Paula Bentle grew up on the Brainard Ranch, located just off of Dry Creek Road between Belgrade and Manhattan, Montana. Her grandfather began working the land in the 1940s with cattle and hay. Today, they continue the cow-calf operation and lease the hay fields.
Active in the agriculture community, Paula is a key contributor to the GVAC Farm Fair. The event is hosted on the Brainard Ranch annually. More than 1,000 area fourth grade students go behind-the-scenes to learn where food comes from; 17 hands-on workshops teach kids about topics like the water cycle, milking cows, pollinators, and soil conservation. Paula prepares the property for this amazing, important event every year – a job that is easily overlooked. Paula is also a member of the local Cattlewomen group.
After graduating from Manhattan High School, she attended two years of college in Powell, Wyoming, then returned to work at her family’s ranch for a year. She finished her finance degree at Montana State University. Paula worked at American Simmental before choosing to work at the ranch full-time. While her father is still involved, the day-to-day labor is largely hers to handle and has been for 14 years.
Two sons, Dawson (10) and Blake (8), keep her even busier than the ranch. From hunting to sports events to school activities, she and her husband Rod find a way to do it all for the boys. Paula sneaks in a ride when a rare free moment presents itself. Her barrel racing horses, Molly and Lucky, enjoy competing in jackpot rodeos with Paula here and there as well.
Congratulations, Paula! You are being recognized by your local Gallatin Valley Agriculture Committee for being an outstanding rancher. You’re also the first woman to own the Junior Rancher title independently, a feat you never set out to achieve, but have earned nonetheless. Murdoch’s celebrates you and your family’s contributions to agriculture.