Gaining Experience to Achieve Dreams
Maggie Jo Matt is a 4th generation cattle rancher achieving her dreams
Maggie Jo Matt is a 4th generation cattle rancher who was born and raised in Browning, Montana. Maggie participated in the 4H program while in school and has been a full time rancher for half a decade. Her dad, who is also a rancher, has guided her in ranching since she was a little girl; Maggie’s grandparents were also ranchers, so she grew up learning the lifestyle. Growing up, she always wanted her own cows and with her dad’s guidance, he helped Maggie to apply for a brand application. Once her brand was approved, every year, he would put her brand on a few of his heifers. Then, as a sophomore in high school, she applied for a youth loan with Akiptan and she was able to purchase a few pairs of cows with the youth loan.
“the youth loan application process was pretty easy, while she thought it was gonna be a little harder, the staff were helpful and supportive,” says Maggie.
After graduating from high school, Maggie decided to grow her operation and applied for a larger loan with Akiptan, to be able to purchase 40 cows. Her dad guided her by telling her what to look for each time they visited the livestock sale. Every other Wednesday, they would purchase small groups of cattle at a time and haul them home in their horse trailer. At one time, they were able to purchase 19 cows and thanks to good friends, were able to haul them home with their help.
“I traveled with my dad to the livestock sale in Great Falls each week and bought 7 or 10 cows every week.” explains Maggie.
Maggie always dreamed of building a barn growing up, she knew it would help when it snows and when calves are born, because it would be important to have the calves in a warm infrastructure. Akiptan’s infrastructure loan assisted her in making this dream a reality.
Maggie appreciates being in a small town, because everyone pretty much knows everyone, so if you need help hauling, gathering, branding, you can call on friends and neighbors and you will get some help. Her favorite part of ranching is branding season, gathering the cattle is fun because they ride horseback and now that she is older and experienced in the process, she is able to lead the gathering process and she feels really good about it. From beginning with a youth loan to purchasing cattle and then building a barn, Maggie has also recently been approved for a range unit and this speaks to her experience and determination to reach her operational goals and dreams.
“the staff are really helpful, they guided me through everything, and if I have a question, my loan officer, who lives in the community, is there for questions.” affirms Maggie.
Maggie is pleased with her experience with Akiptan and says “ When paperwork needs to be signed, they know where to find me and that makes the process accommodating. To those that may want to get into ranching, Maggie would encourage other Native ranchers to apply with Akiptan.