About The Montana Grain Elevator Association

At the Montana Grain Elevator Association (MGEA), our roots run deep in the fertile soil of Montana’s grain industry. Since 1971, our rich history has been an unwavering force driving progress, fostering collaboration, and advocating for the growth of our agricultural community.

With a membership network comprising over 100 locations, we bring together diverse voices from every corner of Montana’s grain industry. Our commitment to excellence extends to every facet of our operations, from our professional development initiatives that elevate our members’ skills and knowledge, to our vigilant engagement in legislative and regulatory matters that shape the industry’s future.

Through our annual convention, we create a platform for sharing insights, networking, and sparking innovation. We’ve proudly awarded well over $100,000 in scholarships, investing in the education of the next generation of agribusiness leaders.

Our dedication to maintaining strong relationships with universities, associations, agencies, and other groups reflects our holistic approach to driving positive change in our industry. As the heartbeat of Montana’s grain industry, we work tirelessly to enhance public awareness of agribusiness as a vital force in society.

Our Goals

Organizational Competency

To develop and maintain an organizational structure that addresses the needs of members, is financially healthy, and enables the highest volunteer and staff competency.

Legislative, Regulatory Relations

To monitor and influence state and federal legislation and regulation which affect the grain elevator industry.

Professional Development, Ethics

To enhance the professional competency and knowledge of members and to foster high standards of ethical conduct.

Research and Information

To collect and effectively disseminate information on changing technical, governmental and other conditions affecting the grain elevator industry.


To encourage interaction and the understanding of the issues affecting our members and to provide opportunities for this exchange.

Organizational Relationships

To maintain cooperation with the university system; state, regional and national agricultural, natural resource and business associations; state and federal agencies, and other groups in pursuit of MGEA’s mission.

Public Information and Awareness

To enhance the recognition of agribusiness as a profession and the public’s understanding of the positive contribution we make to society.

Micky Zurcher

Executive Director

Micky Zurcher grew up in ND on a farm/ranch where her dad raised small grains and together, they had a small herd of registered Black Angus.

She holds a master’s degree in Community Development from North Dakota State University. She spent the first decade of her adult life in the hospitality industry managing restaurants and resorts. She transitioned in 2011 and began working in non-profits, government, and education. She was the Executive Director for the Helena Business Improvement District from 2017-2022. Currently, she works fulltime with the Department of Commerce working in the Community MT Division.

Her hobbies include spending time with her four horses (Remington, Rose, Romeo, and Buttercup), her family, golfing, hunting, hiking, gardening, and traveling.

Jayson Hauer, President

Belle Pulses, USA

Jayson comes to Montana by way of Tennessee. He has a diverse background that includes time spent as a paratrooper in the US Army, a Senior Manager for an oil field service company, and an owner / operator of a small family cattle ranch. He currently is the general manager of Belle Pulses USA in Hingham, MT where he runs all the daily operations and buys pulse crops. He spends most of his time away from work coaching sports, including both football and wrestling. He and his wife Jana live in Chinook, MT with their 6 kids.

Derek Gibson, Vice-President

Columbia Grain

Derek was raised in Fort Benton, Montana where he graduated high school. Upon graduation from high school, he went on to attend college at the University of Montana Western where he attended for a year before moving back to his roots in Choteau County. Derek started his career with Columbia Grain in June of 2013 at their Carter Elevator, where he started out as a truck dumper. Throughout his time with the company, Derek has learned a variety of skills and understandings of the business that has allowed him to reach the position of Operations Manager for the facility. When Derek isn’t at work, he enjoys spending time with his daughter, Rylee, trying to golf, floating on the river, and spending time with his friends.

Michael Killen, Treasurer


I am the Southern MT Agronomist for Molson Coors Beverage Company located at the Huntley, MT elevator.   I was born and raised in Miles City, MT.  After receiving an Agronomy degree from Montana State University, I spent 23 years in Powell, Wyoming working at the University of Wyoming Seed Certification Program, Wyoming Department of Agriculture and as Farm Manager at the University of Wyoming, Powell Research and Extension Center.  In 2013, I moved to Huntley to begin working for Miller Coors.  My wife Judy is originally from Billings, MT and works at the Huntley Project Museum.  We have two daughters, Ann and Carrie. We enjoy outdoor activities like camping, hunting, and fishing.  I look forward to representing Molson Coors on the board.

Justin Hager

Montana Specialty Mills

Justin Hager grew up on his family’s irrigated farm and ranch on the Fairfield Bench before continuing onto MSU Bozeman where he obtained a degree in Agricultural Business Management and a minor in Economics.  After graduating from MSU Bozeman, he managed grain elevators for General Mills and Columbia Grain for 7 years, followed by 2 years managing a grant and loan program for the Montana Department of Agriculture.  Justin has been with Montana Specialty Mills since 2007, trading specialty crops such as mustard, flax, canola, safflower, coriander, and caraway.

Reed Gibson


Reed grew up in southern Idaho on a Tulip farm.  He went to the U of Idaho studying Folklore History and was an active member of Phi Delta Sigma.  He then worked in Jerome at a yogurt factory before becoming interested in the grain industry.  His first job was in Rupert at an Edamame bean factory with Peavey grain.  After 12 years he was promoted and moved to Carter, MT with Peavey Grain, where he managed the facility and fashioned the idea of no-entry bin sweeps.  In 2002 he took a job with Malteurop as the Country Elevator manager and currently holds that role.  He has a collection of Volkswagon Beetles and enjoys his time tinkering in his shop on them.  His fantastic wife Sonia and 3 boys reside just outside of Fort Benton and enjoy their time traveling national parks.

Terry Bartelt


I started my career in the grain business at the Kershaw elevator in 1983 back when that location was owned by U.G.C. I worked there as an elevator operator and moved up to superintendent. From 1985 through 1986 I relocated to a U.G.C. facility in Cheyenne Wells, Colorado where I worked as assistant manager. Being born and raised in Great Falls, Montana I soon couldn’t stand being away from my home state and returned to work at Kershaw. I continued work at the Kershaw elevator until 1993 as Superintendent. July of 1993 I accepted a job as manager of Moore, Montana for Peavey / Conagra which became Gavilon in 2008 where I managed for the next 25 years. I have seen a lot of change in the grain business and have always enjoyed the challenges. I recently relocated to Billings, Montana where I work as an area manager for Gavilon.

Katelin Standley


Katelin was born and raised on a wheat and cattle ranch in Molt, MT.  She then graduated from MSU-Bozeman with an Agricultural Business degree.  She began her career in 2013 with A-B as a Field Representative and then she managed two barley receiving elevators in Fairfield and Conrad.  Katelin now works as the Montana Regional Agronomy Manager.  She lives on the Fairfield bench with her husband and 2 kids where they raise cattle and hay.

Scott McGowan

Stricks Ag

Scott grew up around agriculture with his family in Highwood and Valier areas. After graduating MSU Bozeman with a Finance and Management Degree, he worked at several financial institutions as a stockbroker. After moving back to Northern Montana, he worked on a farm and ranch before becoming a merchandiser with StricksAg. In his spare time, Scott likes to travel the world, listen to music, and spend time with family and friends. 

Jarvis Frank

United Grain

Greg Thayer

Montana Milling

Greg graduated from Montana State University with a degree in Business with an accounting emphasis and is a CPA.  Greg is CEO of Montana Milling, Inc specializing in certified organic and conventional grains, flours, flakes, cracked products and specialty mixes.

Garrett Nygard

CHS Big Sky

I was born and raised in Montana and have been involved in agriculture since I was very young. My dad’s family has a wheat farm in Northeastern Montana where I spent many summers driving combine at harvest time. I currently work for CHS Big Sky out of Cut Bank, MT where I have been since 2011. I started my career working the driveway, dumping trucks and cleaning boot pits. I had some great mentors that helped me learn the business over the years and eventually worked my way into management. I currently am the specialty crops merchandiser for the CHS Big Sky group where I hope to continue to grow and learn more and more about the ag business.

BJ DeLeo

Columbia Grain

I grew up south of Cascade Montana on the Missouri River. I attended Cascade High School where I graduated. After school I worked a few jobs in construction and cowboying. In 1995 I started at CHS Great Falls as a truck dumper. In 1997 I went to work for United Harvest in Kershaw and the move to Assistant Manager in Central Montana for United Grain where in 2013 I became Manager. I worked for United Grain for 20+ years. I left, went, and did my own thing for a couple years including running crane and heavy equipment for the Laurel refinery but eventually coming back to UGC and running Pompey’s Pillar and Culbertson over the next 8 years. I moved to Conrad in 2022 and worked in the fertilizer and grain seed business until getting on board with Columbia Grain and moving to Central Montana and being the General Manager at the Moore facility. When I’m not at work I enjoy the outdoors with my children, family, and friends.


MGEA Past-Presidents

2023 – 2024
Jayson Hauer
2021 – 2022
Katelin Standley
2019 – 2020
Justin Hager
2017 – 2018
Josh Wulf
2015 – 2016
Reed Gibson
2013 – 2014
Greg Thayer
2011 – 2012
Tim Mattick
2009 – 2010
Paul Clark
2007 – 2008
Kent Kupfner
Terry Bartelt
2004 – 2005
Mark Black
Bill Spainhower
2001 – 2002
Dave Tweet
Bruce Clark
Tom Peterson
Tom Willis
Bryan Jones
Ross Thayer
Monte Wetter
Vince Goecke
1992 – 1993
Mel Schulz
Mike Orgas
Steve Chambers
1988 – 1989
G.D. Eastlick
Ken Sagmiller
Dan Place
Jim Muller
Dan Treinen
Kerry Schaefer
Dick Panusuk
Mel Sobilik
Ken Hageman
R.F. “Smokey” Denison
Gene Thayer
1976 – 1977
Jack Hemingson
Fred Page
R.F. “Smokey” Denison
George Boos
1971 – 1972
Ray Aman

MGEA Honorary Lifetime Members

Clarence Olfert

Cory Dogterom

Dean Danforth

Jim Frieling

Jim Muller

Ken Brandvold

Ken Hageman

Lloyd Burtness

Mel Schulz

Mel Sobolik

Pam Langley

Paul Clark

Ray Aman

Vivian Snyder

Honorary Lifetime Members are individuals who have been active regular or associate MGEA members for at least three years, are at least 62 years old, are retired from the Montana grain business, and nominated and elected by the MGEA Board of Directors.  They have all privileges of an associate Non-voting member, receive association mailings and are invited to attend all association conventions and meetings with free registration excluding meals, travel and housing costs.