A Donation That Keeps On Growing!

The 2023 Cattle Drive is accepting donations October 1 – December 15, 2023.

The Cattle Drive program allows ranchers to donate a calf directly or donate the market value of a steer calf. Donors can also partner with friends or neighbors to participate. This annual program allows your donation to gain in value to contribute an even larger impact in the future of the industry!

To donate this year, contact MSF Program Coordinator, Heidi Kool at foundation@mtbeef.org or (406) 461-0642, Monty Lesh at (406) 853-1523, or Wayne Slaght at (406) 793-5532.

The Montanans Feeding Montana Initiative

Montana Stockgrowers Works to Connect Consumers and Ranchers Through Montana Food Service Industry

The Montana Stockgrowers Foundation (MSF) Cattle Drive program has set out to do something no other cattle organization in the state has donematch Montana born, raised, and fed cattle with local restaurants and retailers. The “Montanans Feeding Montana Initiative” seeks to connect the Montana food service industry to the high-quality beef raised by Montana ranchers.

The Cattle Drive program is in its sixth year, with this year launching the value-added focus that intentionally pairs partners together to keep the entire beef supply chain in Montana. One of the program’s goals is to economically increase profitability for everyone involved.

“Montana Stockgrowers understand the importance and desire of customers to know where their food comes from. What we have strived to do is link some of the best producers in the world, that are right here in Montana, with Montana consumers. We have it all right here in Montana. We have the best ranchers in the world, we have feedyards, and we have a lot of feed coming off the Yellowstone Valley that is being fed. To link Montana consumers through Montana restaurants and retail is really a win-win for everyone,” explained Turk Stovall, MSGA Second Vice President and owner of Yellowstone Cattle Feeders.

Each fall the MSF Cattle Drive program seeks steer donations from ranchers and businesses across the state. Donated animals are transported to Yellowstone Cattle Feeders in Shepherd, Mont., where they are put into the program and fed to ideal market weight. When each steer is at optimum weight, the process to match the donor’s steer with a restaurant or retailer in the region in which the steer had originated starts. Working with Blue Creek Marbled Meat Company the steer is harvested. Over 85% of the total steers donated in last year’s Cattle Drive were sold to local Montana retailers and restaurants through this Montanans Feeding Montana Initiative. 

“I have always had a deep appreciation for where the food is coming from, what it’s eating, where it’s been, who’s handled it. To be able to come out to Yellowstone Cattle Feeders, from day one, and be able to see that and be hands-on in the process, it’s been an incredible experience,” shared Andy Glynn, Executive Chef of Billing’s High Horse Saloon and Eatery. “Anyone can go to the grocery store and pick up beef and take it home, put it on the grill and have dinner. But I want it to be more than dinner. I want it to be a meal. I want it to be a memory.”

Feddes Family Meats in Amsterdam, Little Belt Cattle Company in Bozeman, High Horse Saloon and Eatery and the Northern Hotel in Billings, and the Black Iron Grill Rotisserie in Miles City all participated in this year’s program. Additionally, Bret and Kim Lesh purchased beef through this program. 

On Friday, MSF released a short film promoting the “Montanans Feeding Montana” initiative and highlighting one of the unique partnerships Montana Stockgrowers has created through this program. The film focuses on how the program works and the benefits to every sector in the pasture to plate experience. It includes interviews from Montana Stockgrowers members and Montana ranchers, a restaurant owner, and executive chef. Find the video at www.mtcattledrive.org

“The primary goal of the program is to raise funds for the Montana Stockgrowers Foundation to support educational programs for producers, youth and the general public, academic scholarships, grants, and support leadership opportunities for those in the cattle industry,” explained Heidi Kool, MSF Program Coordinator. “This is also an exciting opportunity for ranchers to consider participating in because donors receive steer progress reports and carcass data of their steer’s performance against the best cattle in the state.”

Donations are currently being accepted for this upcoming year, to donate contact MSF Program Coordinator, Heidi Kool at foundation@mtbeef.org or (406) 461-0642, or visit www.mtcattledrive.org. MSF would like to thank all of its generous donors who have participated over the past six years of the program.

Supporting Montana from


Upping the Steaks

MSF Partners with Montana Breed Associations

In its largest donation year to date, Montana Stockgrowers Foundation’s (MSF’s) Cattle Drive Program is upping the “steaks” by partnering with Montana breed associations to provide incentives for the quality cattle genetics raised by Montana producers. Montana Angus, Hereford, Red Angus and Simmental associations have pledged a combined $20,000 in award money for the program.

This year, in addition to the carcass and gain data that donors receive as part of the program, they will also receive DNA parentage information on their steers. DNA samples will be taken of all donated steers and sent to a licensed testing facility. In cooperation with the breed associations, parentage of the steer will be determined. If the steer is sired by a bull registered with one of the four participating breeds associations and places in the Cattle Drive contest, the donor stands to receive a financial award.

“We are excited for the breed associations to be partnering with us in this program. We believe this is going to elevate the program and highlight the quality genetics that we have right here in Montana.” says Monty Lesh, co-chair of the Cattle Drive Committee.

Once steers are sold, average daily gain and carcass data are provided back to the donating producer. The top three in each category are recognized at Montana Stockgrowers Annual Convention and Trade Show in December. This year, for the first time in program history, an overall grand champion steer will be awarded based on placements within the categories.

2022 Cattle Drive Update

Montana Stockgrowers Foundation’s (MSF) Cattle Drive Program just completed its most successful program year yet. With a record number of donated steers and a focus on bringing Montana beef to Montana consumers, this program continues to raise funds to invest in Montana’s ranching community and ensure the future of Montana’s cattle industry.

Each fall MSF’s Cattle Drive Program seeks donations of either live steers or the value of a steer from ranchers and businesses across Montana. Steers are then transported to Yellowstone Cattle Feeders in Shepherd, MT where they are put on contest and finished. When each steer is at optimum weight they are sold and harvested with all proceeds benefiting MSF programs, including educational scholarships and leadership development.

This one-of-a-kind program allows donors to monitor the steer’s progress for the duration of the contest. Steers will be penned together, which results in feeding consistency, and are finished on a mixture of locally produced corn silage, corn, beet pulp silage, alfalfa and grain. Yellowstone Cattle Feeders welcomes visitors by appointment to view their facilities, the process and the cattle.

Once a steer is harvested, donors receive valuable data on their steer’s performance against some of the best cattle in the state. The top three in average daily gain and carcass data, as well as an overall champion steer are recognized at MSGA’s Annual Convention and Trade Show each December.

For the first time in the history of the program, over three quarters of the steers donated in the 2022 Cattle Drive were sold to local Montana processors and restaurants through the Montanans feeding Montana initiative. This initiative seeks to connect the Montana food service industry to the high quality beef raised by Montana ranchers. 

MSF would like to extend a special thank you to Marc King for his services in grading the steer carcasses.

This program would not be possible without our generous donors. Thank you!

2022 Cattle Drive Awards

Average Daily Gain

1st Place
Willow Creek Cattle Co

2nd Place
Lesh Cattle Co

3rd Place
Hockett Farms

Carcass Value

1st Place
Hockett Farms

2nd Place
Western Ag Network

3rd Place
Woody Creek Cattle & Grain

2023 Cattle Drive Donors

2016 Leadership Class

2023 M Bar Academy

21 Mile Creek Ranch

3 C Cattle Co

9-F Ranch

Agribest Feeds

Ahlgren Ranch

Andy Head

Andy Kellom

Antelope Springs Ranch

Beaverhead Ranch

Bliss Livestock

Bobcat Angus/Ratzburg Livestock

Boucher Ranch

Careless Creek Land and Livestock

Cedar Creek Land & Livestock

Chance Wilson

Cherry Creek Ranch

Chokecherry Cattle/Garrison Ranch

Claire Murnin

Coffee Cattle Co

Cornwell Ranch

Crescent Cross Ranch (Bill Lane)

Cross 4 Ranch

Cross W Livestock

Drange Ranch, Inc

Dynneson Ranch

Dynneson Ranch

Ehlke Ranch

Franz Red Angus

Frenchman Valley Ranch

Glasgow Stockyards

Glennie Farm & Ranch

Grande Ranch

Griffin Ranch

Hagenbarth Ranch

Hahn Ranch

Hammond Cattle Co

Highland Cattle Co

Hockett Farms

Holden Herefords

Homestead Cattle Company

Hougen Ranch

Iverson Ranch

IX Ranch

Jim Petersen

Jones Brothers Livestock

Jones Cattle Co

Kerry Erickson

Lazy YE Cattle Co

Lee Cornwell

Leo Barthelmess

Lesh Cattle Co

Little Belt Cattle Co

LO Cattle Co

Mark Cain

Marks Miller Post & Pole


Mike & Raylee Honeycutt

Mikkelson Ranches

Northern Ag Network

Olbrecht Cattle Co

Olsen Ranch

Open A Ranch

Ostendorf Red Angus

Paws Up

Prewitt & Co

Rein Anchor Ranch

Rocking Dot Cattle

Rolling Stone Ranch

Schuett Farms

Sitz Angus

Stovall Ranch

Sutherlin Farms

Tash Livestock

Taylor Ranch

Thousand Hills

True Board

Two Creek Monture

Vermillion Ranch

Veseth Cattle Co

Vogel Land & Cattle Co

VS Inc

Walking 5 Ranch

Western Ag Network

Willow Creek Cattle Co

Woody Creek Cattle & Grain

Thank You

Yellowstone Cattle Feeders
for managing the cattle in the program

Marc King
for his help with the carcass data