North Dakota Stockmen’s Association hosts 16th Young Cattlemen’s Legislative Conference

North Dakota Stockmen’s Association
Farm Forum

The North Dakota Stockmen’s Association (NDSA) hosted 16 young cattlemen and women during the 16th Young Cattlemen’s Legislative Conference (YCLC) Feb. 9-10 in Bismarck, N.D. This year’s participants included the following: Mark and Sarah Ressler of Binford, N.D.; Michael Tangen of Kathryn, N.D., and Sidney Falstad of Gackle, N.D.; Tim and Marie Woodbury of McLeod, N.D.; Taylor and Lisa Lund of Gackle, N.D.; Lacey Maier and Andrew Hillesland of Mandan, N.D.; Pete and Vawnita Best of Watford City, N.D.; Beau and Heather Wisness of Keene, N.D.; and Lane Marshall and Courtney Hanson of Towner, N.D.

YCLC delegates are selected by the NDSA for their leadership potential and involvement in the North Dakota beef industry.

“The YCLC provides a base of knowledge for young ag leaders and provides them with an opportunity to further their engagement in the North Dakota legislative process,” said Warren Zenker, NDSA president. “Many who have attended this conference in the past have become strong leaders in our industry and state.”

YCLC delegates participated in several agency visits and legislative activities, including policy meetings with Lieutenant Governor Brent Sanford; North Dakota Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring; State Veterinarian Dr. Susan Keller; Assistant State Veterinarian Dr. Sara McReynolds; and House Agriculture Committee Chairman Dennis Johnson. Participants also participated in several committee hearings, House and Senate floor sessions and a discussion about how bills are drafted with North Dakota Legislative Counsel Staff Attorney Dustin Assel. The group also learned more about the role of the NDSA in the public policy-making process and the makeup of the 87-year-old trade association.

After a day of learning about policy issues concerning the industry, the group participated in the NDSA Legislators’ and State Officials’ Reception, discussing issues in a conversational setting with House and Senate members and state elected officials.

Mark and Sarah Ressler of Binford, N.D., who represented the NDSA’s District 1, manage Ressler Land & Cattle near Cooperstown with Mark’s brother Bryan and his wife Lauren. The couples raise registered Red Angus cattle and commercial SimAngus cattle as well as small grains, row crops and specialty crops, including tall fescue grass seed and navy beans. The family held its first production sale in January at the farm. The couple takes great pride in farming, ranching and raising their daughter Kate, born last June.

Michael Tangen of Kathryn, N.D., and Sidney Falstad of Gackle, N.D., represented NDSA District 2. Tangen manages a cow-calf operation, which he is building. He also raises corn and soybeans with his father while working for a local farmer as a hired hand.

Tim and Marie Woodbury of McLeod, N.D., also represented District 2. Tim grew up near McLeod working on his family farm and ranch operation. Marie grew up in Omaha, Neb., and entered the livestock industry in college. The couple was married this fall and manages a cow-calf and farming operation near McLeod, N.D., with Tim’s parents and brother. Marie also works as a livestock nutrition consultant for CHS, Inc. Together, they continue to develop their herd’s genetics.

Taylor and Lisa Lund of Gackle, N.D., representing NDSA’s District 3, own a share of a cow-calf operation with their uncle and aunt. Lisa is a manufacturing engineer at John Deere Seeding Group in Valley City, N.D. The operation includes nearly 400 head of cows, a feedlot operation and several cash crops.

Lacey Maier and Andrew Hillesland of Mandan, N.D., represented NDSA’s District 4. Maier is a fifth-generation rancher from New Salem, N.D. Today, alongside her parents and sister’s family, she manages a custom backgrounding yard and commercial Angus cow-calf operation. Andrew Hillesland grew up in Northwood, N.D. working at a local feedlot and trucking with his father. After high school, he and his father started their own trucking business. Today, Andrew and his family own and operate Hillesland Trucking and haul cattle nationally. Lacey, their daughter Mattie and Andrew look forward to the future of both operations.

Beau and Heather Wisness, who represented NDSA’s District 5, returned to the Wisness family operation near Keene, N.D., in July 2007. Beau is the fourth generation to join the WIsness Ranch and works alongside his father and brother. The Wisness Ranch manages a primarily Angus cow-calf operation and farms a variety of small grains, including spring wheat, durum, canola, lentils and corn. Beau and Heather have four children Amelia, Clara, Charlie and Hazel and are actively involved in their community.

NDSA District 5 Director Pete Best and his wife Vawnita also represented District 5. The Bests manage a 250-head registered Angus cowherd near Watford City, N.D. The couple also runs a registered Quarter Horse operation. They have a son named Kyle.

Lane Marshall and Courtney Hanson of Towner, N.D., represented District 6. Lane and his family manage the Marshall Ranch and raise Angus-cross cattle. Lane’s parents, John and Marie, established the ranch in 1975. The Marshalls focus on growth and efficiency and retain their own replacement heifers to maintain consistency and quality in their herd. Courtney is an elder caregiver in Towner and helps out on the ranch.