The saying goes, “Behind every great man is a great woman.” But in the case of the Alabama cattle producers, great men and women are working side-by-side, baling hay, mending fences and promoting a successful industry.
With the founding of groups like the Alabama CattleWomen’s Association, formerly known as the Alabama CowBelles, women’s roles in the industry have grown and changed over the years.
“In 1953, only one year after the American National CowBelles Inc. was organized, the Alabama CowBelles Association was formed as a vibrant auxiliary to the Alabama Cattlemen’s Association,” says executive vice president of the Alabama Cattlemen’s Association, Billy Powell. “This group of ladies has been very active in promoting beef, through projects like the Alabama High School Beef Cook-off and Beef for Father’s Day.”
Although the founding motto is, “To help the cattlemen,” the Alabama CattleWomen’s Association has grown beyond the original group of farm wives.
Women involved in the beef industry, regardless of their marital status, are able to contribute to the success of the cattle industry as a whole, and even serve as officers of the Alabama Cattlemen’s Association.
“Today, women are actively involved in leadership roles in the industry, serving as officers of the Cattlemen’s Association at the state and national level,” Powell says. “The Alabama Cattlemen’s Association has had numerous ladies serve as county and state officers, including two as state president – Anne Payne in 2001 and Donna Jo Curtis in 2012.”
The Alabama Cattlemen’s Association and the Alabama CattleWomen’s Association strive hand-in-hand to publicize Alabama’s cattle industry through events and promotional activities, many of which are geared toward the youngest group of consumers – children. The Junior and High School Beef Cook-off is a delicious way to educate students about the nutritional value of beef, while also emphasizing food safety. They also distribute beef-related books to local schools during Beef Month in October to encourage children to think about where their food comes from.
Auburn University’s Collegiate Cattlemen and Cattlewomen’s Association participate regularly in the association’s events, providing catering to their banquets and assisting in promotional activities. Members of this club are the next generation of producers who will continue the Alabama Cattlemen’s Association’s legacy of excellence.