North Dakota Stockmen’s Association (NDSA) members tapped Gackle, N.D., rancher Warren Zenker for a second term as the organization’s president at the 88th Annual Convention & Trade Show, “Boots on the Ground,” in Fargo, N.D., in September.
The 24-year NDSA member and his wife Linda manage a 400-head cow-calf herd, a 2,000-head permitted feedlot and farm alongside their son Brooks and their nephews. Zenkers’ daughter Jordan Becker and her husband David live in nearby Napoleon, N.D.
In his remarks during the opening session, Zenker reminisced about the challenging year that North Dakota cattle producers faced – ranging from a cold, snowy winter debuting with a couple feet of snow to one of the worst droughts in state history. “[In times like these,] it would be easy for us to throw in the towel and walk away; however, that is not the nature of those of us born and raised in this industry. We’ve learned that we must persevere through good and bad times alike,” he said.
That’s the spirit the NDSA used to help identify resources for producers in the drought and continues to use as it investigates other options to advance its no-posting, private property rights policy after important legislation was defeated earlier this year, Zenker said.
It was also the same spirit he and his family used to work through personal struggles over the past year. “Last year, as I assumed the position as president of your association, I made you aware that my wife had just been diagnosed with breast cancer,” Zenker explained. “It was a journey that I wouldn’t wish on anyone. It would have been easy to let the entire situation overwhelm us. However, just as in our professional lives, that’s not the avenue we chose to go down and, I am so happy to let you know that, in April, Linda was able to ring the bell, signaling the end of her treatment and that she is well on the way to a full recovery.”
Zenker continued, “It’s a positive attitude, the drive to succeed and faith in the good Lord above that will carry us through.”
Before beginning his presidency, Zenker completed two terms as a District 3 director and the vice president and chaired the NDSA Brand Board.
Dan Rorvig, a 29-year NDSA member from McVille, N.D., was also re-elected for a second term as vice president. Rorvig and his wife Teresa have two children, Amy and Scott, and manage a cow-calf herd, background yearlings and develop bred heifers. Before joining the NDSA Executive Committee, Rorvig served two terms as a District 1 director and chaired the Ag Policy Committee.
In District 1, Erika Kenner of Leeds, N.D., was elected to serve. The nine-year NDSA member is a second-generation rancher and third-generation farmer who has a purebred Simmental, SimAngus and Red Angus seedstock and backgrounding operation and diversified farm. She has chaired the NDSA’s Nominating Committee and All Breeds Cattle Tour and attended the national Young Cattlemen’s Conference. Kenner is engaged to Tyler Lannoye.
Brian Amundson, a 13-year NDSA member of Jamestown, N.D., was re-elected to a second term as a District 2 director. Amundson’s ranch is a fourth-generation cow-calf, feedlot and heifer development operation utilizing Angus and Hereford genetics. He also raises soybeans, corn and forage crops. Amundson serves as the NDSA board liaison to the Feeder Council and is vice chairman of the Feeding & Marketing Committee. Additionally, he represents the NDSA on the North Dakota Ag Coalition and its executive committee. Amundson has two daughters, Sully and Rayna.
Craig Kemmet of Tappen, N.D., joins the NDSA board as a new District 3 director. Kemmet and his wife Leslie have nine children, Kandace, Alan, Kristine, Mary, Alex, Laurel, Kay, Hudson and Hayden. He is a 28-year NDSA member who manages a cow-calf operation comprised of Simmental, Red Angus and SimAngus genetics and farms an irrigated crop rotation.
In District 4, Jamie Hauge of Carson, N.D., was re-elected. Hauge’s Blue Hill Ranch is a 35-year NDSA member, owned and operated by him and his brother Clair. The operation consists of a commercial cow-calf operation, seedstock program and backgrounding feedlot, as well as a corn, wheat, pea, sunflower and alfalfa farming enterprise. In addition to the board, Hauge serves on the NDSA Brand Board and Feeder Council. Hauge and his wife Deb have three children, Jacy, Grant and Hayden.
Joel Opp of Hebron, N.D., was also appointed to fill an open District 4 position at the convention. A 10-year NDSA member, Opp, his wife Jamie and their children, Natalie, Jamison and Wyatt, are partners with his parents, David and Brenda, on their registered Angus ranch south of Hebron. The ranch was started by Joel’s grandfather in the 1950s.
Joe Schettler of Killdeer, N.D., was elected as a new District 5 director. Schettler is an 18-year NDSA member who has served on the NDSA’s Nominating Committee and represented his district at the Young Cattlemen’s Legislative Conference. He and his wife Darci and their children, Taylen and Ali, represent the fourth and fifth generations on the family’s Red-Angus-influenced cow-calf operation.
In District 6, Kevin Hansen of Ryder, N.D., was newly elected. Hansen is a 21-year NDSA member who has served on the NDSA’s Nominating Committee and hosted the All Breeds Cattle Tour. Hansen, his wife Liz and his children, Wyatt and Hadlie, own Hansen Simmental Ranch, a seedstock operation and wheat, barley, oat, corn, soybean, canola and alfalfa farm.
The new directors replace Jeff Schafer of New Rockford, N.D.; Doug Bichler of Linton, N.D.; Robert Tweeten of Hensler, N.D.; Paige Burian of Manning, N.D.; and Mark Giedd of Washburn, N.D., who have completed their service to the NDSA.
NDSA officers can serve up to two one-year terms. Directors can serve up to two four-year terms.
NDSA members interested in running for a leadership position should notify their district’s respective Nominating Committee members. The Nominating Committees traditionally name their candidates in June.