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Gary Deering, President, South Dakota Stockgrowers Association
Courtesy Photo
Gary Deering, President, South Dakota Stockgrowers Association

Stockgrowers look to members for policy input and plan 127 annual convention


News Staff - August 9, 2018

RAPID CITY, SD – With the end of summer in sight, thoughts turn to the coming winter for many livestock producers.  That means buttoning up the place for the changing seasons but it also marks a time when organizations like the South Dakota Stockgrowers Association (SDSGA)  and members turn to mapping out policy direction for the coming year.  And it’s members who are the decision makers, says SDSGA President Gary Deering.

“We’ve been around for a long time with a history of being effective,” he says. “We have one of the best lobbyists out there and we’re very good at listening to each and every one of our members.”

As a member-driven organization and the oldest livestock one in the state,  it has been over a century of forging relationships – both in industry and politics – that makes the South Dakota Stockgrowers an effective voice for producers.

“A membership give you access to a strong policy organization,” says Deering.  “We're able to get ahold of people in government and industry when we need to.”

Through quarterly meetings held across the state  to weekly conference calls where any member can take part, Deering – a cow/calf producer and backgrounder running on land near Hereford, SD, that has been in his family since 1911 – says that membership in Stockgrowers means an individual’s voice is heard.

“South Dakota is number five in ranking for cattle and calves.  There’s between 15,000-16,000 cattle producers out there.  They all need a voice,” observes Deering.  “ That’s where a state-run organization like SDSGA can collectively give them that voice.”

Legislatively, the South Dakota Stockgrowers Association knows the importance of having someone close to political decision makers  on a daily basis.  It’s use of lobbying combined with up to the minute contact with members, results in being able to address issues consistently and in many  cases with successful outcomes.

“The Electronic Logging Device mandate threatened the trucking and livestock hauling business, both of which are important to ranching,” shares Deering.  “SDSGA put their resources behind getting that mandate reworked and the implementation deadline extended.” 

He continued, “In the Farm Bill now is language we drafted regarding how USDA uses official rainfall data that hasn't accurately represented rainfall from one end of the state to the other-or even within counties.  That information affects federal payments and federal grazing management for ranchers. Our input will change how data is recorded and reported."

Regional, state and local issues are also a part of daily work for the SDSGA.  "From brand issues to water use and regulatory matters, this organization represents its membership while reaching across to sometimes opposing interests in efforts to arrive at a workable consensus," says Deering.

With a membership drive currently underway and the 127th annual convention just ahead, Deering says it’s a good time for producers to consider where their investment of a membership will allow them a voice and achieve results – much the same as he did 10 years ago when he became an SDSGA member.

 “We really listen to our membership.  During the annual legislative session, there is a weekly conference call that can be joined by all members.  There have been times when input from a conference call has made it to Pierre on the same day,” observes Deering.  “ Our policy is truly created directly from the membership. SDSGA is as member driven as any organization I’ve been a part of.”

This years convention is set for September 27-28, 2018 in Rapid City. Deering is excited about the lineup of confirmed speakers and the broad array of issues industry leaders will present.

“There is a strong list of industry speakers lined up,” he shares.  “Both congressional candidates, Tim Bjorkman and Dusty Johnson will be joining us and we hope that both gubernatorial candidates Kristi Noem and Billie Sutton will confirm as well.”

See more information on the South Dakota Stockgrowers on line at www.southdakotastockgrowers.com and on Facebook.  Included are district directors and contact information along with membership and convention registration. 



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