SD Stockgrowers (SDSGA) Host Meeting in Eastern South Dakota
 
December 5, 2003
 
For more information contact Carrie Longwood at carrie.sdsga@midconetwork.com or 605-342-0429
 
 
Over sixty people took part in the South Dakota Stockgrowers Association Quarterly meeting on December 1-2, 2003 in Brookings, S.D. Stockgrower President Ken Knuppe, Buffalo Gap, S.D., said the meeting covered several topics, with great participation from local cattle producers.
 
Many local producers and legislators were on hand to hear speakers and visit with the Stockgrowers.
 
Merton Clarkson and Larry Nelson, two Harding County ranchers discussed the concerns that landowners across the state have voiced regarding the state Game, Fish and Parks (GFP).
 
Clarkson and Nelson told the lunch crowd that a new group called South Dakota Citizens for the Reform of Game, Fish and Parks recently emerged in Harding County, but already includes people from across the state.
 
They explained the goals that the group has set, including legislative authority over the GFP's budget, and direction to the GFP to lease rather than buy land for hunting access.
 
Committees met in the morning and afternoon and discussed animal id, animal health, legislative issues, wildlife management and marketing. According to Animal Health and Animal ID Committee Chairman Kenny Fox, Belvidere, S.D., committee meetings are always open to the public and the Stockgrowers welcome input from non-members as well as members. "SDSU Extension Veterinarian Dr. Bill Epperson spoke to our committee, and I was glad to see a great turnout of local producers. It's important that we as producers stay abreast of animal health and animal I.D. issues. The Stockgrowers work hard to help ranchers stay updated."
 
R-CALF (Ranchers-Cattlemen Action Legal Fund, United Stockgrowers of America) CEO Bill Bullard spoke to the dinner crowd regarding trade and marketing issues.
 
Bullard told the crowd that Country of Origin Labeling is vital to producers who expect to compete in both the domestic and global market.
 
In regard to the recent high cattle prices, Bullard attributed several factors, including the smallest cow herd in the U.S. since the 1950s, high demand, and, most importantly, when the border closed the volume of Canadian beef and cattle was reduced, two of the nation's largest packers were denied access to their captive supply cattle in Canada, and Japan and South Korea demanded country of origin labeling.
 
"In recent history, about 8% of the beef sold in the U.S. had originated in Canada.
 
By reducing the volume of beef and live cattle from Canada, cutting off packer access to captive supplies, and labeling beef destined for Japan and South Korea, prices in the U.S. not only improved but they are sustained.
 
This is a good indication of the effect of imports, captive supplies, and labeling on the U.S. domestic market." Bullard said that R-CALF doesn't support the re-opening of the Canadian border to live cattle any time soon.
Scientifically, it doesn't make sense to even allow the boxed beef that's currently being shipped, he said.
 
The South Dakota Stockgrowers Association Board of Directors met the following morning, December 2, 2003. Before their meeting, Dr. Duane Wulf, SDSU led Stockgrower Directors on a tour of the SDSU meats lab. Meanwhile, President Knuppe and Executive Director Carrie Longwood spoke to the Beef Production class about the South Dakota Stockgrowers Association's latest issues, and the cattle industry as a whole.
 
Knuppe said he appreciated the chance to hold the Stockgrowers meeting on campus, and enjoyed visiting with the students in the Beef Production class. "Since that was a senior level class, most of those students were
thinking seriously about what they want to do with their lives. It was fun to talk to young adults who are excited about the industry and to encourage them to stay involved in issues that affect them."
 
The South Dakota Stockgrowers Association Board of Directors decided to hold their next Quarterly Meeting in Pierre, South Dakota, on February 19-20, 2004. For more information, contact Carrie Longwood at carrie.sdsga@midconetwork.com or 605-342-0429
 
 
R-CALF USA (Ranchers-Cattlemen Action Legal Fund, United Stockgrowers of America)