Stockmen's Association will host convention Sept. 24-26

For the past eight decades, the North Dakota Stockmen's Association has worked hard to help ranchers build a life in the industry. This fall, the association celebrates its 80th anniversary at the Doublewood Inn in Bismarck Sept. 24-26, with an A...

For the past eight decades, the North Dakota Stockmen's Association has worked hard to help ranchers build a life in the industry. This fall, the association celebrates its 80th anniversary at the Doublewood Inn in Bismarck Sept. 24-26, with an Annual Convention & Trade Show, "Building a Life." The agenda is designed to help North Dakota ranchers continue to build their lives as beef producers.

The two-and-a-half-day event will include informational programs, speaker presentations, policy development sessions, member recognitions and social activities.

The event kicks off on Thursday, Sept. 24, at 9:30 a.m. at the Tom O'Leary Golf Course in Bismarck for a Golf Scramble. Pre-registration is not required, but appreciated. To do so, contact Golf Scramble Chairman Paul Bichler of Riverdale at 701-226-0205 or .

The popular Cattlemen's College will be held that afternoon. This year, the College will feature renowned cattle handling expert Dr. Tom Noffsinger of Benkelman, Neb., and his demonstration of low-stress cattle handling techniques, including the use of a Bud Box. The demonstration will utilize live cattle and will be held at the Mandan Horse and Saddle Club Arena in Mandan, N.D. (Please dress appropriately for this outdoor event. Transportation to and from this event is on your own.)

The Trade Show Social and supper will follow the Cattlemen's College at the Doublewood Inn at 5:30 p.m. and 7 p.m., respectively.


On Friday, Sept. 25, attendees will have an opportunity to visit the Trade Show before the gavel drops for the opening business session at 9 a.m. During the session, NDSA President Jack Reich will give the President's Message and NDSA Chief Brand Inspector Darryl Howard will provide a short synopsis of brand laws and enforcement strategies.

The opening session will also feature the fourth annual Candidates' Forum after NDSA Nominating Committee reports are read. Director candidates will have the opportunity to introduce themselves and answer impromptu industry questions before the assembly to help the crowd get to know them better. Eleven candidates are vying for two officer and six director positions. Candidates include the following: Jack Reich of Zap, N.D. for president; Jason Schmidt of Medina, N.D., for vice president; and Jon Brown of Devils Lake, N.D.; Jeff Schafer of New Rockford, N.D.; Gerry Vangsness of Walcott, N.D.; Jeff Bowman of Fredonia, N.D.; Doug Bichler of Linton, N.D.; Frank Melchior of Almont, N.D.; Paige Burian of Manning, N.D.; Mark Geidd of Washburn, N.D.; and Durnell Klain of Ruso, N.D., for directors. Nominations will also be accepted from the floor.

A "Bridging the Generation Gap in Your Operation" panel discussion will also be held during the morning session. Bismarck State College Corporate Trainer Robin Thorstenson will facilitate the discussion and help attendees understand and appreciate the differences between the generations working on their ranches. Producer panel participants Mike and Kevin Elliott of Clifford, N.D., and David and Joel Opp of Hebron, N.D., will provide real-world perspectives from multi-generation operations. Elliotts operate a registered Simmental seedstock ranch and custom feedlot. Opps run a registered Angus seedstock business in conjunction with David's brother, Duane. Those in attendance will take away several workable strategies to improve communication between the generations.

The group will break for lunch but gather again at 1 p.m. for the policy sessions at five committee meetings. The committees include Ag Policy & Environmental Issues, Animal Health, Brand & Theft, Feeding & Marketing and Research & Education. The meetings will include informational presentations and reports by industry experts, the review and consideration of expiring policy and the formation of new policy items pertaining to the respective topic areas. The following is a list of some of the topics and presenters, by committee:

· Ag Policy & Environmental Issues - NDSU's Dwight Aakre, will present "Landowner Considerations Regarding Wind Energy Leases."

· Animal Health - Representatives of the State Board of Animal Health will provide updates on several animal health issues including tuberculosis, brucellosis and Johne's disease, inhumane animal treatment and the department's new field investigator. Also during this committee meeting NDSU's Dr. Dave Buchanan will present tips to manage genetic disorders.

· Brand & Theft - Mark Helbling of L&H Branding Irons will present "Tips for Choosing Brands and Branding."

· Feeding & Marketing - NDSU's Dr. Kris Ringwall will present age and source verification information, and NDSU's Dr. Tim Petry will provide a cattle-marketing outlook.


· Research & Education - Nancy Jo Bateman of the North Dakota Beef Commission and Lisa Pederson of the North Dakota Beef Quality Assurance Program will provide updates on their respective programs.

Any NDSA member can propose, discuss and vote on policy resolutions and directives.

A social and supper will follow at 5 p.m. and 6 p.m., respectively.

The North Dakota Stockmen's Foundation's fundraising auction will be held at 7 p.m. Folks will have a chance to purchase rifle raffle tickets and $500 vouchers from 15 participating seedstock operations. Another auction benefitting the Foundation will be held Saturday, Sept. 26, during the banquet. There, supporters will have a chance to purchase a spot for their brand to be placed on the NDSA headquarters' entrance. All proceeds will go to the North Dakota Stockmen's Foundation. Those wanting to bid on items, but who will not be present, should contact the auctioneer, NDSA District 4 Director Casey Maher of Morristown, S.D., at (701) 522-3616.

The "Stockmen Got Talent" Variety Show will provide an enjoyable end to a full day on Friday. To share your talent and participate with an act, contact NDSA staffers Scott Ressler or Tracey Koester at (701) 223-2522. NDSA members will be asked to judge the talent line-up and award the $500 in cash prizes that are up for grabs.

On Saturday, Sept. 26, the North Dakota CattleWomen will host a silent auction from 7:30 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Four industry speakers will take the stage at the general session beginning at 8:45 a.m.

The first speaker is Dr. Cole Gustafson, a professor and economist at NDSU. Gustafson serves as co-director of the Bioenergy and Product Innovation Center in Fargo. He will discuss the implications and status of pending federal climate change legislation.


Daren Williams, director of spokesperson development with the National Cattlemen's Beef Association, will be on hand to explain the national organization's newest online spokesperson training program, Masters of Beef Advocacy, and give attendees practice in the art.

Also during the general session, members will learn more about a proposed beef packing plant for the state as Jack Kim of Seoul, Korea, and Hank Imm of Minneapolis, Minn., unveil results from their recent feasibility study.

Several outstanding people will be recognized at the Awards Luncheon at noon. Among them will be members of the 2009 Mentoring Program class and North Dakota Stockmen's Junior Scholarship winners Levi G. Rue of Sheyenne and Nickolas Hart of Chaseley. North Dakota Ag Commissioner Doug Goehring will also bring a greeting from the North Dakota Department of Agriculture.

Work resumes at the final business session at 1:30 p.m. After committee reports, members will discuss and vote on the resolutions and directives presented. Officer and director elections will follow.

This is also when the 2009 NDSA top recruitment prize - a 7-foot-by-24-foot aluminum trailer sponsored by Boespflug Trailers of Dickinson, N.D., - will be awarded to the NDSA's top membership recruiter. Names of recruiters who have signed up five or more new or returning members out six months or more will also be entered into a drawing for an engraved rifle. The winner will be drawn at this session.

Recruiters and anyone who became a member between Sept. 2, 2008, and Sept. 1, 2009, has a chance at winning the Bull Bucks membership prize - $1,775 redeemable toward the purchase of an animal from one of the 71 sponsoring ranches - also to be drawn at the final session. Members must be present to win.

A banquet social begins at 5:45 p.m., with the NDSA Annual Banquet following at 6:45 p.m. Ryan Taylor of Towner, N.D., will serve as the master of ceremonies at the banquet, where the Ray and Tim Erbele families of Streeter, N.D., will be recognized as the Rancher of the Year. Cattleman and former brand inspector and NDSA director Joe Kalberer of Hazelton, N.D., and former NDSU professor and livestock judging team coach and current American Shorthorn Association Executive Secretary/Treasurer, Dr. Bert Moore of Elkhorn, Neb., will both become honorary NDSA members during the banquet. And, for the first time since 2002, the association will present its highest honor, the Top Hand Award to former NDSA Executive Vice President Wade Moser of Bismarck, N.D. Kent Otto of Grace City, N.D., will also be recognized as an outstanding local brand inspector. Likewise, several brand inspectors will be honored for reaching milestones in their years of NDSA service. The Environmental Stewardship Award will also be presented at the banquet.

Nationally-renowned motivational speaker and wheelchair athlete Chad Hymas of Stockton, Utah, will provide the convention's keynote address at the banquet. Seven years ago, a ranching accident left Hymas a quadriplegic. His powerful story will inspire members to tap into their unseen personal power and accomplish seemingly impossible dreams.


Childcare services for kids ages 0 to 10 will be provided during the banquet. Pre-registration is required for the Kids' Corral.

Pre-registration forms should have arrived in members' mailboxes last week. Those who pre-register by Sept. 14 will save up to $26 in fees and receive a commemorative water jug from Fort Dodge Animal Health.

A special student registration rate of $10 is being offered again to encourage beef industry leaders of tomorrow to participate in the convention. A one-day registration fee of $20 will also be offered for those who are unable to take in the entire convention.

A block of rooms has been reserved at the Doublewood Inn. Rooms reserved by Sept. 10 are available for $67. To make reservations, call the hotel at (701) 258-7000.

For 80 years, the NDSA has been working to protect, promote, educate and serve North Dakota's beef producers. NDSA members are encouraged to attend the meeting to help shape the direction of the association by voicing their opinions, selecting leadership and initiating policy during the anniversary convention.

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