Montana Stockgrowers hold 127th convention, trade show
The 127th Annual Montana Stockgrowers Association Convention and Trade Show, held at the Holiday Inn Grand Montana in Billings, Dec. 15 to 17, 2011, drew over 740 participants from across the state. Nearly 100 people participated in the Young Stockgrowers events, representing the largest showing of that group at any convention.
"It was great to see all the young people at our meeting learning about our association and policy process, and really getting involved," said Watty Taylor, MSGA's president. "Although 2011 hasn't been without its challenges, everyone seemed to be in high spirits thanks to the record high cattle market, the mild winter we've been having so far this year, and a chance to meet up with friends at convention time."
Walter "Watty" Taylor, of Kirby was elected to his second one-year term as president; Tucker Hughes of Stanford was elected to his second one-year term as first vice president; and Gene Curry of Valier was elected to his second one-year term as second vice president.
Leon LaSalle of Havre was newly elected to the Board of Directors representing the North Central District, filling the seat vacated by Kraig Meeks of Geraldine. Jed Evjene of Two Dot was also elected to the Board representing the South Central District, filling the seat of Jason Camp of Belgrade. Fred Wacker of Miles City was elected representing the Southeast District, filling the seat of Don Griffin of Ismay.
Mick Denowh of Sidney (Northeast District), and Heath Martinell of Dillon (Western District), were elected to their second two-year term on the Board of Directors.
Bill Donald, past president of MSGA and current president of the National Cattlemen's Beef Association, and current MSGA President Watty Taylor held a "town hall" discussion as the keynote presentation for the Opening General Session on Dec. 16. They discussed state and national issues facing the two associations and took questions from the crowd. Topics covered included the recently passed free trade agreements, brucellosis, the farm bill, estate tax, GIPSA rule revisions, the child labor law proposal, and a recap of the 2011 Montana Legislature.
MSGA's policy process was especially robust this year, providing direction for MSGA officers and staff through 2012. Over 150 people attended the joint Animal Health/Land Use Committee, which discussed the issue of bison management and bison relocation. Second reading of resolutions and MSGA's Business Meeting were well attended with 11 new, 19 revised, and 37 renewed policies passed through the process. Notable new policies address traceability, bison management in Yellowstone National Park, bison relocation, brucellosis in elk, predator funding, state grazing fees, irrigation, the proposed changes to the child labor law, and the recent MF Global situation.
The Pfizer Cattlemen's Colleges held on Dec. 17 featured Gary Brester, agricultural economics professor at Montana State University, who conducted two workshops. Larry Gran with Pfizer Animal Health talked about utilizing modern technology to help commercial cattlemen select bulls for their ranch. Brett Crosby of Custom Ag Solutions, Inc. presented "Managing Price Risk I: Contracting and Commodity Futures markets" and "Managing Price Risk II: Commodity Options and Livestock Risk Protection." Daniel Sullivan with the National Cattlemen's Beef Association presented an introduction to the Masters of Beef Advocacy program and "Engaging in the Beef Conversation: What to do now you are an MBA Graduate."
The Bold Ranch, owned and operated by Bob and Annette Bold of Winifred, was named winner of the 2012 Montana Environmental Stewardship Award sponsored by MSGA's Research, Education and Endowment Foundation. Bold Ranch is the 19th winner in the history of the award. MSGA will submit Bold Ranch for the regional and national Environmental Stewardship Award in early March.
Helen Hougen of Melstone was named "Ranching Woman of the Year."
A 2011 Ford Super Duty truck was given to drawing winners Gary and Phyllis Eliasson of Currant Creek Ranch in Roundup.