It’s hard to believe, but it has already been a year since I was elected to serve as your NDSA president. It’s been an interesting year, to say the least.
Shortly after last year’s convention, the NoDAPL protests became very intense. We had numerous members who were affected and whose private property rights were violated.
In November, winter came with a vengeance. Most of us were blanketed with a pile of snow. It looked like it might be a winter for the recordbooks; however, the moisture started to slow up by late January, which led to one of the worst droughts we’ve seen in many years. It always amazes me how, in times of need, fellow ranchers pull together to help out one another.
It was also a year for lawmakers to gather in Bismarck for the 65th North Dakota Legislative Session. We testified on numerous bills, both for and against. I am very proud of what we accomplished and members’ engagement throughout the process.
One of the most rewarding activities of the past year was the work weekend at fellow board member Doug Bichler’s ranch. As most of you know, Doug was involved in a serious baler accident this summer. At the board meeting in July, we decided to pull together and help our friend in need. It was an experience I will never forget.
There were about 50 people who came to mend corrals, replace fountains and even build a chicken coop. Like I mentioned, it was fantastic to see such a great turnout of people helping one of our own.
A couple of weeks ago, the NDSA was able to secure 20 tickets to President Donald Trump’s address on tax reform at the Andeavor Refinery in Mandan. One of the perks of being the NDSA president was that I didn’t have to be part of the lottery to attend. It was great to be one of the 700 people there for the historic event. I was very proud to be part of an association whose executive vice president was mentioned in the president’s speech. Congratulations to Julie Ellingson. It was also great to hear him mention the economic strength of North Dakota and how it is a model for other states to follow. His message on tax reform was also very positive and, hopefully, Congress will come together to make cattle industry priorities a reality.
A couple of weeks ago, Scott Ressler told his wife Sheila about a dream he had the previous night. He said, “Gosh, Sheila, last night I dreamt that I was walking on the beach, and it was so real.” Sheila replied, “Well, that explains the footprints in the cat box!”