Houston County Cattlemen hold annual meeting

The Houston County Cattlemen Association Board. From left are President Jerry Welke, secretary/treasurer Judy Tollefsrud, board members William Abrahamzon and Carol Abrahamzon (and representative to Minnesota Beef Council) and vice-president Greg Myhre. Board member Bob Scanlan was absent. ~ Jan Lee Buxengard
The Houston County Cattlemen Association Board. From left are President Jerry Welke, secretary/treasurer Judy Tollefsrud, board members William Abrahamzon and Carol Abrahamzon (and representative to Minnesota Beef Council) and vice-president Greg Myhre. Board member Bob Scanlan was absent.
~ Jan Lee Buxengard

By Jan Lee Buxengard

Caledonia Argus


The annual meeting of the Houston County Cattlemen Association was held Feb. 19 at the Back 40 Supper Club, rural Caledonia. The evening meal was sponsored by Zoetis (formerly a business unit of Pfizer), Caledonia Vet Clinic and the Cattlemen.

Jerry Welke, president of the organization, conducted the meeting, which was attended by 27, including local members, program speakers and a news reporter.

In 2012 Houston County’s organization included 47 local members, 17 state members and five national members.

The new grill purchased in 2011 by the cattlemen has been paid off, and the old grill was kept so that both could be operated for large events.

In 2012 the cattlemen grilled beef at various activities and events in the area, including Merchants Bank Appreciation, 1,600 steaks; Hammell Equipment Appreciation Day; Joe Hammell bull sale; 4-H Foodstand at Houston County Fair; and the annual steak fry at Eitzen.

Already in 2013 the cattlemen grilled 450 steaks for Hammell Equipment Appreciation Day and received $300 for the organization. The cattlemen’s annual steak fry/picnic is scheduled for Sunday, Aug. 11 in Eitzen. “Attendance has been picking up,” Welke stated, adding, “It’s a good event.”

Also, the organization continues sponsorship of Rate of Gain at the County Fair in two categories, regular beef and Holstein beef.


Gates and scale

A benefit of belonging to the local cattlemen is being able to use the organization’s gates. The newer red gates stay at the fairgrounds, while the older green gates are available to be loaned out.

“Where are the green gates?” Welke questioned. “Somebody swiped them on wheels from the fairgrounds, and we’re trying to track them down. We need to replace the gates, but don’t have enough funds.” Anyone with information on the whereabouts of the green gates is urged to contact Welke at 507-894-4845.

The portable scale, which was purchased in 2001 or 2002, showed signs of weathering from sitting outdoors; had a sprung frame; and one of the tires needed to be replaced. The necessary repairs have been made. Jeff Gerard relayed that the bill has not yet been received for the work.


Guest speakers

Jerrold Tessmer, University of Minnesota Extension educator for Fillmore and Houston Counties, encouraged cattlemen to attend a meeting on March 21 at Rushford. The event will include topics of insects and diseases; drought and dry weather, and outlook for the growing year; alfalfa and grass production; and pasture grazing and management.

“I’m pretty excited. It’s like we’ve made a touchdown to get meetings out of Rochester and closer to our area,” Tessmer commented.

Carol Abrahamzon, Houston County Cattlewoman and district representative on the Minnesota Beef Council, used a PowerPoint presentation to share information about work of the Minnesota Beef Council.

Established as part of the 1985 Farm Bill, through its work, the Beef Checkoff Program remains dedicated to supporting the work in beef research, information and promotion. All producers and importers pay the equivalent of $1 per head every time a bovine animal is sold. The state retains 50 cents of the dollar, and the national organization obtains 50 cents. The value of dollar today verses 1985 is about 47 cents.

Contrary to popular belief, research has shown that lean beef is a powerful, nutrient dense protein that not only tastes great, but fits into a heart-healthy diet.

“Currently there are 29 lean cuts we can identify to consumers,” Abrahamzon noted. These cuts have less than 10 grams of total fat, 4.5 grams or less of saturated fat and less than 95 milligrams of cholesterol per 3 ounce serving. A 3 ounce serving of beef has about 150 calories and is naturally packed with 10 essential nutrients, including protein, iron, zinc and B vitamins.

Beef’s future depends on our next generation of beef eaters, the “Millennials.” They are more than 80 million Americans or 29 percent of U.S. adults (25 to 44 years of age), which is more than the baby boomers. They are highly educated; decisions and information is driven by social media; they are just now finding their niche in life and society; their primary reason for eating less beef centers on health; and for some, health concerns equal production concerns.

A couple fun facts about Millenials is that 83 percent of them sleep with their cell phone either in the bed with them or right next to the bed. Also, 39 percent of young adults (18 to 34) live with their parents or moved back in with their parents temporarily because of the economy.

The number of consumers who report eating beef at least monthly grew slightly to 94 percent; 48 percent report consuming beef at least twice per week. “We would like to see it more per week,” Abrahamzon stated, adding, “It doesn’t seem right for our area where we live.”

“People are not eating the top cuts of beef, but more ground beef because of the price,” she continued. “Nowadays kids tend to like and eat a lot of chicken.”

Also, there is the 4:30 p.m. dinner dilemma where the mother is coming home from work after picking up the kids and figuring out a meal that is fast to prepare.

Challenges facing the MBC in years ahead include changes to consumer needs and demands. “Are we producing what they want,” she pointed out.

For more information about MBC, check the website at www.mnbeef.org

District 28 Rep. Greg Davids, currently the longest serving member of the Minnesota House of Representatives, gave a capitol brief on several topics.

“The biggest problem at the Capitol is balance – there is none. For the first time in 21 years, there is no balance in the House. This scares me. With balance we had to negotiate. We will have two years of a mess,” he predicts.

Davids is on the taxes, ways and means, and commerce committees. He is chairman of the tax committee. “It’s a premium committee in the House.”

“The more you tax, the less you get; the less you tax the more you get. Why do we want to penalize anyone who wants to do something? I know taxes are too high and I ain’t raising ‘em!”

Davids is keeping a log of all the businesses that are leaving the state. Neighboring states such as North Dakota, Wisconsin, Indiana and more have their act together, why can’t Minnesota, he questions.

“They eliminated the ag finance committee and that hurt,” Davids announced, and encouraged cattlemen organization members, “Keep doing what you’re doing. You have some real good advocates at the capitol, and I will keep up the fight for rural Minnesota.”

Davids touched on a number of other topics, but when asked about the estate tax issue, Davids stated, “You are sitting at quite a risk. Stay healthy.” To which cattleman Richard Leary added, “Eat beef!”


Election of officers

Current officers were re-elected for another term. They are Jerry Welke, president; Greg Myhre, vice president; and Judy Tollefsrud, secretary/treasurer. Others on the board are Bob Scanlan, Carol Abrahamzon and William Abrahamzon.

“Jerry, you’ve done a lot of work and we recognize you for it,” stated longtime cattlemen member Richard Leary.

The organization welcomes new members and encourages cattlemen to renew their membership locally, as well as in the state and national association. Cost is $25 for county membership, $50 for Minnesota State Cattlemen and $100 to National Cattlemen’s Beef Association.

For the female counterpart, membership to the Minnesota Cattlewomen is $25 and $75 for state and national. Submit payment to Judy Tollefsrud, treasurer, at 17575 County 27, Spring Grove, Minn. 55974.


Organization history

The Minnesota Cattlemen’s Association was organized 44 years ago as a non-profit corporation with the purpose to advertise, improve the quality of and aid in the sale of beef cattle, help maintain a code of ethics between the buyers and/or sellers of our cattle, and to promote a spirit of cooperation, friendship and mutual understanding among producers of beef cattle.