Q&A: President of South Dakota Stockgrowers Association at 131st Convention and Trade Show

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SPEARFISH, S.D.– The annual South Dakota Stockgrowers Association Convention and Trade Show is underway in Spearfish.

The 131st meeting is taking place at the Holiday Inn Thursday and Friday. The event is a time for the organization to update members of its work over the past year. Industry experts are brought in to discuss the ag industry and share advice on how to improve their ranching businesses.

Some ranchers in training had an opportunity Thursday to sit in. The Stockgrowers invited 11 chapters of the Future Farmer’s of America to take part in the convention.

South Dakota Stockgrowers Association President Vaughn Meyer said, “We had Jeremiah Murphy, who is our lobbyist who works for us in Pierre, and he was explaining the process of a bill going through and their participation in such an event in the future.”

The convention is open to the public with a registration fee. For more information and how to register click here.

Q&A with S.D. Stockgrowers Association President Vaughn Meyer

Vaughn Meyer

 What is the South Dakota Stockgrowers Association’s Annual Convention and Stock Show?

“Well, this is our annual convention, and it’s kind of the culmination of everything we’ve done for the past year. We will have speakers on there this (Thursday) morning. This (Thursday) morning, we had Jeremiah Murphy, who is our lobbyist who works for us in Pierre, and we were very fortunate to have in about 60, 70 FFA kids from four or five different chapters. He was explaining to them the process of a bill going through and their participation in such an event in the future and that. So it was working out very good. We have a presentation from the NRCS where he’s putting on the various types of rainfall simulators and how it affects the crops that are on there and the vegetation that they cover on there. This afternoon, we will have several speakers. One of our keynote speakers will be Bill Bullard from R-CALF, and he basically usually talks about the state of the industry, the bills that are out there and what we need to work on from here on out. There’s a number of issues out there, but everything is kind of on hold with the upcoming elections. Starting here pretty soon, they’ll be working on the farm bill and we hope to get some pressure put on the farm bill to support the farmers and ranchers out in this area.”

What are some of the talking points at the convention?

“It’s the rainfall; lack of rainfall in this country. Everybody seems to be dry and all that. But overall, market access of mandatory pricing levels on their participation by the big four when they are purchasing cattle. Country of origin labeling is a very important product to try and regain that once more, so that farmers and ranchers that graze cattle can label their product just like any other producer out there or product manufactured out there. So those are probably the two main ones.”

Why is this annual convention important?

“Gets people together and then we formulate our directions that we’re going to go on. Tomorrow (Friday) when we have our 3:30 p.m., we’ll start with our business meeting in there and it’ll bring everybody together on the goals and the leadership for the next year and it’ll direct us on where to work on that. Then on Saturday morning, we’ll have a follow up with our board meeting, the annual one that we have after that. Then we’ll take what comes from the membership and put it to work, and put it into policy is what we’ll do from there.”

How large is the membership for the South Dakota Stockgrowers Association?

“A little under a thousand now. I guess maybe 800, somewhere in there. It’s dropped some over the years. I guess that’s going to be one of our major goals is membership for the next year. Along with the membership, we’re going to stress more on the youth into our industry to get them involved.”

What benefits come with Stockgrowers Association membership?

“Normal level is $75 for your fees. That entitles you to all the rights and privileges of it, which are the voting, we try to take most of our membership in and assign them to committees and stuff like that. All of our committees are open and all of our meetings are open so they can attempt to attend those and give us direction and thoughts and stuff. We basically build on the participation of our members.”

What are the major issues for ranchers as they head to the polls on Election Day?

“We’ve seen the way things are going down. I’m sure the economy and the cost of the inflation on the fuel and stuff is going to be heavy, especially from the farm sector and the ranch sector in there.”

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