The Marias River Livestock Association held its annual membership meeting at the Marias Valley Golf Course Club House on Wednesday, October 9, 2019 at 6:00 p.m. President, Bob Thompson called the meeting to order. Carrie Lerum read the minutes from the Mid-Year Membership meeting. Clayton Gernaat moved and Trina Bradley seconded to approve the minutes as read. Motion carried.

Bob Thompson announced that at the Rib Tickler dinner live auction we will auction off 3 children’s rocking horses that will each have a key taped to it. One of the keys will unlock a gun safe that will have a 243 Weatherby gun with scope. Tickets for the Rib Tickler dinner are available on our website, from Maggie Nutter and from directors. 

Colleen Gustafson asked to speak at the Rib Tickler dinner on the Wildlife Services position that will be covering the Blackfoot Nation. Clayton moved and Paul Turner seconded to allow Colleen to speak for 5 minutes at the Rib Tickler dinner. Motion carried.

Trina moved and Paul seconded to approve the new membership dues form. Motion carried.

Maggie invited everyone to come to the Wild Pig Symposium that will be held on Friday, October 18, 2019 at the American Legion Hall in Sweetgrass, MT at 6:00 p.m. Clayton moved and Wendy Connelly seconded to sponsor $250 for the Wild Pig Symposium. Motion carried. Bob Thompson recommended that the board add a line item to the budget for miscellaneous sponsorships that may arise for the upcoming year.

Board Policy was brought up for discussion and a vote. 

Policy One: 

Whereas the management and removal of nuisance and conflict grizzlies is to be done as directed in the 1986 Interagency Grizzly Bear Guidelines (pp 53-60).

Whereas the management or removal of nuisance and conflict grizzlies rely on the positive identification and tracking of such bears. 

Whereas capture and tagging or collaring of elusive grizzly bears is not always successful and allows such bears to continue in their inappropriate behavior without intervention by bear managers.

Whereas it is important to manage nuisance and conflict grizzlies with human safety as a priority.

Whereas through the non-invasive collection of grizzly bear DNA individual grizzlies’ locations and actions could be monitored without actual capture at the incident sites. 

Whereas both invasive and non-invasive DNA collection has been used in research to track conflict female bears and the probability of them raising conflict prone cubs.

MRLA supports that nuisance or conflict bears will be tracked not only by ear tags or collars but by DNA. Agencies involved in grizzly management will search every conflict site or human settlement where bears have caused a change in human behavior/actions, concern for safety or property damage for DNA sample such as hair, scat, saliva, blood or other samples such as foot prints as science of DNA recovery improves.

Clayton moved and Wendy seconded to adopt this policy as read. Motion carried.

Policy Two:

Whereas human safety should always be the priority concerns for grizzly bear management decisions.

Whereas there is no compiled report on current or past human/bear interactions by the Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks or US FWS.

Whereas grizzly bear sightings in human settlements cause an increase in human safety risk and necessitate change in human behavior or actions.

Whereas there are becoming more frequent incidences where humans must change their behaviors or actions due to grizzly bear presence.

Whereas we believe that this data compilation would be necessary for appropriate and science-based management of grizzly bears and other predators.

Whereas the public has the right to know about where grizzly bears are spreading onto the landscape and the issues connected with this phenomenon. 

A statewide data base should be created that would be available to the public where all grizzly bear (or even all predators) and human interaction would be reported and recorded. This information could be studied and used for future state and federal grizzly bear management decisions. 

Clayton moved and Paul Turner seconded to adopt this policy as read. Motion carried.

Policy Three:

Whereas the US Fish and Wildlife Service, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks and the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee all support state regulated hunting of a delisted grizzly bear species in accordance with the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation and see its value for population control, management of dispersal, and reduction of human/bear conflicts.

Whereas in August 2007, President Bush issued Executive Order 13443 directing federal agencies to facilitate the expansion and enhancement of hunting opportunities, called for a Conference on North American Wildlife Policy, and required publication of a Recreational Hunting and Wildlife Conservation Plan and March 2017, DOI Secretary Ryan Zinke issued Secretary Order 3347 which sought to enhance conservation stewardship; increase outdoor recreation; and improve the management of game species and their habitat by accessing implementation of E.O. 13443.

Whereas there are existing Memorandums of Understanding (MOU), Montana Administrative Rules (ARMs), and Montana Code Annotated (MCA) statutes all of which contain references or preferences regarding hunting of grizzly bears once they are delisted.

MRLA supports the state regulated hunting of a delisted population of grizzly bears.

Trina moved and Clayton seconded to adopt this policy as read. Motion carried.

Paul Turner announced that the nomination committee nominated Clayton Gernaat as President and Trina Bradley as Vice-President. Paul also reported that Lance Stokes would replace Wendy Connelly as Pondera County Director.

Rick Schock nominated Maggie Nutter for President. Maggie Nutter nominated Marvin Kimmet for Vice-President. 

During the vote counting Jon Bennion, candidate for MT Attorney General and Matt Rains running for Congress talked to our membership.

There was a tie for President and Marvin Kimmet won the Vice-President position.

The Board of Directors proposed an amendment to resolve the Presidential tie. Rick Schock moved Kenny Berthelote seconded the following amendment: In the event of a tie during the election of officers, there will be a ballot mailed to the current membership as of the date of the Annual Meeting to break the tie. The ballots would be counted two weeks from the post marked date of the ballot. Motion carried.

Paul Turner moved and Wendy Connelly seconded to adjourn the meeting. Motion carried.

Respectfully submitted,

Carrie Sue Lerum, Secretary 



OCTOBER 11, 2017

At 6:05 p.m., Butch Gillespie called the meeting to order and started the meeting with the Pledge of Allegiance. He then introduced Harry Benjamin who has been instrumental in building the Carousel Rest Area of Shelby, MT. The carousel is intended to be a community meeting place for birthday parties, meetings, or community events. He visited about the project and how MRLA members can help by donating money and then they would display the brand of the donator. He also invited those in attendance to swing by and check it out.

Next, Butch Gillespie introduced Dennis Garcia from the Glacier County FSA office. Dennis gave updates about disaster programs and talked about new programs available. He also distributed handouts.

Carrie read the minutes of the last meeting. Trina moved and Paul seconded to approve the minutes as corrected. Carrie passed around the Treasurer’s report and said that she would answer questions if needed.

Butch gave a Vice-President report for MRLA. He isn’t going to run for an office on the MRLA board again because he is running for Llew Jones’ position. 

Paul Turner, (Toole County Director) reported the MRLA hosted multiple meet and greet sessions with Wesley Sarmento in our area including Devon, Whitlash, Sunburst and Valier. Wesley is the new bear specialist for our area.

Marvin Kimmet (Glacier County Director) told the audience that the grizzly bears are very active in Glacier County. He also gave an update on the bison on the Blackfoot Reservation and how they are pushing to classify the species as wildlife.

Trina Bradley- (Pondera County Director) stated that lots of calves have been killed in western Pondera Co. Recently a bear was euthanized but there were 14 grizzly bears documented eating carcasses so they are still very much a problem. Wes Sarmento, worked with the Valier Bear Task Force on how deter the bears from the town. Trina arranged a meet and greet with Hillary Coolly that helped spotlight the intensity of the bear issue in the Valier area.

Jason Enneberg (At-Large Director) introduced himself as a new director to the board and advised that Toole and Liberty County should be prepared for the bear population increasing.

Bob Thompson (Liberty County Director) touched on the bear issue. He also represented MRLA at the Cattlemen’s Forum in Billings, MT. He expressed his concern on the electronic data log issue for truckers and how that will impact cattle producers at shipping time.

He asked those in attendance to evaluate how the board is doing and what we should focus on in the future. Some of the input received included: MRLA is an aggressive, motivated group, we recognize solutions need to be realistically achieved, and membership learns a lot from the meetings and from the newsletter education. It would be helpful for members to go to meetings and be a voice for agriculture. We need to keep educating environmentalists because they are intelligent but just misguided. Producers need to stay united.

Senator Llew Jones reported on the budget that is still very tight. W-2 withholding was up but business income as a whole was down. He is still pushing for cuts not increasing taxes. However there is a possibility of lodging taxes increasing. We most likely will see a special session.

Rep. Rob Cook explained that the House passed a bill to change endangered species act. It would include no longer prioritizing listing vs delisting. That is the first positive note in 20 years for endangered species act.

Chaley Harney, the Executive Director of the MT Beef Council was our guest speaker. She gave a brief history of the Beef Checkoff and how it works. Their main focus is on education, promotion and investor relations. In December of 2016 an injunction was filed by R-Calf on the Beef Checkoff so now 100% of the money collected goes straight to the national council. She explained to the producers present how to complete the MT Producer Request to Retain Beef Checkoff Assessments Form. She said that will allow 50% of the checkoff collected to stay in MT. Extra forms will be available at the Extension office and with Carrie Lerum.

At this point elections took place. 

Bob Thompson was elected President, Trina Bradley Vice-President, Paul Turner Toole Co. Director, Wendy Connelly Pondera Co. Director, Casey Buffington Liberty Co. Director.

Seeing no further business, the meeting was adjourned.

Respectfully Submitted,

Carrie Lerum Sec. /Treas.




MONDAY, JUNE 1, 2015

The Marias River Livestock Association held their Mid-Year Membership Meeting on Monday, June 1, 2015 at Ringside Ribs Restaurant in Shelby, MT. Maggie Nutter called the meeting to order. Secretary, Carrie Sue Lerum read the minutes from the last membership meeting in November and she passed out the Treasurer’s Report to those members in attendance.

Next, each board member gave a report about what our members concerns are from each county they represent. Maggie reported that Pondera County members are worried about the drought and grizzly bears. Jeff Habets has resigned as the Pondera County director, so MRLA is currently trying to fill that position. Paul Turner reported that members from Toole County have concerns about Fish & Game, worker visas, and no grazing on public lands. Bob Thompson stated that Liberty County is trying to stay updated on grizzly bears to wolves, sage grouse, COOL, and adding an extra dollar beef check-off. Next, Marvin Kimmet represented Glacier County’s issues about grizzly bears and bison. He also received positive feedback on MRLA’s newsletter. Butch Gillespie informed the audience that some milk produced in Montana is testing high in Sulphur. The milk industry is actively trying to problem solve this issue. The Board of Livestock is having a meeting on June 3. Janet Hawks encouraged those in attendance to log on and listen to the Board of Livestock meeting. 

Following the board member’s reports, Maggie introduced Jack Holden who is a Director for Montana Stockgrowers. He reported on national and state issues that Stockgrowers are currently working on including but not limited to National Waters of the US, MT Board of Livestock, Sage Grouse, and CSKT. Jack encouraged member to come to the MT Stockgrowers Mid-Year meeting in Bozeman.

Janet Hawks gave a Wool Growers update on legislative issues for Dave McEwen who was unable to attend. Wool Growers supported the McKay bill and they successfully got the Dubois Sheep Station going. They also secured funding for the MT State Wool Lab. 

Maggie then invited our members to attend the Interagency Grizzly Bear Council Meeting on June 16th and 17th at Many Glacier. The public is able to give a 2 minute comment and to share their bear stories.

At this time, Ervin Calson  and Kendall Adins was invited to speak about the Iinnii Initiative. He gave insight on how they are progressing and what their long term goals are for bison to be roaming along the Rocky Mountain Front and into Canada.

The Marias River Livestock Association board discussed and proposed new policy:


MRLA is supportive of domestic bison industry. MRLA is opposed to free-roaming bison on all State, Federal and private lands.

Butch Gillespie moved and Paul Turner seconded to accept this policy. Motion carried.

Natural Resources

MRLA opposes further regulation by government agencies of water, energy and land use. John Fritz moved and Doreen Gillespie seconded to accept this policy. Motion Carried.

Natural Resources-Water

MRLA opposes Water of the United State regulation as currently passed/put in place by the EPA. Marvin Kimmet moved and Bob Thompson seconded to accept this policy. Motion carried.


MRLA is opposed to any individual waiving Montana administrative rules (related to livestock) without the Board of Livestock’s approval. 

Butch Gillespie moved and Rick Schock seconded to accept this policy. Motion carried.

Seeing no further business, the meeting was adjourned.

Respectfully submitted by,

Carrie Sue Lerum, Secretary/Treasurer




The Marias River Livestock Association held their Annual Membership Meeting on Tuesday, October 27, 2015 at Ringside Ribs Restaurant in Shelby, MT. Maggie Nutter called the meeting to order and the pledge was said. 

Carrie Sue Lerum introduced Lisa Grace, Executive Director of One Montana who spoke about their Rural-Urban Educational Entrepreneur High School Student Exchange. They are currently looking for a school within 2 to 3 hours from Great Falls to partner with a school there. She also updated the members of the status of a potential processing plant in Montana.

Then, Maggie Nutter introduced Joe Sherwood from Alexander Blewett III School of Law, University of MT, in Missoula. He gave a presentation about the history of the Blackfoot reservation with an explanation of Fee land vs Trust land and property rights of land owners.

Butch Gillespie then introduced Jack Holden who is a Director for Montana Stockgrowers.  Butch himself, is running to be on the Stockgrowers board of directors and asked for our votes.  Jack reported on national and state issues that Stockgrowers are currently working on including but not limited to the Trans Pacific Partnership for trade, National Waters of the US, COOL, MT Department of Livestock, and CSKT. He encouraged members to come to the MT Stockgrowers convention and trade show the first week of December. They are also starting a Stockgrowers Leadership Series, and applications are due October 31. He also promoted the Stockgrowers Top Hand program where our organization could win a Gator. It was emphasized to show up to vote at state conventions so our voice can be heard.

Carrie read the minutes from the Mid-Year Membership meeting. The minutes stood approved as corrected. She also passed out the Treasurer’s Report, and asked that all members sign in to record attendance. 

Next, each board member gave a report about what our members concerns are from each county they represent. Bob Thompson reported that there is a black bear with cubs south of the Sweet Grass Hills. He also had a hunter swear that he saw a wolf in the Sweet Grass Hills. Marvin Kimmet stated that producers in Glacier County are still concerned about the grizzly bears and bison running on the Rocky Mountain front. He thanked Colleen Gustafson for coming to help us prepare a comment on the Bison Environment Impact Statement. Marvin encouraged our members to continue pushing to get the grizzly bear delisted. Toole County director, Paul Turner, reported that the bears are still very active along the Marias River. Butch Gillespie informed the members that he represented MRLA by attending a bear meeting in Choteau, MT that Cody Yeager organized. Yeager manages a feedlot in Choteau that has an average of 7 to 9 bears visiting every night. Over 180 people attended the meeting along with Mike Madel from FWP. They are going to organize a group to start actively working on the grizzly bear management issues, including delisting the grizzly. Maggie Nutter asked that our members keep watching and be vigilant on the bison issue especially in our area. She reminded the attendees that the state of MT wants to introduce bison on the Blackfoot Reservation.

Old Business:

Maggie updated those in attendance on the latest information we had on our local bison issues. She also encouraged people to get their tickets from Rick Schock for the Prime Rib and Rib Tickler dinner on November 14, 2015. They are $30 a person. Maggie gave the basic agenda of the Next Generation Conference scheduled on January 30-31, 2016. 

New Business:

A group of people including Cody Yeager, Trina Jo Bradley, Maggie Nutter and a few Choteau area people are forming a committee on Grizzly Bear Management. They are going to focus on human and livestock safety. They are looking for stories about the bears and the problems they have caused. Maggie also announced that there is now a blog on the MRLA website at

Maggie called for an election of officers and asked Marvin to run the proceedings. The results were:

Maggie Nutter- President

Butch Gillespie- Vice President

Jesse Wallewein- At-Large Director

Trina Jo Bradley- Pondera County Director

Maggie invited our members to come to the Non-Lethal Predator Control Workshop in Conrad, at the Pondera Shooting Sports Complex from 9-5. 

The meeting was adjourned.

Respectfully Submitted,

Carrie Sue Lerum, Secretary



MAY 9, 2014

On Friday, May 9, 2014, the Marias River Livestock Association held their Mid-Year Membership Meeting at the Frontier Bar and Supper Club in Dunkirk, MT. A Social hour for members started at 5:30 p.m. Marvin Kimmet welcomed the members to the gathering.

The meeting was called to order by Maggie Nutter. She reported on the upcoming Gentle Hand Livestock Conference that will be on June 27th and 28th. On Friday, June 27th, Jude Capper will speak about Beef Sustainability. Then Temple Grandin will speak about Low Stress Handling of Livestock and have a question and answer period. Following lunch, Curt Pate will have a live demonstration on Low Stress Livestock Handling. We will also have a trade show and Temple Grandin will have a book signing. On Saturday, there will be a Foreign and Emerging Livestock Disease workshop put on by Dr. Jeanne Rankin and other specialists in the field. We will also be hosting a workshop on How to Promote Agriculture through social media by special guests, Jude Capper, Dairy Carrie and Ryan Goodman.

Maggie also reported on the Iinnii Initiative relating to the Black Foot Nation. She is actively acquiring more information on the initiative and how it will not only affect the Black Foot Reservation but the Rocky Mountain Front.

There will be an Environmental Quality Council in Helena. The agenda covers bison, grizzly, sage grouse and Federal Lands Management.

Gene Curry and Jack Holden gave an update from Stockgrowers and encouraged MRLA members to join the MT Stockgrowers Association.

There was a drawing for the Firearms Raffle. The prizes and winners were as follows:

Ruger Hawkeye 270 Winchester Mag Stainless steel barrel with synthetic stock and rings for mounting scope.
Sponsored by: Ben Franklin, Cut Bank MT




CUT BANK, MT 59427 (406) 229-0902

2nd Prize
Smith & Wesson Body Guard 380 with Integrated Laser site and 6 round clip.
Sponsored by: Shelby Paint and Hardware, Shelby MT

Won By:

Ken Morrison

PO BOX 583

Shelby, MT 59474


3rd Prize
Henry Lever Action 22 H001 series Walnut Stock blued barrel and lever.
Sponsored by: Bullhead Sports, Conrad MT

Won By:

Mr. Shane Berthelote

PO Box 584

Sunburst, MT 59482-0584

(406) 937-2400

4th Prize
Savage MDL 42 22lr/410 Rifle Shotgun combo Matte blued receiver and barrels, black synthetic stock with recoil pad.
Sponsored by: Grizzly Sports, Choteau MT

Won By:

Mike Coen

PO Box 146

Cut Bank, MT 59427

(406) 229-0514

5th Prize
$100 Gift Certificate for Ammo
Sponsored by: Hi-Line Hardware, Chester MT

Won By:

Mrs. Doreen Gillespie

Box 275

Ethridge, MT 59435 (406) 949-4453

The meeting was then adjourned.

Respectfully Submitted,

Carrie Sue Lerum, Sec./Treas.




The meeting was called to order by President, Maggie Nutter. She introduced Ryan Tauscher with FWP, Mary Ann Ries who is running for District Judge, Debbie Brandon, Rick Ripley (State Senator for District 9), Quentin Kujala (Sections Coordinator for Wildlife Bureau), Jeanne Rankin, DMV, (MT Extension Agro-emergency), Jesse Fulbright (Liberty Extension Agent).

Maggie announced the Marias River Livestock Association has over 70 members. She also read the Treasurer’s report. MRLA is coordinating the Bull Bucks Program and Maggie explained how it worked. She announced that two Bull Buck vouchers will be drawn at the Marias River Livestock Association meeting on November 16, 2012. Bob and Diane Thompson reported on the MRLA booth they set up at the Liberty County Chamber Harvest Festival on Saturday, September 15, 2012. Maggie announced that there were copies of the last meeting available for anyone interested.

Maggie reported that the State is now reevaluating private property rights and every water right permit. There are people in Montana who are losing water rights that they have owned for nearly one hundred years, and she asked the membership to comment on that issue to BLM. She also notified the members that the board will be sending out ballots on current issues to get an accurate representation so the Marias River Livestock Association can make statements on those policies.

Maggie Nutter then introduced the first speaker of the evening. Quentin Kujala spoke on what the Working Group came up with for Guidelines on Elk Management in Areas with Brucellosis. They will be up for public comment in November.

The second speaker of the evening was Jeanne Rankin, DMV and Agro-Emergency Project Coordinator for Montana. She gave a presentation about the disease Brucellosis. She covered everything from how it’s contracted to detection to treatment. 

Last, but certainly not least, was State Senator from District 9, Rick Ripley. He explained the process of how a bill becomes a law. He also invited Marias River Livestock Association members to keep letting the law makers know how we feel about the issues they are working on in Helena. Senator Ripley said it is important for rural citizens to communicate with their Senators and Representatives.

Respectfully Submitted by Carrie Sue Lerum, Secretary.