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Posted 08/13/2018

For immediate release:

Aug. 13, 2018

For more information, contact:

Warren Zenker, NDSA president: (701) 320-2585 •

Julie Ellingson, NDSA executive vice president: (701) 223-2522 •


89th annual North Dakota Stockmen’s Association

Convention & Trade Show to be held in Bismarck Sept. 13-15


The North Dakota Stockmen’s Association (NDSA) has been leading the way for the state’s livestock producers for 89 years. Members will be celebrating the organization’s achievements, selecting new leaders and forging plans for the continued journey during the NDSA Annual Convention & Trade Show, “Leading the Way,” Sept. 13-15 at the Ramkota in Bismarck, N.D. The event will feature a mix of educational workshops, inspirational speakers, policy-development sessions, business, networking and fun.

Thursday, Sept. 13

The convention begins on Thursday morning at 9 a.m. with a Golf Scramble and Hole-in-One Contest at the Tom O’Leary Golf Course in Bismarck. Golfers can enter by contacting Scott Ressler, the Golf Scramble chairman, at (701) 391-7310.

The NDSA Board of Directors will also be gathering for its quarterly meeting at the Ramkota at 10 a.m.

Jolene Brown will be back by popular demand to lead an afternoon-long workshop, “The Positives of Passing It On,” during the Cattlemen’s Education Series at 2 p.m. In this interactive workshop, convention-goers will learn time-tested lessons from successful leaders and managers of legacy businesses and receive eight take-home tools for transitioning labor, management, leadership and ownership. At 4 p.m., accountant Rhonda Mahlum, financial planner Jason Naas and attorney Paul Myerchin will join Brown in the Key Advisers Panel Discussion to give participants more expert advice about preserving and growing family businesses.

After the Cattlemen’s Education Series, there will be a Welcome Reception and the opening of the NDSA Trade Show, which features 53 agribusiness vendors this year. Supper and the presentation of the golf awards will close out the evening.

Friday, Sept. 14

The NDSA Trade Show will reopen on Friday morning at 8 a.m., and the opening business session will begin at 8:45 a.m. Besides business and NDSA Nominating Committee reports and the Candidates’ Forum, the session will include a presentation by Dr. David Kohl entitled “Positioning for Success in the Economic Reset.” In it, Kohl, professor emeritus for Virginia Tech’s Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics and president of AgriVisions, LLC., a knowledge-based consulting business, will discuss agriculture’s major economic transition after the great commodity super cycle. Kohl will talk about the emerging trends impacting agriculture and rural America’s bottomline in the short and long run and what top-notch managers need to do to adjust their business models and position themselves to navigate the economic white waters.

Following lunch, the “meat and potatoes” of the convention will begin with the policy committee meetings. Members will hear from industry experts on current topics like zoning authority, no-posting legislation, fake meat and noxious weed control and discuss and debate policy resolutions and directives in the Ag Policy, Animal Health, Brand & Theft, Environmental Issues, Feeding & Marketing and Research & Education Committees.

When the work is done, it will be time to have some fun. A social begins at 6 p.m., with supper following at 7 p.m. and the comedy show with Jerry Carroll at 8 p.m. Carroll harvests a bumper crop of hilarity in his fast-paced, high-energy show stemming from the humor he found growing up on his family’s farm.

Saturday, Sept. 15

At 8 a.m. Saturday, convention-goers will hear from a powerful line-up of speakers.

Kent Bacus will be the first to take the stage. Bacus is the director of international trade and market access for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association based in Washington, D.C. He is the lead advocate on trade issues and works with Congress, the White House and foreign governments to advance the U.S. beef industry’s trade priorities. Bacus will give a snapshot of the current trade environment, its challenges and opportunities in a talk entitled “Trade in the Trump Era: From Tariffs to Trade Agreements.”

Wendel Hall of the Hall Law Office in Washington, D.C., will give the next talk, “H-2A 101 and Other Ag Labor Options.” Hall specializes in assisting small and seasonal businesses solve legal problems related to the H-2A and H-2B visa programs and providing management-side labor and employment law advice. He will explain and then compare and contrast some of the options livestock producers might consider to address their labor needs.

Veteran newsmen Al Gustin and Dwayne Walker will round out the morning with a special historical presentation, “Fifty Years of Covering North Dakota’s Beef Industry and the NDSA.” The long-time pair will share video footage, back stories and perspective from their years chronicling North Dakota agriculture together for half a century.

The Foundation Luncheon will follow at noon. In addition to lunch, it will include eight scholarship presentations, intern recognitions and a special salute to retiring Stockmen’s Foundation officers and directors.

Business resumes at 1:30 p.m. in the closing session. Committee chairmen will offer their reports and members will discuss and vote on policy resolutions and select officers and directors to lead the organization.

Top-recruiter prizes, including a Henry Lever-Action .22 Rifle and $2,025 in Bull Bucks, will be awarded that afternoon. New members and the recruiters of new members are eligible for the Bull Bucks drawing. The winner must be present to win.

A banquet social and a reunion reception for alumni of the Tomorrow’s Top Hands Beef Leadership Summit both begin at 6 p.m.

The annual banquet follows at 7 p.m. and will include the recognition of long-time employees, as well outstanding members selected for the Outstanding Local Brand Inspector, Honorary Membership, Rancher of the Year and Environmental Stewardship Awards.

During the banquet, Garrett Dockter of Denhoff, N.D., will entertain the crowd with his original country music.

Mike Schlappi, a two-time gold medalist, author, entrepreneur and family man, will share his inspiring and improbable story that began with a tragic shooting accident and evolved into a lifetime of lessons and victories, all from his wheelchair.

Full, one-day and student registrations are available ahead of time or on site. Discounted prices are available for those who pre-register by Aug. 31. A pre-registration form can be found at

A block of rooms has been reserved at the Ramkota. To make reservations, call (701) 258-7700 by Aug. 30 and mention the NDSA to get the discounted rate of $109 plus tax.