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OCA members find time to visit with each other before the President’s Banquet.

Bend, Ore. – Sage Grouse. Wolves. Water rights. These topics, and many others, were addressed at this year’s 2014 Oregon Cattlemen’s Association Convention. Still, despite several tough issues brought to the table, the convention also brought something else, community.

Sharon Hoyt, the association’s past president’s wife and current member of the OCA, said there is one thing she always values at OCA conventions and that is, “the gathering of friends you don’t get to see all the time.” Ranchers aren’t just a group of people who work in the same trade, they are a community. Hoyt added that, “this year there were a lot of new younger faces,” which was encouraging for her to see.

It may be the sense of community that helped members sift through a number of difficult decisions, including a new dues proposal and moving deeper into addressing the sage grouse issue. President elect John O’Keeffe believes that the highlight of this convention was “the ground work done by Ray Sessler,” the OCA’s current president. Sessler was not able to attend due to an unexpected knee injury that needed medical attention. Despite the disappointment of Sessler not being able to attend the conference he’d worked hard to put together, O’Keeffe said he was happy that members were able to handle the controversial issues in such a professional way.

Past president Sharon Livingston reiterated the impact of being able to connect with fellow members of the same cause. She said, “There is nothing better than friendship, and especially friendship and support within an industry.” Livingston said she is, “very comfortable,” with the way this year’s convention went and would like to thank the office staff for all they do.

The OCA convention has proved itself to be an event not only where business can be accomplished, but a time where members with a common cause can unite. As Henry Ford once said, “Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success.” The 2014 convention was a success.

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OSU students Nicole Bertrand and Aly Pemberton smile for the camera.

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President elect John O’Keeffe talks with Jack Noble from the Oregon Department of Agriculture.

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Members attentively listen during one of several important meetings.