Gilby-area cattleman and former NDSA President Edward “Gordon” McLean passed away March 19 at the age of 82. A private service is being planned for a later date.
In addition to holding the NDSA’s top office from 1982 to 1984, McLean also earned the organization’s most prestigious honor, the Top Hand Award, in 1998.
Born Oct. 24, 1932, McLean ran 115 cow-calf pairs, consisting of Simmental, Gelbvieh, Angus and Red Angus crosses until his retirement.
Over the years, Mc- Lean worked hard to improve his herd through the use of performance testing and preconditioning.
He also employed innovative practices to improve his farming enterprise and worked to enhance the environment. He participated in various corn variety and population studies and worked to reduce soil compaction. He was also among the first farmers to use side dressing and pop-up seed-placed fertilizer, adopt an air-drill tilling system and plant sunflowers, canola, pinto beans and peas in his area.
During his years as an NDSA member, McLean took a leading role. He served on the advisory council, board of directors and research committee and chaired a marketing and grading committee. He also served in each of the NDSA’s officer positions and was a registered lobbyist for the organization while he was the president. McLean donated his time to other farm and ranch organizations, too. He was a director of the North Dakota Beef Commission, North Dakota Beef Cattle Improvement Association and North Dakota Cattle Feeder Association. He also held memberships and leadership posts in the Society of Range Management, North Dakota State University’s President’s Club, North Dakota Hereford Association, Ag Coalition, Red River Edible Bean Association, Northwest Farm Managers, North Dakota Crop Improvement Association, North Dakota Corn Growers Association and Wheat Growers.
His leadership also extended to the national level, where he served two years as a director of the National Cattlemen’s Association, chaired or co-chaired the Marketing, Grading and Beef Quality Committee, the National Beef Carcass Quality Task Force and the U.S./Canada Beef Grading Standardization Task Force. He likewise served on the Cattlemen’s Beef Board and was a member of its Beef Quality and Safety Committee.
Additionally, McLean shared his expertise with the National Sunflower Growers, National Barley Growers, National Durum Growers and the American Hereford and Polled Hereford Associations.
McLean was honored numerous times for his contributions to agriculture. He received the North Dakota State University Alumni Association Agriculturalist Award, the North Dakota State University Distinguished Service Award, the North Dakota Beef Cattle Improvement Association Commercial Producer Award, the Greater Grand Forks Chamber of Commerce “We Salute You” Award and the Saddle & Sirloin Club’s Agriculturist of the Year Award.
McLean and his wife Lyla were married in 1954. Together, they raised four children. Lyla passed away in December 2010.