The South Dakota Stockgrowers (SDSGA) have officially wrapped up their 130th Annual
Convention and Trade Show which took place in Spearfish, SD. The convention included many
highlights such as an address by Senator John Thune (R-SD), electing new leadership, many
industry-leading speakers, and the biggest trade show on record.
“Even thought 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.”
After Bill Bullard and Brant Beckman started the convention off on Thursday morning, Sen.
Thune 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 (DMT), 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 and everything in between.
After the day’s business, SDSGA hosted a social and dinner & music show at the High Plains
Western Heritage Center. “I didn’t realize the amount of history, especially on brands and the
livestock industry this museum offers.” Said newly elected SDSGA Vice President Les Shaw.
After many folks were able to enjoy the museum, guests were treated to a great chuckwagon
supper and cowboy music show, “The Spirit of the American Cowboy” by Dalyce Sellers and
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. Glenn shared an inspirational story of their 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 pastureland managed with
different techniques. He and David Ollila, with the SD Soil Health Coalition, answered many
questions on grazing.
Friday’s luncheon featured leading agriculture advocate and syndicated personality Trent Loos
sponsored by News radio 1380 KOTA. Trent gave a passionate address and spent much time at
the convention interacting with all attendees. “Trent has a way to articulate our issues that is
hard to argue with.” Said Halverson “I truly appreciate how he can present our industry in such
simple terms that so many of the general public need to hear.” Also on Friday afternoon, Baxter
Anders owner of Belle Fourche Livestock and Philip Livestock, and Kevin Larson with
Aberdeen Livestock had a question and answer session directly preceding the ever-popular
SDSU Ice Cream Social.
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. Much conversation and ideas were explored at
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 entire two-day event came to a fitting climax on Friday evening at the annual awards and
recognition banquet when retiring brand inspector Jim Holloway was honored for more than 50
years of service along with retiring SDSGA President Scott Edoff. Jim Reed and Shane Kolb
each gave moving memories of Holloway who was presented a lifetime member commemorative
belt buckle. “I will wear this with pride” uttered Holloway through many tears of appreciation to
a standing ovation. Halverson and Frank Bloom each added a humorous story about President
Edoff before he addressed the crowd. “I’ve made so many friends through this organization.”
Said Edoff. “It’s been an honor of a lifetime to serve as your President” he added before being
presented with his past president SDSGA belt buckle.
The SDSGA Board of Directors met Saturday morning as well. Next year’s event is being
planned for November 2022.