The 127th Annual Montana Stockgrowers Association (MSGA) Convention and Trade Show, held at the Holiday Inn Grand Montana in Billings, Dec. 15-17, drew over 740 participants from across the state. Nearly 100 people participated in the Young Stockgrowers events, representing the largest showing of that group at any convention.
“It was great to see all the young people at our meeting learning about our association and policy process, and really getting involved,” said Watty Taylor, MSGA’s president. “Although 2011 hasn’t been without its challenges, everyone seemed to be in high spirits thanks to the record high cattle market, the mild winter we’ve been having so far this year, and a chance to meet up with friends at convention time.”
Bill Donald, past president of MSGA and current president of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA), and current MSGA President, Watty Taylor, held a “town hall” discussion as the keynote presentation for the Opening General Session on Friday, Dec. 16. They discussed state and national issues facing the two associations and took questions from the crowd. Topics covered included the recently passed Free Trade Agreements, brucellosis, the Farm Bill, estate tax, Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration rule revisions, the child labor law proposal, and a recap of the 2011 Montana Legislature.
Ranching Woman of the Year Helen Hougen with her family.
MSGA’s policy process was especially robust this year, providing direction for MSGA officers and staff through 2012. Over 150 people attended the joint Animal Health/Land Use Committee which discussed the issue of bison management and bison relocation.
Second reading of resolutions and MSGA’s Business Meeting were well attended with 11 new, 19 revised, and 37 renewed policies passed through the process. Notable new policies address traceability, bison management in Yellowstone Na tional Park, bison relocation, brucellosis in elk, predator funding, state grazing fees, irrigation, the proposed changes to the child labor law, and the recent MF Global situation.
The Pfizer Cattlemen’s Colleges held on Saturday, Dec. 17, featured Gary Brester, agricultural economics professor at Montana State University, who conducted two economic workshops. Larry Gran with Pfizer Animal Health talked about utilizing modern technology to help commercial cattlemen select bulls for their ranch. Brett Crosby of
Custom Ag Solutions, Inc. presented “Managing Price Risk I: Contracting and Commodity Futures Markets” and “Managing Price Risk II: Commodity Options and Livestock Risk Protection.” Daniel Sullivan with NCBA presented an introduction to the Masters of Beef Advocacy program and “Engaging in the Beef Conversation: What to do now you are an MBA Graduate.”
Plans are already underway for MSGA’s Mid-Year meeting which will be held in Glasgow in June 2012. — WLJ
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