Huseth named North Dakota Stockmen’s Association Top Hand
The North Dakota Stockmen’s Association (NDSA) awarded McLeod, N.D., cattleman Mark Huseth with the organization’s most prestigious award, the Top Hand Award, at the banquet during its annual convention in Bismarck, N.D., this evening The 47-year member held many leadership positions, including the organization’s highest post. The Top Hand Award recognizes Huseth’s unselfish concern for humanity, the country and the cattle industry. Huseth joined the exclusive class of 24 ranchers who have received this elite award over the NDSA’s 93-year history when he accepted his bronze.
In 1903, Peter Huseth, Mark’s grandfather, began farming and ranching in Freeman Township, near McLeod. Peter and his wife Mary had six sons, most of whom stayed in the agricultural industry, and two daughters. Irvin Huseth, the oldest of the sons, and his wife Myra stayed at the “home place” and continued ranching with Irvin’s father, a legacy Mark is carrying on as the third generation with his wife Eileen, sons Travis and Tony (Ericka) and two grandchildren, Sydney and Max, by his side.
“We’ve always had cattle around, as long as I can remember,” said Mark. “That’s all I ever knew. The tradition was instilled in me.” The life-long cattleman attended North Dakota State University for animal science before returning home to operate their cow-calf and bred heifer development enterprises and raise alfalfa, oats, corn and soybeans in Richland and Ransom Counties.
The operation is located in the Sandhills region, near the Sheyenne National Grasslands. “It unique to us and has been an asset for our community and our family,” said Mark. The Sheyenne National Grasslands is the only National Grassland in the tallgrass prairie region of the United States. It was set up to subsidize the marginal land in the area in the 1940s. While the grassland is managed by the U.S. Forest Service, the Sheyenne Valley Grazing Association was incorporated in 1941 by Mark’s grandfather Peter and others to help provide acreage for the grazing of livestock while maintaining the integrity of the land. Peter, Irvin and Mark Huseth all served on the Sheyenne Valley Grazing Association board.
Mark said he never set out to be a beef industry leader, he just got involved in organizations he believed in. “If you want to make a difference in the industry from which you make your living, you have to take an active role in it,” he said.
When asked why he became a NDSA member, his answer is simple, “I became an NDSA member because, my dad was involved, our family was involved and I knew other people that were involved.”
To give back to his industry and make a difference, Mark stepped up to serve. He was a member of NDSA Board of Directors and devoted his time as NDSA president from 2006 to 2008, following in the footsteps of his father. He served on the North Dakota Stockmen’s Foundation Board of Directors, with his term expiring in 2021. Mark also added another NDSA acknowledgment to his list at last year’s convention, when he was named one of the honorary local brand inspectors, alongside his brother James.
Mark believes he brought a unique perspective to the Board of Directors, the Brand Board and the president position because of his background as a local brand inspector. “Being a local brand inspector helped me know more of the background and foundation of the association before I ever stepped into any leadership role,” said Mark.
Besides his NDSA involvement, Mark has served as chairman of the North Dakota Beef Commission and a director of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association.
Throughout his time representing the state’s beef industry, Mark has had the opportunity to meet many industry leaders. “We have great people in the state and nation that are dedicated to their operations and their industry,” said Mark. “Those that have come before me have been a great influence in my life. My dad was a mentor to me, as well as a friend. And, there are others whom I owe a lot to, including Wade Moser, Pat Effertz, Jack Dahl, Jack Chase and many more. They all had a way about them and a passion for the industry. I am really thankful for everything people have helped me accomplish — in this association, in our operation and in life,” he said. Now, Mark’s biggest goal is for his family to continue to operate their farm and ranch, and continue the legacy he has carried on through the years.
–North Dakota Stockmen’s Association
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