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Published March 18, 2014, 04:05 PM

Grain dealers tap Letcher to replace retiring Strege

Stu Letcher has been named the new executive vice president of the North Dakota Grain Dealers Association, to replace Steve Strege, who is retiring from that position at the end of May after 35 years in the post.

By: Mikkel Pates, Agweek

FARGO, N.D. — Stu Letcher has been named the new executive vice president of the North Dakota Grain Dealers Association, to replace Steve Strege, who is retiring from that position at the end of May after 35 years in the post.

Letcher, 46, of Hatton, N.D., is a native of Herman, Minn., and a graduate of North Dakota State University in agricultural economics. He worked for Anheuser-Busch from 1991 to 1998 before coming to the association in 1998 as a safety inspector. He was named safety director in 2004. He’ll assume the new post June 1.

Strege, 64, is one of the region’s most senior agricultural lobbyists. He is a native of Wyndmere, N.D. He graduated from NDSU and worked for a manufacturing company for two years before being hired in 1979 as a field man for the association, replacing Lloyd Hanson who had served in the role from 1959 to 1979. He was the seventh executive vice president. He served with 19 state presidents.

Paul Lautenschlager, general manager of the Beach (N.D.) Co-operative Grain Co., and former president of the association, said Strege had made a big impact on the organization and industry and will be “sorely missed.”

“He helped the elevators through several crises — the Conservation Reserve Program land being taken out of production in the 1980s, to the rail line closures with the BNSF Railway and Soo Line, shutting down,” Lautenschlager says. “He’s been a good advocate for elevators when there are disparities in rail rates.”

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