The Houston County Cattlemen Association Board. From left are President Jerry Welke, secretary/treasurer Judy Tollefsrud, board members William Abrahamzon and Carol Abrahamzon (and representative to Minnesota Beef Council); and vice-president Greg Myhre. Board member Bob Scanlan was absent.SGH/Buxengard
The Houston County Cattlemen Association Board. From left are President Jerry Welke, secretary/treasurer Judy Tollefsrud, board members William Abrahamzon and Carol Abrahamzon (and representative to Minnesota Beef Council); and vice-president Greg Myhre. Board member Bob Scanlan was absent.

The annual meeting of the Houston County Cattlemen Association was held Feb. 19 at the Back 40 Supper Club, rural Caledonia.

Jerry Welke, president of the organization, conducted the meeting, which was attended by 27 including local members, program speakers and a news reporter.

In 2012 Houston County's organization included 47 local members, 17 state members and five national members.

Millennials future consumers?

Carol Abrahamzon, Houston County Cattlewoman and district representative on the Minnesota Beef Council (MBC), used a PowerPoint presentation to share information about work of the Minnesota Beef Council.

Contrary to popular belief, research has shown that lean beef is a powerful, nutrient dense protein that not only tastes great, but fits into a heart-healthy diet.

"Currently there are 29 lean cuts we can identify to consumers," Abrahamzon noted. These cuts have less than 10 grams of total fat, 4.5 grams or less of saturated fat, and less than 95 milligrams of cholesterol per 3 ounce serving.

A 3-ounce serving of beef has about 150 calories and is naturally packed with 10 essential nutrients including protein, iron, zinc and B vitamins.

Beef's future depends on our next generation of beef eaters, the "millennials". They are more than 80 million Americans or 29 percent of U.S. adults (25-44 years of age), which is more than the baby boomers.

They are highly educated; their decisions and information are driven by social media; they are just now finding their niche in life and society; their primary reason for eating less beef centers on health; and for some, health concerns equal production concerns.

A couple fun facts about millenials is that 83 percent of them sleep with their cell phone either in the bed with them or right next to the bed.

Also, 39 percent of young adults (18-34) live with their parents or moved back in with their parents temporarily because of the economy.

The number of consumers who report eating beef at least monthly grew slightly to 94 percent; 48 percent report consuming beef at least twice per week.

"We would like to see it more per week," Abrahamzon stated, adding, "It doesn't seem right for our area where we live.

"People are not eating the top cuts of beef, but more ground beef because of the price," she continued. "Now days kids tend to like and eat a lot of chicken."

Also there is the 4:30 p.m. dinner dilemma where the mother is coming home from work after picking up the kids and figuring out a meal that is fast to prepare.

Challenges facing the MBC in years ahead include changes to consumer needs and demands. "Are we producing what they want?" she pointed out.

For more information about MBC, check the website at

Davids gives update from House

District 28 Rep. Greg Davids, currently the longest serving member of the Minnesota House of Representatives, gave a Capitol Brief on several topics.

"The biggest problem at the Capitol is balance - there is none. For the first time in 21 years, there is no balance in the House. This scares me. With balance, we had to negotiate. We will have two years of a mess," he predicts.

Davids is on the taxes, ways and means, and commerce committees. He is chairman of the tax committee.

"The more you tax, the less you get; the less you tax the more you get. Why do we want to penalize anyone who wants to do something? I know taxes are too high and I ain't raising 'em!"

Davids is keeping a log of all the businesses that are leaving the state. "Neighboring states such as North Dakota, Wisconsin, Indiana and more have their act together, why can't Minnesota?" he questioned.

"They eliminated the ag finance committee and that hurt," Davids announced, and he encouraged cattlemen organization members, "Keep doing what you're doing. You have some real good advocates at the Capitol, and I will keep up the fight for rural Minnesota."

Regarding frac sand, Davids commented, "I'm glad local people are working on this for their communities. Township officers know more about their township than I do."

Davids also touched on the topics of farmer/lender legislation; the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency has tougher rules than neighboring states; Minnesota has a record number of de-patriotism - people on welfare; tax reciprocity is in the law, but not yet implemented.

"We have to bring some balance to ethanol concerns. Wolf hunt - they are taking farmer's cattle," he added.

When asked about the estate tax issue, Davids stated, "You are sitting at quite a risk. Stay healthy!"

To which cattleman Richard Leary added, "Eat beef!"

Grilling season busy

The new grill purchased in 2011 by the cattlemen has been paid off, and the old grill was kept, so that both could be operated for large events.

In 2012, the cattlemen grilled beef at various activities and events in the area, including Merchants Bank Appreciation 1,600 steaks; Hammell Equipment Appreciation Day; Joe Hammell bull sale; 4-H Food stand at Houston County Fair; and the annual steak fry at Eitzen.

This time it wasn't the cattlemen's turn to grill for Farm Safety Day. Grilling meat for this event is carried out on a rotation basis among the Houston County Cattlemen, Fillmore County Cattlemen and Fillmore County Pork Producers.

Already in 2013, the cattlemen grilled 450 steaks for Hammell Equipment's Appreciation Day and received $300 for the organization.

The cattlemen's annual steak fry/picnic is scheduled for Sunday, Aug. 11, at Eitzen.

"Attendance has been picking up," Welke stated, adding, "It's a good event."

Also the organization continues sponsorship of Rate of Gain at the County Fair in two categories, regular beef and Holstein beef.

Gates missing, scale fixed

A benefit of belonging to the local cattlemen association is being able to use the organization's gates. The newer red gates are at the fairgrounds while the older green gates are available to be loaned out.

"Where are the green gates?" Welke questioned. "Somebody swiped them on wheels from the fairgrounds, and we're trying to track them down. We need to replace the gates, but don't have enough funds."

Anyone with information on the whereabouts of the green gates is urged to contact Welke at (507) 894-4845.

The portable scale, which was purchased in 2001 or 2002, showed signs of weathering from sitting outdoors, had a sprung frame and one of the tires needed to be replaced.

The necessary repairs have been made. Jeff Gerard relayed that the bill has not yet been received for the work.

Election of officers held

Current officers were reelected for another term. They are President Jerry Welke, Vice President Greg Myhre and Secretary/Treasurer Judy Tollefsrud. Others on the board are Bob Scanlan, Carol Abrahamzon and William Abrahamzon.

"Jerry, you've done a lot of work and we recognize you for it," stated longtime cattlemen member Richard Leary.

The organization welcomes new members and encourages cattlemen to renew their membership locally, as well as in the state and national association.

Cost is $25 for county membership, $50 for Minnesota State Cattlemen and $100 to National Cattlemen's Beef Association.

For the female counterpart, membership to the Minnesota Cattlewomen is $25 and $75 for state and national. Submit payment to Judy Tollefsrud, treasurer, at 17575 County 27, Spring Grove, MN 55974.

Organization history

The Minnesota Cattlemen's Association was organized 44 years ago as a non-profit corporation with the purpose to advertise, improve the quality of and aid in the sale of beef cattle, help maintain a code of ethics between the buyers and/or sellers of cattle and to promote a spirit of cooperation, friendship and mutual understanding among producers of beef cattle.