NewsMontana AG Network


Montana Ag Network: 'Future Of Ag' tour highlights McKamey West Ranch

Montana Ram Sale
Posted at 10:07 AM, Sep 04, 2023

GREAT FALLS — Since 2019, the Great Falls Area Chamber of Commerce has hosted its annual, "Future of Ag Tour." An event that highlights an area of the agriculture industry that deserves attention.

In years past, the Chamber has visited IND Hemp in Fort Benton, and educated on Wheat and Barley Production, and the cattle industry. This year, it sees a working Sheep and Cattle Ranch with over 100 years of history producing some of the nation's finest wool and meat products.

"The reason for this and why it is so important for the chambers because it really is we have farmers and ranchers from the Hi-Line and all over the state, west and east come to Great Falls because this is where the place of commerce is for them. That's where they get their implements, that's where they do their shopping. We tend to be that center of agriculture commerce in Great Falls," explained Shane Etzwiler, President and CEO of the Great Falls Area Chamber of Commerce.

The Future of Ag Tour is an all-day event beginning in Great Falls, tracking a farmed product back to the city limits where it is sold as a commodity.

The day will cover shearing, weaving, a full lamb lunch, working stock dogs, and hearing how the McKamey family implements wool into their everyday lives.

The educational experience will educate business owners and consumers alike that the Sheep Industry is vital to Motnana's agriculture commerce and heritage.

"The sheep industry is just as much in trouble in that way. And part of their issue is certainly the manufacturing side of the product, the fiber of what we wear. So having something that is local that they can produce a garment, right here in Montana, that would be a spectacular thing." Lori Wickett, a member of the Chamber Ag Committee explained.

An industry that has seen a decline since the turn of the 20th century, wool is a vital resource in homestead living. For the McKamey Family, wool is used in garden soil to hold moisture beneath the surface. It's one tidbit that can be learned on the Future of Ag Tour.

"With them being around in Montana for generations as well as for the Chamber to be around for decades and centuries, we just felt it was going to be a great combination. They're excited to welcome us to host the visit that we're going to be having next week. We're just excited to partner up with them." Etzwiler added.

The Future of Ag Tour takes place on September 7, 2023, and will run from 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Registration costs $45 and includes a full lamb lunch, ag education, a free drink at Annie's Taphouse, transportation, and a gift bag at the end of the day. All goodies in the gift bag are Montana-made sheep products from various agriculture producers around the state.

To find the schedule of events to register for the Future of Ag Tour, click here.

For more information on McKamey West Ranch, click here.