Chico Hot Springs, Pray, MT

February 6th & 7th, 2019


Does Your Work Connect You to Farmers and Farmland?


Bringing together a diverse group of professionals, from farmers to financiers, for a critical and innovative conversation on crafting homegrown solutions to financial barriers in agriculture across Montana.


At the Montana Summit on Agricultural Finance at Chico Hot Springs, participants will:


  • Hear from state and national experts about innovative financial tools being piloted around the country to help farmers and ranchers get onto land.
  • Collaborate to identify challenges and needs of Montana farmers and ranchers, and learn about opportunities to pilot new financial tools statewide.
  • Connect with colleagues and learn about existing agricultural financing resources.


For more information, email Catie at or Kristin at


Keynote Speakers and Panelists


Bart Morris, Oxbow Cattle Company

  • Growing a Family Ranch: Adding Prime Acreage through Creative Partnerships and Financial Layering

Bart and his wife, Wendy, moved to Missoula in the summer of 2006, fell in love with the Garden City and Montana, and feel lucky to call it home. Bart grew up working on local ranches in the Big Horn Basin of Wyoming, and Wendy was raised on the Tenny Ranch in northeastern Colorado; cattle and the ranching lifestyle are deeply ingrained in their roots. They met as undergraduates at the University of Wyoming and married soon thereafter. In 2014, Bart and Wendy fulfilled a lifelong dream and started Oxbow Cattle Company with Bryce Andrews. In 2015, Bryce moved on to pursue other interests, but Bart and Wendy are continuing the mission. They recently worked with Five Valleys Land Trust to place a conservation easement on their land, and doubled the size of their ranch in 2017 as a result of the easement and other partnerships.


Kristen Juras, University of Montana

  • Keeping the Farm in the Family: Succession Planning for Farmers and Ranchers

Kristen Gustafson Juras is a fourth generation Montanan and graduate of the University of Montana and the University of Georgia School of Law. After practicing law in Georgia and Oklahoma, she returned to her home state of Montana in 1988, joining the firm of Church, Harris, Johnson & Williams in Great Falls, where she specialized in agricultural, property, business, and tax law. In 2000, Kristen accepted a position at the University of Montana School of Law, teaching classes in business, contracts, property, tax, agriculture, estate planning, and international law. She has authored several textbooks ranging from contract law to international law. Kristen has served as chairperson of the Legislative Committee of the Montana State Bar Section on Business, Estates, Trusts, and Real Estate and has served as a director of numerous nonprofit organizations, including the Red Ants Pants Foundation, Pondera Healthcare Foundation, and the McLaughlin Research Institute. She received the Robert P. Goff Pro Bono Award in recognition of her commitment to pro bono legal services.



Anna Jones-Crabtree, Vilicus Farms

  • A farmer’s perspective on working with national investors
    • Anna is an innovator and farmer who has championed sustainability throughout her 26+ year career with the US Forest Service and in her personal life. She routinely cultivates key pilot projects and pioneers new approaches to supporting the place-based work of local sustainability champions. She has fostered a national sustainable operations effort for the US Forest Service, serving as the first Regional Sustainable Operations Coordinator and as the National Sustainable Operations Director—positions she created. She holds a B.S. in Construction Engineering and Management and an M.S. in Civil Engineering, Construction Emphasis, from Purdue University. Her Ph.D. in Civil and Environmental Engineering with a Sustainable Systems minor is from Georgia Institute of Technology. Anna is a registered professional engineer and an early accredited US Green Building Professional.


Brian Martin, The Nature Conservancy

  • Grass banking in the Northern Plains
    • Brian is the Montana Grasslands Conservation Director for the Nature Conservancy – Montana. Brian has worked for The Nature Conservancy for 29 years, with the last 23 in Montana. Brian leads the Conservancy’s protection, science, and stewardship efforts in the Northern Great Plains of eastern Montana and manages a team of five staff. Program efforts are focused on working collaboratively with landowners, agencies, and NGOs to conserve natural habitats for the benefit of nature and people. These efforts have resulted in permanent protection of over 100,000 acres of private land, and engagement with landowners through the Matador Grassbank and Candidate Conservation Agreement with Assurances program impacts management of an additional 300,000 acres of ranchland in north-central Montana every year. He received a B.S. in Range Science from North Dakota State University and an M.S. in Range Science from New Mexico State University.


Holly Rippon-Butler, National Young Farmers Coalition, Land Access Program Director

  • Conservation easements and land trusts
    • Holly grew up on her family’s multi-generation dairy and beef farm in Upstate New York, where she continues to farm with her parents. From her first job at a nearby apple orchard to positions with local and national land conservation organizations, Holly has focused her work on the intersection of food, farmland protection, and policy. As part of her work with NYFC, Holly organizes and leads land access innovations trainings across the country for farmers and conservation professionals. Holly holds an M.E.M. in sustainable land use and agriculture from the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies.


Hermina Harold, Trust Montana, Executive Director

  • Community land trusts and farmer-friendly long-term leases
    • Hermina is Trust Montana’s first Executive Director. She has worked at the North Missoula Community Development Corporation (NMCDC), Montana’s longest-running community land trust organization, for the majority of the past decade, co-managing the development of NMCDC’s commercial food hub building, establishing Burns Street Center’s neighborhood food programs, and working with home owners in the 47-unit CLT housing program. She also helped to establish Trust Montana. Hermina grew up in the Flathead Valley and attended the University of Montana, where she graduated with a B.S. in Social Work in 2009. She has presented at several community land trust conferences across the US and was one of the recognized leaders of the CLT movement invited to participate in the 2018 strategic long-term planning for the national Community Land Trust umbrella organization, Grounded Solutions. She is passionate about securing land for affordable housing and farmland in order to build more vibrant and equitable Montana communities.


Aimee Arnaud, Northwest Farm Credit Services

  • Farm credit
    • Aimee grew up on a dryland wheat farm and small Hereford ranch in eastern Washington. She completed her BS in Marketing in 2008 and MBA in 2014, both from the University of Montana. As a Relationship Manager for Northwest Farm Credit Services in Bozeman, she specializes in AgVision, a financing program designed specifically for Young, Beginning, and Small producers. Aimee incorporates her passion for farming and ranching into her lending and will help you find a financing solution that meets your needs.


Christian Dietrich, Montana Land Reliance, General Counsel

  • Conservation easements
    • Christian serves as General Counsel for the Montana Land Reliance (MLR). He began his legal career practicing in a small law firm in Helena for five years, where he specialized in conservation and nonprofit law. He attended St. Paul’s School in New England and graduated from Yale University in 2005. He returned to Missoula to attend law school, where he focused on tax law and graduated with honors in 2009.  After law school, he worked extensively on conservation easement issues in Dave Dietrich’s law practice before moving to Helena to serve as a law clerk. He is the current Chair of the Nonprofit Law Section of the State Bar, and speaks frequently on conservation easement and nonprofit law topics at continuing legal education seminars. He is the co-author of Conservation Easements: Tax and Real Estate Planning for Landowners and Advisors (American Bar Association, 2011).


Bill Stoddart, Northfork Financial

  • Basics of debt and equity securities
    • Bill has been involved in social finance and values-based investing since the early 1990s. After five years as a Financial Consultant with a regional broker-dealer, Bill started NorthFork Financial in 2011, using a fiduciary business model in which clients’ interests always come first. He has honed expertise in values-based Socially Responsible and Impact Investing, integrating clients’ personal values and goals with both public and private investment opportunities. Under Bill’s guidance, NorthFork Financial became a certified B-Corp in 2016. Bill is the co-founder of HomeStake Venture Partners, a Montana B-Corp created to address the related problems of access to friendly, patient capital for businesses, small to medium-sized companies’ need for advanced technical assistance, and the interest of investors to find alternatives to Wall Street. In 2018, he was instrumental in securing HomeStake Venture’s social capital fund for a small farm outside of Bozeman. Bill graduated from Cornell University with a B.A. in History, obtained his M.A. in History at Montana State University, and spent nine years teaching AP U.S. History and Government at Bozeman High School.


Lynne Egan, Montana Department of Securities and Insurance, Securities Officer

  • Applying crowdfunding and other new financial tools to farming and ranching: How changes in securities laws are enabling raising capital for agricultural operations
    • Lynne Egan is the Deputy Securities Commissioner for the Office of the Montana State Auditor, Commissioner of Securities and Insurance (CSI). Prior to this, she served as the bureau chief and an analyst for the Securities Division, positions she has occupied since 1994. Lynne earned an accounting degree from Carroll College, passed the uniform CPA exam, and worked as an income tax auditor for the Montana Department of Revenue. Lynne also worked in the private securities industry at D. A. Davidson & Co. from 1980-1990. She serves on numerous North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA) committees and has been awarded the organization’s highest honor, the “Blue Sky Cube.”  Lynne is a trustee for the Investor Protection Trust, a member of the Montana Family Education Oversight Committee (AchieveMontana), and a past president of the Helena Chapter of the American Society of Women Accountants. She received the first Themis Award from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for her efforts in the pursuit of justice in a complex and substantial federal securities case and has been the recipient of two Governor’s Awards for Excellence in Performance.


Ian McSweeney, Agrarian Trust, Executive Director

  • Land security for Montana farms and ranches
    • Ian’s life work is focused on human connection to soil and food. He  served for 11 years as Executive Director of the Russell Foundation, a private foundation focused on assisting landowners and farmers through customized approaches to farmland ownership, conservation, management and stewardship. During Ian’s tenure, the Russell Foundation worked directly with 70 land conservation, agriculture and community groups, 45 townships, and local, state and federal partners to assist 70 farms, complete 33 lease and/or management agreements, and complete over 100 farmland-focused projects to protect over 13,000 acres and raise over $18 million — all aimed at providing benefit to farmland, farmers, community, and local agrarian economies. Ian has also participated in many farmland and food systems initiatives and has served as a consultant to a number of organizations locally, regionally, and nationally, and speaks on farmland transfer, conservation, secure tenure, and fundraising models around the country. Recently he joined Agrarian Trust, a national nonprofit organization with a mission to support land access for the next generation of farmers.


Brianna Ewert, Lake County Community Development Corporation

  • Cooperatives for land access, Cooperative Development Center Director
    • Brianna joined Lake County Community Development Corporation as Farm to Institution Program Coordinator with the twin goals of improving access to fresh, nutritious foods in area schools, hospitals, and other institutions and expanding markets for the region’s farmers and ranchers. She comes to Ronan with five years experience teaching elementary and middle school and eight years of diverse work experience throughout the food system. In addition to farming and marketing fresh produce and plants, she has worked for the Western Montana Growers Cooperative and AgSquared, completed research for the Community Food and Agriculture Coalition, and taught writing, community, and food systems courses at the University of Montana. Brianna has a strong background in beginning farmer education and support, farmland conservation, farm planning and record keeping, and regional food sourcing for institutions. Brianna holds an M.S. in Environmental Studies with a focus in Sustainable Food and Farming from the University of Montana.


Jan Brown, Montana Cooperative Development Center, Executive Director

  • Rural investment cooperatives
    • Jan became Executive Director of the Montana Cooperative Development Center in July 2015. She supervises a statewide network of cooperative development specialists who are trained to assist new co-op leaders across Montana and eastern Idaho. Jan has 40 years of experience in the private, nonprofit and government sectors specializing in recreation/tourism enterprises, organizational development, and natural resource policy. A graduate of the Oregon State University School of Forestry, Jan has spent her entire career in Idaho and Montana, including 10 years of operating her own guest lodge near Yellowstone National Park.


This event is organized by Trust Montana, Community Food & Agriculture Coalition, and National Young Farmers Coalition.