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Shoot That Bull: Cattlemen’s Chief Publishes Trumpist Rant About Transgender Folks, Fake Meat, Coastal Kooks….

A friend forwards me what appears to be an opinion column from Steve Ollerich in a recent South Dakota Cattlemen’s magazine. The s-bomb in his rant is perhaps the least offensive portion of the text:

Steve Ollerich, "Shootin' the Bull" column, South Dakota Cattlemen's Association magazine, date not available.
Steve Ollerich, “Shootin’ the Bull” column, South Dakota Cattlemen’s Association magazine, date not available.

I hope Ollerich produces better beef on the hoof than beef from his pen.

Ollerich opens by complaining about accurate assessments of the character and actions of the occupant of the White House:

I never thought I would hear a presidential candidate condemn and call our sitting president a liar, a racist and unpatriotic. The press, tv, radio and printed press, condemn our president at every crossroad he comes to. Never in history have we seen such political divide. I don’t care what party you are loyal to, respect should be shown to whatever party is in charge [Ollerich].

“Never in history” is the kind of vague Trumpist filler language used to cover up the fact that the writer is winging it and not doing any actual research. History is replete with examples of vehement campaign rhetoric. And somehow I suspect Steve Ollerich penned no such call for civility when Joe Wilson called President Obama a liar from the House floor in 2009, though I leave the door open to Ollerich’s correction.

And there is no disrespect in speaking the truth. Donald Trump is a liar. Donald Trump is a racist. Donald Trump is unpatriotic. To say otherwise and to accept such behavior in the highest office in the land would be disrespectful to truth and to our country, which we must rescue from such a foul example at the top.

But Ollerich isn’t writing coherent political critique; he’s just ranting à la Archie Bunker in front of the TV or Trump tweeting from bed. He jumps from defending Trump from fact to griping about taking down statues (that’s code for racism), people going to the bathroom where they want (code for bigotry), tearing down every house in America for the Green New Deal (that’s code for hasn’t read the Green New Deal, because no one is calling for tearing down every house in America) to free college to voting rights to immigration (that’s code for didn’t have a clear thesis in mind when I started), and back to threatening transgender South Dakotans with physical violence:

We can’t sit idly by and let the kooks from the east and west coast tell us how we should farm and ranch here. We know that if a bathroom says MEN, that is where a man should do his business. I would like to see some crossdresser try and enter the ladies’ bathroom behind my granddaughter. He might walk in but… well, I think I’m not alone on this one [Ollerich].

Among the offenses to humanity here is Ollerich’s apparent thought process that links where we pee to arguments about how to farm and ranch. I can’t rebut what he’s saying, because Ollerich isn’s saying anything logical or rebuttable. He’s just mouthing off and showing his unseemly impulse to do violence to people with whom he disagrees.

Ollerich’s attempt at tying his argument together works about as well as tying bales with silly string:

Why this relates to us as cattlemen is simple, we all have to stick together to preserve our way of life. We have veggie burgers, cell cultured meat and so many other things coming our way. If we don’t stick together they will press their way of thinking on us. Just watch the news and see how they attack our values. I know I am not politically correct, but all this has been on my mind and I feel compelled to call a kook a kook [Ollerich].

From a purely compositional perspective, everything is wrong with this concluding paragraph:

  1. How does one person using the bathroom appropriate to his or her identity (and that is the great danger cited in the statement immediately preceding this paragraph_ affect Steve’s or anyone else’s bathroom choose and way of life in general?
  2. “so many other things” is vague filler used by writers to compensate for the fact that they can’t really think of other examples to fill their paltry list of threats.
  3. “they will press their way of thinking”—who is they? The nearest nouns are veggie burgers and cell-cultured meat; do those nouns have a “way of thinking”? Are those nouns capable of pressing a way of thinking?
  4. “Just watch the news and see how they attack our values”—again, who is they?
  5. “not politically correct”—How can one declare oneself to be incorrect and expect us to take one’s writing seriously?
  6. “call a kook a kook”—who’s the kook? Ollerich mentioned “kooks from the east and west coast” earlier, but he didn’t name any specific person. Is one a kook for eating a veggie burger? Is one a kook for engaging in science and finding alternative ways to produce food? Is one a kook for just wanting to take a leak without getting punched by some ranting meat lobbyist?
  7. And if Ollerich can call a kook a kook, why can we not extend the same courtesy to a citizen with reasonably clear vision who calls a liar a liar, a racist a racist… and a really bad writer a really bad writer? With his final line (before the jokes, which only underscore his Trumpist vulgarity), Ollerich completely undermines his opening thesis, that somehow people with whom we disagree deserve respect rather than name-calling.

Every person has an opinion, and every person is entitled to express that opinion. It’s just too bad Ollerich can’t express his opinion without doing violence to language and logic and without threatening violence to his neighbors.


  1. mike from iowa 2019-09-04 07:30

    I noticed this tool got nearly 10k in gubmint subsidies, whether he needed them or not.

    The moral of the turkey joke describes Drumpf to a T, but was probably lost on this tool.

  2. David Newquist 2019-09-04 07:56

    This puts the South Dakota Cattlemens Association in the same category as the NRA.

  3. o 2019-09-04 09:01

    Ah yes, the good old days of patriotic civility when Mr. Trump questioned President Obama’s citizenship.

    If this is what SDCA stands for, I shall be looking for any opportunity to oppose them. If they wish to pull all these issues into their political stance, then it absolutely should affect the allies (and opponents) they draw to their issues.

  4. LS1 2019-09-04 09:12

    The American Academy of Pediatrics published a study reporting that more than half of all transgender boys attempt suicide and nearly 30 percent of transgender girls attempt suicide. Transgender people – especially trans women of color – are a constant target of deadly violence.

    That a “respected” South Dakota agriculture group would publish a newsletter making a joke of out of this about some of the most vulnerable people in our state is truly too vile for words.

  5. chris 2019-09-04 10:09

    Steve “Sugar Shorts” Ollerich

  6. Dicta 2019-09-04 10:12

    Trump leading the charge on birtherism equals respect. God bless.

  7. South DaCola 2019-09-04 10:12

    Last week on the Belfrage show they were ranting that companies making meatless meat was a Liberal conspiracy, at first I thought they were joking, nope. Companies like Smithfield care about one thing, making money. And if they can make money from such a product, they will make it. Besides, have cattle ranchers ever wondered why people are not eating as much red meat anymore? Besides the health reasons (red meat is not good for you in any shape or form) it’s what consumers want. A red meat diet is not sustainable. I still eat an occasional hamburger, because I know in 20 years, you will have to be extremely wealthy to even find one, let alone eat one. We will be forced to eat sustainable food sources, cattle will not be a part of that equation, and hopefully racists and homophobes won’t be either.

  8. jerry 2019-09-04 10:24

    No one wants the job so they give it to turds like this. The cattlemen’s association has the power to do what? Natta. If they did, they would’ve put COOL into place, instead, they got put in their place, bitchin and moaning and doing nothing else.

    Go pull a calf, you half wit and then wonder why it is that those before you did not seem to have that trouble with calving. Greed is a powerful thing boys, you all got in pretty good standing with your lease agreements for government lands that you act like you actually own. Get with Sonny Perdue regarding your jokes. He has one about farmers that could just as easily be changed to Cattlemen’s association members.

  9. Certain Inflatable Recreational Devices 2019-09-04 10:37

    This boor’s neighbors are passing this piece around, remarking, “Read this. It’s really good!”

    Most of the recipients will agree.

  10. Donald Pay 2019-09-04 10:54

    Someone needs to edit this guy, or relieve him of his column. I can’t imagine someone doing more damage to South Dakota agriculture than Mr. Ollerich.

    I expect the SD Cattlemen’s Association to advocate for their commodities and issues, but I’m not sure that a lot of what he rants about has anything to do with that. I can imagine if this gets any national play customers are NOT going to be impressed. It’s almost as if he wants people he doesn’t agree with to not eat meat. Hey, there’s a lot of us out here, and he’s giving us a lot of reason to cut down on red meat. We can live longer and not have to support his rather kooky ideas.

    He seems to think that his way of life depends on slamming and shaming those who don’t agree with him or who eat a veggie burger now and then. I know a few transgender folks. If I show them Mr. Ollerich’s screed, I wonder what they will think about supporting his way of life. Mr. Ollerich’s kind of bullying that will not win and keep customers.

    Many of the ranchers I know in South Dakota don’t feel the way that Mr. Ollrich does. I hope he hasn’t done permanent damage to SD agriculture. The least he could do is apologize to his members and to his customers.

  11. Certain Inflatable Recreational Devices 2019-09-04 10:57

    The following has been being passed around FaceBook. It expresses my feelings so completely and concisely, I thought it was worth posting here, for the benefit of Steve Ollerich, who might have a chance of seeing it here. I am sure someone will let him know we’re talking about him.


    An anguished question from a Trump supporter: ‘Why do liberals think Trump supporters are stupid?’

    The serious answer: Here’s what we really think about Trump supporters – the rich, the poor, the malignant and the innocently well-meaning, the ones who think and the ones who don’t…

    That when you saw a man who had owned a fraudulent University, intent on scamming poor people, you thought “Fine.”

    That when you saw a man who had made it his business practice to stiff his creditors, you said, “Okay.”

    That when you heard him proudly brag about his own history of sexual abuse, you said, “No problem.”

    That when he made up stories about seeing Muslim-Americans in the thousands cheering the destruction of the World Trade Center, you said, “Not an issue.”

    That when you saw him brag that he could shoot a man on Fifth Avenue and you wouldn’t care, you chirped, “He sure knows me.”

    That when you heard him illustrate his own character by telling that cute story about the elderly guest bleeding on the floor at his country club, the story about how he turned his back and how it was all an imposition on him, you said, “That’s cool!”

    That when you saw him mock the disabled, you thought it was the funniest thing you ever saw.

    That when you heard him brag that he doesn’t read books, you said, “Well, who has time?”

    That when the Central Park Five were compensated as innocent men convicted of a crime they didn’t commit, and he angrily said that they should still be in prison, you said, “That makes sense.”

    That when you heard him tell his supporters to beat up protesters and that he would hire attorneys, you thought, “Yes!”

    That when you heard him tell one rally to confiscate a man’s coat before throwing him out into the freezing cold, you said, “What a great guy!”

    That you have watched the parade of neo-Nazis and white supremacists with whom he curries favor, while refusing to condemn outright Nazis, and you have said, “Thumbs up!”

    That you hear him unable to talk to foreign dignitaries without insulting their countries and demanding that they praise his electoral win, you said, “That’s the way I want my President to be.”

    That you have watched him remove expertise from all layers of government in favor of people who make money off of eliminating protections in the industries they’re supposed to be regulating and you have said, “What a genius!”

    That you have heard him continue to profit from his businesses, in part by leveraging his position as President, to the point of overcharging the Secret Service for space in the properties he owns, and you have said, “That’s smart!”

    That you have heard him say that it was difficult to help Puerto Rico because it was in the middle of water and you have said, “That makes sense.”

    That you have seen him start fights with every country from Canada to New Zealand while praising Russia and quote, “falling in love” with the dictator of North Korea, and you have said, “That’s statesmanship!”

    That Trump separated children from their families and put them in cages, managed to lose track of 1500 kids, has opened a tent city incarceration camp in the desert in Texas – he explains that they’re just “animals” – and you say, “Well, OK then.”

    That you have witnessed all the thousand and one other manifestations of corruption and low moral character and outright animalistic rudeness and contempt for you, the working American voter, and you still show up grinning and wearing your MAGA hats and threatening to beat up anybody who says otherwise.

    What you don’t get, Trump supporters in 2019, is that succumbing to frustration and thinking of you as stupid may be wrong and unhelpful, but it’s also…hear me…charitable.

    Because if you’re NOT stupid, we must turn to other explanations, and most of them are less flattering.

  12. bearcreekbat 2019-09-04 11:47

    CIRD nails it. Now wait for the “yeah buts” and “what about Hillary, Obama, Biden, Ocasio or whoever” and “fake news” and whatever other BS that might distract and change the subject in an effort to avoid facing the unpleasent reality of Trump’s behavior.

  13. John Tsitrian 2019-09-04 11:50

    Not the brightest way to represent a product that you’re selling into a mass market consisting of a pretty broad spectrum of American lifestyles and social attitudes.

  14. Aaron 2019-09-04 12:19

    This guy is brainwashed (mentally conditioned to be an active participant in his own demise) if he talks about threats to his livelihood and can’t recognize packer concentration is and always has been the biggest threat. Lash out at democrats instead. Typical farmer/rancher mentality unfortunately.

  15. o 2019-09-04 13:54

    John: “Not the brightest way to represent a product that you’re selling into a mass market consisting of a pretty broad spectrum of American lifestyles and social attitudes.”

    Right, but isn’t that the President Trump playbook – play for the base, the small fraction of people who already fanatically agree with you; then burn down all others. It does set up the boogie man narrative later to explain away any failures: “they” or “the left” is destroying “our” way of life – not that that way of life is objectively wrong or unsustainable.

  16. Debbo 2019-09-04 14:27

    What the British Parliament did to save the UK is what Moscow Mitch and the GOP won’t do to save the USA.

    “A dangerously populist government had tried to bully parliament into irrelevance. Parliament had fought back. For MPs on the opposition benches, operating in line with their leadership, that will have been relatively easy. But for those 21 Tory rebels, it threatened their career, their party: everything. It required extraordinary bravery.

    “That sense of rebellion, that willingness to stand firm, was of the utmost historical importance.”

    The cowardice and greed of Moscow Mitch and the GOP is also of utmost historical importance, for all the most nefarious reasons.

  17. Monkey 2019-09-04 14:32

    Wow, this guy really wants to ruin SD agriculture as if Trump & his China deal hasn’t already. There is a whole world outside that little bubble of his and it just shows how little-brained and unworldly he is. As a former representative of the SDCA I’m appalled at this diatribe.

  18. John Tsitrian 2019-09-04 14:46

    You make sense, o. I put some years into the trade, so I was looking at it from the perspective of a producer.

  19. o 2019-09-04 14:54

    John, I know you have years in the trade; that is the change I see in the nation: it is all tribal politics all the time. Even putting economic interests ahead of political railings is off the table for this new wave of Trumpists; don’t try to expand your brand/market/base – -just rail about how those others are against you. I agree that alienation is a poor market strategy, I just think it is a splash over from political thinking.

  20. Robin Friday 2019-09-04 14:58

    More macho bravado excrement than I’ve seen in one place in a long time.

  21. Robin Friday 2019-09-04 15:44

    No, Aaron, Mr. Ollerich’s thinking is NOT “typical farmer/rancher mentality” and to put all farmers and ranchers in that stereotypical basket is rude and insulting. So why speak up for farmers in one breath and insult us all in the same paragraph?

  22. jerry 2019-09-04 17:08

    Anyone know the exact position of Rounds, Thune and Dirty on COOL? Anyone?? Bueller?

  23. Jake Kammerer 2019-09-04 19:42

    Jerry-the three pontificators you reference are all too careful to be firmly for COOL. They will talk all around the issue while holding their hands out for the big packer bucks for their campaigns,

  24. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2019-09-04 20:01

    O, a quick and effective way to oppose Ollerich’s organizational goals would be, when you order that next bacon cheeseburger, to say, “Hold the burger.”

    Or buy a veggie burger. Steve Ollerich will probably come punch you for that.

  25. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2019-09-04 20:07

    LS1 makes a very good point: Ollerich’s “jokes” really reinforce a culture of bullying that makes kids in South Dakota feel like they have to toe a very narrow line if lifestyle and ideology if they want to get out of here alive. Ollerich is saying that if you deviate one iota from his preferred conception of manly, beefy life, you are a worthless piece of crap who deserves a good beating.

    It’s easy for me to hear bullying BS like Ollerich’s and blow it off. I’ve had decades to deal with bullies and develop a pretty solid and self-contained identity that doesn’t rely too much on the affirmation of others. But for kids hearing this kind of bullying constantly in the media, from “leaders” like Ollerich and Trump (and note: those mock quotes that I can deploy so easily, based on experience and analysis, aren’t the kind of thing a lot of kids can think of), kids who’ve maybe just gotten home from another at school of being afraid to go pee because someone might take a punch or dunk their books in the toilet, such verbal abuse from adults can be devastating.

    Steve, Donald, white men in general, stop using your positions of power to model bad behavior for children.

  26. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2019-09-04 20:16

    South Dacola mentions the conspiracy theories. Ah, yes, the last resort of people who can’t accept the failure of their worldviews.

    It seems that Ollerich can’t accept the possibility that the product he makes and sells might someday become obsolete. Rather than change his business model and adapt to the new realities of science, the environment, and the market, he prefers to lump all the people who live differently from him (including many who still buy beef) into a conflated camp of conspirators all trying to undo him. His failure couldn’t be his own doing, his own obstinacy, his own inability to understand and adapt; no, his failure must the doing of some enemy whom he can still punch and defeat, if he can just amplify his fear and hatred to others, mobilize a mob to join him in burning down anything and anyone who dares order veggie burgers.

    It’s a free market, Steve. I already don’t buy steak, because it costs too much and takes too long to cook right. When I buy wieners, I usually stick with genuine pig brains and anus, because veggie dogs cost more. If you sell a product that people want to buy, they’ll keep buying. If you sell a product that a big segment of consumers reject because it costs too much money, does too much harm to the environment, and/or is easily replaced by other products, you won’t win those customers back by calling people kooks and punching them in the bathroom.

  27. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2019-09-04 20:20

    I don’t know the source of CIRD’s lengthy post, but I nominate that speech for the stump speech of every Presidential candidate seeking to replace Trump. It thoroughly captures the rank hypocrisy, the complete shut-down of moral reasoning necessary for people like Ollerich to line up behind the unpatriotic, racist liar in the White House.

    Donald Trump brings out the worst of America. Ollerich’s screed above epitomizes the worst of America.

  28. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2019-09-04 20:22

    There’s another failing, John, of Steve’s market sense. He can’t see beyond his fenceline. He thinks everyone of his customers either “thinks” like he does or ought to think like he does. Beef and broccoli are not partisan issues… and neither are sales in any other respectable business with a good marketing plan.

  29. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2019-09-04 20:24

    Robin, I welcome samples from other Cattlemen’s Association members and from similar groups around the country repudiating such narrow thinking and casting their industry in a better light.

  30. Debbo 2019-09-04 20:45

    Ollerich is getting roundly skewered around the country today for his bigotry and ignorance. For perhaps the majority of the country, he represents ag people.

    I know the feeling of frustration Robin. Dunces like Ollerich make every rural person look bad. Sorry. I try to reeducate whenever the opportunity arises and generally find listeners happy to hear the truth.

  31. Leticia Gilmore 2019-09-04 21:33

    This article by Steve Ollerich is flat narrow and small minded. I’m embarrassed by this kind of ranting. It is just hateful and small. It makes the whole of South Dakota seem dopey and out of step. But we are not, we are a smart state. South Dakota residents need to start addressing these kinds of outbursts and calling out what they really are; pompous fear-based idiocies.

  32. jerry 2019-09-04 21:59

    Thank you Mr. Kammerer. So then, if the Cattlemen’s Association cannot even get the three knuckleheads to defend their livelihoods, what’s the use of the Cattlemen’s Association? It does look like they’re just like the NRA, take your money and then squander it on half wits like this joker, that ain’t even funny.

  33. Robert Kolbe 2019-09-04 23:12

    Just for S***s and Giggles can any reader imagine mr. Ollerich writing this “we have to give the President respect, who ever they are” about Obama?
    That my friends shows how valid his opinion is and how it should be judged.

  34. jerry 2019-09-05 08:47

    Good find Ms. Sorensen! Just another welfare case like those two other half wits that filed a suit against lawfully elected Native officials from Pine Ridge country. They all fit a pattern, loud and stupid while holding their hand out so that taxpayers can fill them up so they can drive to the rodeo with their new pickup and horse trailer…ah, la vida.

  35. JW 2019-09-05 09:41

    After working nearly 30 years in rural cattle country, I can validate the notion that this sort of thinking and self-righteous bigotry is common if not standard. Actually, it isn’t half bad compared to the normal banter overheard in small-town coffee shops and the local road side bar across the state. I listened to it recently in the bar/cafe in Akaska during a fishing trip and thought to myself how the world has left the closed-minded behind. To listen to these folks talk, nobody else has done an honest days work, has more practical education and honest life skills, has more moral integrity and greater understanding of world economics than they do. Ollerich and a slew of others of like mind are fully content to maintain the “us versus them” brand of “conservatism” that dominates our legislature and perpetuates the confusion and incoherence that has keeps us in the low rankings in every category for years. He calls for unity for a reason.. many of them can’t get along with their neighbors and have their own little kingdom to retreat to whenever the world and it’s progress insults them. The demonstrated attitude and belief system Ollerich displays can be applied to every facet of our existence on this planet from environmental issues to religion and everything in between. If the country was lead by this personality type, we’d have dissolved into a banana republic 50 years ago.

  36. Caroline 2019-09-05 15:28

    Maybe the turkey joke will serve as a metaphor for this guy’s future.

  37. Marvin Kammerer 2019-09-06 11:05

    let me be clear, the sd.cattlemans association is not the sd.stockgrowers association even though they have some holes in them.they are strong supporters of COOL which i strongly support .our congressional crowd are a bunch of hyprocrites & follow the big packers discussting lead.

  38. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2019-09-07 09:48

    The insecure, defensive “us versus them” mindset that JW observes won’t help make sales. Businesspeople can’t afford to divide the world into “us” and “them”… especially when the “us” is a tiny contingent of rural neighbors who can’t eat all the food we produce and thus depend on exporting their product to the diverse world.

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