VALLEY — Saturday evening, January 5th, many SLV cattle ranchers and community members gathered at the Francis indoor arena for a good time of education, fellowship, and entertainment.
The meeting started with a stock dog demonstration presented by Jeannie Allen. She showed the crowd techniques and challenges of using border collie dogs to herd livestock. The border collie originated in Scotland and England to herd sheep. Over time the dogs were adaptively bred to meet the needs of western cattleman and have proven to be very useful helpers on the ranch. Jeannie raced a variety of extremely capable dogs around the arena herding cattle and goats. Jeannie’s training expertise and practical views on cattle herding were much appreciated by the crowd.
SLV Cattlemen’s President Chad Cochran led the business meeting recapping the year of accomplishments for the local association. Some highlights include: the awarding of two college scholarships, sponsorship of all Junior Livestock Beef Buckles at the SLV Fair and a Steak BBQ for members. Members and guests were also informed about the SLV’s Baling Twine Recycling program and an update on lower livestock disappearances in 2018. The SLV Cattlemen’s and the Colorado Brand Board will host a follow up livestock theft meeting Jan 31 at 6 p.m. at the Centauri School Band Room. Cleave Simpson from the Rio Grande Water Conservation District informed the crowd about the different water situations in the Valley, the current water outlook and what to expect in the future.
A highlight of the meeting was hearing updates from the state office. Terry Fankhauser, Executive VP of the Colorado Cattlemen’s Association, explained the role of the CCA and how important it is to stay connected and informed throughout the cattle industry. Terry is, as always, excited to build relationships within the newly elected state government as the legislature begins its 2019 session this January. Terry touched on water, wolves, marketing, and the new membership structure for the Association moving forward. The CCA is now offering multi-level services for members such as estate planning, legal guidance, resource management, water rights advice, risk/marketing management, federal/state grazing liaisons, and more.
The 2019 “Cattleman of the Year” award was presented to the Dugan Ranch, Dr. Bob and Carol Lee Dugan. The Dugans have been longtime Valley residents and have always had a passion for the ranching lifestyle, taking care of their land, cattle, and horses. They began building their ranch in the early 80s by buying a few cows and adding land, piece by piece. They owned and operated the Alpine Vet Clinic for 11 years during that time. The Dugans sold the vet clinic years ago and focused on their cattle ranch. Throughout the years, Dr. Dugan has continued to help ranchers when their livestock are in need of a veterinarian. Carol Lee stays busy off the ranch as the director of the Monte Vista Carnegie Library system and serves as a board member for the SLV Rural Electric Cooperative, having served for about 20 years.
Ending the night, the group enjoyed eating fantastic prime rib catered by Woody’s Q Shack and listening to entertainment from cowboy singer and poet Dennis Russel from Cimarron, N.M. The association would like to thank the following supporters of the meeting: Alamosa State Bank, Farm Credit of Southern Colorado, MV Coop, and Genex.
Interested in becoming a member of the SLV Cattleman’s Association or joining the Board of Directors? Contact Erin at 480-2600 or Chad at 480-2096. We’re also available on the internet at www.coloradocattle.org and Face Book at “San Luis Valley Cattlemen’s Association.”