Montana Stockgrowers hold convention, trade show
The 128th Annual Montana Stockgrowers Association Convention and Trade Show, held at the Holiday Inn Grand Montana in Billings, Dec. 13 to 15, 2012, drew approximately 800 participants from across the state for the three-day conference.
"It was exciting to watch as the rooms filled up to capacity with men and women, young and old to develop policy for MSGA to follow for upcoming year," said Tucker Hughes, MSGA's newly elected president. "The enthusiasm by our young members was contagious. I was so pleased that the young women and men that are ranching now, the young women and men at collegiate level from Montana State and the University of Montana, and 20 preteens that joined me on stage on Saturday night are getting involved in our organization. Having parents bringing their young families paints a bright future for agriculture."
Here are some of the highlights from the 2012 MSGA Convention and Trade Show:
Tucker Hughes of Stanford was elected to his first one-year term as president; Gene Curry of Valier was elected to his first one-year term as 1st vice president; and Bryan Mussard of Dillon was elected to his first one-year term as 2nd vice president. MSGA honored outgoing president, Watty Taylor of Kirby for his two years in the office, and Larry Berg of Judith Gap, Jeff Pattison of Glasgow, and Dean Wang of Sidney for serving four years on the Board of Directors.
Terry Haughian of Kinsey, Jim Steinbeisser of Sidney, Tim Todd of Ryegate were newly elected to their first two-year terms on the Board of Directors. Ray Marxer of Twin Bridges and Mark Harrison of Belt were re-elected to their second two-year terms.
Forrest Roberts, CEO of the National Cattlemen's Beef Association, and Tammi Didlot, president of the American National CattleWomen, were featured speakers.
MSGA's policy process was especially robust this year, providing direction for MSGA officers and staff heading into the 2013 Montana Legislative Session. MSGA members passed 18 new and 26 revised policies, and renewed 34 policies. Notable new policies address trichomoniasis regulations, communicating with beef consumers, sage grouse, livestock depredation, easement agreements, wilderness designations, classification of bison, water rights, agriculture research, veterinarian education, school nutrition programs, fuel trucks, and agricultural land valuation for tax purposes.
There were several educational opportunities available during convention. Presentations included "Genetic Tools for Commercial Cattlemen" with Larry Gran of Pfizer Animal Health; "Pasture, Rangeland, and Forage (PRF) Rainfall Insurance" with Montana State University professor Gary Brester; "Promoting and Defending Modern Agriculture in a Facebook Culture" with Gary Sides of Pfizer Animal Health; "Volatility in Agriculture" by Brett Crosby; a presentation on the new school lunch program; an estate planning panel discussion; a Beef Quality Assurance training; and a "Stump the Speaker" leadership panel.
The Padlock Ranch, owned by the Homer Scott family and operated by Wayne Fahsholtz, was honored as winner of the 2013 Montana Environmental Stewardship Award sponsored by MSGA's Research, Education and Endowment Foundation with support from the Montana Beef Council and checkoff dollars. Padlock Ranch is the 20th winner in the history of the award. MSGA will submit Padlock Ranch for the regional and national Environmental Stewardship Award in early March.
Floydena Garrison of Glen was named "Ranching Woman of the Year."
The Trade Show boasted over 90 booths, featuring animal health supplies, government agencies, insurance, lending firms, gift vendors, and beef dinner stations. MSGA showcased its new table top photography book Big Sky Boots: Working Seasons of a Montana Cowboy with a special booth. Attendees were able to watch the National Finals Rodeo live from Las Vegas on two big screens in the Trade Show.
This marked the first year of the T-Bone Classic Car Show featuring classic Ford vehicles and several of Ford's newest models.
The highlight of the convention was the Ford Truck drawing. MSGA and Montana Ford Stores teamed up to give a Ford Super Duty truck to a lucky member who attended convention and the Grand Finale Banquet on Dec. 15. The lucky winners were Sonny and Sam Obrecht of the Louie Petrie Ranch in Turner.
Plans are already underway for MSGA's Mid-Year meeting which will be held in June 7 to 8 in Missoula at the Hilton Garden Inn.
The Montana Stockgrowers Association, a non-profit organization representing nearly 2,500 members, strives to serve, protect and advance the economic, political, environmental and cultural interests of cattle producers, the largest sector of Montana's No. 1 industry--agriculture.