture opportunities in an urban setting. Class members toured the Sales Ranch and B-3 Farms to discuss the changing face of farming in the Gallatin Valley, and challenges and opportunities involving generational transfer of farms and farming practices. A networking banquet was held at the MSU Bobcat Stadium, where Alumnus shared their experience and lessons learned during their tenure with REAL Montana. The banquet was attended by REAL Montana alumni, industry leaders, and program sponsors.

Cassi said, "What an honor and privilege to be selected as a member of Class V of REAL Montana. We held our first seminar in Bozeman recently, and I was in awe of the high caliber of participants in this class. We had an amazing first couple of days together getting to meet several generous sponsors, hearing from leadership experts and local producers, and even navigating a high ropes course in the rain together. I am so excited for the next two years and cannot wait to grow more personally and professionally in this program."

Twenty of Montana's emerging and established leaders were competitively selected from a pool of qualified candidates representing a wide variety of agriculture and natural resource industries across the state to take part in Class V of REAL Montana. REAL Montana builds a network of informed and engaged leaders to advance the natural resource industries in Montana. The two-year program features eight in-state seminars; a five-day national study tour in Washington D.C .; and a ten-day international trip. 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.

Complete program information is available at or by contacting Tara Becken, program director, at (406) 930-4205, [email protected].