NDSA ‘Here for the Long Haul’ at 86th Annual Convention and Trade Show

Farm Forum

The North Dakota Stockmen’s Association’s (NDSA) 86th Annual Convention & Trade Show on Sept. 24-26 at the Ramada in Bismarck, N.D. will provide beef producers the opportunity to shape policies to ensure the state’s cattle industry will remain “here for the long haul.”

That’s the theme of the convention, which begins on Thursday, Sept. 24, with a four-person Golf Scramble at Bismarck’s Tom O’Leary Golf Course. Golfers can enter their four-person teams or elect to be placed on a team by contacting Wade Moser, the Golf Scramble chairman, at (701) 226-4269 or wademoser@bis.midco.net.

Thursday morning also provides an opportunity to add value to your operation’s marketing programs during the NDSA Seedstock Council Livestock Marketing Workshop. Anne Kimmey, founder of Cultivate Agency, Inc., and Branded Spur Creative, will provide seedstock producers with essential marketing tips she has learned while working for clients like the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo, the State Fair of Texas and the Texas Beef Council.

The ever-popular Cattlemen’s College will be held Thursday afternoon. Dr. Rick Funston, North Dakota native and beef cattle reproduction expert from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, will discuss heifer development and selection strategies. Dr. Tim Petry, North Dakota State University livestock marketing economist, will provide a look at the future and a forecast of the cattle market as producers look to begin expanding herds across the United States, and Dr. Kent Andersen of Zoetis will discuss genomic and other herd selection tools.

Thursday’s activities conclude with the 6 p.m. Trade Show Social and a 7 p.m. supper.

The Trade Show kicks off the day at 8 a.m. on Friday. This year’s show includes 41 vendors from across the region and will provide producers a close look at the latest industry trends and technology. The opening general session will follow at 8:45 a.m. and include opening addresses from the NDSA and North Dakota CattleWomen and the “Riding for the Brand” recognition.

At 10:30 a.m., Philip Ellis, Chugwater, Wyo., cow-calf operator and stocker and National Cattlemen’s Beef Association president, will also discuss national beef industry policy issues and gather feedback from North Dakota cattlemen and women.

The convention will break for lunch before reconvening at 1 p.m. for meetings of the NDSA’s Ag Policy, Feeding & Marketing, Research & Education, Resolutions, Animal Health, Environmental Issues and Brand & Theft Committees.

Grassroots policymaking is always at the heart of the Convention. During this year’s committee meetings, members will discuss policy issues and learn from industry experts who will offer informational reports on topics such as the Veterinary Feed Directive, Argentine and Brazilian beef import rules, corporate business structure options, preparing samples for veterinary diagnostics, pipeline siting and more.

A 6 p.m. social and 7 p.m. supper will follow the committee meetings. Tomorrow’s Top Hand Beef Leadership Summit alumni will also enjoy a reunion social that evening.

After a busy day of policymaking, it will be time to relax and show your team spirit on Friday evening. Attendees are encouraged to sport their favorite team’s gear at the Stockmen’s Sports Night Social and Supper. They should also be prepared to tap into their competitive spirit with entertainment from ComedySportz of Minneapolis, Minn., who will have the crowd laughing with their light-hearted, improv-style comedy show.

Saturday’s activities begin at 8:15 a.m. with a morning general session packed with industry speakers:

Public Lands Council Executive Director Dustin Van Liew, a seventh-generation production agriculturist, is a leading authority in Washington, D.C., on public lands grazing policy issues, thanks to his extensive knowledge of the legislative history, the regulatory framework and the many legal challenges facing the industry. He will give producers an update on some of the current issues facing public lands ranchers and explain how those outcomes affect all beef producers.

Ernie Meier, who serves as the U.S. supply chain management director of quality systems for McDonald’s USA, will provide perspective from one of the industry’s major partners on topics like procurement, sustainability and antibiotic stewardship.

Ambassador Darci Vetter, chief agricultural negotiator at the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, will also speak Saturday morning. Vetter, who grew up on a Nebraska family farm, is responsible for bilateral and multilateral negotiations and policy coordination regarding agricultural trade. She will talk about the status of the Trans-Pacific Partnership and other important trade topics with implications for the nation’s beef industry.

The North Dakota Stockmen’s Foundation Luncheon will commence at noon Saturday. The luncheon includes scholarship presentations, the NDSA Mentoring Program recognition and a salute to the first-ever Tomorrow’s Top Hands class.

The closing session begins at 1:30 p.m. and includes the adoption of resolutions, committee reports, director and officer elections, retiring director presentations and membership contest results.

Saturday evening features the NDSA’s Annual Banquet. During the banquet, the NDSA will recognize its Honorary Members, the Rancher of the Year, the Environmental Stewardship Award recipient, an Honorary Brand Inspector and two employees for their years of service. The Strolling Strings of Bismarck will provide entertainment. Dale Brown, former Louisiana State University basketball coach and North Dakota native, will be the banquet speaker.