Oregon Cattle Con 2019
You may have noticed some re-branding to the Oregon Cattlemen’s “Annual Convention” this past year. Adapting NCBA’s Cattle Con branding to “Oregon Cattle Con”, was a fresh way to market one of the largest cattle industry gatherings in the PNW to the old hats, the newbies, and everyone in between.
The marketing strategy was a big hit on social media! As #oregoncattlecon built traction on Instagram and Facebook, Social Stories were flooded with snips and snaps of OCA presentations, speakers, and entertainment in Bend and the OCA Facebook page leaped past 10,000 followers to 10,315 in the month leading up to convention – a digital success!
This was not the only change – this past year the OCA staff took a close look at how to make this event more informative to all, a fun happening, and as economical as possible for the association, members, natural resource partners, and dedicated sponsors.
We kicked off the event on Thursday, November 21 at the Riverhouse in Bend with a Tradeshow Mix & Mingle reception. We had several new tradeshow vendors this year, including a new title sponsor, Wilbur-Ellis. This new introductory evening with the vendors was a great way to kick-off the convention!
On Friday evening we had our highest attendance with over 450 people walking through the doors. OCA’s Associate Council brought back “Casino Night” after the President’s dinner – a risk-free way to earn some great prizes. Meanwhile, attendees were treated to a boot-scootin’ performance by Countrified as they brought their full-band and high-spirited performance to the convention.
2019 also highlighted the first year of an individual membership drive contest, sponsored by Wilco and Priefert. The prize – a brand new Priefert Squeeze Chute and transport trailer. Individuals entered by becoming a new member or by signing up a new member. The winner this year was Wade Starbuck from Long Creek and accepted by Tom Sharp on his behalf.
A new tradition we hope to continue was handing over the reins to the Oregon CattleWomen on Saturday night of the convention. The CattleWomen hosted one of the dinners off-site. Not only did this help with event expenses, but it gave attendees a break from the monotony of three days inside the convention building.
This year, we are mixing things up even more and providing a brand-new convention experience for you in Pendleton! Save the date and book your reservations early, as we are expecting a record-breaking event! Not only will we be able to accommodate our large industry tradeshow, but we can not accept trailer/outdoor vendors, host outdoor livestock demonstrations and concerts and did I mention – it’s going to be in Pendleton, so you can put your money on a welcoming, all-inclusive experience!
Oregon Cattle Con 2020
Pendleton Convention Center
Here are a few more highlights you may have missed:
We had several presenters join us from out of state, such as NCBA President Jennifer Houston. Jennifer flew in from Hawaii’s Cattlemen meeting and gave two presentations about her role in the industry on a national level. She also spoke about several concerns from attendees, such as truth in labeling and market fluctuations.
Karen Budd-Fallen, the Deputy Solicitor for Parks and Wildlife in the Trump administration spoke during Saturday’s lunch. She talked with convention attendees about Endangered Species Act reform.
Tanner Beymer, the Associate Director for the Public Lands Council joined from Washington, D.C. to provide Oregonians with an update on the daily conversations he has in the Capital relating to PLC issues.
Corbitt Wall, a market analyst and pod-caster with Feeder Flash joined us Saturday morning of the convention with a provocative presentation about the cattle markets.
I also want to recognize several of the educational presentations presented by Purina, Wilbur-Ellis, Multimin, and IDEXX. These presentations were specifically honed on herd improvement and health management, such as the role of trace minerals in the herd, BVD PI’s in the herd, Open G Range: Invasive grass control for rangeland.
This year, OCA offered two seminars on the opening day of the event. The first was a Beef Quality Assurance Certification Course hosted by OSU Extension agent Shelby Filley. You can learn more about the importance of BQA certification at https://www.bqa.org/. OCA plans to partner with Idaho and Washington to host another seminar in 2020.
The second, was an Off-Season grazing Panel discussion, featuring points of view from a Producer, BLM Representative, and Field Scientist and open to the floor for suggestions on approach, regulations and adaption of off-season grazing. Chad Boyd, Rangeland Scientist with USDA-ARS from the OSU Burns Research station, approached OCA several months ago about hosting this type of discussion at Cattle Con and we are glad attendees provided beneficial feedback on this topic.
The Membership meeting came forth with a completely revamped recommendation for the dues structure and it was passed during OCA’s Business Meeting. Go to http://www.orcattle.com for new membership fees.
The Beef Cattle Improvement and Animal Health and Brand meeting was filled with conversation about the recent changes to the eID program and how OCA can be at the forefront of this topic moving forward. Resolutions changed at this meeting include increasing OCA’s theft reward policy from $1000 to $5000 and rewriting the requirements to receive the reward for information leading to prosecution. See the 2020 Policy Book for all committee resolution updates.
The Public Lands Council is always one of our most well-attended meetings during convention. It’s a great opportunity for ranchers to learn updates from National PLC and to focus discussion on issues or questions from their local area. The PLC Meeting includes a panel discussion with officials from ODFW, National Forest Service, NRCS and BLM.
The Water Resources meeting was well attended. Sarah Liljefelt is the new OCA Water Resources chair and an extremely valuable resource for this association. As an attorney, Sarah works on water rights issues every day and her work was instrumental this past year towards receiving a judicial ruling to suspend the Obama-era Clean Water Rule in Oregon.
The Young Cattlemen’s meeting was also well-attended, and discussions centered around how to build membership and what this committee should look like in 2020. Tyler Harris from Drewsey was appointed the new YCC Chair. Tyler was sponsored by OCA in Spring to attend the National Cattlemen’s Young Cattlemen Conference. The conference included stops in Denver to tour the JBS Processing Plant, Hillshire farm and McDonald’s Global Headquarters in Chicago and legislative meetings with leaders in Washington, D.C.
Tyler has three goals for OCA’s Young Cattlemen’s Committee in 2020: 1) Create a mission statement, 2) Host a YCC Tour, 3) Increase awareness and involvement for the next generation.
Riley Freeman Award – Sharon Livingston
The Riley Freeman award is named after a past Chairman of the Oregon Cattlemen’s Association Wildlife Committee. Freeman saw the need for greater coordination and cooperation between private landowners and state and federal natural resources agencies. While he defended an individual’s property rights, Freeman also advocated for partnerships between wildlife managers, landowners, and wildlife consumers. In his memory, ODFW and OCA established an annual award to recognize an OCA member that best exemplifies Riley Freeman’s passion for the cattle industry, good land stewardship and avocation for partnerships.
Outgoing District Vice President – Cheryl Martin
Award of Excellence – Oregon CattleWomenAward of Excellence – Pat and Larry Larson
Award of Exceptional Leadership Jerome Rosa
Outgoing Presidential Award – Nathan Jackson
Ag-Insurance sponsored County Membership award to Harney County for 31 new memberships for the year 2019
Each year, the convention wraps up with OCA’s Business meeting. An active OCA member does not need to pay to attend this meeting as they have voting rights with their membership. This year, the meetings had nearly 120 members in attendance.
Items up for a vote at the meeting included resolutions, potential USCA Affiliation (tabled for discussion at the 2020 Mid-Year Conference), and 2020-2021 Elected officers.
The Oregon Cattlemen’s New Executive Officers:
President Tom Sharp
President-Elect Todd Nash
Overall, the camaraderie and positivity of the 2019 cattle con was undeniable. Attendees had an enthusiasm for presentations and were vocal on all fronts about their likes and dislike in relation to this industry.
Committee meetings were productive and each well-attended – putting forth new resolutions and ideas for improvement. We greeted old friends and shook hands with newcomers. All in all, it was a great way to recharge the batteries and leap forward to a new year and a new decade of ranching.