By Patrick Winderl/Havre Daily Newsfirstname.lastname@example.org
The manager of the University of Montana's Bandy Ranch has been hired as Hill County's newest Extension agent.
"I'm excited about (the job), and I'm really happy to have the opportunity to go to Havre to do it. I see a lot of opportunities," said Joe Broesder, who is scheduled to start Dec. 15.
Broesder, who manages the Bandy Ranch under a cooperative agreement between UM and Montana State University, will join agent Jennifer Wells at the Hill County branch of the MSU Extension Service.
The service has agents in nearly all of Montana's 56 counties, and offers an educational resource to agricultural enterprises within the state.
Broesder, who was formerly an Extension agent in Teton and Toole counties, replaces agent Clay Sewell in Hill County. Sewell's one-year contract with the Extension Service was not renewed earlier this year, and Wells has been the lone agent in Hill County since April.
"We've traditionally had two agents in Hill County based on the workload," Hill County Commission Chair Pat Conway said. "As an ag community, its pretty imperative that we have two agents."
Wells said she is looking forward to having another agent to work with.
"We can always use help here," she said Monday.
MSU personnel director Mary Zartman said in April that Sewell's replacement would be selected internally. Three applicants applied for the position, and the job was ultimately given to Broesder, who has five years of experience as an Extension agent.
"He was an agent in two different places," Zartman said. "He's just kind of a transfer within the system."
Broesder was hired on a tenure track, she added. Rather than being an adjunct position like many Extension agents, Broesder's position will be as an assistant professor for MSU, she said.
Broesder was selected after an interview process that included meeting the county commissioners, Wells, a local 4-H leader, and LeRoy Luft, who is the interim director and vice provost for the Extension Service.
"We're hoping it will be long-term appointment." Zartman said. "(Broesder) came to this interview with his reputation. We know a lot about him."
Broesder holds a master's degree in animal science from the University of Nevada, Reno, and earned a bachelor's degree in the same field from MSU. He was raised on a cattle ranch in Pondera County and spent five years as an Extension agent during the early '90s before taking a job as a manager of the Bandy Ranch in Ovando.
In addition to being a fully functional commercial cattle operation, Bandy Ranch also serves as a research facility for UM and MSU.
"I'm in charge of day-to-day operations and help facilitate research," Broesder said. "Most of the research they do involves livestock and natural resources - grazing practices, and different things like that."
Broesder said he is excited to work for the Extension Service again.
"The job description calls for basic agriculture assistance and working with 4-H. I'll be working a lot with the local 4-H groups," he said.
Broesder said he does not have any specific plans for 4-H development in Hill County, but hopes to develop some goals after meeting with local members.
"I'm interested in meeting with 4-H and seeing what their needs are rather than me trying to decide what it is they need," he said.
According to MSU's Web site, the purpose of the Extension Service is to provide an "educational resource dedicated to improving the quality of people's lives by providing research-based knowledge to strengthen the social, economic and environmental well-being of families, communities and agricultural enterprises."
Broesder and his wife, Rebecca, have four children. The two youngest are of school age and will also be moving to Havre.
"I think we've found a home, and we're excited to get there," Broesder said.