South Dakota Stockgrowers Association Annual Convention held Sept. 6-7
RAPID CITY, SD – The South Dakota Stockgrowers Association hosted their annual convention Sept. 6 and 7 in Rapid City. Speakers on a wide range of topics important to ranchers were included in the cattle industry conference.
Meeting-goers had the chance to hear Elizabeth Drake, R-CALF USA Outside Counsel, Stewart & Stewart Law; Jeff Vonk, Secretary of SD Game, Fish & Parks; Kimmi Lewis, R-CALF USA Private Property Rights Committee Chair; David Frengel, Coalition for a Prosperous America; Julie McIvor, a property rights speaker from the Davis Mountains Trans-Pecos Heritage Association; Donley Darnell, a speaker on oil and gas split-estate issues facing ranchers; Verne Sheppard, a long-time broadcaster and lay minister; Judith McGeary, Farm & Ranch Freedom Alliance; Bill Bullard, CEO of R-CALF USA; Michael Stumo, Organization for Competitive Markets, and G.B. Oliver, Paragon Foundation.
South Dakota Legislators Jim Lintz (District 30) and Ken McNenny (District 29) addressed attendees during the legislative panel session of the Education, Taxation and Legislation Committee meeting.
Representatives from all three of South Dakota’s Congressional offices attended the meeting and visited one-on-one with members throughout the two days.
Stockgrower Larry Nelson of Buffalo, SD, commented, “All the committee meetings were the fullest I’ve seen them. We had really good speakers on topics our members are interested in.”
Attendees heard from Judith McGeary, a Texas attorney who gave up her private practice in order to work for independent producers in opposition to USDA’s National Animal Identification System (NAIS).
“What NAIS will do is violate our rights and impose heavy burdens in both time and money on farmers and ranchers, the people on the frontlines of the fight against animal disease,” said McGeary.
“The most important thing I learned from Judith McGeary’s presentation was to not register one’s premises because USDA refers to the NAIS as an evolving program,” said Kenny Fox of Belvidere, past chair for the Stockgrowers Animal ID Committee. “Why would anyone want to register their premises when the USDA can change the rules anytime they desire to fit their agenda?”
Stockgrowers Past-President Rick Fox of Hermosa, said the convention was an eye-opener for some people who heard speakers like Dave Frengel. “It makes you realize that each of us can make a difference by organizing and networking to form a larger united group – changes have and will continue to happen.” said Fox.
“For too long, many multinational corporations have influenced Congress not to enforce the rules of free trade because these multinationals are partnered with nations like China to use illegal trade practices to plunder American producers. The result is trade anarchy, not free trade,” said David Frengel, whose organization, the Coalition for a Prosperous America, seeks to reform trade policy.
Nelson said he appreciated property rights speaker Julie McIvor’s presentation on her experiences of running a ranch that is under a conservation easement from the Nature Conservancy.
“It is giving control over your land to someone else in perpetuity. Perpetuity does mean forever,” commented McIvor. “We should know – we are living with a conservation easement and are under the thumb of The Nature Conservancy. It sure gives them a lot of power over us and our future generations.”
During the final evening of the convention, brand inspectors Melvin Anderson of Spearfish; Tucker Hudson of Howes; Tony Holt of Ralph; and Doug Pederson of Winner were recognized for their service to the brand inspection program and the cattle industry. Chief Brand Inspector Jim Reed of Belle Fourche, presented each of the honorees with a belt buckle inscribed with their respective brands.
A live auction held after the recognition ceremony brought in over $2,600. Stockgrowers Interim Executive Director Margaret Nachtigall said that the auction’s proceeds would go toward area and quarterly meetings around the state.
In addition to the committee meetings and speakers, the membership discussed and approved several key policy measures. A sampling of new Stockgrower policy follows:
– The Wildlife Committee resolution requested a large predator management plan for the protection of domestic livestock.
– Three resolutions from the Animal ID Committee were passed, including one that information collected under NAIS be considered intellectual property; one supporting a National Bio-Defense Agro-Defense Facility to be built out of proximity of farms and ranches, and one opposing government action funding or mandating premise registration and participation in an animal ID system.
– The Federal Lands Committee resolution supports Alternative Three of the National Grasslands Plan Amendment.
– The Education, Taxation and Legislation Committee resolution opposes certain areas being considered for the United Nation World Heritage sites because of a loss of U.S. and State sovereignty.
– The Marketing Committee resolutions oppose passage of the Horse Slaughter Prevention Act and support several check off reforms, including a producer referendum, and using check off monies for promotion of U.S. and South Dakota born, raised and slaughtered beef products.
The membership elected Larry Nelson of Buffalo, SD to serve as President and Kenny Fox of Belvidere as Vice President, both for a two-year term. Retiring President Rick Fox was honored with a video presentation and presented with a bit and set of spurs by Cross Fire Silver, and a photograph framed by Reed.
Regional Vice Presidents Bill Kluck of Mud Butte; Bob Mack of Watertown, and Marvin Jobgen of Scenic, will serve Regions 1, 2 and 3, respectively, for a one-year term.
Newly elected Directors Randy Volmer of Wasta; Gary Deering of Hereford; and Craig Shaver of Sturgis, each will carry out a five-year term in Districts 3, 8, and 8, respectively.
The Stockgrowers’ 2008 and 2009 conventions also will be held in Rapid City.