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Billings Chamber honors agriculture industry

ag appreication.jpg
Posted at 8:44 AM, Jan 29, 2022

Agriculture brings in an estimated $4.4 billion to Montana, according to the Billings Chamber of Commerce.

On Friday night, the chamber's Agriculture Appreciation Banquet honored those in the top industry in Yellowstone County.

Lee Moran and Charlie Brandeen opened up the festivities with the musical entertainment at the MetraPark Montana Pavilion.

The chamber honored farmers, ranchers and all the businesses that add to the agriculture economy.

Retired MetraPark General Manager Bill Dutcher received the Agriculture Excellence Award.

The banquet's main sponsor is an example of a businesses that exist because of agriculture.

"Ag members are very foundational," said Brandon Wittman, Yellowstone Valley Cooperative CEO and general manager. "They are the reason we have our business, our electric co-op. Back in the late '30s, early '40s, there was no power in the rural communities and the small towns and it was those ag members that banded together and started our co-op. So we don't forget that. We like to celebrate that. So we call them a foundational member. They truly are for our business."

The banquet is the culmination of Ag Appreciation Week, which started on Monday and included a proclamation from Billings Mayor Bill Cole.

The 2021 Ag Appreciation Banquet was canceled because of COVID.