Sorenson, Zenker named NDSA honorary members
The North Dakota Stockmen’s Association (NDSA) recognized long-time association members Fred Sorenson of White Earth, N.D., and Ruidoso, N.M., and Warren Zenker of Gackle, N.D., with Honorary Membership Awards at a special awards banquet during its annual convention in Bismarck, N.D., tonight.
Sorenson’s involvement with the NDSA began when he was young and attended conventions with his father. Growing up, he remembers being a part of the North Dakota Junior Stockmen’s Association and joined the NDSA when he bought his ranch in 1966. Since then, Sorenson served on the NDSA Board of Directors from 1986 to 1994 and also on its Brand Board from 1987 to 1995, leading the Brand Board as both chairman and vice chairman during his term.
Sorenson and his wife Kathleen operated a cow-calf operation, ran yearlings and backgrounded cattle on more than 4,000 acres south of White Earth on what was originally the headquarters for one of the first ranches in the county. Fred and Kathleen stared out with 880 acres, but soon grew that and their family. They have four children, William, Michael, Sara and Charles, and 11 grandchildren.
Today, Sorenson, a 52-year NDSA member, splits his time between White Earth and Ruidoso. He still has more than 3,000 acres in White Earth that are leased out to his sons and neighbors. He also raises and races Quarter Horse and Thoroughbred racehorses in New Mexico and is the vice president of the North Dakota Cowboy Hall of Fame.
“Fred is a common-sense leader, passionate about the western lifestyle and active in keeping the western history, heritage and cultures of North Dakota alive,” said North Dakota Cowboy Hall of Fame Executive Director Rick Thompson.
Zenker has been a member of the NDSA for 25 years and, most recently, was the president from 2016 to 2018. Before holding the organization’s top office, Zenker served on the board of directors and as the chairman of the Brand Board, Feeding and Marketing Committee, Brand and Theft Committee and Resolutions Committee. During his tenure, he has represented producers at the State Capitol and in Washington, D.C., and tackled issues such as the electronic logging device mandate and the no-posting laws head on.
“Warren has always displayed strong leadership qualities,” reflected Ray Erbele, a long-time NDSA member. “That is why I nominated him for the board of directors back in 2002.”
Zenker has been back on his family operation near Gackle since attending North Dakota State University. Today, with his wife Linda, their son Brooks and nephews Chris, Mike and Taylor, he runs 450 cow-calf pairs along with a 2,000-head permitted feedlot. They also farm around 7,500 acres. Zenker and his wife have two children, daughter Jordan (David Becker) and Brooks.
–North Dakota Stockmen’s Association