The Montana Wool Growers Association was established in 1883 at the first annual convention in Fort Benton, MT, making it the state’s oldest agriculture organization. The resolutions passed at that convention reflect how things have not changed much in the sheep industry. Growers in 1883 were concerned over wool and lamb imports, grazing on public domain, predator control, and expanding the markets for both lamb and wool. MWGA advocates for and works on behalf of Montana’s farm and ranch interests, namely Montana’s sheep industry. Since 1883, MWGA has worked hard to ensure that there is a future raising sheep in Montana and in the United States. YOU have a voice with MWGA…join the association and make sure you’re heard!
One of the Association’s primary benefits is the year-round legislative and public policy advocacy it provides on behalf of our members. The Association delivers advocacy services both before the Montana Legislature and the U.S. Congress. This advocacy work puts into operation the policy resolutions adopted by you, the membership, during our Annual Wool Grower Convention held each December in Billings. We know you can’t be in Helena or D.C. all the time to fight for our industry, so MWGA services in that role for you. The Association ensures that the sheep and wool industry has a strong voice before federal and state agencies, as well as in the courtroom. MWGA also partners with the American Sheep Industry Association and the Public Lands Council to influence federal policymaking in order to ease the federal regulatory burden placed on your livestock operation.
MWGA is governed by its members. Elected positions include an eight-member Board of Directors, two elected from each of the four districts in the state, and the elected President of the Association who serves a two-year term. Other committees within the organization include Animal Damage Control/Predator; Land Use; Production; Marketing and Animal Health; Farm Flock; Promotion; Ewe Sale; and Ram Sale Committees. MWGA encourages all our members to be actively involved in the Association and to serve on our Board of Directors and in our officer positions.
MWGA receives the latest information on market news, animal health, production, natural resources, promotion, upcoming events, and legislation affecting the industry. Members receive information via the quarterly Montana Wool Grower Magazine, website, bi-weekly Ewesful Newsletter, Annual Convention and Membership Meetings, social media, wool pool meetings and other educational seminars and field days hosted by MWGA.
Quarterly Board Meetings
Annual Montana Ram Sale
Annual Montana Ewe Sale
American Sheep Industry Convention
ASI Spring Fly-In to Washington D.C.
Sheep Day at the Capital (only during Legislative Session)
Annual MWGA State Convention
Range Days Cookout
MWGA Sheep Campout
Montana Lamb Jam
As a producer member of the Montana Wool Growers Association, you will receive:
-The Montana Wool Grower Magazine, quarterly, full-color membership only publication
-Membership to the American Sheep Industry Association, including the Sheep Industry News monthly publication
-Voting rights during the Annual Membership meeting held during the Annual Convention
-Opportunity to consign to the Annual Montana Ram and Ewe Sales
-Reduced Montana Wool Grower advertising rates
Dues to Montana Wool Growers are $20 per membership plus $.06 per pound of wool (or $.60 per sheep). The $20 covers the cost of the Montana Wool Growers magazine, membership in the American Sheep Industry Association (ASI) and the ASI newsletter that each member receives. The additional six cents per pound is what the Association operates on as it works to improve the opportunities for raising sheep and wool in Montana.
“MWGA works hard to keep our industry strong through legislation. I don’t always understand how things work in the legislature but MWGA does and has been very successful in getting the job done. They also have a variety of members who are good at so many different things which enables us to be strong when we come to the table to talk about or fight for our industry. As a small producer, I didn’t understand how the bigger issues impacted me until I became a member.”
–Dana Penrod, Heart Lazy P Suffolks, Miles City, MT
“I became a member of the Montana Wool Growers Association because it allows me to have a stake in state and national policy that affects my business. I enjoy learning from other wool growers and my membership allows me to connect with other producers to discuss challenges on our operations.”
–Dave Scott, Montana Highland Lamb, Whitehall, MT
“I look forward to receiving the Montana Wool Grower Magazine and the Sheep Industry News through our membership because it allows me to keep up to date on the state and national sheep industry. Because of my membership with MWGA, I feel like I have representation and a voice in state and federal government.”
–Ben Lehfeldt, Lehfeldt Rambouillets, Lavina, MT
“We joined MWGA in the early 1970s. The annual wool pool meeting was the biggest social event of the year in Big Timber. Since then, it has become more than just social. It is a way to connect with fellow producers. MWGA keeps you informed on local and national issues, keeps you up to date on current markets and trends, and works for the whole sheep industry, no matter what size operation or breed you have. Being a member makes me feel like I have a voice in the sheep industry.”
–Kevin and Shirley Halverson, Big Timber, MT
“I joined MWGA for the opportunity to meet other producers with similar interests. I think the biggest benefit of being a member is the work that is done at the state legislature and nationally on our behalf as producers on issues affecting the sheep industry. If you are a producer with a few sheep or are a large producer, there are opportunities to benefit from such as the educational workshops, updates on current issues, Montana Wool Grower magazine, and the young entrepreneur program.”
–Ken McKamey, McKamey Ranch, Great Falls, MT
“MWGA is integral to our Montana sheep industry through the framework of support, education, and the advocacy it provides. Bridgette and I attended our first MWGA Convention last year and learned about the MWGA’s efforts, discussed production best practices and enjoyed the fellowship with others in the industry. Participating in the MGWA will help you keep informed and give you an active voice in the sheep industry.”
–Bill Gibbs, Miles City, MT