BOZEMAN — Montana State University’s College of Agriculture and Montana Agricultural Experiment Station will host the annual Celebrate Agriculture weekend Nov. 12-13 on the MSU campus. Celebrate Agriculture honors MSU alumni and students and the legacy of Montana’s agricultural communities.

Celebrate Ag Weekend will include an agricultural economics conference, a pregame event ahead of Saturday’s Bobcat football game against the Idaho Vandals and the presentation of the Outstanding Agriculture Leader Award to Dave Kelsey of Molt.

“We are so glad to be bringing back Celebrate Ag Weekend this year,” said Sreekala Bajwa, MSU’s Vice President of Agriculture and Dean of the College of Agriculture, noting that the 2020 event was canceled due to the pandemic. “It will be a joy to reconnect with our partners, alumni, donors and friends after the challenges of the past year and a half.”

The weekend will kick off on Friday, Nov. 12, with the annual Agricultural Economics Outlook Conference hosted by the Department of Agricultural Economics and Economics and MSU Extension. The conference will run from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Bozeman’s Best Western GranTree Inn. Presentations around the theme of “Continued Uncertainty” will include a 2021 agricultural year in review, trends in agricultural and forest land conservation, drought management strategies and the future of farm policy, among others.

The conference also includes the featured M.L. Wilson Lecture, which this year will be given by Shannon Neibergs, an Extension economist at Washington State University and director of the Western Center for Risk Management Education. The talk will be titled “Infectious Disease Economics: The Case of BRD in Cattle” and will be held at 11:15 a.m. the day of the conference. A full agenda and registration can be found at https://ampc.montana.edu/economicsconference/.

Saturday, Nov. 13 will begin with a celebratory breakfast at 10 a.m. in MSU’s Rendezvous Dining Pavilion. That event will include remarks by MSU President Waded Cruzado and Kelsey, the recipient of the annual Outstanding Agricultural Leadership Award. The award is given to a Montana agriculturalist who embodies service, engagement and community impact.

Dave Kelsey of Molt, MT, will receive the Oustanding Agricultural Leader Award at the MSU College of Agriculture "Celebrate Agriculture Weekend" in November. Photo supplied by MSU News Service

“I have known Mr. Kelsey since I first started working in government relations for Montana State University. Part of my job was to find advocates to speak to the Montana Legislature in support of MSU Extension, the MSU College of Agriculture and the Montana Agricultural Experiment Station,” Tracy Ellig, MSU’s vice president for communications, wrote in a nomination letter. “Mr. Kelsey was not only willing, but he was also enthusiastic beyond compare. He always arrived with a smile on his face, a twinkle in his eye and an unshakeable belief in the value of agriculture to the people of Montana.”

Kelsey, who was raised on a Montana farm producing sugar beets, corn and grains, has operated his own dryland farm for more than 40 years, growing small grains and raising cattle. A graduate of MSU’s agricultural education program, he has served as an agriculture teacher and spent decades promoting agricultural education at all levels.

In addition to running his business, Kelsey was a member of the Molt Volunteer Fire Department for more than 30 years, led 4-H activities for more than 25 years and has lobbied extensively for agricultural issues in both Helena and Washington, D.C. He currently serves as the chairman of MSU Extension’s Advisory Committee.

“Since the first time I met Dave, I knew that he was cut from a different cloth than most,” wrote Darrin Boss, head of MSU’s Department of Research Centers. “His humanity and desire for others to be happy and appreciated is very much respected and makes him the unique individual that he is. I cannot begin to tally the total hours Dave has given to the next generation of agricultural producers. He has given his time, experience and energy to many young people around the state of Montana.”

In total, Kelsey received more than a dozen nominations for the award. He was also nominated by partners at Extension offices in Yellowstone, Stillwater and Chouteau counties; Montana FFA; MSU’s Government Affairs Office; Stockman Bank; and a number of fellow agricultural producers, including Gary Broyles, a producer in Rapelje who received the Outstanding Agricultural Leader award in 2006.

“What stands out the most about Dave is that he is involved purely to make life better for others,” wrote Broyles. “He is an avid supporter of MSU and the land-grant mission. His idea of being a great leader is to put the focus on those around him and make them the great leaders. It is people like Dave that make Montana agriculture thrive...I am honored to be his friend and neighbor.”

More information and a full agenda for the Celebrate Agriculture weekend can be found HERE.

- By MSU News Service -