SPEARFISH, SD – The South Dakota Stockgrowers Association (SDSGA) officially wrapped up their 130th Annual Convention and Trade Show with new leadership and state and national policy directives.
“Even though we’ve been a little short-handed, we pulled off a great convention,” said SDSGA Executive Director James Halverson. “We’ve had great feedback, and I believe everyone had a great time, learned a bunch, and got to spend time with friends. I want to thank all of our sponsors which make this event possible.”
Opening the first session was R-CALF USA CEO Bill Bullard. That was followed by Sen. John Thune (R-SD) addressed the crowd at lunch. Thune was on hand after releasing an announcement the previous day that he is leading a bipartisan effort along with Sens. Rounds (R-SD), Tester (D-MT), and Booker (D-NJ) to restore mandatory COOL for beef. “South Dakota cattle producers work tirelessly to produce some of the highest quality beef in the world. The pandemic has only highlighted their important role in our domestic food supply and the urgent need to strengthen it.”
To ensure the viability of cattle ranching in this country, the system in which producers operate must be fair and transparent. “As a long-time supporter of MCOOL, I am proud to introduce this legislation (S.2716 – American Beef Labeling Act), which will move us one step closer to making that a reality,” said Thune.
Additionally on Thursday afternoon, convention attendees got the chance to have an in-depth question and answer session with Sen. Rounds’ Chief of Staff Rob Skjonsberg, Ryan Donnelly for Sen. Thune, and John Weber for Rep. Dusty Johnson. The D.C. delegation answered questions on topics ranging from MCOOL to property rights.
Conservation grazing practices took center stage throughout the two-day event. SDSGA was honored to host Glenn Elzinga from the Alderspring Ranch in Idaho. Glenn and his family are first generation ranchers practicing regenerative grazing techniques producing and direct marketing grass-fed beef.
Elzinga shared an inspirational story of the family’s journey and spent much time with convention goers on a personal level. Additionally, Tanse Herrmann with the Natural Resources Conservation Service presented a rainfall simulator with pasture land managed with different techniques. He and David Ollila, with the South Dakota Soil Health Coalition, answered many questions on grazing.
Property taxes, a core SDSGA issue leading into the 2022 SD Legislative Session, was front and center as well. SD State Reps. Kirk Chaffee and Trish Ladner, along with Susie Hayes from Fall River County led a discussion on property taxes.
During the annual member meeting new leadership was elected. Vaugh Meyer of Reva, SD was elected to take the reins from retiring President Scott Edoff. “I want to focus on membership development, active committees, 50/14, and MCOOL,” said Meyer. “It is truly an honor to serve this organization,” he added.
Les Shaw of White Owl, SD was elected as Vice President. Other changes in leadership included Billy Clanton of Buffalo as Region 1 Vice President, Zeb Husted of Harold as Region 2 Vice President, Trent Turbiville Dist. 1 Director, Eric Sumption Dist. 15 Director, Travis Olson Dist. 16 Director, and Tate Glaus Dist. 17 Director.
The two-day event came to a close with the annual awards and recognition banquet where retiring brand inspector Jim Holloway was honored for more than 50 years of service along with retiring SDSGA President Scott Edoff.