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From left, Kenton Holle and Amber Boeshans, vice chairman and executive director of the North Dakota Livestock Alliance, respectively, addressed the North Dakota Dairy Convention in Bismarck, N.D., on Jan. 24, 2018. (Jenny Schlecht/Agweek)

ND Livestock Alliance seeks three more board members

BISMARCK, N.D. — A new livestock group in North Dakota is seeking three additional board members.

The North Dakota Livestock Alliance bylaws allow for 10 board members, and the organization currently has seven, Kenton Holle, the vice chairman of the organization said on Jan. 24 at the North Dakota Dairy Convention.

The positions are open to anyone involved in the livestock industry or in livestock producer groups or commodity groups in North Dakota. Holle said the cost to have a board seat is $5,000 per year, and the positions run for three years.

"It's a good opportunity for the state of North Dakota to be involved in efforts to grow the livestock industry," he said.

The alliance currently consists of representatives from the North Dakota Corn Utilization Council, North Dakota Soybean Council, North Dakota Pork Council, North Dakota Farmers Union, Midwest Dairy Association and North Dakota Ethanol Council, as well as advisors from North Dakota State University and the North Dakota Department of Agriculture.

Holle and Amber Boeshans, executive director of the Livestock Alliance, introduced the dairy convention to the idea of the North Dakota Livestock Alliance. They explained that the groups wants to support, enhance and promote animal agriculture in North Dakota by working with farmers, ranchers and communities and strengthening connections with consumers.

Boeshans explained the $5,000 per year secures a seat on the Governing Board of Directors of the Livestock Alliance. The purpose of securing three-year commitments was to get the organization off to a strong start.

The use of the $5,000 will depend on its source. For instance, money from checkoff funds will be kept separate on financial reports and will be restricted for use only in checkoff approved ways.

"We are adamant that we follow the checkoff rules and show the utmost respect for those dollars," Boeshans said.

Holle told the crowd that the group isn't just hoping to help get large animal agriculture operations to move into the state; members want to help producers already in the state understand how they can grow their businesses. The Livestock Alliance also would like to pursue conversations about expanding processing capabilities for products in the state, including dairy products.

Boeshans technically is an employee of Midwest Dairy and contracted to spend 85 percent of her time as executive director of the Livestock Alliance. The rest of the time she spends on farmer relations for Midwest Dairy. She helped plan and organize the North Dakota Dairy Convention, along with dairy farmers in the state.

Boeshans said organizational tasks for the North Dakota Livestock Alliance continues. Their website is under construction, and they continue getting the word out about what they're doing.

Holle and Boeshans said they plan to be at numerous agriculture events in the coming months and wherever they can interact with consumers to provide factual information about the state's livestock industry.

Holle said the Livestock Alliance also is considering developing associate memberships for people are groups who are interested in being involved in the alliance but can't invest the $5,000 per year to secure a board seat. Boeshans said the membership structure is still being developed, but they hope to have it ready this spring.

"Multiple facets of the industry have already reached out to us because they are interested in supporting our mission through membership," she said. "We are absolutely thrilled."