MSGA's Convention and Trade Show draws over 600 participants
The 126th Annual Montana Stockgrowers Association Convention and Trade Show, held at the Crowne Plaza hotel and MetraPark in Billings, Dec. 16 to 18, drew over 600 participants from across the state.
"We had another great convention this year," said Tom Hougen, MSGA's outgoing president. "With the great cattle market we've had, everyone seemed to be in high spirits. We had one of the most robust policy discussions I can remember, developing policy on a wide variety of issues that affect family ranches in Montana. Convention attendees also got to enjoy our top-notch trade show and the Chase Hawks Rough Stock Rodeo."
Here are some of the highlights:
Walter "Watty" Taylor, of Kirby was elected president; Tucker Hughes of Stanford was elected 1st vice president; and Gene Curry of Valier was elected 2nd vice president.
Jeff Pattison in the Northeast District, Larry Berg in the South Central District, and Dean Wang in the Southeast District were elected to second terms on the Board of Directors.
Ray Marxer of Dillon was newly elected to the Board of Directors representing the Western District, filling the seat vacated by term-limited Steve Wilcox of Sheridan. Mark Harrison of Belt was elected from the North Central District to fill the seat vacated by term-limited Fred Finke of Big Sandy.
Policy to guide MSGA officers and staff through 2011 and the upcoming legislative session was set in a process that began with committee meetings, progressed to the second reading and finished at the third reading. Notable new policies address freeze branding, the proposed Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration rules, funding for the MT Livestock Loss Reduction Board, Antiquities Act reform, grazing issues, energy access agreements, predator control funding, and irrigated pasture assessments.
Travis Choat, director of technical consulting for Elanco Animal Health, was the keynote speaker at the Opening General Session. His presentation "Food Economics and Consumer Choice" discussed the use of technology to meet a growing world population's demand for safe, nutritious and affordable food.
The Trade Show boasted nearly 90 booths, a lineup of Ford vehicles, free boot shines, complimentary tote bags, beef dinner stations and "watering holes."
John Rose and Tim Feddes' stock dog clinic headlined a full and diverse group of Pfizer Cattlemen's Colleges that educated attendees about estate planning, calfhood vaccination programs, the difference between generic and brand-name compounds, cow herd efficiency, and fertility.
Keystone Ranches, Inc. of Ismay, owned and operated by Bill and Joyce Almy, was named winner of the 2011 Montana Environmental Stewardship Award sponsored by MSGA and the Montana Beef Council. Keystone Ranches is the 18th winner in the history of the award. MSGA will submit Keystone Ranches for the regional and national Environmental Stewardship Award in February.
Tucker Hughes of Stanford was named the association's "Top Hand" for recruiting the most new members throughout the year. Gene Curry of Valier and Jeff Pattison of Glasgow tied for second.
Marian Hanson of Ashland was named "Ranching Woman of the Year."
Montana State University and University of Montana mascots Champ and Monte provided entertainment during the President's Lunch.
Kyle Shobe, 2010 World Champion Livestock Auctioneer was on hand to auction off many items to raise funds for MSGA's Advocacy Fund, as well as the Seedstock and Commercial Cattle Directory page auction which raises money to promote Montana cattle and associated services across the country.
MSGA held many drawings throughout the course of the convention. Shawn Pilster of Alzada won the NutraLix saddle drawing, Melinda Berg of Sand Springs won the Young Stockgrower PBR tickets drawing, and Karla Johnson of East Helena won the Women of the West Fair Coldwater Creek Gift Certificate drawing.
The biggest drawing, however, was for the 2011 Ford Super Duty truck from the Montana Ford Stores and MSGA. Buck and Dee Ward of Great Falls were the lucky winners. To be eligible for the drawing, people had to be MSGA rancher members and present at the President's Lunch when the drawing was held.
MSGA members received discounted tickets to the Chase Hawks Memorial Association Rough Stock Rodeo on Saturday, Dec. 18, where they were able to enjoy rodeo action from some of the top cowboys and rough stock in the country. Proceeds from the event benefited the Chase Hawks Memorial Association Community Crisis Fund which provides short-term assistance to families facing an immediate crisis.
Plans are already under way for MSGA's MidYear meeting, which will be held in June 2011.