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Flathead County January 2023 NewsletterMSU Logo



Printable version of the Flathead County January 2023 Newsletter (PDF)

MSU Extension Flathead County Newsletter January 2023

Upcoming Extension Meetings and Special Events for January

Forums, Committees & Councils

· Flathead 4-H Council: Thursday, Jan 26th, 6pm 4-H Building

· Flathead 4-H Foundation: Tuesday, Feb 23rd 6:00pm 4-H Building

· Ag/Livestock Committee: Thursday, Mar 2nd at 5:45 pm  4-H Building

· Horse Committee: Thursday, Jan 12th at 6:00pm 4-H Building

· Beef Committee: TBA

· Hog Committee: Wednesday Jan 4th, 6:30pm TBA

· Sheep Committee: TBA

· Goat Committee: Wednesday Jan 25th, 6pm 4-H Building

· Awards Committee: TBA

Upcoming Activities & Other Meetings

🍀 Jan 3, Dog Project 7pm  Country Kitchen

🍀 Jan 6, Leader Banquet 6:30pm Elks Lodge

🍀 Jan 7, 4-H Horse Packing Orientation 1pm Wolf Pack Way

🍀 Jan 8, Leadership Academy Online Series

🍀 Jan 10, Dog Project 7pm  Country Kitchen

🍀 Jan 11, Extension office Closed 12:30-3:30 for monthly safety meeting

🍀 Jan 15-17, Citizenship Seminar Helena

🍀 Jan 17, Legislative Breakfast, Helena

🍀 Jan 17, Dog Project 7pm  Country Kitchen

🍀 Jan 17, Small Animal Clinic 6pm 4-H Blding

🍀 Jan 21, Foods Fair, Expo Building

🍀 Jan 24, Dog Project 7pm  Country Kitchen

🍀 Jan 28, 4-H Horse Packing Clinic I Country Kitchen

🍀 Jan 28, Flathead Shooting Sports Invitational

🍀 Jan 31, Dog Project 7pm  Country Kitchen

🍀 Jan 31, 4-H Steer Replacement Cut-off

🍀 Feb 1, Market Sheep & Swine Enrollment Deadline

🍀 Feb 7, Dog Project 7pm  Country Kitchen

🍀 Feb 8, Extension office Closed 12:30-3:30 for monthly safety meeting

🍀 Feb 13-17, No Office Admin Available

🍀 Feb 14, Dog Project 7pm  Country Kitchen

🍀 Feb 17-19, MT 4-H Volunteer Institute

🍀 Feb 18, Cloverbud Meeting 10am Sykes Basement

🍀 Feb 21, Dog Project 7pm  Country Kitchen

🍀 Feb 25, 4-H Trail & Packing Clinic II 10am Country Kitchen

🍀 Feb 28, Dog Project 7pm  Country Kitchen

Table of Contents

Page 2—From MSU Extension Office

Page 3-—Club Reporter Monthly Feature Story

Page 4—Flathead 4-H Foundation Notes

Page 4-5—State Events and Information

Page 6-7—County Events and Information

Page 8-9—Project Information

Page 9—Market Project Information

Page 10-11—Miscellaneous Information

Page 12—SNAP Recipe


Flathead 4-H Members, Volunteers, and Parents,

Good afternoon and happy holidays to you all.  I hope the winter break from school and (hopefully) some days off from work have been restful for you and your families.


Thank you to the volunteers who attended the Montana 4-H Center Shooting Sport training in early December at the Fairgrounds.  It was encouraging to see several new Flathead 4-H volunteers earn their instructor certification.  Over a third of Flathead 4-H members participate in at least one of our outstanding shooting sports disciplines.  We’re always looking for new instructors to help train the next generation.   


Thank you also to the 4-H members and clubs who volunteered their time to help sort gifts for the Toys for Tots program on December 11th.  Please see page 4 of this newsletter for some action photos. 


After we celebrate New Years Day, Flathead 4-H will embark on a busy January schedule.  First on Friday, January 6th Flathead 4-H will honor our volunteer leaders with an appreciation dinner at the Elks Lodge.  Please RSVP to Dee or Kristi Davis as soon as possible and plan on attending.  Please see page 7 of this newsletter for additional details.


The Montana 4-H Center will conduct a three day Citizenship Seminar in Helena from January 15th to the 17th.  This event will conclude with the Legislative Breakfast and a tour of several state government buildings on the final day.  Please see page 5 of this newsletter for additional information.  Please email me prior to Jan 1st if you are interested in attending these events.  The registration deadline is quickly approaching. 


Flathead County 4-H Shooting Sports will host their annual Invitational on Saturday, January 28th in the Fairgrounds Grandstand building.  Please contact the Extension Office for additional information.


On Saturday, January 21st Flathead 4-H will hold our annual Foods Fair at the Fairgrounds Expo Center.  This year’s theme is “Flannels and Favorites.”  Please see page 6 of this newsletter for additional details.  The event planning committee and your org / club leaders will be sending out more info in the coming week or two. 


Best wishes for an enjoyable and safe New Years weekend and great start to 2023.



Rick Balestri MSU 4-H Extension Agent


Greetings 4-H Family!

The Open Horizons 4-H Club had a very fun and successful 2021-2022! We kicked off the year with a chili dinner Achievement/Awards Night and election of new officers. We also reviewed our club’s bylaws and constitution and made a few changes. The fall and winter passed by quickly with monthly meetings and lots of great demonstrations, many nights of shooting sports practice and competitions, Foods Fair, hog clinics, a Bingo Night at the County Kitchen, County Congress, designing a club logo and having apparel made. During the holiday season we donated to a local family in need, volunteered at Toys For Tots, rang the Salvation Army Red Kettle Bell in front of Walmart and wrapped gifts at Murdochs. The spring continued with more monthly meetings, great demonstrations and Shooting Sports muzzleloading! In April some members of the club met at the Darrell E. Fenner Loon Lake 4-HCamp to help clean up and get it ready for campers. The months continued with many members attending hog and small animal clinics and doing some painting in the small animal barn at the fairgrounds. We rounded out the end of the school year with a work afternoon at Stillwater Lutheran Church. A way of thanking the church for letting us meet there so often. We cleaned up the roadsides, pulled weeds, planted flowers and then enjoyed a potluck. We also spent an afternoon at the Food Bank packing bags of food for people in need. We all agreed that it was the funnest volunteering we had done all year! Summer rolled around with Project Tour in July. We spent the afternoon and evening traveling around to each club member's house. We saw many pigs, chickens, rabbits and 1 goat. We concluded the tour with a delicious BBQ. Fair week was a BLAST! We were all exhausted after a week of hog shows, rabbit shows, goat shows and entering baking, photography and sewing exhibits! The

year ended at the County 4-H Awards night, celebrating all our members and friends who received awards! This year Open Horizons 4-H Club definitely made the best better!

Attention 4-H Club Reporters!!


What is a 4-H Club Reporter? Do you know what a news reporter is for the newspaper or for the TV news? A 4-H Club Reporters is the same thing except they report what is going on in their 4-H Club. Do you have a story you would like to feature in the Extension newsletter? We are going to feature a different club each month so get your keyboards ready and keep your ears and eyes open for some fabulous news to share with the Extension community. Email your story to [email protected] We can’t wait to see what is going on in your 4-H Club!

Flathead 4-H Foundation Cookbooks!


The Flathead 4-H Foundation has cookbooks for sale. The cost is $10 per book and the club keeps $8 and $2 comes back to the Flathead 4-H Foundation. Check out cookbooks from the Extension Office. Call in advance if you are wanting a large amount of cookbooks.

Toys for Tots was a Success!


Leadership Academy: Online series

Members 4-H Age 12 and up


Local county leadership groups will have an opportunity to join with groups from around the state as well as the Montana 4-H Ambassador Officer team, virtually and in person when possible, to work on skill building, planning and mentorship. 


Each month the officer team members will be presenting a different workshop topic that they have found to be important as they have grown their own leadership abilities. This workshop should be paired with a local county leadership meeting to work on county projects that serve the local 4-H program and community. 



Dates & Times

§ December 11, 2022 3:00-4:00 PM

§ January 8, 2023 3:00-4:00 PM

§ February 5, 2023 3:00-4:00 PM

§ March 5, 2023 3:00-4:00 PM

The 2023 Montana 4-H Citizenship Seminar will take place from January 15-17, 2023 in Helena at the Delta Colonial Hotel. This citizenship-in-action seminar is designed to educate Montana youth about the rights and responsibilities of citizenship.  

When:  The seminar will begin on Sunday, January 15 at 3:00 p.m. and end on Tuesday, January 17 sometime in the early afternoon around 1:30 p.m. 

Where:  Helena, Montana – Seminar activities will take place at the Delta Colonial Hotel in conjunction with Legislative Breakfast, the Bill Hamilton Building as well as the state capitol complex. 

Eligibility:  4-H members must be 13 years of age by October 1, 2022. Delegates will also attend the Legislative Breakfast on Tuesday, January 17.   

Chaperones:  Each delegate must have a designated (adult) chaperone. Counties may combine with other counties to reach a desired 1:10 ratio of adults to youth. Chaperones will be asked to participate in the seminar by acting as lobbyists during the legislative process. Any adults with special skills or interests please email [email protected] if you would like to assist in any way. 

Accommodations:  Each individual/county must make their own guest room reservations. A block of rooms is reserved at the Delta Colonial Hotel (2301 Colonial Drive, Helena) under 'Montana 4-H Citizenship Seminar' by calling (406) 443-2100. The block will be open from November 28, 2022 – January 1, 2023. The rate is $107.00 per room plus tax (single/double occupancy) or $123.00 per room plus tax (triple/quad occupancy). 

Fee:  There is a $85 registration fee per youth and adult to offset the seminar program costs. The Montana 4-H Foundation contributes $3,000. The program fee includes all meals for both Montana Citizenship Seminar and the Legislative Breakfast. 

Registration:  Youth and adults log into your ZSuite Profile and register under Events starting November 28, 2022 – January 2, 2023. Please check with your county office to confirm the amount before paying.  

Transportation:  Transportation to and from the seminar and shuttling youth delegates between activities is the county’s responsibility.   

Legislative Bill:  Each delegate is expected to sponsor one “bill” suitable for the 4-H Legislature. This should be submitted, electronically, to Christine Sommers-Austin [email protected] by January 2, 2023. The bills will be reviewed and grouped by topic area into committees prior to the seminar. Please see the template included with this email and in the ZSuite registration for information on how to write a bill.  

Service Project:  Each delegate and county will have the opportunity to contribute to a service project that is yet to be determined.  

History Bowl:  Each delegate will have the opportunity to compete in the Montana History Bowl. The first round of the History Bowl will be a written form given on Sunday, January 15 during the seminar's check-in to determine the participates who will compete in the second and final rounds throughout the event.  

Checklist:  Please complete the following by the January 1 and January 2, 2023 deadlines 

_____ Reserve your hotel room by January 1, 2023 or earlier

_____ Registration through ZSuite by January 2, 2023 or earlier

_____ Check with your county office to confirm amount before paying

_____ Email your mock legislative bill to [email protected] by January 2, 2023 or earlier

Contact Christine Sommers-Austin at [email protected] or 406-994-3504 with questions and/or comments.

4-H Ambassador News!


The 4-H Ambassadors go through an application and interview process to see who can represent the Flathead 4-H Youth. This year’s Flathead 4-H Ambassadors are:


Patience Bain                Rachelle Becker            Taften Erickson            Lance Fritz                     Annika Mason

Brynn Mason                 Jayden McIntyre           Tracen McIntyre           Abby Sliter


Let’s congratulate these Flathead 4-H Ambassadors and support them as they represent our Flathead 4-H Youth!

2023 Foods Fair
2023 Flathead County 4-H Foods Fair will be held Saturday, January 21st at the Expo Building at the fairgrounds.  This year's theme is "Flannels and Favorites".  


The Expo building will be open on January 20th from 6-8pm and January 21st at 7am to set up and decorate your club's area as club booths will be judged.  Each club will have 1-2 tables and 5 chairs.  If you need more tables, please bring your own.  Remember to bring extension cords and other equipment or supplies you might need.  


Please be set up by 9am on January 21st, judging will commence at 9:30am.  There are junior and senior classes for each category.  The last 2 categories "Theme" and Best of the Best" will be call backs.  


We are asking every club to donate a small item to put in each judge’s “thank you" gift baskets.  There are 10 judges.  Please drop these items off at the Extension office no later than January 13th.  


Attached is the recipe form to fill out and bring attached to your food item (s).  These will be collected and kept by the judges.  Remember, display and plating is part of your score, be creative!  


Each club is responsible for cleaning up following the event.  


See you there.

Who: All Flathead 4-H volunteer leaders + spouse / one adult guest

What: Volunteer Appreciation Dinner (catered by the Vista Linda)

Where: Elks Lodge, 1820 US Highway 93 S, Kalispell, MT 59901

When: Friday, January 6th @ 6:30 p.m.

Why: To thank our outstanding Flathead 4-H volunteer leaders


Please RSVP in person to the 4-H office and pay a $10 deposit per person attending.  If you attend the event, your deposit will be refunded when you arrive at the Elks Lodge.  If you RSVP that you will attend, but do not attend, the Flathead 4-H Council will keep your deposit to help cover the cost of the event. 

Shooting Sports Leader Important Information!!


1. Please take time to fill out the County Shooting Sports Report for 2021-2022.  You will find the document and the instructions attached.  It is very important that we have this information as it is forwarded to the National Shooting Sports Committee.  It is also a needed component for any Grants that the State Shooting Sports Program may have been awarded.  There are some grant applications that require information as well.  Please submit the information to me by November 21, 2022.  That will allow me to compile information and submit it to the National Committee by December 1, 2022.

2. As your county program get your Shooting Sports Schedules set for the year, please submit the information for your local matches to me.  I will see that they will be posted on the State 4-H Website, http://montana4h.org/programs/events/shooting-sports-event.html.   I ask that you please refer to it for the schedule of events, State Shoot, Rules, and other information relative to the Shooting Sports Program.

3. The Shooting Sports Leader Training Schedule has been set for the year.  Please refer to the State 4-H Website to access the information.  The link for the trainings is http://montana4h.org/programs/events/shooting_sports_training/index.html.  The Shooting Sports Leader Training Schedule is as follows and all documents are attached.

a. April 2023 – Billings, MT.  The following disciplines will be offered; Archery, Rifle, Pistol, Shotgun, and Coordinator.

b. May 2023 – Manhattan Wildlife Association.  The following disciplines will be offered; Shotgun, Muzzle-loading, Hunting Skills, and Western Heritage.

4. We are excited to offer the Coordinator Discipline at the Leader Trainings.  The County Coordinator is an important position in your County Shooting Sports Program.  I encourage you to have a leader from your county attend this training.  This will equip your program with the needed tools to continue offering a super high quality program.

5. In order to be a certified Shooting Sports Leader in your county, the following criteria must be met;

a. The leader must be enrolled as a 4-H Leader in their respective county. 

b. Pass a background check.  This process is handled by the County 4-H Office. 

c. Complete the four Z-Suites Modules.  If you have not completed the Z-Suites Modules, please have that done prior to the trainings.  Please print out your certificate and bring it with you.  If you have previously completed the modules, you are good for the training.  Please see the attached instructions for the modules.  The code for Z-Suites is NSS-MSU-FQ99W5JMD. 

d. The leader must then complete the 8 hour training for the disciplines found in 4-H Shooting Sports.

6. The 2023 Montana 4-H Shooting Sports Invitational will be held on March 3-5, 2023 in Bozeman.  Please see the Events page for more information as it becomes available.

7. The 2023 4-H Shooting Sports National Championships will be held in Grand Island, Nebraska, June 25 – June 30, 2023.  To be eligible to compete at the National Championships, the shooter must have turned 14 years of age by January 1st of 2023 and not turned 19 years of age before January 1st of 2023.  The shooters that are the top four finishers in the disciplines offered at the National Championships will be invited to represent the State of Montana.  The disciplines offered are Air Rifle, Air Pistol, Smallbore Rifle, Smallbore Pistol, Compound Archery, Recurve Archery, Shotgun, Muzzle-loading, and Hunting Skills.  The State Shoot will be the Qualifying Event for the Smallbore and Ais Disciplines.  Competitors that wish to try compete in Air Rifle Discipline at the National Championships will be composed of the top four shooters in the combined scores of Sporter 3P and Sporter Standing Events.  The Qualifiers for the rest of the disciplines will take place in the Spring of 2023  When the schedule is set, it will be shared with the State.

Dog Class

Tuesday nights  7-8pm at Country Kitchen

Our Facebook page is https://www.facebook.com/groups/804856783927485 and the group is called Flathead 4-H Dog Project.  Please include my email [email protected] and phone (406) 314-3212 for contact.


Hog committee will be meeting on the 1st Wednesday of every month at 6:30pm. Please plan to join us if you are interested in being involved this year.

4-H Trail & Packing 2023 Dates


Orientation/Introduction – January 7, 2023 – 1:00pm – 4:00pm – Forest Service Supervisors Office, 650 Wolf Pack Way, Kalispell (Alternate if Government Shutdown)

§ Clinic I – January 28, 2023 – 10:am – 4:00pm – Country Kitchen

§ Clinic II – February 25, 2023 – 10am – 4:00pm – Country Kitchen

§ Clinic III – March 25, 2023 – 9:00am – 4:30pm – Badrock Arena

§ Clinic IV – April 22, 2023 – 9:00am – 4:30pm – Badrock Arena

§ Campout – May 20 & 22, 2023 – Swisher Lake Trailhead, Eureka, MT

2023 4H Small Animal Clinics


§ Jan 17th  @ 6pm 4H building—Health & Housing

§ April 28th @6pm Grandstands—LQA 

§ May 16th @6pm 4H building—Showmanship, Fair entry and prep


Committee in-person meetings to follow each clinic


Cloverbud Activity Days!!!


Saturday January 21st located at the Sykes Diner Basement (202 2nd Ave. W., Kalispell) at 10 am to 11 am. Please don’t park in the parking lot, park on the side streets.

For questions or more information, please call Kadin Simon at 406-890-9798.


Goat Committee!

Meeting Wednesday January 25th, 6pm at the 4-H Building

Please sign up for Remind

This year we are using Remind to send updates about important fair information.
To sign up for Flathead County 4H Goat Committee notifications, please visit


Market Beef Project

January/February TBA: Clinic; Carcass Information

January 31: Steer Replacement Cut-off

April 7: 2nd Weigh-in, 3:45pm-6pm Fairgrounds

April 8: 2nd Alternate Weigh-in, 8am-10am Fairgrounds

May 20: Clinic, 10am Fairgrounds; Washing, Clipping & Showmanship

June 17: Clinic, 12pm Fairgrounds Mild Fence Arena; Hoof Trimming, Pre-Fair

July 8: Clinic, 10am-12pm; Washing, Clipping, Fitting 1pm Mock Show in Trade Center

Enrollment Deadline


Market Sheep & Hog – February 1st

Market Poultry/Rabbit – June 1st

Add and Drop all projects—June 1st

Horse Forms/Cards/Clinics-June 1st


You must be enrolled and fees paid by 5pm this date. No exceptions!


Interested in learning to judge livestock?

Flathead 4-H Foundation has purchased a membership to livestockjudging.com for Flathead 4-H members. Learn from professionals with 524 classes of livestock, horse, dairy, poultry, rabbit, and meats. Contests and competitions are occasionally also available.

Step 1

Go to livestockjudging.com

Click "sign up" 

To create an account if they don't have one.

Step 2

Log into http://www.livestockjudging.com/code

Enter this CODE ....3epk


This will now take you to your account which will now say Elite Account at the top. 


Volunteer Leader Resources

Learning Lab Kits Available for Leaders to Check-out as a Teaching Resources

Beef, Dairy, Dog, Horse, Sheep, Swine, Poultry, Rabbit, Goat, and Plant Identification!

Please contact the Extension Office at 758-5553 or [email protected]


Need 4-H Project Manuals and you can’t get to the Extension Office? No worries, go to https://store.msuextension.org/  and search for the 4-H project manuals you need, select them, go to the check out, then use your credit card or debit card, then finish your purchase, and have them shipped right to your door. It’s that easy!




The Office Administrator goes to lunch every day from 1-2pm, many times the Extension office door is locked during that time. She also has occasional meetings and errand for the county. If you need special accommodations or a guaranteed meeting with someone, please feel free to call ahead and make an appointment.


Just a gentle reminder…

If the Extension Office doesn’t have a club meeting or event on written record in the office the meeting or event will not be covered under the 4-H insurance. Please let the Extension office know the date, time, location, what the event is, or if it is a meeting before the 4-H event, meeting, or activity.  You can use the Event, Activity and Fundraising Form if you like so you don’t forget anything or you can send the Extension office an email. If your group is doing a fundraiser, of any type, you must submit a Fundraiser Form to the Extension office to be put in your club file.  We often get questions from community members about various fundraisers. 


Browse the new Montana 4-H merchandise at the MSU Extension Store and paint our state green with 4-H T-shirts, mugs, buttons, and stickers! Start shopping at the 4-H Mall!

Dear Flathead 4-H members, leaders & families:


The MSU Extension Flathead County Office will be closed January 2nd for the New Year Holiday.  We may be periodically closed for meetings or to run errands. If you need to speak with us personally, please call for an appointment time. Please leave paperwork in basket or leave in mailbox on front of building for confidential information.  Our schedule is subject to change at anytime.

Rick Balestri

Montana State University

4-H Extension Agent

[email protected]

Phone: 406-758-5552


Montana State University

Agriculture Extension Agent


Phone: 406-758-5554


Montana State University

4-H/FCS Extension Agent


Phone: 406-758-5553

Dee Cooper

Office Administrator

MSU Extension, Flathead County

[email protected]

Phone: (406) 758-5553


SNAP Recipe of the Month

Turkey, Noodle and Vegetable Soup


Cost/Serving: $1.29

Yield: [7 servings] / Serving Size = 1½ cups


8 cups low-sodium chicken or turkey broth

1 cup cubed potatoes

2 cups sliced carrots

1 cup sliced celery

¼ cup chopped onion

¾ cup frozen peas or baby lima beans

1 teaspoon salt

2 cups uncooked whole wheat noodles

2 cups cooked turkey meat, diced



1. In a large pot combine turkey broth, vegetables, and salt.

2. Cook for 15 minutes. Add noodles and turkey, heat to a boil and simmer 15 minutes or until noodles are done.


                 Harvest of the Month: Carrot


Did you know that carrots were originally purple to black in color, and not orange? Carrots originated in central Asia over one thousand years ago. Today there are over a hundred varieties of carrots that come in many colors--purple, black, yellow, orange, red, and white. In the US, we typically only see orange carrots at grocery stores, but often you can find other colors at farmers markets too. 

Carrots are well known for containing high amounts of beta carotene, an antioxidant which is a form of vitamin A. Beta carotene is important for eyesight, skin, and growing bodies. For “x-ray vision” be sure to pack carrots as snacks or add to your meals. Carrots are an easy addition since they are delicious raw or cooked. Grate carrots to add to salad, slaw, or sandwiches. Roast carrots as a delicious side dish or alternative to French fries!  Enjoy this simple recipe for soup featuring carrots and other delicious ingredients!

MSU Extension—Flathead County

Rick Balestri

4-H & Youth Development Agent


Agriculture, Natural Resource & Community Development Extension Agent


4-H & Family Consumer Sciences Agent

Dee Cooper

Office Administrator


1108 South Main Street Ste. 4

Kalispell,  MT 59901

Phone:   (406) 758-5553

Fax:         (406) 758-5881

Email:     [email protected]

Web:      http://flathead.msuextension.org

Calendar: http://flathead.msuextension.org/calendar.html

Find us on Facebook at Flathead4H

State Web Sites:



Office Hours

Mon-Thurs 8am-5pm, Fri 8am-4:30pm,

Closed 1-2pm for lunch

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Montana State University and the Montana State University Extension prohibit discrimination in all of their programs and activities on the basis of race, color, national origin, gender, religion, age, disability, political beliefs, sexual orientation, and marital and family status. Issued in furtherance of cooperative extension work in agriculture and home economics, acts of May 8 and June 30, 1914, in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Agriculture,  Cody Stone, Director of Extension, Montana State University, Bozeman, MT 59717