JUDITH GAP, Mont. - Making agriculture sustainable takes more than knowledge of the best practices for land management, it also takes investment in and the encouragement of the next generation of farmers and ranchers.

That's why Montana Farmers Union sponsors events like Mary Had a Little Lamb Day to give Children, and adults too, a hands-on experience with sheep at the E.L. Peterson Ranch near Judith Gap.

“Mary Had a Little Lamb Day started three years ago as a customer appreciation for Montana lamb and beef,” said Mary Jenni, the Central Montana Membership Ambassador for Montana Farmers Union.

Attendees enjoyed a breakfast featuring locally sourced foods while listening to speakers tell what it takes to run a ranch.

The event's growth attests to its increasing popularity.

“Today's event, we had a turnout. About 100 folks showed up from all over the area. It was a great opportunity to really see farming and ranching up close,” said Rachel Prevost, the Director of Member Services and Governmental Affairs for Montana Farmers Union.

“It was a chance for people to come and see our lamb operation. Be able to hold the lamb, which is so much fun,” Trudi Peterson, the owner/operator of E.L. Peterson Ranch.

“They have this opportunity to have some hands-on experience with the babies and who doesn't like a baby animal,” Jenni added.

In addition to offering a tactile experience, event organizers also want to fire the imagination of the younger set to help them see farming and ranching as not only a possible career but a viable way of life.

“You really are trying to pass it onto the next generation because you want them to be able to do this and you want to be able to continue on,” Board Member for Montana Farmers Union Ben Peterson said.

Organizers also made sure to reach out to city kids.

“We had a lot of kids today here from the city and I don't think kids really have this opportunity,” Jenni said. “We have some young children from cities now excited about ranching and there are, some of them are like, ‘we just want to stay all day,’ and I'm like ‘fabulous you can do my chores later.’”

For more about Montana Farmers Union or upcoming fun events in your area, visit Montana Farmers Union website here.

News For You