Sometimes you attend a meeting and you wonder why you bothered to attend and spend all that money. Other times you are so excited and floating with ideas as you leave. A couple weeks ago, Tehama Coungy CattleWoman President Kendra McCluskey and I attended the 2022 American National CattleWomen Summer Business Meeting in Sparks, Nevada, with 55 CattleWomen representing 17 ANCW affiliates. The meeting was packed with fun, insight, education and friendships in just two days.
ANCW is celebrating 70 years of education, promotion and legislation about beef. In Tehama County the CowBelles were chartered in 1953 with Freda Owens as president. My mother paid my sister Marilyn and my dues, in order for us to be charter members since we were college students.
This was a note on Facebook following the meeting: “Thank you to our sponsors for their support! Thank you to our officers for all of their time and hard work putting this event together. Thank you to our members who drive us forward and are our grassroots. Thank you, all of you, for supporting us and this great cattle community we call home!”
See y’all in January at the Cattle Industry Convention in New Orleans, LA! #gitupinancw.”
When we signed in, the two at the registration table had a weary look on their faces since it had been a journey from Oklahoma that had cancellations and delays in the previous 24 hours, plus a night at the airport. But they greeted us with a smile and a hug.
Our first day was the business side with the Executive Board meeting, presided over by President Reba Mazak, FL. With a welcome from Nevada CattleWomen President Maddison Bowers, Elko. She mentioned their first president was Anna Dressler, in 1956 as the Western Nevada CowBelles with 126 charter members. The Dressler’s were friends of my parents.
The ANCW Budget was presented by Tammi Didlot, Oklahoma, and they operate on a cash budget. Legislative/Resolutions with Cheryl Foster, California. Learned that every five years resolutions are reviewed, and anyone can bring a resolution forward. She urged us and the membership to stay informed and get involved at the local level. Stay active and work with other organizations. Nominations for ANCW officers are due January 1st, Evelyn Greene, Alabama stated “We need strong women.” Membership drive for new members was successful with 50 joining in different states, said Ruth Coffey, Oklahoma.
Public Relations chair is Cheyenne Sparks, Oklahoma President, plus mother of preschool children and the age of my grand-daughters. She said that ANCW has 10,000 followers on Facebook, with most in the 25 to 34 year range. We are to ‘share’ when we see something we like, ‘post’ when we are taking care of our animals and living our lifestyle, and ‘tag’ people. With 70 years of ANCW history, she is looking for pictures, videos from the past for the archives in Laramie, Wyoming. The next day Cheyenne taught the group on their cell phone or laptop, how to create flyers for meetings or ranches using Canva. Unfortunately, my great-grandson is less technically challenged than I am, since he has grown up with computers and cell phones.
Ways and Means with Tammi Didlot, and there is a beautiful “wild rag” available. Social media drives merchandising, since 70 were sold last week. A new wild rag in fall colors will soon be ready, and “with a wild rag you need a slide.” You can purchase the leather slide with flowers, or custom made with your brand.
Following the break was Agricultural Literacy Coordinator Amber Smyer, from National Ag in the Classroom. There are many different approaches for us to share our story, because we want informed consumers. Informal education is a poster at the fair. For PreK – 12 grade there are lesson plans that have been developed for teachers in the classroom. American Farm Bureau has resources and learning materials for all ages. NAITC has the Teacher Center with materials that are needed for lessons.
The Florida ladies shared their Cattle Herding Game, an activity created by Oklahoma Ag in Classroom. “1. Provide each student with 3 to 5 white balloons. These represent the student’s cattle herd. 2. Students will blow up the balloons. Balloons that pop will be considered a loss to cattle rancher. 3. Students will use markers to draw their ‘brands’ on their ‘cattle.’ 4. When all the cattle are branded, they must be ‘trucked’ to the range. Students will decide how many cattle will fit comfortably in each truck (large plastic garbage bags). Then students must figure out how many ‘trucks’ they will need to transport all the cattle. Explain that overcrowding will cause distress and the possible death of an animal. Too few animals could allow too much movement, which could result in an animal slipping and hurting itself. 5. After all the cattle are turned out on the ‘range’ (playground, cafeteria, gym, etc.) and allowed to graze for a while (Move the balloons around to mix them up, similar to what they would do on an open range .) the ranchers must gather their cattle. The first cattleman to successfully gather all his/her cattle wins. (A yard stick was used to gather the cattle, not hands.) Remember that a popped balloon at any time is a loss to the rancher. Fun watching the women trying to herd a balloon with a stick.
Oregon and Nevada also shared their Ag in Classroom activities.
Jean Barton has been writing her column in the Daily News since the early 1990s. She can be reached by e-mail at [email protected]