By Pat Caldwell
ONTARIO – Chris Christensen, Malheur County Cattlemen’s Association president and Willowcreek rancher, was recently named to a top slot in the state’s chief cattle organization.
Christensen, who served the past four years as the local president, was elected to district vice president of the Oregon Cattlemen’s Association.
He was picked during the state association’s annual conference in Bend.
“It is a step up,” said Christensen. “You do a lot of voting on the direction the organization is going.”
The association – formed in 1913 in Baker County – works to promote the economic, political and social interests of the state’s cattle industry.
Christensen, 68, will replace Grant County rancher Willis Kimball. Christensen operates Christensen Natural Beef.
Christensen said his new positon will help the ranchers he represents.
“Sometimes it takes a little more effort to get things run up the flagpole. Now I can get them up front and center. It has more power as far as the organization goes,” said Christensen.
The cattle industry is a big business for Malheur County, generating more than $100 million annually.
“Malheur County is No. 1 in the state in total cattle. Malheur, Harney and Grant counties produce more cattle than any other district,” said Christensen.
Christensen said he will represent area cattlemen on subjects as diverse as wolves, water issues and concerns regarding trichomoniassis, a cattle venereal disease.
Christensen said wolves, for example, are in Malheur County and will most likely become a challenge for cattle producers.
“We are starting to see them in places like Juntura and I am sure there are more elsewhere. So, we are going to see more wolves before we see less,” said Christensen.
Christensen said he is pleased he was chosen for the District 1 spot.
“I think it will be a good thing. If gives you more access to a higher level, gets your ideas up to the next level,” said Christensen.
By Pat Caldwell