The song of saddle leather mingles with the familiar jingling of spur rowels and the soft lowing of trailing cattle subtlety singing the chorus of a cowboy symphony. Light jumps in the newest IFA president’s eyes as reverie evokes fond memories of life, mounted and a horse back, flash by. Matt Swan was raised on his family’s ranch in Box Elder County where he still recalls the crisp, clear mountain air tinged sweetly with the smell of horse sweat and sage.
After a lifetime of involvement and service in agriculture and an 18-year career at IFA, Matt has been selected to serve as the cooperative's newest President and CEO. Matt is humbled and honored to serve IFA and its members in this new role and feels his past experience will aid him in this endeavor.
An Agriculturalist Through and Through
Matt has been involved in agriculture from his earliest years, working closely with his father raising cattle and sheep. He was an active youth helping on the ranch as well as involved in many organizations including football, FFA and high school and college rodeo–where he competed in roping events.
Matt hopes to develop and promote a lasting vision and culture that reflects the co-op’s dedication to its patrons and community.
After graduation, Matt attended Utah State University studying in the pre veterinary program until hanging up his rope for a time to serve a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in Ecuador. Upon returning home from his two-year service, Matt enrolled at Brigham Young University where he completed his bachelor’s degree in Ag Economics with an emphasis in Agribusiness Management.
From there, Matt accepted a position with Monsanto Company where he gained valuable experience in sales and marketing of agricultural products. Matt “always felt a strong need to be actively involved in industry associations.” So while working for Monsanto, he also served as president of both the Utah Weed Control and the Utah Agriculture Chemical and Fertilizer Associations.
At the conclusion of a 10-year career with the ag giant, Matt expanded his knowledge and understanding of various facets of production agriculture by taking on a new role with Farm Management Company–currently known as Ag Reserves Inc.
Matt began his career with Ag Reserves Inc as the General Manager of 10 large dairy operations and three small cattle ranches. A while later he was reassigned to manage the Deseret Ranches of Wyoming which included large ranches in Cody, Meeteetse and Sheridan. His last assignment with Ag Reserves would be to head up the newly acquired Triangle Ranches of Texas, which consisted of 150,000 acres, 5,000 head of cows and 4,000 head of stocker cattle.
During his 13 years with Ag Reserves Inc, Matt gained irreplaceable hands-on experience in the day-to-day operations and business decisions accompanying animal agriculture–exposure he found invaluable throughout his career with IFA.
Matt’s extensive career and versatile experience within the agriculture industry made him well adapted to nearly every aspect of IFA’s operations. This adaptability allowed Matt to flow easily into various aspects of IFA's administration from regional management to general operations. Matt has also taken on leadership roles in the agronomy, feed and animal health division of the co-op as well as served as a member of the Central Utah Grain Board.
Welcoming a New Century of Growing
With his diversified and exceptional career in agriculture, Matt is well equipped to serve the co-op and its members in this newest role. He will succeed Layne Anderson who served as IFA’s president for 12 years, leading the co-op through a successful season as well as successfully helping navigate a tumultuous pandemic and cyber security attack.
While Matt had not anticipated this role, he feels ready and honored to lead the co-op into the start of another century of growth. As the IFA President and CEO, Matt hopes to develop and promote a lasting vision and culture that reflects the co-op’s dedication to its patrons and community as well as emphasize the importance of IFA team members.
Most of all Matt wants the “farmers, ranchers, dairymen, fruit growers and all other IFA co-op members to understand that IFA is here to serve their agriculture needs.”
Matt hopes to “develop a culture within IFA where people feel empowered to magnify their talents.” He believes that IFA’s employees are central to the co-op’s success and wants to cultivate an environment of employee development and training and continue hiring talented, qualified individuals who have the agriculture flavor of IFA’s rural lifestyle brand and vision.
Most of all Matt wants the “farmers, ranchers, dairymen, fruit growers and all other IFA co-op members to understand that IFA is here to serve their agriculture needs.” IFA will continue helping intermountain producers grow the things they love by providing the best agricultural products and by helping patrons develop and implement best practices on their operations.
Written by Mikyla Bagley, IFA Content Specialist, and originally published in the IFA Cooperator magazine (vol. 89, no. 1) Spring 2023.
Mikyla Bagley is a fifth-generation rancher actively involved in her family’s cattle operation. She holds a deep respect for the wisdom and management practices of the farmers and ranchers who have crossed her path, both because of her family operation and otherwise. A deep desire to remain connected to the agriculture industry drove Mikyla to earn her BIS in Agriculture Science and Communication from Southern Utah University. She continues to be involved in her family’s operation while using her degree and life-long experience as FA’s Content Specialist sharing the experiences and wisdom of IFA experts and Co-op Members.
“The agriculture community is filled with genuine and hard-working men and women whose passion for their lifestyle deserves to be shared. I look forward to helping highlight both their stories and expertise alongside IFA.”