NEWS

North Dakota Stockmen’s Association elects new president, officers

North Dakota Stockmen's Association

North Dakota Stockmen’s Association (NDSA) members elected 35-year member and Arnegard, N.D., cattleman Jason Leiseth as the organization’s president at the NDSA’s 93rd Annual Convention and Trade Show, “All In,” Sept. 24 in Bismarck, N.D.

Leiseth operates a commercial Red Angus cow-calf operation and raises small grains and hay. Leiseth and his wife Peggy have three children, Erik (Fallon), Brady and Tyler and two grandchildren, Banks and Lenni. Leiseth has served on the NDSA Resolutions Committee, NDSA Brand Board and the NDSA Feeding and Marketing Committee and was a District 5 director and vice president before assuming the NDSA’s top post. 

In remarks during the closing business session, Leiseth discussed the never-ending need to unite, protect, promote, educate and serve the beef industry in North Dakota. “From the issues ranchers face every day, to the upcoming farm bill and other legislation, natural disasters and the challenges we haven’t even seen coming yet, we are ‘All In’ this together,” said Leiseth. “Good times are just ahead of us in the cattle business.” He thanked the generations that came before and their advice as he moves into his role as president. Leiseth expressed his excitement and noted he has never been anything but “All In” in the cattle industry, because it is the only way he knows how to do things. 

Randy Schmitt, an 18-year member from Rugby, N.D., was elected NDSA vice president. Schmitt and his wife Stacey have four children, Mattie (Chelsey), Lane, Grace and Ty. The Schmitt family runs a 350-head commercial cow-calf operation using Simmental and Red Angus genetics. Their calves are backgrounded and sold off the farm. In addition, they sell replacement females. The Schmitts raise all their own feed, including alfalfa, cover crops, grain corn and silage corn. 

Before being elected vice president, Schmitt was a District 6 director, served as chairman of the NDSA Ag Policy Committee and was a member of the NDSA Budget Committee. He also serves on the NDSA Building Committee. 

Bryan Ressler of Cooperstown, N.D., was elected to his first four-year term in District 1. Ressler is a partner in Ressler Land and Cattle. Together with his brother Mark, they run a medium-sized herd of registered Red Angus cows and sell coming 2-year-old bulls in their annual production sale. Along with the registered cattle, he also maintain a commercial SimAngus cow-calf operation with his father. He also has a farming operation and raises wheat, corn and soybeans. He and his wife Lauren have one son, Isaiah. Ressler is a six-year NDSA member.

In District 2, Jeffrey Breker of Havana, N.D., was re-elected to a second four-year term. The 29-year NDSA member operates a 210-head commercial Angus cow-calf operation and a finishing feedlot in southeastern North Dakota. The operation also includes a no-till farming operation including corn, beans, wheat and cover crop. Breker and his wife Jody have three children, Jacob, Ashten and Greg. Breker serves as vice chairman of the Feeding and Marketing Committee and as the NDSA Feeder Council’s board liaison. 

Carter Vander Wal of Pollock, S.D., was re-elected to a second four-year term. The 10-year NDSA member operates a commercial cow-calf operation with his wife Merlynn on the North Dakota/South Dakota border, often backgrounding his calves. He also raises corn, wheat and soybeans. 

In District 4, Casey Voigt of Beulah, N.D., was re-elected to a second four-year term. The 21-year NDSA member has a 300-head cow-calf and heifer development operation, breeding Angus-based cows to Angus and Hereford bulls, retaining black heifers and marketing the F1 baldy heifers. In addition, Voigt rides and trains Quarter horses. Voigt and his wife Julie have two children, Leah and Casey Lane. Voigt serves as the vice chairman of the NDSA’s Research & Education Committee. 

In District 5, Calli Thorne of Watford City, N.D., was re-elected to a second four-year term. The 16-year NDSA member runs a predominantly Angus cow-calf operation and operates a custom backgrounding feedlot. The Thorne family sells beef directly to consumers year-round. She also runs a leadership and personal development business where she does keynote speaking, training and life coaching for rural and urban clients. Thorne and her husband CJ have three children, Tylee, Casen and Laney. Thorne serves on the Tomorrow’s Top Hands Beef Leadership Summit Planning Committee. 

Chase Jacobson of Columbus, N.D., was elected to his first four-year term in District 6. The 24-year NDSA member is the fifth generation on his family’s cow-calf operation in northwestern North Dakota, where they utilize Salers, Angus and Hereford cattle. The family also has sheep and horses and farms. Jacobson and his wife Taylor have a son, Croy. 

Other members of the NDSA Board of Directors and Executive Committee include the following: NDSA Immediate Past President Jeff Schafer of New Rockford, N.D.; District 1 Directors Erika Kenner of Leeds, N.D., Justin Maddock of Maddock, N.D., Cliff Sanders, Jr., of Clifford, N.D.; District 2 Directors Wade Dally of Montpelier, N.D., Jared Higgins of Woodworth, N.D., and Brian McDonald of Leonard, N.D.; District 3 Directors Tim Erbele of Streeter, N.D., Craig Kemmet of Tappen, N.D., and Lowell Malard of Bismarck, N.D.; District 4 Directors Wayne Hepper of Fort Yates, N.D., Scott Katus of Watauga, S.D., and Joel Opp of Hebron, N.D.; District 5 Directors Pete Best of Watford City, N.D., Howdy Lawlar of Watford City, N.D., and Joe Schettler of Killdeer, N.D.; and District 6 Directors Shane Anderson of Towner, N.D., Kevin Hansen of Ryder, N.D., and Gary Martens of Ross, N.D.

NDSA officers serve up to two one-year terms. Directors serve up to two four-year terms.

NDSA members interested in running for a leadership position should notify their district’s respective Nominating Committee members. The Nominating Committees traditionally name their candidates in June.