New agent joins County Extension: Emily Standley fills position left vacant for five months

Emily Standly
By: 
Charlie Denison
Reporter

Fergus County’s newest Extension Service agent, Emily Standley, is excited for both her position and the opportunity to stay in Lewistown. Standley learned this week the job of Fergus County Extension agent was hers. She fills a position that has been empty since former agent Darren Crawford left the Extension Service in May.

Standley begins her new job with the Extension Service on Nov. 1. She is currently working on a grant-funded position with the Montana Rangelands Partnership, a public-private partnership formed to provide technical assistance and educational resources to ranchers. Continuing to provide technical support and education is something Standley looks forward to in her new position.

“I really want to help people with management decisions on their farms or ranches,” Standley said. “I want to be a resource for the ag community, to help identify tools and resources. Producers have good ideas for what they want to do, just from working on their farms, and I want to help them to make those ideas happen.”

Standley grew up in the Missoula area. While she doesn’t come from a ranching or farming background, she realized early on that this was an area of great interest to her.

“In high school in Missoula I joined FFA,” she said. “The high school has a farm just outside the city limits, and I worked with the livestock there as part of the FFA program.”

It was in the FFA program in high school that Standley met Logan, later to become her husband.

After high school, Standley earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Range Management at the MSU. After working at seasonal range technician jobs in Idaho and Wyoming, Standley is thrilled to find a permanent position that allows her to do the kind of work she most enjoys.

“I always thought I’d be an extension agent,” she said. “It was kind one of my goals, to be able to serve rural communities. While range management is my specialty, I’ll be getting training through the extension service to pick up other specialties.”

In addition to allowing her to work in her favorite field, Standley said another big draw of the Fergus County Extension position is its location in Lewistown. Standley and her husband moved to the area a year and a half ago. Logan found a job at Spika Manufacturing while Emily went to work for the Montana Rangelands Partnership.

“We’ve grown to love Lewistown and the area,” Standley said. “We are glad to be able to stay here.”

Jennifer Saunders, 4-H program assistant at the extension office, said she could not be more excited to have Standley come on board.

“There’s a lot of demand for support in the ag community,” Saunders said. “This is a busy office. We’ll be really happy to have Emily here. Everyone is looking forward to the day she starts, including the neighboring extension agents who have been helping answer questions and providing resources for the Fergus ag community.”

Standley said she is anxious to get out and meet the members of that community.

“I want to get started learning what the community needs and wants,” she said. “I will be out getting to know people as soon as possible, going to meetings and learning what the needs are.”

Standley said in addition to working with adults, she hopes to develop programs to teach about agriculture in the schools.

“I am more than welcoming of any input people have,” she said. “I want the extension program to be useful, to fill a need and not be redundant.”

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