Welcome to BigSkyFarmHer! I’m Michelle Jones and I am a 4th generation farmer from South Central Montana. I co-own and operate Gooseneck Land & Cattle, farming and ranching in Montana alongside my husband, dad and brother.
Background: As I have mentioned I am a fourth generation farmer. I was born and raised on a farm in South Central Montana. I grew up surrounded by my grandparents, parents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and my siblings. I am the oldest of four – two of my siblings have careers off the farm. My brother Mikel returned to the farm several years ago and also maintains his career off-farm as a banker. After high school I went to college at The College of Wooster in Wooster, OH and earned a degree in history with a minor in political science. The four years at Wooster are still a highlight of my life. I returned to Montana after graduation and worked part time on the farm and part time for UPS. I loved my UPS career and as a result returned to school to earn my MBA (I actually have two) – Operations Management and Mediation/Dispute Resolution. My UPS career took my to Seattle for several years where I eventually took a job with Amazon Fresh (a subsidiary of Amazon that delivers groceries in select US cities).
In 2012 my dad called and asked what my dream job was. I did not hesitate to say it was still to be a farmer. He had been offered a new lease and needed to have someone return full time if he was going to take it on. This lease became my first lease. I returned home to Montana in July 2012. In the middle of the hottest and driest year on record. We harvested earlier than we ever have that year and harvest was interrupted almost every day by a new fire to fight. It was while fighting these fires that I got reacquainted with a local rancher (and the volunteer fire chief) named Travis. Fast forward 5 years – and we are married with two little boys. We continue to farm and ranch while I also serve on the board of the Montana Grain Growers Association (I am a Past President) and on the National Association of Wheat Growers board. Farming and agriculture in general remains my passion and my dream job.
Alongside my experience with MGGA and NAWG – I am also a farmer spokesperson for Farmers For Free Trade, a member of the Organization of Women In Trade, and have served on many other advisory boards inside and outside of government. I have testified in front of the House Ways and Means Subcommitte on Trade and the Interational Trade Commission. I have a deep knowledge of domestic farm policy and international trade policy. I have been featured in or interviewed by media publications across the globe:
As the pandemic set in – I was given the opportunity to return to Amazon. I am currently a Sr. Regional Manager for Amazon Logistics. I am responsible for the on road operations at 5 Seattle area delivery stations. We continue to own and operate the farm – and split our lives between Seattle and Montana. While I no longer spend most of my days inside tractors and combines, I am still an integral part of the day to day operations and manage all of the paperwork and budgets. I continue to be involved in trade policy and public policy when my time allows. I also maintain my social media pages.