Montana State University

MSU to honor Jim Hagenbarth as Outstanding Agricultural Leader

October 4, 2016 -- By Jenny Lavey, MSU News Service

MSU has named Jim Hagenbarth of Hagenbarth Livestock in Dillon the 2016 Outstanding Agricultural Leader. Those nominating Hagenbarth for the award say he has a long and respected history of public service in wildlife, range, conservation and water issues that has produced meaningful progress in the agricultural industry for Montana. Photo courtesy of Jim Hagenbarth.

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Tel: (406) 994-4571
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BOZEMAN -- Jim Hagenbarth of Hagenbarth Livestock in Dillon has been named the 2016 Outstanding Agricultural Leader on behalf of Montana State University’s College of Agriculture and Montana Agricultural Experiment Station. The public is invited to congratulate Hagenbarth at a Montana-made breakfast to be held at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 12, in MSU’s South Gym of the Marga Hosaeus Fitness Center during the college’s annual Celebrate Agriculture event scheduled for Nov. 11-12 at MSU.

MSU Vice President of Agriculture Charles Boyer said Hagenbarth is a successful and respected agriculture leader for Montana and a great example for current university agriculture students.

“Jim Hagenbarth represents some of the very best of Montana agriculture: commitment to the stewardship of land, resources and people and an impressive dedication to public service,” Boyer said. “We’re pleased to honor Jim with this award, not only for his family’s successful livestock and ranching business, but because he has worked tirelessly to engage in difficult conversations and processes at local and national levels, to find common ground among diverse voices and agendas. In agriculture, that is not easy.”

The award is given annually to individuals or couples who are engaged and well-respected in the state’s agricultural community. Recipients are those who have impacted many with their accomplishments, have a lifetime of achievement in agriculture, are industry leaders or innovative producers and are actively involved in the agricultural community.

Hagenbarth exhibits outstanding leadership in agricultural and public service to Montana and MSU, according to members of the selection committee. The Montana Stockgrowers Association and the MSU Department of Animal and Range Sciences nominated Hagenbarth for the award. Letters of support for his nomination were received from the United States Department of Agriculture, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks, the Department of Natural Resource Conservation and a host of Montana ranchers.

Nominators said Hagenbarth is well-respected among livestock ranchers, wildlife and fisheries biologists, government agencies, special interest groups and watershed groups. They add that he has been an exemplary, composed leader in contentious and high-stakes natural resource discussions and as a farm and ranch policy advocate for Montana producers.  He has also successfully forged private and public partnerships in species management protection and for natural resources at state and national levels.

Perhaps Hagenbarth’s most notable influence, according to support letters, is his work with the Montana citizens working group for the Interagency Bison Management Plan, a cooperative, multi-agency effort that guides the management of bison and brucellosis in and around Yellowstone National Park. His work with this effort led him to testify before the U.S. Congress regarding Montana’s cattle and bison interactions, particularly surrounding the brucellosis disease. Additionally, Hagenbarth has lobbied in Washington, D.C. for the Big Hole Watershed Committee, of which he was a founding member and currently serves as vice president. His dedication to the Upper Snake Sage-Grouse Local Working Group resulted in a 38-page plan drafted between citizen ranchers and state and federal agencies to increase sage-grouse populations in the upper Snake River region of Idaho. He has also been an invited speaker to numerous national conventions, including National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and the First National Bison Symposium.

Hagenbarth is a volunteer on the Montana Board of Livestock, National Cattlemen’s Association and the USDA-ARS Forage and Range Research lab in Logan, Utah. He has served as a research advisory council member of the Montana Agricultural Experiment Station and is active in the Knights of Columbus, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, Montana Stockgrowers Association and the St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church.

Hagenbarth’s family history in Montana’s sheep and cattle industries dates back to statehood, when Hagenbarth’ s grandfather managed 150,000 sheep and 500,000 cattle on nearly two million acres of range. Hagenbarth’s family still owns and manages the 120 year-old cattle ranch today. 

Hagenbarth received a bachelor’s degree in business management from the University of Notre Dame before returning to work on his family’s ranch.

Hagenbarth and his wife, Laurie, have three adult children: Mark, John and Kate.

The selection committee for the Outstanding Agricultural Leader award is comprised of three Montana agriculture representatives, a College of Agriculture faculty member and an MSU student. MSU’s College of Agriculture has presented Outstanding Agricultural Leader awards since 1999.

Contact: Susan Fraser, 994-3601, sfraser@montana.edu