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Schiefelbein notes MSCA accomplishments, challenges

By Carol Stender

Date Modified: 01/02/2013 3:30 PM

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ALEXANDRIA, Minn. —Minnesota State Cattlemen's Association president Don Schiefelbein marked the end of his two-year term during the group's convention in Alexandria.

He smiled during a break as he recalled his time in office.

Schiefelbein was the first cow-calf producer in several years to be elected MSCA president. He and his brothers run 800 registered Angus cows, sell 350 bulls and feed out 5,000 animals. They also farm 2,000 acres.

One of Schiefelbein's goals was to renew the cooperation among the different production groups within the association .

"That was one big goal of mine," Schiefelbein said. "As our industry contracts and gets smaller, it's so important that we be able to work together for the industry."

The industry will face challenges from a state Legislature. Nearly 70 percent of committee chairs hail from the Metro area.

"When you consider that, I think it become crucial that we make sure we get the message out," he said.

The state regaining its tuberculosis-free status is a big plus for cattle producers.

"That was no small feat considering how quickly we were able to accomplish that," he said. "We worked with the Board of Animal Health and with producers in the impacted region. It wasn't easy for those producers, but, through their efforts, they were able to help get the state back to its TB-free status."

De-listing of wolves has been a positive for producers in northern Minnesota, he said. Schiefelbein gave kudos to the Department of Natural Resources because it "didn't cave" to those opposed to the hunting and trapping of wolves.

"You don't realize the impact wolves have until you see animals in your herd dying everyday," he said. "...They put up a front line against opposition that, I think, was admirable. We have to continue to rely on them for the facts."

The industry needs to continue building its relationship with the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and other regulatory agencies.

"We need to still work on the relationship with the agency and show them how their actions impact the ag community," he said. "It really does impact us. We need to get involved in those relationships."

It's exciting to see progress toward that goal, but a big ship doesn't turn around quickly, he said. Relationships the association has built with other groups like Pheasants Forever is important, he said.

Schiefelbein won't be leaving the association. He will serve two years as MSCA's past president and plans to remain active in the organization.

Leading MSCA's new officer team is Dar Geis from Pierz as president; Tim Nolte of Sebeka as president-elect; and Krist Wollum of Porter as vice president.

At the association's banquet, John Hart and Gary Nohrenberg of the USDA-Wildlife Services received the Beef Industry Service Award. Colleen Zenk of the Minnesota Beef Council was named Cattlewoman of the Year and Ted Reichmann of Villard received the Cattleman of the Year honor.

During the association's quarterly meeting at the convention, MSCA executive director Joe Martin reported that after an intense lobbying effort, the University of Minnesota Beef Team will be filling two positions including a feeder specialist and a cow-calf specialist.