This year, despite sub-zero temperatures and terrible road conditions, 644 people attended the Montana Stockgrowers Association’s 124th Annual Convention and Trade Show at the Holiday Inn Grand Montana in Billings, Dec. 11-13. Below, please find some highlights from the convention:
-Tom Hougen of Melstone was elected the 59th President of the Montana Stockgrowers Association.
-Walter “Watty” Taylor of Busby was elected 1st Vice President. He previously served as 2nd Vice President from 2006-2008.
-Tucker Hughes of Stanford was elected 2nd Vice President. He served on the Board of Directors from the South Central District from 2004-2008.
-New Board of Directors:
Northeast District – Jeff Pattison of Glasgow
Southeast District – Dean Wang of Baker
South Central – Larry Berg of Judith Gap
-Wesley Batista president and CEO of JBS Swift, a division of JBS S.A., currently the world’s largest beef producer and exporter, was unable to attend the convention as planned due to a death in his family. Chandler Keys, vice president of government affairs for JBS Swift, filled in as the keynote speaker at the Opening General Session. He discussed the history of the Batista family and how they built up JBS S.A. from humble roots to being a global meatpacking powerhouse. Keys also described JBS’s business model and explained how the company has made inroads in global markets for both Brazilian and U.S. beef. Chandler fielded many questions from the audience and met with the media after his speech.
-Policy to guide MSGA officers and staff through 2009 was set in a process that began with committee meetings, progressed to the second reading and finished at the third reading. Notable new policies address livestock theft awareness, livestock biosecurity education, horse slaughter, the promotion of U.S. beef, bison reintroduction to the Chares M. Russell Wildlife Refuge, carbon sequestration, Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks wolf kill projections, and the Clean Air Act.
-Chances to win a 12-inch fully tooled kid’s saddle, sponsored by Nutra Lix, Basin State Bank, Ruby Valley National Bank, and MSGA, were auctioned off at the Grand Finale Banquet to benefit MSGA’s Advocacy Fund. Harrison Land and Livestock was the original winner, and Mark and Patti Harrison donated the saddle back for one last auction. Tucker Hughes was lured into a bidding war with Bill Donald and Gene Curry and ended up with the saddle with a high bid of $4,800. Overall, $27,300 was raised for the Advocacy Fund which goes toward MSGA’s legislative efforts.
-In addition to being elected 2nd Vice President, serving as emcee of the Grand Finale Banquet on Saturday night, Dec. 13, and being the highest bidder for the kid’s saddle, Tucker Hughes was named MSGA’s “Top Hand” for recruiting 15 new members and won an all-expense trip to Mexico sponsored by Valley Bank of Helena.
-The Cattle Directory Priority Page auction raised $42,000.
-Donna Sitz-Arthun of Billings was named “Ranch Woman of the Year” at the Grand Finale Banquet.
-Chelsea Phipps of Brussett won the Nutra Lix saddle giveaway.
-Rochelle Brownlee of Big Timber won the Torgerson’s LLC lawnmower giveaway.
-Rachel Endecott of Miles City won the WALCO Animal Heath and Intervet /Schering-Plough Animal Health Young Stockgrower membership drawing.
-The Trade Show offered 100 booths with various products and services for convention attendees. On Friday night, the “Night around the Campfire” Trade Show Grand Opening offered four beef dinner stations, entertainment by the Ringling 5, and a silk scarf giveaway. Saturday night’s Trade Show Finale featured a poker run that drew a huge crowd.
– Plans are already underway for MSGA’s 125th Anniversary Celebration to be held in conjunction with MSGA’s mid-year meetings in Miles City, June 10-14, 2009. Stay tuned for more information about this exciting milestone event!