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Montana Ag Network: training the next generation of ranchers

Posted at 9:47 AM, Nov 16, 2023

The Dan Scott Ranch Management program at Montana State University is training a new generation of ranch workers on important skills that could transform the agricultural and ranching industries.

Program Lead Dr. Rachel Frost explains how this program is contributing to future generations of the ranching industry.

"There’s been a definite need for more people with the training to manage ranches," she said. "We have new people coming in and purchasing properties that don’t have any background in ranching and are needing someone with the skills to manage not only the livestock on the property but also manage the really valuable asset of the land they invested in."

"The average age of a rancher these days is 55-60 years old. So, we need those young minds, that young attitude in the industry to further bring light on why this industry is so important." said Greg Collins, a senior in the program and Army veteran.

Collins says his experiences in the military encouraged him to pursue ranch management.

"I was overseas in 2018 in the Middle East and saw the agriculture industry over there, how the people did so much with so little. And that triggered me to think about what we’re doing in America with the opportunities that we have."

The program offers students the unique opportunity to learn outside the classroom through internships with partnering ranches, gaining skills that could only be realized in the field.

"It really gets students out of their comfort zones. It’s no longer sitting down and listening to a two-hour lecture then taking a test. It’s actually, here’s the problem how are we going to fix it or here’s the solution, how do we get here," said Collins.

Visit the Dan Scott Ranch Management website to find more information on the program.