Press Release from Natural Resources Conservation Service

Conservation book recognizes women’s contributions to Montana agriculture

Photo courtesy of DNRC

June 5, 2018

HELENA, Montana – Politics, eminent domain, weeds, grasshoppers, economic depression, and drought were no match for these Montana women.

In her debut memoir, Montana Women, From the Ground Up: Passionate Voices in Agriculture and Land Conservation, writer Kristin Ellis creates portraits of pioneering women who share their experiences of successes, growth, and failures in farming and ranching Montana’s vast landscape.

With their forward-thinking, nurturing abilities and “gumption” to “make hay out of thistles,” these women persevered and thrived in Montana agriculture while creating a better landscape for the next generation.

Growing up on the family ranch, Linda fought hard to gain respect as a ranch hand, while Arlene learned to ride a horse and drive machinery at a very young age. Ellis recognizes the contributions these women have made to shape Montana’s agriculture industry and the conservation movement.

A woman’s role on a farm is everchanging, from cow nurse and parts manager to crew chef and bookkeeper. Ellis weaves anecdotes with discussions of differing views of agriculture, the meaning and practice of conservation, as well as advice for moving forward in today’s agricultural world.

Montana Women, From the Ground Up, a 144-page book with narrative and beautiful black and white photography, can be purchased online for $21.99 at, and locally at conservation district offices and bookstores across Montana.