The 2011 Cattle Industry Convention and National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) Trade Show wrapped up Feb. 5, 2011, with the NCBA board of directors and membership meetings.
Bill Donald, third generation Melville, Mont., rancher, was officially elected to succeed Steve Foglesong as NCBA president during the association’s board of directors meeting.
“It is a great honor to be elected to lead NCBA for the next year. There is tremendous opportunity out there for U.S. cattlemen and women, and we plan to make every opportunity a reality,” Donald said. “We’re a diverse outfit. NCBA represents the entire industry — from packers to cow-calf producers and everyone in between — but to be profitable it takes all of us working on the same issues.”
J.D. Alexander, Pilger, Neb., was elected as NCBA president-elect, and Scott George, Cody, Wyo., is the new NCBA vice-president. David Dick, Sedalia, Mo., was elected chairman of the NCBA Federation Division, and Craig Uden, Cozad, Neb., is the new federation vice-chairman. The new NCBA Policy Division chairman is Bob McCann of Victoria, Texas, and Don Pemberton of Hopkinsville, Ky., is the new policy vice-chairman.
Despite a blizzard that hit many regions of the United States and freezing temperatures in Denver, more than 5,600 U.S. cattlemen and women attended the industry’s convention.
“It was as cold as 25 below zero this week. Kansas City, Dallas, Oklahoma City, Tulsa, O’Hare, and many other airports were shut down, trying to keep cattlemen from attending,” said Marvin Kokes, NCBA vice-president of association marketing. “But the education, engagement and entertainment of the 2011 Cattle Industry Convention and NCBA Trade Show proved to overpower what the snow and the cold could dish out.”
One highlight of the convention was Karl Rove’s keynote address during the Second General Session. During the speech, Rove challenged NCBA members to “get involved and stay involved” and to contribute to the NCBA Political Action Committee (PAC) to help elect members of Congress who support the beef cattle industry. After his address, Rove stayed to help with the NCBA PAC live auction, which raised more than $60,000.
In a last-minute addition to the auction, Rove donated a vacation at his personal Florida panhandle property. NCBA PAC Director Anna Lee said Rove’s assistance during the PAC auction and his keynote messages have motivated more NCBA members to contribute to the PAC.
Rove was not the only keynote speaker at the Cattle Industry Convention. Richard Picciotto, the highest ranking New York City firefighter to survive the Sep. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks addressed convention attendees during the Opening General Session. Picciotto told his account of that day, shaking and inspiring audience members to the core.
In addition to electing the new officer team on the final day of the convention, NCBA members also voted on new and expiring policy issues, including resolutions on cattle health and well being; food safety; immigration; cattle marketing and trade; federal lands ranching and more.
During the annual board meeting, NCBA members approved a beef industry statement of principles. The statement was developed as a part of a check-off funded issues management project and include the following principles: preserving the environment; protecting our livestock; providing quality food for consumers; enhancing food safety; investing in our communities; embracing innovation; and creating a sustainable future.
“We’ve had a tremendous convention this year, and I’m excited for what’s to come for this organization,” Donald said. “The challenges – from dealing with weather extremes like we’ve experienced this week to educating elected officials and consumers about our industry — aren’t going away. But like the challenges we’ve faced in our past, we will put our differences aside; we will succeed; we will move our industry forward.”