The South Dakota Stockgrowers Association wrapped up their 127 th Annual Convention and Trade Show Saturday, September 29, after the Board meeting that morning. An empty seat was hard to find at times, as the Stockgrowers are proud to announce that attendance was up more than fifty percent from the year before!
“This was such a great convention, I was so happy to catch up with folks I had not seen for awhile, as well as meet some new people that had never attended a convention before!” says Stockgrowers President Gary Deering, of Hereford.
The annual convention always has something for everybody, and convention goers enjoyed two days of listening to experts within the industry. Highlights from the two days of speakers included, meeting congressional and gubernatorial candidates, talking with our congressional D.C. staff, mental health advisors, livestock health concerns, deer management update, soil heath for increased productivity, and trade and economic trends from industry experts.
Members got a chance, Thursday night, during Entertainment Committee, Mike Maher’s Pub Crawl, and Supper, in downtown Rapid City, to be introduced to new Stockgrowers Executive Director, James Halverson. “This is a great group of people that have been very welcoming to me. It was incredibly fun to get to know more members at this year’s convention and I am even more excited now to join this strong team in working with the livestock producers across South Dakota” Said James.
Also at supper that evening, The Stockgrowers, took a moment to honor Lynn Tjeerdsma, Senator John Thune’s Senior Policy Advisor. “Lynn has done so much for agriculture in South Dakota. He always makes himself available, and does everything he can to help set up meetings, or get us in contact with the right people when we have a question, or concern”, says Deering.
At the membership meeting on Friday members elected, Deering and Hermosa area rancher Scott Edoff to lead the group as, President and Vice President respectively. Mike Maher, Isabel, and Mark Devries, Belvidere, will remain Regional Vice Presidents for their respective regions. Eric Sumption, Frederick, will become The Region 2, or East River Regional Vice President. New additions to the board are, Billy Clanton, Buffalo, District 1, Justin Kolb, Bison, District 6, Chuck Willard, Belvidere, District 12, and Jason Frerichs, Wilmont, District 15. “We are no doubt excited to welcome some fresh faces, and new board members, but it is always a little bitter sweet, as that always means some individuals that have helped build this organization are stepping down, Dave Niemi, T.W. Shalesky, and Chris Harvey, have all contributed and put many miles on representing, The South Dakota Stockgrowers. If you see them within your communities, thank them for the time they have spent representing this great industry.” Says Scott Edoff South Dakota Stockgrowers Vice President.
The membership meeting on Friday gave Stockgrowers lobbyist Jeremiah M. Murphy a chance to hear from members and share his outlook at this point before the general election. “What I have always appreciated about representing the Stockgrowers is they focus on their issues, and aren’t tied to a particular party or individual. Regardless of the outcome in November, we will see some new faces in Pierre, and I’m looking forward to continuing to represent our members at the capitol.” explained Murphy at the membership meeting
Highlighting Friday night’s banquet was the chance to honor Ray and Linda Gilbert with the “Lifetime Friends of the Stockgrowers” recognition. “The Gilberts have been an integral part of building the South Dakota Stockgrowers Association into what it is today”, said Deering, “It was our pleasure to welcome them as lifetime friends”
“This convention was so exciting, and like many in the past it proves to be a great way to build relationships. Just like our organization, it takes everybody to be successful, and there is nothing that makes me feel better than the team we have built. When you get a chance to see friendships building between, members, speakers, and vendors, you know you are part of something special,” adds Deering.