A return to grilling

Washington County Cattlemen plan public outreach in 2021

Bryan Overy is the president of the Washington County Cattlemen’s Association. (Union file photo)
Washington County Beef Queen Lilly Clark (left) and Beef Princess Peighton Ford can be seen at Washington County Cattlemen's Association grilling events this spring and summer.

Washington County may be best known for swine production, but the Washington County Cattlemen’s Association wants everyone to know that there is a robust cattle industry in the county, too.

“Our main goal is to educate the public on beef production and let them know that we do have cattle in Washington County,” Washington County Cattlemen’s Association President Bryan Overy said. “We have a very active cattlemen’s organization.

Overy said that the Washington County is involved in the cattle industry.

“We have several county producers throughout the county, although it’s a little shadowed with all the hog production that goes on in the county,” he said. “We have several cattlemen.”

While the COVID-19 pandemic slowed some of the organization’s outreach in 2020, they are hoping to pick that back up this year.

“We are hoping to get back to somewhat normal and do some more educational things to help the community,” Overy said. “One of our other goals is to be open and willing to visit with people.

“If people have questions where their cattle come from, contact us, and we’ll be more than happy to let you come out to our farms and learn more about cattle and the production process.”

One thing the organization has done to help better educate young people about the cattle industry was to start the single source class at the Washington County Fair.

The single source class gives kids a chance to purchase a steer to show at the fair.

“Most of the calves shown at the fair are what we would call show cattle, and they cost a little bit more,” Overy said. “We purchase one big group of calves, and the kids put their name in that they want to do the single source class.

“They can buy these steers at cost, so it’s a lot cheaper for them to do it. They have their own show that is separate from the other show.”

The kids are responsible to take their calf home, halter-break it and get it ready to come back to the fair, where they can win cash prizes.

“We also try to do a field day every year with those kids, where we take them to a cow/calf producer’s home to see how others are doing it,” Overy said. “A couple times, we’ve taken them to a cattle processing facility where they actually slaughter the cattle. We’ve gone to a couple feed yards in the past.

“It gives the kids the opportunity to get out and see what the industry does. It’s also a lower-cost option to get kids involved in the cattle industry.”

The organization awards scholarships to graduating seniors every year whose families are members of the cattlemen’s association.

“We also have a beef queen and princess every year,” Overy said. “They are usually at all of our grilling events throughout the year. They help present ribbons at the beef show, and help cook at the county fair inside the Producers’ Grill.”

This year’s beef queen is Lilly Clark. Peighton Ford is this year’s beef princess.

The pandemic put a damper on many of the organization’s activities last year, but they were still able to award scholarships and do a few other things.

“We were not able to grill or do a whole lot last year,” Overy said. “We still did some graduation parties for members, but we were not able to do a lot of public events.”

This year got off to a promising start with the Field and Friends Banquet, where the cattlemen partner with the Washington County Corn and Soy Producers.

In February, the Washington County Cattlemen’s Banquet was a rousing success.

“We had over 240 people in attendance for our banquet,” Overy said. “We want to thank all of our sponsors that helped sponsor that. We have amazing sponsors who do a lot to promote this.”

This month, the organization is planning another promotion.

“We will also be doing a May is Beef Month promotion where we’ll be cooking lunch and dinner,” Overy said. “That is on schedule to be either May 13 or May 20. We’re set up in the Fareway parking lot usually.”

They will be grilling when the Washington County Fair returns in July.

“We’ll be grilling at the county fair as usual,” Overy said. “This year we’ll be cooking at the county fair for the Producers’ Grill on Sunday, Wednesday and Friday the week of the fair.”

Preston Ford shows one of his cattle at the Washington County Fair.
Peighton Ford, with her dad, Dustin Ford looking on, shows one of her cattle at a recent roundup.