Phillips County News - One Nation, Under God

By Rebecca Colnar
Montana Farm Bureau Foundation 

Saco's Joy DePuydt participates in advocacy training


April 15, 2020

Saco rancher Joy DePuydt is a member of the Montana Farm Bureau Board of Directors and ACE program attendee. Courtesy photo.

When Joy DePuydt was elected to the Montana Farm Bureau Board of Directors in November, she decided she needed to learn more about ag advocacy. "I realized if I was going to be a good board member, I needed some education," said DePuydt. Although she and her husband own a ranch in Saco, DePuydt's primary career was nursing until she recently retired. "I saw applying for ACE as a way I could learn to talk about Farm Bureau, farming and ranching. Since I was a nurse for 30 years, my ability to be a good spokesperson for agriculture was not in my wheelhouse."

The ACE program is designed to empower Farm Bureau members to actively advocate on key industry issues and be confident, effective leaders in their County Farm Bureau and local communities. The program emphasizes leadership development, issue education and the engagement of local communities.

The one-year program accepts up to 10 people who participate in six seminars throughout the year. This year's ACE class began in January with a seminar on personal leadership and communication strengths. Participants worked with industry and leadership experts to discuss how their personal leadership style and strengths impact them as an ag advocate, business owner and leader within their community. The seminar in early March focused on working with the media and how to conduct a positive interview highlighting agriculture.

"ACE has opened my eyes to the need of a positive voice in agriculture that helps people understand farmers' and ranchers' concerns as well as what we are doing on our ranch and why," said DePuydt. "Our speakers have been excellent. In the first session, we learned about leadership and doing your very best. We heard from Bruce Vincent, who grew up in a logging family and his experiences in seeing his small community and an entire logging industry ruined by untruths. I had read his book, and hearing him spoke to my heart. In addition, we learned about Farm Bureau history and the fact that people in this organization were movers and shakers and didn't let hard times stop them. We have some different problems now, but we need to listen to our communities, we need to listen to those who have differing opinions of agriculture and work to solve issues together"

Chelcie Cargill, ACE training coordinator noted, "I'm thrilled to lead another group of Farm Bureau members through the ACE program. This year's class continues to exceed my expectations and it's a joy to work with them as they discover ways to become outstanding leaders for agriculture and their rural communities. We're off to a wonderful start and I'm excited to see where the rest of the year takes us."


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