Jan Swan Wood: Processing plant update, Newell Playday, fundraiser, cowboy christmas

We had a big family gathering this weekend to honor my Dad for his 87th birthday. It’s such a privilege to have Dad in our lives and so active and involved in what our big family is doing. I know many who no longer have their Dad so realize just how special it is that I do. I also realize, not everyone has as fine of a man for a Dad too. Happy Birthday, Dad.

The processing plant saga continues on. Another plant has been approved for horse processing in Sigourney, Iowa with another pending in Gallatin, Mo. Do you realize that back in the 1980s the U.S. processed over 300,000 horses a year in 16 plants? We all know horse numbers haven’t declined any in the past 30 plus years, so with only 180,000 going across the borders for processing, that leaves a lot of excess horses that have to eat and be taken care of. These domestic processing plants are so desperately needed and we need to keep up the pressure on USDA to get moving on the inspectors being placed. All this foot dragging is because of the administration’s anti-slaughter leanings and Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack is the lead foot dragger.

Of course, with the Grants of Inspection, on July 2, HSUS filed new litigation in the Federal District Court for the Northern District of California (long way from Roswell, N.M.) requesting a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction to stop FSIS from issuing any more Grants of Inspection. They are falling back on the argument that the waste from the plants will contaminate all the ground water and soil around the plants, so are wanting NEPA and section 7 compliance for all processing plants (that’s ALL, as in other livestock too). There is no need for such requirements, but if they can ball this up in a liberal court, it can go on for years, thus stopping all inspections and perhaps shutting down all livestock processing facilities. The wording of their complaint is ambiguous enough that all processing of cattle, hogs and sheep could be included.

The I.E.B.A. (International Equine Business Association) and many individuals and organizations have already signed on to a Motion to Intervene filed by legal representative Karen Budd-Falen, Cheyenne, Wyo., earlier this year. This new development is going to require another run at HSUS, therefore it’s going to cost us a little more, but they want to move the venue of the court decision to New Mexico, which would get it out of the ultra-liberal, animal rights activist mecca of California.

If you are willing and able to help in this fight, which affects all of animal agriculture, please contact Budd-Falen’s office at 307-632-5105 or e-mail Melissa Rexius at You can also contact Sue Wallis of I.E.B.A. at 307-680-8515 or email her at A donation can be made anonymously in case you don’t want to risk being a target of HSUS and their strong arm tactics, but either way, let’s all get involved. It’s time to be SOMEBODY, since “somebody” is the one who should always do something.

The Family Summer Playday Series at the Newell Arena, Newell, SD., has started. The fun events are held on Monday nights all through July. You can enter at 4-4:45 p.m. and the playday starts at 5 p.m.. There’s an age division for everyone with barrels, poles, goat tying, breakaway and flagrace, plus dummy roping and goat tail untying for the little bitty set. Contact Cheyenne Winkler if you need more info at 605-515-1137.

There will be a benefit for Lane Severson, Raymond, S.D., on July 27. Lane was hurt in a horse wreck back in April and sure needs some financial help to pay for life flight and medical expenses. There will be a supper and silent auction at 6:30 p.m. at the Clark Co. Fairgrounds. For more information, call Candice Mason at 605-347-3479.

The National High School Finals Rodeo at Rock Springs, Wyo., kicks off July 14 and runs through the July 20. What a great rodeo to go to, whether you’re a contestant or a spectator. Best wishes and safe travels to all the contestants and families headed that way.

I got word on a great rodeo weekend for Tait Kvistad, Sheridan, Wyo., steer wrestler. He and his good mare No Betta Angel, raised by Steve and Billie Swan out of their old Red Monk (TB) mare Bet A Monk, and by Hummin Angel, to a tie for first at the big Prescott rodeo, a first at Steamboat Springs, Colo., and second at Crawford, Neb. Another guy rode her for the win at Breckenridge, Colo., and a placing at another rodeo, so that helped the old money sack too. Congrats to Tait and his good mare.

Over Cowboy Christmas some of our regional hands raked in the loot in a big way. Nikki Steffes, Vale, S.D., racked up $12,628 in barrels, Tyler Corrington of Hastings, Minn., earned $19,072 in the saddle broncs, and Jake Rinehart, Highmore, S.D., had $13,566 added to his steer wrestling account with a win at St. Paul, Ore., and a second at Molalla, Ore.

I just want to tip my hat to Dane Kissack, Spearfish, S.D., for his great run at the Black Hills Roundup. He split second in the tie down roping with a 7.6 run.

Well, I’d better go unsaddle and call it quits. Have a great week and send me your items. s