SD Stockgrowers enjoy successful convention
Rapid City was again the place to be as the South Dakota Stockgrowers Association hosted the 2009 Stockgrowers Convention on Sept. 10th and 11th at the Grand Gateway Hotel.
Elections this year provided the Stockgrowers with a new president, Kenny Fox of Belvidere, SD and Vice President Shane Kolb of Meadow, SD. Bill Kluck, Region 1 Vice President; Bob Mack, Region 2 Vice President; and Marvin Jobgen, Region 3 Vice President, all retained their seats.
New Directors include Dean Johnson of Fairburn, SD, District 4; Mark Tubbs of Edgemont, SD, District 5; Cole Lange of Oglala, SD, District 10; and Dave Fuoss of Draper, SD, District 13.
Colors were presented during Thursday morning’s opening ceremony by the Rapid City Central High School Color Guard.
According to Past President Larry Nelson, the speakers were outstanding. He said, “From Property Rights, to Packers & Stockyards Act, to Animal Identification and Brand Inspection, the thrust of the whole convention was to work towards a solution for maintaining family farms and ranches, and enable them to continue to produce the food that is vital to our country.”
The day’s speakers were led by an extremely timely message from R-CALF CEO Bill Bullard of Billings, MT who expressed the need to stop the importation of cattle from foreign countries who do not have their livestock diseases under control, which then poses an unnecessary and avoidable risk to our own livestock herd. Bullard also talked about the unfair and burdensome regulations for livestock producers that are included in the food safety bills being introduced in Congress.
Mike Callicrate, an independent producer and feeder from St Francis, KS followed with an equally strong message regarding the difference between the continual decline in income for the producer and the ever increasing cost of food for the consumer due to the ability of huge conglomerates to control our foods. In his presentation entitled “Foods – Farming to Retail – Where is the Money?” Callicrate said that, “A new food system of family farmers and ranchers, with many buyers processing and distributing food to our rural communities and urban center, is our only hope of improving the economy, the state of agriculture and the quality of our food.”
Other equally interesting speakers were heard throughout the convention such as Michael Kenyon, Property Tax Director, Department of Revenue, Pierre, SD, who spoke to the Education/Taxation/ Legislation Committee explaining the new South Dakota Property Tax Laws; Tanya Storer and Sherri Vinton, two ranch wives from the Mullen, NE area, who drove up to Rapid City to speak to a standing room only crowd in the Ag and Natural Resources Committee, answering questions regarding “carbon footprints” and Cap and Trade issues; Black Hills Multiple Use Coalition CEO Tom Troxel, who spoke during the Federal Lands Committee Meeting; and Former Brand Board member, Lyndell Peterson, a Spring Creek rancher, drew a room full of listeners as he addressed the Brand and Theft Committee.
Game Fish & Parks Commissioner Mert Clarkson of Ludlow, SD and State Veterinarian Dr. Dustin Oedekoven of Pierre, SD, spoke during the Wildlife Committee Meeting, and were joined by guest speaker, SD Secretary of Agriculture Bill Even, who announced that South Dakota has agreed to register a new prairie dog management tool, called Rozol from Liphatech Inc., a leading developer of pest control products. He advised this will add another tool to the ranchers pest control toolbox.
Thursday’s noon luncheon presentation departed a bit from the norm as a group from Toastmasters International conducted a Model Meeting. They posed different scenarios and do’s and don’ts on various speaking presentations.
Thursday’s “Support Rural America Banquet” speaker was President Larry Nelson who spoke on the history of the products of the farmers and ranchers, which at one time was used to feed our nation, but now is being used as a pawn for corporate gain. He said, “we need to find a way to maintain the family farms and ranches to enable them to produce the food that is essential to our nation’s economy.”
District 1 Director Linda Gilbert said, “It was very moving to hear Larry Nelson speak out on the role we as agricultural producers need to play in the future of our industry. He certainly gave us a great deal to think about.”
Friday continued with a strong lineup of speakers beginning with a very inspirational and entertaining presentation by Pastor Jean Helmer of Belle Fourche, SD, complete with visual aids used to show the need to balance the many parts of a person presented in such a way that it spelled STOCKGROWER.
Another interesting and always popular speaker was Michael Stumo CEO, Coalition for a Prosperous America. Michael addressed, again a standing room only crowd, in the Trade Committee Meeting regarding the need to stay informed of, and comment on, the free trade agreements as they come before out legislators.
Frank Falen from the Budd-Falen Law Offices of Cheyenne, WY spoke to the Property Rights Committee regarding areas of interest to folks who are currently involved in easement and rights issues regarding oil pipelines which are now crossing South Dakota and will be carrying oil from Canada to Louisiana. Also included were many questions and answers on eminent domain rights.
The convention began its wrap-up with the Recognition Banquet on Friday evening with speaker J. Dudley Butler, Administrator of the Grain Inspection, Packers & Stockyards Administration (GIPSA), in Washington, DC. He spoke of the need this country has for farmers and ranchers and the need for enforcement of the Packers & Stockyards Act (PS&A). He was extremely well received as was indicated by several rounds of applause and a standing ovation.
During the recognition banquet three people were honored posthumously. The family of the late Doug Temple, SD Stockgrowers Director, was presented a plaque by Regional Vice President Marvin Jobgen; the family of the late Tom Connelley, the Beef Man, was presented a plaque by Director Chance Davis; and the family of the late Doug Pederson, brand inspector, was presented a plaque by his former Chief Brand Inspector Jim Reed.
As President Larry Nelson passed the gavel to the new President Kenny Fox, Kenny kept him at the podium long enough to surprise him with a silver belt buckle carrying his brand, as a gift of appreciation from the SD Stockgrowers Board of Directors and staff.
Frank Bloom, Auctioneer and Pennington County rancher, conducted the live auction for the Stockgrowers as he sold the many items donated by members as well as area business places.
The convention was brought to a close following Saturday’s Board of Directors Meeting.
SD Stockgrower Director Linda Gilbert of Buffalo summed it up this way: “The annual Stockgrowers Convention was a phenomenal source of information to everyone attending. We were able to touch on topics like captive supply, easements, cap and trade, competition and markets, and many other issues while enjoying the Grand Gateway Hotel hospitality. The interest displayed by the large crowd gives us determination to continue to represent the livestock producers of South Dakota. I appreciate all that former President Larry Nelson has done for the SD Stockgrowers and look forward to working with the new President, Kenny Fox and Vice President Shane Kolb.