REAL Montana builds a network of informed and engaged leaders to advance the natural resource industries in Montana.
The program is a two-year cycle of classes, tours, networking opportunities, and travel designed to heighten knowledge and enhance skills of emerging leaders.  Participants analyze complex issues associated with agriculture and natural resources while receiving intensive leadership training and exposure to a wide range of experiences and viewpoints. 
Classes consist of up to 20 participants competitively selected to represent a wide variety of natural resource industries across the state.  REAL Montana seeks diversity in all aspects of class structure, including geography, gender, and industry sectors.  The target audience is adults who earn a substantial percentage of their livelihoods from Montana natural resources who demonstrate the willingness and aptitude for long-term leadership in their respective industries. 
REAL Montana Advisory Board Members
  • Molly Schwend- Northwestern Energy- Chair
  • Bryan Lorengo- Montana Logging Association
  • Mike Honeycutt – Montana Department of Livestock
  • Tracy Mosley – Montana State University Extension
  • Bridger Mahlum- Class II Alumni
  • Nicole Rolf- Montana Farm Bureau Federation- Vice Chair
  • Justin Miller – Sandy Rock Farms
  • Nick Miller- Missouri River Contractors
  • Nancy Schlepp – Sandfire Resources
  • Farrah McGregor – Agwest Farm Credit Services
  •  Tayla Snapp– TC Energy
  • Chaley Harney- Montana Beef Council

For a complete bio of the Board of Advisors click here.

Interested in getting involved?  Apply here for the REAL Montana Advisory Board

Advisory Board Job Description

Past Advisory Board Members

  • Shaud Schwarzbach- Northwest Farm Credit Services
  • Jessica Sena- Independent Communications Consultant
  • Andy Matakis – Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks
  • Cary Hegreberg – Montana Contractors’ Association
  • Shannon Arnold – Montana State University College of Agriculture
  • Lee Boyer – MT Department of Agriculture (retired)
  • Chris Christiaens – Montana Farmers Union
  • Mark Lambrecht – Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, formerly Treasure State Resource Industry Association
  • Dave Phillips – Montana State University Extension (retired)
  • Lola Raska – Montana Grain Growers Association
  • John Youngberg – Montana Farm Bureau Federation
  • Errol Rice – Montana Stockgrowers Association
  • Sue Ann Streufert – Montana Farm Bureau Federation
  • Julia Altemus – Montana Wood Products Association
  • Howard Skjervem – NorthWestern Energy
  • Whitney Klasna – Klasna Farms
  • Taylor Brown- Northern Broadcasting Systems
The program features eight in-state seminars held in rotating locations across Montana. In Year One, participants also travel to Washington D.C. for a 5-7 day national seminar. Year Two includes a 10-day international trip. Each in-state seminar typically runs from Thursday afternoon through Saturday afternoon.
Seminar Topics 
Seminars are a mix of leadership training, educational tours, in- and out-of-state travel, and networking opportunities.  Program content includes agriculture institutions and agencies, natural resource development, public speaking/media, economics, policy, international trade, urban/rural relationships, water issues, transportation, labor and production costs, entrepreneurship, and other current industry topics. 

Each participant is responsible for a $3,500 tuition fee, which covers tours, educational materials, double occupancy lodging, meals, and out-of-state airfare. The tuition fee accounts for approximately 20% of the total cost of the program, the majority of which is made possible through the generous contributions of our sponsors.  Please visit our SPONSOR PAGE for a list of program supporters.

Participants are responsible for costs associated with transportation to and from each in-state seminar and departure locations for out-of-state seminars.

Organizational Structure
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.