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Engaging in legislative process

Area residents take part in Young Cattlemen’s Legislative Conference

Hayden and Megan Kessler

BISMARCK – Two area couples took part in the 17th Young Cattlemen’s Legislative Conference (YCLC) hosted by the North Dakota Stockmen’s Association (NDSA) Feb. 6-7 in Bismarck.

This year’s participants included area couples: Wyatt Hansen and Sarah Gessner, both of Ryder; and Hayden and Megan Kessler of Beulah.

According to NDSA information:

Wyatt Hansen and his fiancee Sarah Gessner, originally from Newburg, represented District 6. Hansen and Gessner will be the fifth generation of farmers and ranchers to join Hansen Simmental Ranch. Wyatt works alongside his dad Kevin and stepmother Liz and grandparents Kermit and Marcy on their ranch near Ryder. They raise registered Simmental and SimAngus cattle. The family also has its annual Dakota Xpress Bull Sale every third Friday in February with the Staigle family.

Hayden and Megan Kessler, of Beulah, represented NDSA’s District 4. The Kesslers live south of Beulah with their new baby boy, Gustav. Hayden also works off the ranch at Dakota Westmoreland. Megan is a stay-at-home mom, ranch wife and ferrier. The Kessler Ranch consists of Hayden, Megan, Hayden’s parents Keith and Deanna and his brother Stephen. Together, they run a cow-calf operation. Their main group of cattle are red F1 baldies that get bred to home-raised Charolais bulls. They also have a select group of purebred Charolais used to raise bulls and replacement heifers.

The first YCLC was held in February 1985 as a way to get young members of the NDSA more involved in the legislative process, according to Emily Bendish, Bismarck, NDSA communications director.

YCLA delegates are selected by a NDSA director from their district, Bendish said.

They are selected for their leadership potential and involvement in the North Dakota beef industry, according to NDSA information.

“The YCLC gives young producers in our state an opportunity to engage in the North Dakota legislative process,” said Dan Rorvig, NDSA president, a McVille cow-calf producer. “Many of those who have attended this conference in the past have become involved leaders in our industry and state.”

YCLC delegates participated in several agency visits and legislative activities, including meetings with Gov. Doug Burgum and Lt. Gov. Brent Sanford; Senate Majority Leader Rich Wardner; House Agriculture Committee Chairman Dennis Johnson; and Senate Agriculture Committee Vice Chairman Janne Myrdal.

Participants also participated in several committee hearings, House and Senate floor sessions and a discussion about how bills are drafted with North Dakota Legislative Counsel Staff Attorney Dustin Assel.

The group also learned more about the role of the NDSA in the public policy-making process and the makeup of the 89-year-old trade association.

Others participating in the conference were: Karissa Daws of Michigan; Troy and Jessica Brown of Montpelier; and Kip and Kristina Haadem of Tappen.

NDSA is North Dakota’s largest rancher organization and represents 3,000 cattle-ranching families. The organization aims to unite, protect, promote, educate and serve the state’s livestock industry.

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