For Immediate Release
Sept. 24, 2016
For more information, contact:
Steve Brooks, NDSA president • (701) 523-6732 •
Julie Ellingson, NDSA executive vice president • (701) 223-2522 •
Trevor Graff, NDSA communications director • (701) 223-2522 •
North Dakota Stockmen’s Association names Brooks, Kinzler and Thorsgard honorary members
The North Dakota Stockmen’s Association (NDSA) named three deserving advocates of North Dakota’s beef industry honorary members during its 87th Annual Convention & Trade Show, “Rooted in Tradition, Growing for the Future,” in Minot, N.D.
Steve Brooks of Bowman, N.D., Wilbert Kinzler of Kulm, N.D., and the late Enoch Thorsgard of Northwood, N.D., received honorary memberships at the NDSA’s Annual Banquet Sept. 24.
Steve Brooks
NDSA Immediate Past President Steve Brooks of Bowman, N.D., and his wife April raised three daughters, Calli, Cassi and Skeeter, on their ranch near Bowman, N.D. Brooks and his brother Ryan and his family work in partnership, raising 600 head of registered Angus cows on the Brooks Chalky Butte Ranch. They also farm 4,000 acres of wheat, barley, corn, lentils and chickpeas.
A 37-year member, Brooks has served the NDSA as president and as a member of the NDSA Nominating Committee; the NDSA Brand Board; and the NDSA Brand & Theft Committee. He also hosted the All Breeds Cattle Tour at his ranch and was selected to participate in the NDSA’s inaugural Young Cattlemen’s Legislative Conference in the 1980s.
In his time serving the NDSA, Brooks worked to promote ag advocacy in order to show consumers that beef producers are good stewards of the land and that future of the beef industry in North Dakota is bright. He has been a beef industry leader in several organizations, having been the American and North Dakota Angus Association president, a U.S. Meat Export Federation director and the North Dakota Beef Commission chairman.
Wilbert Kinzler
Wilbert Kinzler, a 44-year NDSA member, grew up near Kulm, N.D., where he began farming with his father in 1955. He and his wife Thelma have been retired form the farm since 2011.
The Kinzler family didn’t manage beef cattle at the time he began farming, but Kinzler combined his love for cattle and the outdoors by using the money he earned trapping to begin building the family’s herd one calf at a time.
“Cattle have always been my interest,” Kinzler said. “In the beginning, my family never had beef cattle, but when I could make a little money trapping and the neighbors had a calf or two to sell, I would buy them.”
He developed his operation to include a 70-head cowherd and 1,000 acres of pasture and cropland.
Kinzler served as a NDSA District 2 Director from 1992 to 2001 after filling then-NDSA-President Stan Melroe’s empty seat in the district. Kinzler has continued as an active member, frequently attending NDSA Spring Roundups and conventions and offering counsel and support to staff and leaders.
Enoch Thorsgard
Enoch Thorsgard, a 44-year NDSA member at the time of his passing, was known for being an innovator in the North Dakota feedlot industry and one of the first cattlemen to bring Charolais cattle to North Dakota. He expanded his family’s cattle operation to include feeding 6,000 head of cattle and a 6,000-acre farm and pioneered the use of feeding agricultural byproducts like potato waste in his operation.
He also served six terms in the North Dakota House of Representatives, taking an active role in the building of the North Dakota Heritage Center.
Thorsgard detailed the several changes he witnessed in the cattle industry in his 2008 book, “Enoch’s Saga: Horsepower to Satellite in a Single Lifetime.”
He died at 98 years old in his home near Northwood, N.D., in December 2015.
His survivors include his wife, Madeline; children Carol (Harold) Luecke, Grady (Marilyn) Thorsgard, John (Dona) Thorsgard, Ruth (Robert) Draxton and a son-in-law, Lonney Eastvold; 24 grandchildren and 28 great-grandchildren.
“The NDSA thanks these three men for their advocacy on behalf of the ranching way of life and their support of the NDSA,” said NDSA Vice President Warren Zenker of Gackle, N.D.


North Dakota Stockmen's Association * 407 S. 2nd St. * Bismarck, ND 58504 * 701-223-2522 *