Hope everyone is doing well. Summer sure has arrived in a big way, as the weather temperatures have been climbing up the thermometer on a daily basis. Florida CattleWomen’s commitment to promoting the Beef Industry has also been on the steady climb, as well. Florida CattleWomen from all over the state have stepped up in mighty ways to showcase the Beef Industry from different perspectives and avenues. It is very exciting to be witnessing the massive amount of activities that has emerged onto the scene in the last 18 months. To be as successful as we have been throughout this whole Covid time, promoting the Beef Industry, boils down to two words, “Being Committed.” “Being Committed” is a challenge to take on, let’s face it, not to many people now a days, put much thought into “Being Committed.” For whatever reason, many people move onto other things and do not stay around long enough to reap the rewards that eventually comes to one’s commitment to a task at hand. In today’s age, it is of utmost importance to commit to this industry for the long haul. Making a commitment to be active within our counties, communities, and state, promoting the Beef Industry, speaks volumes of the strength in numbers our association has. Let us all strengthen our commitment to this industry, our fellow membership, and most importantly our future in what lies ahead of us.
In the last thirty days Florida CattleWomen has not let up on the gas, as our commitment to this industry strengthens every day. We continue our Firemen Beef Appreciation Lunches throughout the state of Florida. From Manatee, Lee, and Martin Counties, Florida CattleWomen have shown up at the station doors, offering a hot Beef Meal, a smile, and always the opening line; “Let me make a plate for you.” The attentiveness and generosity we have received from the firemen is something to share. They have all made a run to hold the door open for us, take the hot cases with food from our hands, and have tripped over themselves to see if we needed a utensil to serve with, a dish cloth, or anything else to make our jobs easier. You instantly know in your heart that this Beef Promotion means everything to these young men and women. At every fire station we have visited throughout the state there are many things that are common, the helpful and welcoming spirit, the heartfelt thankfulness you receive for remembering them in the duty they give to the communities, the blessing we give before the meal, but the one thing that stands out is the genuine attention they each give us wanting to know what is a Florida CattleWoman and how does the Beef Industry play a role in the state of Florida. Those special times are something that is priceless and cannot be obtained staying on the same path of the promoting this industry.
Our Florida CattleWomen’s Spring Ranch Tour Series continues to be a highlight of Florida CattleWomen members and non-members alike. Our attendance numbers keep getting larger with each Ranch Tour. I want to take this time to thank again the many Florida Ranches that have committed to show CattleWomen around their ranch operations, answer the many questions ladies have had, and entertain them with every alligator sighting, because you know, we cannot stare enough at an alligator sunning itself. Thank you for always answering the common question; “What is the biggest predator on your ranch?” To fill you in on that popular question, the answers have varied depending where we were in the state, from coyotes, alligators, buzzards, and eagles, the answers have been all over the place. These Ranch Tours have been a very strong educational tool to our membership, ladies come with a notebook and pen in hand to take notes, so they can take the practices they learn home with them. This past month, Florida CattleWomen had the honor of touring Blackbeard Ranch. Jim Strickland, managing partner for Blackbeard Ranch, could not get over how far these ladies traveled from and the well thought out questions the ladies all had. These ranch tours have demonstrated the commitment Florida CattleWomen have for improving their own ranching operations.
Florida CattleWomen took the Ranch Tour concept, and extended this learning tool to Girl Scouts across Florida. I want to take this time to thank Debbie Gilmore, of Gizmo Angus, Molino, FL, and K’leigh Griffin-Combs, of Diamond D Ranch, Jacksonville, FL, for taking your time, talent, and passion for the Beef Industry, and sharing it with the Girl Scouts. From Miss Debbie, sharing with the girls about her Angus Cattle, from explanations of her cattle breeding program on the ranch, to the simple natural wonders. For example, a swallow tail kite that decided to make her nest directly in the middle of a path cutting through the pasture to showing the girls what an eagle’s nest looks like from a distant pine tree. K’leigh showed the girls from the Jacksonville surrounding area, the love that goes into caring for an orphan calf, teaching the girls the identifying brand marks on the left hips of the Griffin’s Family Cattle, to identifying the difference between poison ivy and poison oak. These are the types of things we take for granted on an everyday occurrence, but to these girls, it meant everything, as they committed these occurrences to their memories. One of the biggest Blessings from these Girl Scout Ranch Tours is witnessing each girl’s eyes widening with excitement getting to touch a cow, feed a cow, become one with the environment. May we continue our commitment to educating youth from urban areas about our way of life.
These last few months I have been very encouraged with two new County CattleWomen’s Associations beginning to take shape. The Martin County CattleWomen’s Association and the Big Bend CattleWomen’s Association, all had foundation meetings this past May. I look forward to sharing with you the outcomes from these foundation meetings. May all commit to be a support to these new associations as they take root and commit to fostering the well being of the Beef Industry.
Florida CattleWomen had a very strong presence at the 2021 Florida State Fair, as we promoted the Beef Industry at the Florida CattleWomen’s Beef Information Booth, sharing with the public the many examples of Beef By-Products. For twelve days, Florida CattleWomen shared that crayons, chewing gum, and lotion, are Beef By-Products to the bewildered fair goer. The common reaction was; “I did not know shampoo was made from a cow.” With every beef jar opener, oven stick, to meat temperature magnet, a story was shared about the Beef Industry. Education was passed with explanations on safe cooking temperatures and misnomers put to rest that; “Yes, cattle are safely transported by truck and trailer down the highway at a safe speed.” If you ever want to get a pulse on the public perception of the Beef Industry, come spend a day down at the Florida CattleWomen’s Beef Information Booth at the Florida State Fair. It will only take an hour to realize and reaffirm our commitment of dispelling myths and speaking the truth about the Beef Industry.
In closing, it was my honor to attend the 2020 Woman of the Year in Agriculture Luncheon, at the Florida State Fair, as we honored the 2020 recipient, Veronique Sallin. The day was very special as we honored a special lady who helped open doors and make improvements in the world of Agriculture. What stood out to me the most, was watching young Florida CattleWomen members, take in all the tradition and commitment of honoring women who laid the groundwork for them, as they begin their own life choices and careers. If we want our youth to carry on the values and traditions of this industry we must include them in these special occasions, establish a one on one relationship with them, and most of all, commit to being part of their lives.
“Commitment is what transforms a promise into reality.”