Bozeman woman elected Chair of Northern Plains

The Northern Plains Resource Council elected officers during its 44th Annual Meeting, Nov. 13-14, in Billings. Kate French, a Bozeman resident and graduate student at Montana State University, was elected Chair of the Billings-based conservation and family agriculture group. She takes the reins from Bull Mountain rancher Steve Charter, who will remain on the Northern Plains Board of Directors as Past Chair.

Other officers elected were Vice Chair Jeanie Alderson of Birney, Secretary Beth Kaeding of Bozeman, Treasurer Becky Mitchell of Billings, Assistant Secretary Cindy Webber of Big Timber, and Assistant Treasurer Ed Gulick of Billings.

At-large Board members elected were Janet McMillan of Greenough, Jean Lemire Dahlman of Forsyth, Walter Archer of Olive, and Kathy Sikorski of Willard.

Wade Sikorski of Baker was the recipient of the Mary Donohoe Award for his hard work in speaking up for clean energy. Charles and Lana Sangmeister of Nye were honored with the Bob Tully Spirit Award in recognition of their longtime leadership.

The event was keynoted by Kristin Ohlson, author of the book “The Soil Will Save Us,” who described the difference that healthy soil can make in food production, rural prosperity, and pulling carbon out of the air.

Warren McKenna, manager of Farmers Electric Cooperative in Iowa, described how his rural electric co-op has taken big strides in making solar energy available to its members.

Seth Newton, Glendive-area farmer, told of his experience living near an oilfield waste facility, and Caitlin Cromwell presented information on radioactive oilfield waste.

Members of the Lummi and Northern Cheyenne tribes described the impacts that would be created if Montana coal is exported to Asia.

Northern Plains members Ed Gulick and Kate French discussed economic models that build more resilient and equitable communities and economies.

–Northern Plains Resource Council