Serving the People of Montana

Taylor Brown represents Montana
State Senate District 28, Huntley, MT

IN THE MONTANA LEGISLATURE…his farm broadcasting skill  helps Taylor Brown (Northern Ag Network, Billings, MT) be a more effective Montana state senator. He says he’s learned to “boil down” complex issues into a couple of paragraphs for his listeners and that experience equips him to better represent his citizens. “Because of mandated term limits, I am going into my fourth and final session in the Senate. It will be my second session to Chair the Senate Agriculture, Livestock, and Irrigation Committee. Our sessions are limited to 90 days, every other year. We start January 5 and go until the end of April.” How does he juggle both jobs? “The State Capitol in Helena is four hours from our office in Billings, so during the session, I move to Helena where we meet five or six days each week. I have a great team to cover the bases back home. During that four-month period, my right-hand man, Russell Nemetz, and wife, Shannon Brown, manage the Northern Ag Network without me,” and he modestly adds, “It seems to run a lot smoother without me!”

Raised on his family’s ranch at Sand Springs, MT, Taylor Brown is well-known as an agricultural radio and TV broadcaster. He and his wife, Shannon, own the Northern Broadcasting System, and also KGHL AM-790, Billings’ first radio station. He is a strong supporter of 4-H, FFA, Alpha Gamma Rho and the REAL Montana leadership program; and he chaired the Montana State University College of Agriculture’s volunteer fundraising committee to build a new Animal and Range Science building. Elected to the Montana Legislature in 2008, he serves as a State Senator where he chairs the Senate Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation Committee, and the Senate Education and Cultural Resources Committee. He has also served on Senate Finance Committee, Senate Taxation Committee, and the Joint Legislative Audit Committee. Taylor and Shannon have been married since 1980, and are active in the Huntley Project community, where they have raised their three children Travis, Courtney and Colter. 

Starting as a cowboy on his family’s ranch, where he was active in 4-H and FFA, Taylor was hired by Conrad Burns, who after his farm broadcasting years was elected U.S. Senator from Montana serving from 1989 to 2007. Taylor joined NAFB in 1980, the same year that he purchased Northern Ag Network from Burns. Taylor earned an Oscar in Agriculture, was 1989 Farm Broadcaster of the Year and served as NAFB President in 1992. Also, Taylor was President of the NAFB Foundation for 10 years. He proudly notes that the NAFB intern program began during his tenure.

Taylor considers himself more of an advocate for agriculture than a journalist, but, he adds, “You have to decide how much advocacy to do. You have to choose.”  He considers himself pro Rural America.  He believes farm broadcasters are “personal briefing officers” for farmers and ranchers. One of his listeners told Taylor, “You give us hope. You come on the radio to give us information that will make it better.”

What does it take to be a farm broadcaster? Taylor believes the key is “you have to want to serve others. You need a servant’s heart. You have to make your advertisers successful and your listeners successful.”