Friday, September 22, 2023

MSU College of Agriculture Seeks Nominations for Outstanding Ag Leaders

by Colter Brown

Montana State University’s College of Agriculture is seeking nominations for the Outstanding Agricultural Leader award, which will be presented during the annual Celebrate Agriculture Weekend Nov. 12-13 at MSU.

The award recognizes individuals, families or businesses that have gone above and beyond for the Montana agricultural industry in the realms of public service, advocacy, production or business. Awardees will be honored during the Celebrate Ag breakfast event on Nov. 13 ahead of the Bobcat football game against the University of Idaho Vandals.

“We are so excited to be hosting our Celebrate Ag weekend in person again after a virtual event in 2020,” said MSU Vice President of Agriculture and College of Agriculture Dean Sreekala Bajwa. “It will be such a joy to see and honor our stakeholders, supporters and alumni, and presenting the Outstanding Agricultural Leader award is a large part of that.”

The selection committee for the Outstanding Agricultural Leader award comprises past chairpersons of the Montana Agricultural Experiment Station Advisory Council, the College of Agriculture’s Academic Advisory Committee and the college’s development board, as well as a current faculty member and a member of the College of Agriculture Student Advisory Council.

The Outstanding Agriculture Leader was not awarded in 2020, when Celebrate Ag Weekend took place virtually. The last awardee was Buzz Mattelin in 2019. A third-generation barley, durum wheat and sugar beet grower from northeast Montana, Mattelin was nominated by a number of individual colleagues as well as the American Malting Barley Association and National Barley Improvement Committee. MSU’s newest barley variety, released in 2019, is named “Buzz” in his honor.

To be considered for the award, nominees must be well respected in their agricultural community with accomplishments that have wide impact; be an industry leader or an upcoming active innovative producer; and be actively involved in the agriculture industry.

Active MSU or government employees are only eligible for the award’s “Friend of the COA/MAES” category. Retired university or government employees will be considered if they have been retired for at least two years and have shown service above and beyond their job description. Nominees who are not selected will be reconsidered in future years, but application forms should be updated.

The deadline for nominations is Monday, Aug. 30, and supporting letters of recommendation are highly encouraged. Nominators can fill out an online nomination form at Hard copies of the form can be requested by calling the College of Agriculture dean’s office at 406-994-3681.

The Celebrate Agriculture Weekend is an annual event to honor Montana’s agricultural legacy and current and future agricultural leaders, producers and students. Further details for the event will be posted to the Celebrate Agriculture website this summer.

Check out this list of the past Outstanding Agricultural Leaders! Certainly a who’s who of Montana agriculture but there are still several names that need to be added.



Buzz Mattelin, Culbertson



Ron Ueland, Butte (awarded posthumously)



David Oien, Ulm



Jim Hagenbarth, Dillon



Max & Kirsti Cederberg, Turner

Lola Raska, Belt



Don Burnham, Helena

Sky Anderson & Monica Switzer, Shields Valley



Bing Von Bergen, Moccasin

Tom & Mary Kay Milesnick, Belgrade

Friend of College/Station: Senator Max Baucus



Dale Schuler, Carter

Larry and Madge Pilster, Alzada



Diana Alkire, Bozeman

Dan Lake, Ronan

Richard Owen, Geraldine



Dan Kidd, Big Sandy

Janice Mattson, Chester



John Swanz, Judith Gap

John Youngberg, Belgrade



Taylor Brown, Huntley

Les Graham, Bozeman



John Paugh, Belgrade



Gary Broyles, Rapelje

Lochiel Edwards, Big Sandy

Tom Jurenka, Hysham



Jon and Sharla Tester, Big Sandy

Tom and Carol Peterson, Wilsall

Jake Cummins, Bozeman



Bob Hanson, White Sulphur Springs

Donald Fast, Glasgow

Chuck McGlothlin, Park City

Gene Surber, Bozeman



Robert, Ann and Earl Boettcher, Big Sandy

Harlin and Jodi Steiger, Forsyth



Kevin Halverson, Big Timber

David L. McClure, Lewistown

Public service to ag: Greg Bennett, Ronan

Public service to ag: Senator Conrad Burns



Vern and Naomi Pluhar, Cohagen

Greg Gould, Aimee Hachigian-Gould & sons Brandon and Andrew, Ulm



Don and Bernadine Lake, Ronan

Ralph Peck, Helena

Ole Ueland, Silver Bow and Deer Lodge counties



Lynn Cornwell, Glasgow

Don Herzog, Rapelje

Bob Bellows, Miles City

Magnus Aasheim, Antelope



Bob Thoft, Stevensville

Don Steinbeisser, Sidney

Bill Jones, Choteau

Kathleen Hanson, Melville



Marie Hovland, Great Falls

Glenn and Mary Ann Moore, Billings

Mark and Nancy Peterson, Havre

John and Florence Young, Decker



Bill and Charlotte Mathers, Miles City

Terry Murphy, Cardwell

Mack and Dorothea Quinn, Big Sandy



Larry and Molly Descheemaeker, Lewistown

Dean and Hope Folkvord, Three Forks

Bob and Kathy Lee, Judith Gap

John “Bud” and Joanne Leuthold, Billings

Chuck and Stephanie Merja, Sun River

Rick and Mary Sampsen, Dagmar


Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x