Montana State University

Outstanding Ag Leaders to be honored during Ag Appreciation Weekend at MSU

October 12, 2011 -- MSU News Service

Diana Alkire of Bozeman, Dan Lake of Ronan and Richard Owen of Geraldine have been named 2011 Outstanding Ag Leaders by MSU's College of Agriculture.    High-Res Available

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MSU News Service
Tel: (406) 994-4571
Bozeman -- Diana Alkire of Bozeman, Dan Lake of Ronan and Richard Owen of Geraldine have been named 2011 Outstanding Ag Leaders by the College of Agriculture at Montana State University.

All three will be honored at 5 p.m. Friday, Oct. 28, at the Celebrating Agriculture Social in the Strand Union Building ballrooms on the MSU campus. The public is invited to attend.

The Outstanding Ag Leader Award is a statewide award given to individuals or couples who are well-respected in the agricultural community, with accomplishments that impact many; have a lifetime of achievement in agriculture; are industry leaders or upcoming innovative producers; and are actively involved in the agricultural community in Montana. A selection committee comprised of three agriculture representatives, a College of Agriculture faculty member and a student, reviews the applications each year, said Jeff Jacobsen, dean of the College of Agriculture. This award has been presented by the College of Agriculture since 1999. A list of past awardees can be found at

"Montana is a very special place that is exemplified by its people whom are involved in agriculture, and specifically, our diverse awardees," Jacobsen said.

"These leaders have been highly engaged with faculty, staff and students across departments and over decades in the MSU College of Agriculture," Jacobsen said. "When I think about their home communities - Bozeman, Ronan, and Geraldine - it reinforces the real fabric of the people and their core values. Their achievements are certainly notable, but the stunning aspect of each individual is their life-long engagement to advancing agriculture."

Alkire grew up on her family's ranch between Lame Deer and Colstrip which has been in operation for over 120 years. While she was growing up, she excelled in 4-H and FFA. Her favorite activity was training most of the ranch-bred horse stock, an interest that has continued throughout her life.

Alkire started her working life in Forsyth working for the Forsyth Independent Press writing articles and selling ads. Later she joined the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services as a social worker. She was also a 4-H club leader and Odyssey of the Mind coach.

Alkire continues to be involved in 4-H and FFA, serving six years each on the Montana FFA Foundation Board and the Montana 4-H Foundation board.

Alkire began working for the Montana Farm Bureau Federation (MFBF) in 1996, where she currently serves as the executive secretary and chief financial officer. She is responsible for most of the "business" of the organization, handling human resources, conference coordinator, and coordinator of the MFBF's Equine and Health and Safety Committees. Alkire's passion for horses extends into her professional career where she has been instrumental in publishing the MFBF Equine Directory, establishing the Equine Boosters of MSU Top of the West Horse Sale to support the equine program at MSU, and getting an Equine Committee formed at MFBF and the American Farm Bureau Federation. Alkire has volunteered countless hours to MSU serving on the Animal and Range Sciences Department Advisory Committee, the Department Head Search Committee, and MSU Equine Boosters.

Alkire is married to Russell Alkire, has two grown daughters and a grandson.

Lake was raised by his parents, Don and Bernie, alongside three brothers and two sisters on the family operation, Lake Seed Inc./Lake Glacier View Farm in Ronan, which raises potato and grain seed. Dan started a tissue culture lab for production of pathogen-free potato plantlets on the family farm in 1983, one of the first on a private Montana farm. He graduated from MSU in 1987 with a degree in agronomy.

Today, Lake Seed Inc./Lake Glacier View Farm is a modern integrated family farming operation operated in partnership by the four Lake brothers (Dan, David, Pat and Tim). Their sisters, Ann Lamm and Theresa Pearson, are married and raising families. The operation is dependent on research-based information and is one of the first operations to integrate new technologies. The farm operation produces 400 acres of certified seed potatoes and 2,200 acres of certified and commercial small grains, oat and pea seed production. In addition to the potato tissue culture lab, the farm has a certified seed cleaning and seed treating facility. Lake Seed Inc./Lake Glacier View Farm received the National Small Business of the Year Award in 1997 from the Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company.

Lake has served on the Northwestern Agricultural Research Center Advisory Board and the Montana Agricultural Experiment Station State Advisory Council. He is currently serving on the MSU President's Advisory Council, Montana Potato Advisory Committee, and the National Potato Council. He also serves on the Montana FFA Alumni Board, the Lake County Fair Board and the First Interstate Bank Board. He is a member of the MSU Alumni Association.

Lake is married to Jan Lake. They have one son, Beau, and three daughters: Brianna, Bridgette and Brittinee.

Owen operates a family farm east of Geraldine, raising wheat, barley and specialty crops. He earned a bachelor's degree from MSU in agricultural economics.

He was elected to the CHS Board of Directors in 1999. He chairs the CHS Government Relations Committee and is a member of the Governance Committee.

Owen is dedicated to the concept of cooperatives. He is president of the Montana Cooperative Development Center and serves on the Montana Council of Cooperatives and Mountain View of Montana, LLC. He also serves on the board of ACDI/VOCA, a Washington, D.C.-based international cooperative development organization. He is past secretary and past president of Equity Co-op Association of Geraldine and past secretary of Central Montana Cooperative of Geraldine and Denton. Owen received the Cooperative Leadership Award from Montana Farmers Union in 2005.

Owen serves on the MSU College of Agriculture Academic Advisory Committee. He is a member of the Montana Farmers Union and the Montana Grain Growers Association. He is active in his local church. Owen is a private pilot and manages a private airstrip near Geraldine.

Owen and his wife, Chris, have two sons.

Evelyn Boswell, (406) 994-5135 or