Montana Wool Growers hold 126th Annual Convention | TSLN.com

Montana Wool Growers hold 126th Annual Convention

Carmen Cavill

MWGA photoWatching the speed shearing contest.

The Billings Hotel drew in Montanan’s from across the state for several agricultural gatherings, beginning with the Woolgrower Convention Dec. 3-5, 2009.

Reports were given from Senators Baucus and Tester as well as Congressman Rehberg who spoke on the economy and the health bill issues. An Animal Damage report was given by John Stueber, State Director of Wildlife Services, showing a repetitive pattern of wolf kills as well as an eastward movement. Megan Wortman, American Lamb Board Executive, reported on use of Lamb Check-Off dollars. Education of Culinary skills and the advantage of local produce were demonstrated at the Luncheons with speakers Dr. Krayton Kerns, DVM on Friday and Rocky Erickson sharing both inspiration and entertainment. Randy Hammerstrom, USDA Market Reporter, gave a national overview of the sheep markets.

Evening events featured the Western Ranch Supply Water Hole, a speed shearing contest hosted in the Hotel with a Live Auction Friday night. Saturday included the Sheep Herder’s banquet followed by the Make It With Wool Style Show and a dance.

John Helle raises sheep and cattle near Dillon, MT and presided as president this year. He summarized that some of the hot topics at the Convention were legislative reports including bighorns, wolves, trapping and private property issues.

“There was a lot of attention given to the direction and future of MWGA,” said Helle. “Since we’re in a transitional position we’d like to get people’s opinions.”

Randy Tunby, a rancher near Baker, served as a MWGA Director and organized a power point with the ability for members to vote anonymously on subjects via hand held devices. A question was given with several options for answers to pick from that was automatically transferred to the power point. John Helle said some of the issues covered were subjects such as, “How many people would be interested in being affiliated with the Montana Stockgrowers Association?” Another was, “Do we want a full time director or should various responsibilities be divided among us such as lobbying, public relations, and the newsletter?”

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In the past Bob Gilbert and then Aeric Reilly, who was with the MWGA this last 3 1/2 years, took care of all these kinds of areas.

“Aeric Reilly is no longer working with the Association so we took this transition as an opportunity to put together this presentation,” said Helle. “We welcome any continued input from members.”

Jim Brown of the Downey Law Firm in Dillon has been hired until MWGA works through these decisions. Helle wanted to make sure the bases were covered until then.

Jim Brown was invited to speak at the Convention and gave a history of his Montana roots and past employment representing the Montana Stockgrowers. Brown assured members he has, and would continue to represent agriculture to the best of his abilities regardless of his affiliations. Brown went on to legislative updates. He was concerned that, even though Obama surprisingly delisted wolves in Montana, Wyoming remains listed, which may threaten this status in the future.

Because Wyoming is not included in the region, Brown said, “Judge Malloy may use it as an excuse that it would eliminate the mingling of the Northern genetic connectivity.” He expected Malloy would try to throw out the delisting next year.

On the subject of the Bighorn Sheep Management Plan, Brown explained that FWP can’t transcend the law stating there must not be any transplants where it will endanger agriculture.

“That’s our ace in the hole,” he emphasized. There is, however, concern about the die off in the Darby area being blamed on domestic sheep “although so far they’re calling it pneumonia.” Helle later said, “We’ve had a half-dozen meetings with FWP to discuss management of Bighorns over the next 10 years. It’s taken up a lot of our time trying to make sure the interests of the domestic sheep industry are protected in view of translocations and new introductions.”

Other subjects such as private property and river access were covered before wrapping up with questions from the audience, one being, “Why are things becoming so difficult for agriculture in legislature?” Brown answered, “The people in legislature with an ag background are decreasing every year.” He went on to express the need for more people to get involved. “I’d like to see ag become less reactive and more proactive.”

The annual speed shearing contest on Friday night and the Make It With Wool competition on Saturday night were both well attended. Wade Kopren, Chase Cantrell, and Ryan Keyes sped through their ewes, winning the shearing contest with a time of 4:07. In the Make It With Wool competition, Jasmine Powell of Havre, Kacey Gollehon of Choteau, Kacie Killen of Angela and Amanda Powell of Havre sewed their way into the national competition.

Duane Talcott of Hammond, Dave McEwen of Galata and Randy Tunby of Baker were reelected to the MWGA board of directors. Together with newly elected Wade VanEvery of Sidney, the board voted in Dave Hinnaland of Circle as president and Tunby as vice president. Retired president John Helle agreed to serve as treasurer for the organization and Jack McRae was appointed secretary. For more information about the MWGA and the convention, visit http://www.mtsheep.org.

The Billings Hotel drew in Montanan’s from across the state for several agricultural gatherings, beginning with the Woolgrower Convention Dec. 3-5, 2009.

Reports were given from Senators Baucus and Tester as well as Congressman Rehberg who spoke on the economy and the health bill issues. An Animal Damage report was given by John Stueber, State Director of Wildlife Services, showing a repetitive pattern of wolf kills as well as an eastward movement. Megan Wortman, American Lamb Board Executive, reported on use of Lamb Check-Off dollars. Education of Culinary skills and the advantage of local produce were demonstrated at the Luncheons with speakers Dr. Krayton Kerns, DVM on Friday and Rocky Erickson sharing both inspiration and entertainment. Randy Hammerstrom, USDA Market Reporter, gave a national overview of the sheep markets.

Evening events featured the Western Ranch Supply Water Hole, a speed shearing contest hosted in the Hotel with a Live Auction Friday night. Saturday included the Sheep Herder’s banquet followed by the Make It With Wool Style Show and a dance.

John Helle raises sheep and cattle near Dillon, MT and presided as president this year. He summarized that some of the hot topics at the Convention were legislative reports including bighorns, wolves, trapping and private property issues.

“There was a lot of attention given to the direction and future of MWGA,” said Helle. “Since we’re in a transitional position we’d like to get people’s opinions.”

Randy Tunby, a rancher near Baker, served as a MWGA Director and organized a power point with the ability for members to vote anonymously on subjects via hand held devices. A question was given with several options for answers to pick from that was automatically transferred to the power point. John Helle said some of the issues covered were subjects such as, “How many people would be interested in being affiliated with the Montana Stockgrowers Association?” Another was, “Do we want a full time director or should various responsibilities be divided among us such as lobbying, public relations, and the newsletter?”

In the past Bob Gilbert and then Aeric Reilly, who was with the MWGA this last 3 1/2 years, took care of all these kinds of areas.

“Aeric Reilly is no longer working with the Association so we took this transition as an opportunity to put together this presentation,” said Helle. “We welcome any continued input from members.”

Jim Brown of the Downey Law Firm in Dillon has been hired until MWGA works through these decisions. Helle wanted to make sure the bases were covered until then.

Jim Brown was invited to speak at the Convention and gave a history of his Montana roots and past employment representing the Montana Stockgrowers. Brown assured members he has, and would continue to represent agriculture to the best of his abilities regardless of his affiliations. Brown went on to legislative updates. He was concerned that, even though Obama surprisingly delisted wolves in Montana, Wyoming remains listed, which may threaten this status in the future.

Because Wyoming is not included in the region, Brown said, “Judge Malloy may use it as an excuse that it would eliminate the mingling of the Northern genetic connectivity.” He expected Malloy would try to throw out the delisting next year.

On the subject of the Bighorn Sheep Management Plan, Brown explained that FWP can’t transcend the law stating there must not be any transplants where it will endanger agriculture.

“That’s our ace in the hole,” he emphasized. There is, however, concern about the die off in the Darby area being blamed on domestic sheep “although so far they’re calling it pneumonia.” Helle later said, “We’ve had a half-dozen meetings with FWP to discuss management of Bighorns over the next 10 years. It’s taken up a lot of our time trying to make sure the interests of the domestic sheep industry are protected in view of translocations and new introductions.”

Other subjects such as private property and river access were covered before wrapping up with questions from the audience, one being, “Why are things becoming so difficult for agriculture in legislature?” Brown answered, “The people in legislature with an ag background are decreasing every year.” He went on to express the need for more people to get involved. “I’d like to see ag become less reactive and more proactive.”

The annual speed shearing contest on Friday night and the Make It With Wool competition on Saturday night were both well attended. Wade Kopren, Chase Cantrell, and Ryan Keyes sped through their ewes, winning the shearing contest with a time of 4:07. In the Make It With Wool competition, Jasmine Powell of Havre, Kacey Gollehon of Choteau, Kacie Killen of Angela and Amanda Powell of Havre sewed their way into the national competition.

Duane Talcott of Hammond, Dave McEwen of Galata and Randy Tunby of Baker were reelected to the MWGA board of directors. Together with newly elected Wade VanEvery of Sidney, the board voted in Dave Hinnaland of Circle as president and Tunby as vice president. Retired president John Helle agreed to serve as treasurer for the organization and Jack McRae was appointed secretary. For more information about the MWGA and the convention, visit http://www.mtsheep.org.

The Billings Hotel drew in Montanan’s from across the state for several agricultural gatherings, beginning with the Woolgrower Convention Dec. 3-5, 2009.

Reports were given from Senators Baucus and Tester as well as Congressman Rehberg who spoke on the economy and the health bill issues. An Animal Damage report was given by John Stueber, State Director of Wildlife Services, showing a repetitive pattern of wolf kills as well as an eastward movement. Megan Wortman, American Lamb Board Executive, reported on use of Lamb Check-Off dollars. Education of Culinary skills and the advantage of local produce were demonstrated at the Luncheons with speakers Dr. Krayton Kerns, DVM on Friday and Rocky Erickson sharing both inspiration and entertainment. Randy Hammerstrom, USDA Market Reporter, gave a national overview of the sheep markets.

Evening events featured the Western Ranch Supply Water Hole, a speed shearing contest hosted in the Hotel with a Live Auction Friday night. Saturday included the Sheep Herder’s banquet followed by the Make It With Wool Style Show and a dance.

John Helle raises sheep and cattle near Dillon, MT and presided as president this year. He summarized that some of the hot topics at the Convention were legislative reports including bighorns, wolves, trapping and private property issues.

“There was a lot of attention given to the direction and future of MWGA,” said Helle. “Since we’re in a transitional position we’d like to get people’s opinions.”

Randy Tunby, a rancher near Baker, served as a MWGA Director and organized a power point with the ability for members to vote anonymously on subjects via hand held devices. A question was given with several options for answers to pick from that was automatically transferred to the power point. John Helle said some of the issues covered were subjects such as, “How many people would be interested in being affiliated with the Montana Stockgrowers Association?” Another was, “Do we want a full time director or should various responsibilities be divided among us such as lobbying, public relations, and the newsletter?”

In the past Bob Gilbert and then Aeric Reilly, who was with the MWGA this last 3 1/2 years, took care of all these kinds of areas.

“Aeric Reilly is no longer working with the Association so we took this transition as an opportunity to put together this presentation,” said Helle. “We welcome any continued input from members.”

Jim Brown of the Downey Law Firm in Dillon has been hired until MWGA works through these decisions. Helle wanted to make sure the bases were covered until then.

Jim Brown was invited to speak at the Convention and gave a history of his Montana roots and past employment representing the Montana Stockgrowers. Brown assured members he has, and would continue to represent agriculture to the best of his abilities regardless of his affiliations. Brown went on to legislative updates. He was concerned that, even though Obama surprisingly delisted wolves in Montana, Wyoming remains listed, which may threaten this status in the future.

Because Wyoming is not included in the region, Brown said, “Judge Malloy may use it as an excuse that it would eliminate the mingling of the Northern genetic connectivity.” He expected Malloy would try to throw out the delisting next year.

On the subject of the Bighorn Sheep Management Plan, Brown explained that FWP can’t transcend the law stating there must not be any transplants where it will endanger agriculture.

“That’s our ace in the hole,” he emphasized. There is, however, concern about the die off in the Darby area being blamed on domestic sheep “although so far they’re calling it pneumonia.” Helle later said, “We’ve had a half-dozen meetings with FWP to discuss management of Bighorns over the next 10 years. It’s taken up a lot of our time trying to make sure the interests of the domestic sheep industry are protected in view of translocations and new introductions.”

Other subjects such as private property and river access were covered before wrapping up with questions from the audience, one being, “Why are things becoming so difficult for agriculture in legislature?” Brown answered, “The people in legislature with an ag background are decreasing every year.” He went on to express the need for more people to get involved. “I’d like to see ag become less reactive and more proactive.”

The annual speed shearing contest on Friday night and the Make It With Wool competition on Saturday night were both well attended. Wade Kopren, Chase Cantrell, and Ryan Keyes sped through their ewes, winning the shearing contest with a time of 4:07. In the Make It With Wool competition, Jasmine Powell of Havre, Kacey Gollehon of Choteau, Kacie Killen of Angela and Amanda Powell of Havre sewed their way into the national competition.

Duane Talcott of Hammond, Dave McEwen of Galata and Randy Tunby of Baker were reelected to the MWGA board of directors. Together with newly elected Wade VanEvery of Sidney, the board voted in Dave Hinnaland of Circle as president and Tunby as vice president. Retired president John Helle agreed to serve as treasurer for the organization and Jack McRae was appointed secretary. For more information about the MWGA and the convention, visit http://www.mtsheep.org.

The Billings Hotel drew in Montanan’s from across the state for several agricultural gatherings, beginning with the Woolgrower Convention Dec. 3-5, 2009.

Reports were given from Senators Baucus and Tester as well as Congressman Rehberg who spoke on the economy and the health bill issues. An Animal Damage report was given by John Stueber, State Director of Wildlife Services, showing a repetitive pattern of wolf kills as well as an eastward movement. Megan Wortman, American Lamb Board Executive, reported on use of Lamb Check-Off dollars. Education of Culinary skills and the advantage of local produce were demonstrated at the Luncheons with speakers Dr. Krayton Kerns, DVM on Friday and Rocky Erickson sharing both inspiration and entertainment. Randy Hammerstrom, USDA Market Reporter, gave a national overview of the sheep markets.

Evening events featured the Western Ranch Supply Water Hole, a speed shearing contest hosted in the Hotel with a Live Auction Friday night. Saturday included the Sheep Herder’s banquet followed by the Make It With Wool Style Show and a dance.

John Helle raises sheep and cattle near Dillon, MT and presided as president this year. He summarized that some of the hot topics at the Convention were legislative reports including bighorns, wolves, trapping and private property issues.

“There was a lot of attention given to the direction and future of MWGA,” said Helle. “Since we’re in a transitional position we’d like to get people’s opinions.”

Randy Tunby, a rancher near Baker, served as a MWGA Director and organized a power point with the ability for members to vote anonymously on subjects via hand held devices. A question was given with several options for answers to pick from that was automatically transferred to the power point. John Helle said some of the issues covered were subjects such as, “How many people would be interested in being affiliated with the Montana Stockgrowers Association?” Another was, “Do we want a full time director or should various responsibilities be divided among us such as lobbying, public relations, and the newsletter?”

In the past Bob Gilbert and then Aeric Reilly, who was with the MWGA this last 3 1/2 years, took care of all these kinds of areas.

“Aeric Reilly is no longer working with the Association so we took this transition as an opportunity to put together this presentation,” said Helle. “We welcome any continued input from members.”

Jim Brown of the Downey Law Firm in Dillon has been hired until MWGA works through these decisions. Helle wanted to make sure the bases were covered until then.

Jim Brown was invited to speak at the Convention and gave a history of his Montana roots and past employment representing the Montana Stockgrowers. Brown assured members he has, and would continue to represent agriculture to the best of his abilities regardless of his affiliations. Brown went on to legislative updates. He was concerned that, even though Obama surprisingly delisted wolves in Montana, Wyoming remains listed, which may threaten this status in the future.

Because Wyoming is not included in the region, Brown said, “Judge Malloy may use it as an excuse that it would eliminate the mingling of the Northern genetic connectivity.” He expected Malloy would try to throw out the delisting next year.

On the subject of the Bighorn Sheep Management Plan, Brown explained that FWP can’t transcend the law stating there must not be any transplants where it will endanger agriculture.

“That’s our ace in the hole,” he emphasized. There is, however, concern about the die off in the Darby area being blamed on domestic sheep “although so far they’re calling it pneumonia.” Helle later said, “We’ve had a half-dozen meetings with FWP to discuss management of Bighorns over the next 10 years. It’s taken up a lot of our time trying to make sure the interests of the domestic sheep industry are protected in view of translocations and new introductions.”

Other subjects such as private property and river access were covered before wrapping up with questions from the audience, one being, “Why are things becoming so difficult for agriculture in legislature?” Brown answered, “The people in legislature with an ag background are decreasing every year.” He went on to express the need for more people to get involved. “I’d like to see ag become less reactive and more proactive.”

The annual speed shearing contest on Friday night and the Make It With Wool competition on Saturday night were both well attended. Wade Kopren, Chase Cantrell, and Ryan Keyes sped through their ewes, winning the shearing contest with a time of 4:07. In the Make It With Wool competition, Jasmine Powell of Havre, Kacey Gollehon of Choteau, Kacie Killen of Angela and Amanda Powell of Havre sewed their way into the national competition.

Duane Talcott of Hammond, Dave McEwen of Galata and Randy Tunby of Baker were reelected to the MWGA board of directors. Together with newly elected Wade VanEvery of Sidney, the board voted in Dave Hinnaland of Circle as president and Tunby as vice president. Retired president John Helle agreed to serve as treasurer for the organization and Jack McRae was appointed secretary. For more information about the MWGA and the convention, visit http://www.mtsheep.org.