FORT BENTON - Mike O’Hara is a farmer and rancher north of Fort Benton and for the last nine years, has served on the Montana Wheat and Barley Committee.
He has reached the end of his third and final term, “Thanks to my family for supporting me. For nine years, my wife and my boys, they kept things going.”
Through his tenure serving on the board of the Montana Wheat and Barley Committee, O’Hara was passionate about market development, writing grants for research, and working alongside Montana State University and funding research efforts in its lab.
“You realize how vital our markets are, wheat and barley markets for exports, Char, that's what we spend a lot of time out by to try to maintain. Our markets are growing and competition out there first especially in the way that,” said O’Hara on what he learned by serving the committee.
His face lit up when he talked about, his and the committee’s role in helping Montana State’s Agriculture Department get to the point where they could brew beer on campus.
“They can take it from the raw barley stage, malt it and go all the way to beer now. There's so much more of that process now. All these microbreweries now, that's a niche market that we really enjoy working with, too.”
At the Montana Wheat and Barley Committee’s June meeting at Montana’s Agricultural Museum, Museum of the Great Plains in Fort Benton, the President of U.S. Wheat Associates was invited to speak at the meeting. He spoke with MTN News on the importance of leaders like Mike O’Hara to the agriculture industry.
“When you have dedicated leaders that are willing to sit down, understand the problems of the industry, be creative about the solutions and take that time away from their farm, away from their family, away from their kids and other things that that are all pulling on their time. That's just an unbelievable sacrifice for these people to do that. Mike has certainly joined a long list of others from Montana that have served along with him and before him. It's a legacy that he's going to leave for the next group going forward,” said Vince Peterson, President, and CEO of U.S. Wheat Associates.
O’Hara’s final day on the job is June 20, 2023.