By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
Friday, March 24, 2017, the St. Clair County Cattlemen’s Association met in Ashville to hear an address from recently elected Alabama Cattlemen’s Association (ACA) President Richard Meadows.
St. Clair County Cattlemen’s Association President Terry Brown thanked Richard Meadows for coming all the way from Columbia, Alabama for the event. Meadows and his family run Meadows Creek Farm where they raise polled Charolais cattle and raise crops.
President Richard Meadows said that the Cattleman’s Association has set up a foundation to assist fellow ranchers and cattlemen out west who have been hit with devastating wild fires. “That is what we as an association do well.”
Meadows complained that the way the National Cattleman’s Association (NCA) member measures importance in the national group is by the number of cows. States in the southeast don’t have a lot of power because they count the cows, but they count all the feeder cattle in the feedlot and most of the southern cattle go to those western states as stockers and finishers. They count the cattle rather than the members of the cattle association and Alabama has one of the larger cattlemen’s associations in the country. Meadows said that when you go to Washington DC it is a whole different ballgame. They need us for the votes and the connections that we have. Where they have one member with hundreds or thousands of cows our typical member has about 15 cows. We have a lot of members that don’t have cows.
President Meadows said that the Alabama Cattlemen’s Association staff has strong relationships with the legislators. “Our building in Montgomery is invaluable.” Both the Republican and Democrat caucuses need private building for meetings because of sunshine laws. “Our building gets used a lot for this.”
Meadows stressed the importance of keeping our membership up. “We have had a lot of changes.” Dr. Billy Powell will be retired in June. Erin Beasley will be coming aboard. She is great to work with. Meadows credited her with coming up the ACA’s Best Steakhouse Contest and the steakhouse trail ideas. Those were great ideas. Ideas that did not cost a lot, but garnered lots of attention for the association.
Meadows said, “The rodeo needs a lot of attention. The (Southeastern Livestock Exposition and Rodeo) rodeo has not been making money like it used to.”
Meadows said that Miss Martha Davis has also retired.
Pres. Meadows said that it is great to see all the juniors (St. Clair County Junior Cattlemen’s) come in. They are a great group and were working hard serving the meal. The juniors are the future and that is great to see.
Meadows said that Erin is working with the culinary schools in the state on the Beef 101 short course held at the Auburn Meat Lab where she used to be manager.
Meadows said that the ACA has revamped the beef leadership program for young cattlemen and women in that 20 to 35 age range and that was a good program.
Meadows said that he has been in meetings like this tonight across the state. I feel real good about the staff. There was a dues increase before Meadows became President. I think that was long over due. I know that some are still angry about that.
Meadows said that the ACA needs to do a better job of retaining our members. We pretty much lose a four of our members each year. A fourth are new members. Recruiting new members is good but we have got to do a better job of holding on to our members. Meadows thanked the Alabama John Deere dealerships for giving us a new Gator ATV as a prize for a drawing for new members and members that recruit new members.
Meadows said that the US has begun importing chilled meat from Brazil, even though that country still has hoof and mouth disease. That is a situation where “trade relations might have overcome science.” That is one of those issues were we as an individual producer can not do much about it. It takes coming together as a group. For us to continue to have the clout we need 11,000 to 12,000 members.
Meadows invited all of the juniors to come to the junior roundup whether they were showing calves or were involved in one of the other activities such as the photo contest. That is paid for by your checkoff dollars to get the youth involved.
St. Clair County Cattlemen’s Association President Terry Brown said that the next meeting would by the field day on May 5th at the St. Clair County Livestock Arena in Odenville.
To learn more about the Alabama Cattlemen’s Association: http://www.bamabeef.org