Cattlemen’s Midyear Event Provides Inspiration & Progress Through Key Votes

Pendleton, Oregon – Three days filled to the brim with education and creating inciteful conversation to the biggest topics of the Oregon Cattle Industry, the Oregon Cattlemen’s Association’s Executive Director, Jerome Rosa, was pleased with the turnout of over 150 attendees.

“Having ranchers, agency members, and agricultural enthusiasts from across the pacific northwest attend our events like this provides an amazing opportunity for growth for both our association and its leadership as we listen to the needs and desires of our members,” said Rosa.

The conference, held at the Wildhorse Resort & Casino in Pendleton, Oregon, ran from Wednesday, May 31st to Friday, June 2nd, and had up to three rooms of seminars going at one time and featured speakers from agencies like the Oregon Department of Agriculture and Oregon Fish & Wildlife, as well as extension service agents such as Sergio Arispe and Leticia Henderson of Baker/Union Extension.

Kevin Blakely, Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife

Starting the annual Midyear convention off was a discussion on the current issues of Land Owner Preference tags for mule deer in central Oregon, followed by a report of the elk damage task force in western Oregon. Kevin Blakely, with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, was present to answer questions and present ODFW reports on the subjects.

 

Many Oregon ranchers have faced extreme devastation over the past six months as harsh winter conditions have pushed large game animals down into their cattle and sheep pastures, eating hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of hay and forage.  These animals became so hungry that they became violent with the livestock, competing for the much-needed energy during the snowstorms of winter 2016. Fences, barns, storage facilities, equipment and more were destroyed and damaged due to these large game animal’s persistent behaviors.

Bill Wilbur discusses some of the issues caused by mule deer and elk in Oregon.

“Given the present circumstances, and lack of action by ODFW, we are going to be forced to take dramatic action,” said a somber Bill Wilbur who has been a part of the elk damage task force with the OCA since its inception.

“After lengthy meetings with the Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife staff in La Grande & John Day, we gained little to no growth in resolving the increasing elk population & the damage inflicted on agricultural lands,” said Bill Wilbur.

“We contend that if someone was coming in every night under the disguise of darkness and was stealing two tons of hay a night, they’d be arrested,” Rosa says. “But because the state is neglecting their responsibility to wildlife, our private property owners are getting their personal property damaged.”

Alexis Taylor, the Director for the Oregon Department of Agriculture, was very involved with cattle throughout the week as she spoke as the Wednesday night keynote speaker. Discussing her past experiences with international trade, her outlook on the future export opportunities of beef is high. The Oregon Cattlemen’s Association commends her on her efforts to visit every Oregon county in person through the course of this year to have a better understanding of the diverse agriculture that Oregon provides.

Director of Oregon Agriculture, Alexis Taylor, addresses the cattlemen at dinner on Wednesday night of our Midyear.

Unknown to most of the Midyear attendees, Ms. Taylor spent the rest of the week touring former OCA President Curtis Martin’s ranch in North Powder discussing a variety of topics that focused on ground water, off stream stock watering systems, riparian enhancement with seed, and many other topics pertaining to ranchers in the region.

Education is key as the Beef Cattle Improvement Committee Chair, Jon Elliott, set up special educational presentations by Sergio Arispe and Leticia Henderson of Baker/Union Extension to discuss cow size & efficiency, as well as how to improve your ranch management using Geographic Information System Skills.

Thursday night dinner was highlighted by the charismatic and inspiring Colin Woodall, the Senior Vice-President of Government Affairs with the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association. In a refreshing style, Woodall shared with the 150 diners in attendance about what is really happening in Washington D.C. and what that means for the cattle industry today.

Colin Woodall, Senior Vice-President of Government Affairs for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association.

In a world of “fake news” and doubt, the opportunity to hear straight from the source about the projects, thoughts and initiatives our national association are taking as we move forward was refreshing and exciting for the members present. Discussion circulated around the Paris Accords and how they were politically affiliated, not scientific. Woodall commended our current administration for their no-nonsense approach, efficient business practices, and determination to better America as a whole.

Woodall discussed the upcoming Farm Bill and how, for the first time, NCBA will be asking for something: funding to establish a foot & mouth vaccine bank. The original vaccine has expired and an intentional outbreak could be an implement of terror and a threat to homeland security. We don’t have enough current vaccine to stop an outbreak of this potential magnitude. NCBA is asking for $150 million a year for the next five years to fix this.

Colin Woodall addresses the Cattlemen as the keynote speaker Thursday, June 1st, of Midyear.

Looking toward the future, Woodall said that we can expect President Trump to begin work on the North American Free Trade Agreement. During his political campaign, President Trump used NAFTA as a cornerstone push to gain Midwest states and Woodall explained that he expects this will begin to take a portion of President Trump’s focus moving forward.

The Masters of Beef Advocacy program is an agricultural advocate, or “agvocate,” training program funded by the Beef Check-Off program hinges on the importance for consumers to hear directly from those growing and delivering their food to them. The Oregon CattleWomen, partnered with the Oregon Beef Council, ran a Masters of Beef Advocacy (MBA) program on Friday of Midyear that hosted a variety of 25 students. The five-hour training saw much success and a new level of graduates, set to go forth and conquer – spreading accurate education about the beef industry and how beef is produced.

The Oregon CattleWomen and Oregon Beef Council worked together to put together an amazing Masters of Beef Advocacy Training opportunity for Midyear attendees.

The annual Midyear convention culminated in the Oregon Cattlemen’s Association’s general business meeting. Despite the many district, county and committee updates that were given, the biggest take homes from the meeting were the voting items.

The Oregon Cattlemen’s general membership present voted to set forth with a 60-Day Intent to Sue to the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife in regards to the wolf delisting program. The motion that passed is as follows:

“I move that the Oregon Cattlemen’s Association proceed as lead plaintiff, with the assistance of the Pacific Legal Foundation, in filing a 60-Day notice of intent to sue to compel the United States Fish and Wildlife Services to make a delisting decision on gray wolves in the lower 48 of the United States.”

The Oregon Cattlemen’s general membership present also voted to combine the 2018 Annual Convention in December with the California Cattlemen’s Association and Nevada Cattlemen’s Association in Reno, Nevada. The dates for the 2017 Annual Convention at The RiverHouse in Bend, Oregon, is November 30 through December 2nd.

Congratulations to Tanner Patzke and Casey Awbrey of title sponsors Wraith, Scarlett & Randolph Insurance Services for winning the Best Ball style golf tournament on Wednesday afternoon; their prizes were complimentary of the Wildhorse Resort and Casino.

 

A big thank you to our sponsors for making this event possible.
Title Sponsor: Wraith, Scarlett & Randolph Insurance Services, Inc.
Gold Sponsor: Old West Federal Credit Union
Friday Lunch Sponsor: Geneseek
Silver Sponsor: Callicrate Banders
Breakfast Sponsor: Northwest Farm Credit Services
Coffee Break: Northwest Farm Supply, D&B Supply, AllFlex USA
Trade Show Attendees: Northwest Farm Credit Services, Northwest Farm Supply, D&B Supply, AllFlex USA, WSR Insurance, Geneseek, Old West Federal Credit Union, Callicrate Branders, Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health, Conquest Insurance, Zoetis Animal Health, Multimin USA, BCF Technology, Giant Rubber Water Tanks, Bayer, Purina Animal Nutrition, Ag. Insurance, ISU – The Stratton Agency

To see more event photos, check out the OCA Facebook page at www.facebook.com/orcattle/.