New Rockford rancher receives award from North Dakota Stockmen’s Association

The group recently held its convention in Bismarck.

JSSP Ag News
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The North Dakota Stockmen’s Association recognized longtime association rancher and NDSU President Jeff Schafer of New Rockford, North Dakota, with an Honorary Membership Award during the group's recent convention in Bismarck.

Schafer has been an NDSA member for 33 years. He earned a bachelor’s degree in animal science from North Dakoa State University and later returned to his family’s operation in Eddy County.

The labor intensive nature of the work, the length of time it takes for an evergreen tree in North Dakota to grow to a saleable height, and the competition from “big box” stores are deterrents to raising Christmas trees, said Tom Claeys, North Dakota state forester.

He represents the fifth generation of Rhein Valley Farm. Three of those generations are currently operating the diversified farm and ranch.

“My initial passion comes from being born and raised here,” said Schafer, “but, when the other generations share the same goals and vision, that’s rewarding and sustainability at its best.”

Today, Rhein Valley Farm is comprised of a 400-head Angus cow-calf operation and a 999-head backgrounding and finishing feedlot for owned and purchased cattle. The Schafers raise corn, soybeans, pinto beans and seed oats. They also use cover crops and residue grazing for their cattle enterprises. In addition, he and his wife, Leann, are full-service Purina dealers with bulk and bag products and a feed mill.


“When I can do everyday tasks with multiple generations by my side, it’s not work, it’s a reward,” said Schafer. He is especially proud of the generations that have paved the way and those that will succeed him. With the mentorship of his parents, Schafer’s goal has been to lead by example, just as they have.

Before accepting the NDSA’s top post, Schafer served on the NDSA Board of Directors as a District 1 director, the NDSA Budget Committee, the NDSA Resolutions Committee, the NDSA Brand Board, where he was the chairman, and the NDSA Research & Education Committee, where he was vice chairman. Schafer has also participated in numerous other activities.

He and his wife Leann have three adult children.

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