Montana Supervisor Workshop & Field Office (Helena /Lewistown, Montana) August 18-20, 2010

News Article -

The NASS Montana Field Office held a successful and productive Supervisory Workshop on August 20, 2010 in Lewistown, Montana. There were 9 NASDA Field and Office Supervisors and Coaches who participated in the Workshop. The NASS Montana Field Office team did an excellent job of coordinating, organizing and leading the workshop session. The NASS team included: Director Steve Anderson, Ag Statistician and NASDA Coordinator Jodie Sprague, and Ag Statistician Lindsey Houska.  NASDA’s NASS Program Director Charlie Ingram participated in the August 20 session. He also visited the NASS Field Office in Helena and the Montana Department of Agriculture.  

Charlie met with Montana Director of Agriculture Ron de Yong and Deputy Director Joel Clairmont on August 18. The Montana Department of Agriculture works cooperatively with the NASS Field Office to meet the data needs of Montana’s agricultural industry.  The department manages more than 30 programs, from marketing and business enhancement to licensing and regulating various activities to protect agricultural producers, consumers and the environment.

(l-r) Montana Director of Agriculture Ron DeYong, Charlie Ingram, and Deputy Director Joel Clairmont

Montana State Capitol

On August 18-19, Charlie visited the NASS Montana Field Office in Helena, which has 12 federal and 2 state employees. It is one of six national Data Collection Centers for NASS. NASDA’s Supervisors and Enumerators are key partners with NASS in collecting agricultural data. There are 4 NASDA Office Supervisors, along with 3 Office Coaches, who oversee about 60 NASDA telephone enumerators who collect survey information from respondents in Montana and across the country. There are 4 NASDA Field Supervisors who oversee about 35 NASDA field enumerators located throughout the state who conduct personal survey interviews with Montana farmers and ranchers.  
 
NASDA Field Supervisors Lana Hilton and Lisa Peterson met with Charlie on August 18 to discuss the enumerator’s activities and work. In Montana, NASDA Field Supervisors manage some of the largest enumerator territories in the country—several are more than 500 miles in length from border to border. Lana manages the enumerators in northwest Montana and Lisa manages enumerators in the southwestern part of the state.

NASDA Field Supervisors Lisa Peterson (l) and Lana Hilton (r) meet with NASDA’s NASS Program Director Charlie Ingram

NASDA Office Supervisor Abbie Pence gave Charlie a tour of the NASS Data Collection Center (DCC) and explained their survey calling operations.  Abbie is one of 4 NASDA Office Supervisors, along with 3 Office Coaches, who oversee about 60 NASDA telephone enumerators who collect survey information from respondents in Montana and across the country. Abbie has been a NASDA employee for 17 years and was one of the 2009 NASDA Enumerator of the Year Award honorees.

NASDA Office Supervisor Abbie Pence and Charlie Ingram

On August 19, Charlie and the NASS Field Office team drove to Lewistown, Montana for the Supervisor Workshop. Along the way, Charlie saw the vast agricultural landscape of the “Big Sky” state, which includes wheat and alfalfa.

Montana wheat field

Wind energy turbines among wheat fields in this area of Montana are providing opportunities for farmers and ranchers

Lindsey Houska, Charlie Ingram, and Steve Anderson take a closer look at the wind energy turbines in the wheat field

The Lewistown, Montana Workshop held on August 20 was an opportunity for the NASDA Supervisors and Coaches and NASS Field Office staff to strengthen their team approach to management and enhance communications as partners in the NASS-NASDA Cooperative Program. Some of the topics discussed during the Workshop included: training for new enumerators, hiring and managing employees, dealing with conflict, and interactive group exercises.  The group also toured the farm and agricultural operations of a nearby Hutterite Colony.

Participants in the Supervisor Workshop included (l-r): Eileen Damone, Andrea (Andy) Knoles, and Abbie Pence

Office Supervisor Ann Black (l) and Field Supervisor Eileen Damone

NASDA Supervisors and Coaches (l-r): Eileen Damone, Jeff Bradshaw, Andrea (Andy) Knoles, Cheryl Brandt, Abbie Pence, Ann Black, Carmen Bertsch, Charlie Ingram, Lisa Peterson, Jeanine McCarthy

NASDA Field Supervisors (l-r): Carmen Bertsch, Lisa Peterson, and Eileen Damone

NASDA Office Supervisors and Coaches (l-r): Andrea (Andy) Knoles, Cheryl Brandt, Abbie Pence, Ann Black, Jeff Bradshaw, and Jeanine McCarthy

NASS Field Office Team: Steve Anderson, Director; Lindsey Houska, Ag Statistician;  and Jodie Sprague, NASDA Coordinator

Field Enumerator Vicki Ehlert (l) arranged for the group to tour the farm and agricultural operations of a nearby Hutterite Colony. Nora, our tour guide on the right, did a great job.  

NASDA and NASS on the farm tour with our guide

The dairy operations on the farm

The farm operation is diverse and includes about 100 ducks and geese