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The Legacy of Montana’s Producers: Gov. Gianforte Visits Family Farms and Ranches

Last week, Governor Greg Gianforte continued his fourth annual 56 County Tour as governor, hearing the stories of generations of farmers and ranchers at their family operations in eastern Montana.

“One of our greatest sources of pride as Montanans is the world-class products grown, raised, or made here in the Treasure State,” Gianforte said. “It’s great to be back in eastern Montana to hear about the next generation coming home to take over the family business, continuing to feed the community, and fuel the economy.”

Thursday, May 16, in Sheridan County, the governor visited Angvick Farm in Medicine Lake and met with four generations of Angvicks who have farmed on their land in eastern Montana for over 100 years.

After 31 years as the Montana State University Extension Agent for Sheridan County, Terry Angvick took over the farm founded in 1912 to continue production of pulse crops like durum wheat and dry peas alongside his brothers and son.

“I’ve never met a farmer that wasn’t proud of their operation, and we’re no different,” owner Angvick said. “I feel very fortunate to have learned from my father who is still with us today at 96 years old, and to have four generations involved with our operation. One day, our fifth generation, my one-anda- half-year-old grandson, will take over.”

Traveling to Roosevelt County, the governor visited with Scott and Jessica Toavs and toured their multi-generational farm and ranch in Wolf Point.

For more than 20 years, the Toavs have raised Angus cattle and produced yellow peas, canola and spring wheat. Raising their three children on the farm follows in the footsteps of Scott’s great-grandfather and father who farmed in eastern Montana nearly a century ago.

Highlighting the importance of farming in eastern Montana and keeping the business in the family, Toavs shared, “Agriculture is truly a staple of the community — by raising food and through community development with working together as a family and multiple businesses in town.”

Toavs continued, “When I was six years old, I knew I wanted to be a farmer just by putting my hands in the soil. Now, watching my kids grow up and being involved in operation, it’s very important to us.”

Rounding out the farm and ranch visits, the governor today traveled to Prairie County to meet the Pehls at their farm in Terry.

A fourth-generation pulse crop farmer, owner Ben Pehl and his wife, Rita, raise their children on the farm and in the house his great-grandfather grew up in.

Just finishing up seeding wheat and yellow peas, Pehl shared more about their operation, “We’re a no-till farm. We grow dry land crops, we don’t have any irrigation up here. We rotate the pulse crops in with the wheat, and we also grow forage crops.”

Touring the farm, the governor heard more about the historic barn built by Pehl’s great-grandfather in the 1910s.

Highlighting the importance of keeping the operation in the family, Pehl added, “My grandfather farmed here, and we started farming here in ‘13. We love living out here and being able to carry on my family’s legacy on this land, raising up the next generation.”

With more than 27,000 farms and ranches across the state, agriculture is Montana’s number one industry.

The governor continued his tour with stops also in McCone, Dawson and Custer counties.

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