State Reports

State Summary 2015 — Montana

State Contact

Ms. Steph Hystad
Montana Department of Agriculture
302 N Roberts
Helena, MT 59601
P: 406.444.5425

Classroom Resources

Montana Invasive Species Education Project:

Montana Ag Commodity Map – updated version

Montana accurate agriculture reading program for K-4 classrooms. 23 lesson plans and science activities.

Designed and developed a “Culinary Collections” food poster for high school level classrooms.

Developed/ distributed/instructed on a pulse teaching kit to 110 classrooms with 95 more to be distributed in early 2016.

Major Program Accomplishments or Outputs

Major project accomplishments for 2015 included the continuation of a reading program for grades K-4; offering the program to teachers at several different locations across the state. A statewide education campaign regarding invasive species was developed an launched. We also prepared for the 2016International Year of the Pulses" by developing teaching kits and pre-teaching the materials.

Major Program Impacts or Outcomes

  • The Montana Office of Public Instruction and the Montana Educators Association requested additional 2015 involvement by the MT Ag in the Classroom program, specifically for every Title 1 school.
  • A mapping project of the impact of our program was updated for data/planning.
  • 4200 pounds of agriculture literacy materials were handed out to Montana educators at the fall conference. Due to a shortage at the conference with another 600+ pounds was shipped to schools following the conference.
  • Partnerships between federal and state agencies to impact education of students about agriculture and environmental issues grew again. Agencies that are now in the cooperative for these efforts include agriculture, wildlife and parks, natural resources, and education.
  • 100% of teachers who attended teacher in-service trainings and pre-service trainings gave the highest marks to the training based on: educational value, implementation ease, and standards base. Further evaluation comments showed teachers were more likely to seek lesson plans with hands on activities.
  • Ag Days across our state doubled and the demand for agriculture literacy materials doubled as a result.
  • The benchmark for the Montana Pollinator Project distribution hit the 6000 mark. We are now in 4500 classrooms (adult and school age) across Montana. Our biggest gain this year was in orders from Extension. We are also in 1500+ educational settings across America, England, Australia, and the Netherlands.


I have been serving the State of Montana as the Agriculture Literacy Specialist for the Montana Department of Agriculture since 2009. Prior to that it was my pleasure to teach art and plant sciences to 170 students a week in a Montana School District near Bozeman, MT. I was raised in Montana in a very small town next to Glacier National Park, and have lived in Montana most of my life. My family includes my husband David, our children and a wonderful granddaughter. My education was attained at Montana State University where I earned my undergraduate degrees in 2001. I then graduated with a Master's in Education and Curriculum Instruction/Development in 2007.