All jobs have their perks, and one of mine as the NDSA president came on June 4, when I started the NDSA Spring Roundups. I had a chance to travel with our staff to a number of the six district meetings. The time spent together allowed us to discuss some important NDSA issues, learn more about each other and, of course, have just a little bit of fun.
As you know, the Spring Roundups were held in a variety of settings — from a restored barn and legion halls to the Roughrider Center. We were as far west as Watford City, as far east as Eldridge and at many points in between. Things looked a lot different than last year, as most places had received some moisture, which made things much greener and attitudes much brighter. It looks like summer is off to a much better start this year.
I always enjoy the Spring Roundups, as they give me an opportunity to talk to members about the organization and to get their thoughts about the direction we are heading. They also are great opportunities to meet new people and visit with old friends.
The Roundup presentations were very interesting and educational this year. For instance, we heard from Travis Maddock and Nancy Jo Bateman about the promotion, research and education work the North Dakota Beef Commission is doing with our checkoff dollars. That work ranges from promoting our product on a state level to helping fund a Colorado State University study that is highlighting beef’s beneficial role in fighting Type 2 diabetes.
We also heard from Dr. Gary Sides from Zoetis, who gave a fantastic presentation on the importance of telling the story of how we produce a safe and healthy product; Jerry Doan, who shared ideas about how to improve grass and soil health; and Dr. Greg Lardy, who explained collaborative efforts between the NDSA and North Dakota State University.
District 4 enjoyed an awesome presentation by NDSA Director Al Gustin and videographer Dwayne Walker. The pair shared a number of stories that they produced together while they worked at KFYR. Among the featured stories: those about hay drops in 1975, scabies dip pools that were developed in many southern locations in the early 1980s and the severe livestock losses following the April 1997 blizzard.
NDSA Executive Vice President Julie Ellingson spoke about the work the NDSA has done to find some resolve to the hours-of-service challenges that are associated with the electronic logging device mandate, as well as issues related to the farm bill and a latest hot topic — fake meat.
My part of the Roundup was to discuss our progress on the no-posting issue, the resolution passed at last year’s convention regarding the use of freeze brands as proof of ownership, the search for land for a new building and a few staff vacancies.
I am pleased to announce that we have filled the special projects director position and have welcomed our new employee, Elizabeth Neshem, to the NDSA.
I would also like to say thanks to NDSA Chief Brand Inspector Stan Misek, who retired July 1, for his many years of service to the livestock industry. I wish him well in his retirement.
Sheila Ressler caught her husband Scott, the environmental services director, standing on the scale and sucking in his belly. Sheila laughed, “Hey, Honey, that won’t help.” Scott replied, “What do you mean? It helps a lot. It’s the only way I can see the numbers!”