Community Agriculture Alliance: Routt County CattleWomen working locally to promote beef industry

Jo Stanko
For Steamboat Pilot & Today

On a sunny morning in October, 50 people either walked or ran 5 kilometers along Routt County Road 44, in hopes of winning a gift certificate for some locally grown beef.

The winner was the person who had accumulated the best poker hand from the cards they had chosen at each of the five stops along the way. The participants ranged in age from 3 to their 70s, all with the same chance of winning the big prize whether they ran or walked.

The event was the annual Routt County CattleWomen’s Poker Run. Proceeds from the event help fund scholarships for area youth. Every spring, high school seniors, returning college and trade school students sit down with the members of the organization for interviews in hopes of getting a scholarship to help defray their costs for a higher education. Also, in the spring, elementary students across the county spend a day on ranches, getting a brief introduction into what agriculture is in Routt County.

In the fall and other times of the year, the Routt County CattleWomen are finding ways to provide support for the 4-H and Future Farmer’s of America programs.

These are just a few of the most visible ways that Routt County CattleWomen are currently working to support and strengthen the Routt County community — a way to bridge the community of the past to the community of the present and on into the future. Routt County CattleWomen is a community-based organization that supports the beef industry through education, outreach and marketing. This volunteer organization educates the public of the importance the beef industry has in everyday lives and in maintaining our Western heritage.

In the 1950s, when the population of Routt County was involved in agriculture and mining in some fashion, the role of the Routt County CattleWomen was very different. The organization has evolved as the community has grown and changed.

Membership has gone from being wives of ranchers to women who are ranchers themselves and men and women who live in both the urban and rural areas of the county. People who have cattle and people who have no cattle. People who are involved in agriculture and people whose involvement in agriculture is no more than eating. Many people who wish to learn about how agriculture has evolved, how agriculture has contributed and still contributes to the balance and quality of life in Routt County and share that knowledge.

You may not realize it, but you are meeting with CattleWomen every day. They are an all-volunteer group and not just out in the rural parts of the county. They’re bank presidents, clerking at stores, serving on committees for the cities, county, state and nation. These hard-working women are running their own businesses, stay-at-home moms and just about every occupation in the county. They range in age from teens to 80s.

If you would like to work to assure agriculture’s place in the future in Routt County, join us.

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