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The 129th Montana Stockgrowers Association Convention and Trade Show, held at the Holiday Inn Grand Montana in Billings, December 12-14, drew record crowds from the ranching community from across the state.
The three-day convention featured a number of speakers to help ranchers learn more about available management tools, as well as outlooks on the current status of cattle markets, industry trends, environmental and wildlife issues. Members also had the opportunity to discuss and vote on resolutions that guide policy activity for the Stockgrowers Association.
Here are some of the highlights:
-Elections were held to fill three positions on the Board of Directors due to expiring terms. Wayne Slaght of Ovando was elected to represent the Western district. Lee Cornwell of Glasgow was elected to represent the Northeastern district. Jack Holden of Valier was elected to represent the North Central district. Slaght, Cornwell and Holden are all cow-calf ranchers on family operations. Heath Martinell of Dell, Mick Denowh of Sidney and Mark Harrison of Belt are the outgoing Board members.
-Lacey Sutherlin of Stevensville was elected as Chairwoman of the Young Stockgrowers. She fills the position previously held by Collin Gibbs from Miles City. Travis Brown of Sand Springs was elected as Vice-Chair. Sutherlin and Brown will represent the Young Stockgrowers on the MSGA Board of Directors.
-The 2013 Montana Environmental Stewardship Award was presented to the Leon LaSalle family of Havre. Leon is president of LaSalle Ranch, a family corporation that includes his father Robert L., his mother Jenny, and his brother Robert W, along with his wife Shannon. LaSalle Ranch is a cow/calf and yearling operation, mostly located within the boundaries of the Rocky Boys Indian reservation. Leon is also an engineering technician with the Natural Resources Conservation Service in Havre.
-Glenna Stucky of Avon was recognized as the Ranching Woman of the Year. Glenna, who lives in Avon with her husband Earl, has dedicated years of hard work to her family, ranch, and community. Close friends describer Glenna as a “ranch woman pioneer, passing down the legacy to her kids and grandkids with grace and love.”
-Zoetis Cattlemen’s College offered attendees several great opportunities for interactive learning about the tools available to improve management and record keeping on their ranches. Oklahoma State University Livestock Economist, Dr. Darrell Peel, offered great insight into the current market situations and an outlook on what we may expect in the long-term cattle numbers.
-Montana Ford Stores continued their sponsorship to give one luck MSGA member a new Ford Super Duty pickup. This year’s winner was Jim Steinbeisser of Sidney. Steinbeisser, along with his two brothers and two cousins, owns and operates VS Inc., a diversified farm raising several cash crops, feed for their feedlot and wintering cows. His father and uncle still participate on the family operation. Steinbeisser has been involved with the family operation full-time for 30 years. Jim and his wife, May Ann, have three children: Corbin (6), Liam (5), and Claire (4).
-Attendees heard encouraging and informative messages from many speakers throughout the 3-day convention. Sarah Calhoun of White Sulphur Springs, founder of Red Ants Pants, was the featured speaker at Opening General Session. American National Cattlewomen’s Association President, Barbara Jackson was on hand for several events including the Inspirational Breakfast and the Cattlewomen’s meetings.
-Policy meetings offered opportunity for attendees to hear updates on several issues affecting ranches, environmental and agricultural policy issues in the state. Representatives from Fish, Wildlife & Parks, Department of Livestock, Public Lands Council and National Cattlemen’s Association were on hand to provide updates and insight on current events.
Convention coverage, photos and videos can be found on the Montana Stockgrowers Association Facebook page or blog (www.mtstockgrowersblog.com).
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 number one industry – agriculture.