Rusty Seedig (1953-2008), an impassioned bison advocate and teacher known for his commitment and integrity, Seedig was executive vice president of strategic projects for North American Bison Cooperative (NABC) and North Dakota Natural Beef (NDNB). He also served as secretary and treasurer of the National Bison Association and as international director of the Canadian Bison Association. He was the 2008 National Bison Association member of the year.
Seedig has been described by more than one person as a “quiet, but powerful leader in the industry.” Dave Carter, executive director of the National Bison Association, listed a number of ways that Seedig “helped shape the modern bison industry.” He helped establish a significant part of the modern processing, distribution and marketing infrastructure. He also helped develop sound financial footing for the National Bison Association.
Seedig represented the American Bison Association during the merger with the National Buffalo Association to create the National Bison Association (NBA). He served as Secretary and as Treasurer of the NBA, chaired the Foundations Task Force, and was the NBA representative to the Canadian Bison Association Board of Directors.
“Without his knowledge and dedication we would not be where we are today,” said Dieter Pape, chief executive of the NABC and NDNB.
A Rusty Seedig Bison Legacy Scholarship has been established by the National Buffalo Foundation in his honor. Administered by the NBF, the scholarship benefits students majoring in Animal Science at North Dakota State University in Fargo, ND.
Not only was he passionate toward the animal and the industry, he convinced those he worked with that their companies also needed to support the bison industry. Pape gave an example, a lunch break during a CBA convention when Seedig ordered a bison burger at a restaurant. “Upon biting into it, Rusty looked up and said something about the supplier having added some kind of meal as filler to this burger. He immediately got up, walked directly into the kitchen, told the chef he was not serving his customers pure bison and that it prevented them the joy of eating a great meat. Then Rusty went out and got Anna Griller. He introduced her to the chef, saying, “You need to buy your burger from Anna. Just toss everything you have right now into the garbage.” Rusty was so convincing and had so much passion, the chef did exactly that. Rusty was a walking, talking ambassador for the animal and the industry 100 percent of the time.”