Tag: Idaho Agriculture

Women in Ag: Corporate Marketing Specialist, Alethea Prewett

Alethea may live and work in Boise, but a native Idahoan, she is not. She spent the majority of the time growing up in Hollister, Calif., where her family has ranched in the area since the 1880s. After graduating from Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo and with a degree in Agriculture Communications, Alethea went to work in Denver, Colo., for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, on the Issues and Reputation Management Team. This small town ranch girl managed living in the big city for two years, before wanting a change of pace. It was then she found a job with Agri Beef Co. and has been in love with Idaho ever since!

How are you involved in agriculture today? Currently, I work at Agri Beef as a Corporate Marketing Specialist, and I have been with the company two years. The really cool thing about our company is that we have operations in every aspect of the business. From ranching, to cattle feeding and nutrition, and beef processing, there is never a boring day because I am able to interact with every sector. I especially like doing our ranch to table tours that take attendees to our ranch, one of our feedyards, and our plant to let them see how we raise beef today. I am humbled to share the hard work and passion of the many people who work for us raising cattle and producing beef with those who may have never been exposed to it otherwise. Although I have many other responsibilities, this one is my favorite because it showcases the dedication of the individuals in our great company and industry.

Outside of my 8-5 job, I also have a very small cow-calf operation back in California. My parents are still kind enough to take care of them in my absence. I try and make it back as much as I can, especially during branding season, when we ship, or to pick out replacement heifers. It’d be great if I could bring my little herd further north to Idaho one of these days! A girl can dream, right!

How has your life been shaped by agriculture? I would say that every major life lesson, the values that I have, and the person I am all trace back to the ranch lifestyle that I was raised in. You learn hard work, dedication and sacrifice because holidays and normal business hours do not exist. My appreciation for life and its fleetingness were instilled in me at a young age because the beauty of life and unfortunateness of death are part of the way of life when you grow up on a ranch.

I also certainly learned to appreciate the little things, like the stale granola bar you find buried in your jacket pocket. It may have been months or, I hate to admit it, a couple of years old; but if you’ve been gathering cows all day and there is no end in sight, that granola bar—even if it turns to dust when you open it—still tastes pretty good.

Alethea considers her Dad to be one of the most inspiring people in her life.

Alethea considers her Dad to be one of the most inspiring people in her life. Photo credit: Heather Hafleigh

Who inspires you or serves as a mentor? My father. Besides being the hardest working, most positive and humble man I know, he taught me from a young age to wake up and realize each day is a great day. I am thankful that at the very young age of two, he put me on my first horse and I was out “helping,” if you could call it that, on the ranch. Throughout my childhood, he made sure that if I showed interest in it I could participate. Whether that was gathering cows, roping and branding calves, A.I.’ing heifers, or evaluating and buying bulls, I could always jump in with two feet and learn. He fostered my love for the cattle business and the ranching lifestyle. He and my mom were incredibly supportive of my move to Denver and then to Boise. Even though I am in an office setting and not the ranch, his sayings play over in my head all the time. They may not be his original words of wisdom, but they will always be Dad’s sayings to me:

The littlest things make the biggest difference.

If you take the time it takes, it will take less time.

How do you provide encouragement to others? I’m not sure if you would consider my advice wise by any means. However, whenever I have the chance to talk to a high school or college age person, especially with a ranch or agriculture background, I encourage them to work away from home. Sometimes as ranch or farm kids, we can get in a big hurry to get back to the family place; but even after college, go work for someone else. You can always learn something new, get a new perspective, or even learn how not to do things. You will be better for it and so will your ranch, farm or company you work for in the long run.

Trust me, I will corner any young, bright-eyed, bushy tailed person and try to impart my small piece of wisdom upon them whether they want to hear it or not… and moms you are not allowed to hunt me down when your children start moving away.

If given the chance, what message about agriculture or the beef industry would you share with a large group of people? We care. For those of us involved in agriculture or bringing beef from ranch to table, this seems like a given. But somewhere between us and the everyday consumer, this sentiment has been lost. Our industry has been dehumanized. The more we can share how we care for our livestock, our land, and have shared values with those who are buying our products, I think we can turn this viewpoint around. It may be slow and take some time, but I believe it is possible.

What are you most thankful for? My supportive family and the lifestyle I was raised in. I honestly could not picture any other way to grow up or to view the world from.

What is your favorite meal to cook yourself or for others? I am a big breakfast fan and love cooking things from scratch, so I would have to say chicken fried steak and gravy.

Alethea always tries to make it back for important ranch happenings, such as branding, shipping, or picking out replacement heifers.

Alethea always tries to make it back for important ranch happenings, such as branding, shipping, or picking out replacement heifers.

Favorite store to shop in? Target. I always go in for one thing and tend to come out with 10. I have always thought that I have great self-control, until I go into Target. Then it all goes out the window, I am not sure what comes over me.

Favorite place to visit? The ranch that has been in my mom’s side of the family. It is really remote and accessible only by dirt roads. No cell service, no telephone lines, and no TV. There is a spring for water and a generator for electricity. You really feel like you can escape from the “real world.” Most people don’t believe places like that still exist, at least in California.

What are three little known facts about you? 1) I should not admit to this. I may never live it down. So I can handle spiders, snakes, even mice to a certain extent, but birds. I do not like birds…more specifically chickens, geese, ducks. I am not sure why; I was never attacked as a small child. I have no rational reason for the fear. It becomes a slight problem because our office is right on the Boise River Greenbelt and there are lots and lots of geese. I have been known to hide behind coworkers to put them between me and the geese. Embarrassing, I know. But I just cannot seem to overcome it. 2) I prefer sunrises to sunsets. I believe there is no better way to start the day than to watch the sun rise. 3) Even though I have a rather long and difficult name to pronounce, I never had a nickname as a child.

Categories: Beef, Cattle, Idaho Cattlewomen

Women in Ag: Idaho Cattle Association President, Laurie Lickley

Laurie Lickley is a native of Salmon, Idaho, and a tried-and-true University of Idaho Vandal, graduating in 1990. She and her husband, Bill, along with their two children (Valene and Cole) currently reside on the family’s century farm and ranch in Jerome. Aside from the daily ranching and farming operations in Idaho and Nevada, Laurie has served Idaho’s beef industry from the local to national level in various leadership positions for the Idaho Beef Council, Idaho Cattle Association, and the National Cattlemen Beef Association. In 2004, Laurie was awarded Idaho CattleWoman of the Year. In her spare time, Laurie volunteers with Jerome Rotary, and with Beef Counts, a partnership between Idaho’s Beef Industry and The Idaho Foodbank.

We would also like to mention that today is Laurie’s first day serving as the President of the Idaho Cattle Association! Having a Cattlewomen at the helm of such a prestigious organization is an honor for us all, and we can’t wait to see what great things she will accomplish in the upcoming year!

How are you involved in agriculture today? Our family farms and ranches in both Idaho and Nevada. I’m a big believer in being involved in the groups that keep our industry going; groups like ICA, the Beef Council, and NCBA.

How has your life been shaped by agriculture? I subscribe to the theory that everyone must have food, shelter and clothing. Agriculture and the natural resource industry provide those, and we are rewarded that our generational families provide us with that ability to continue making a difference every day in everyone’s life—both domestically and abroad. We all have to eat, and quite frankly, the number one source of protein is beef. It provides more bang-for-your-buck than any other protein source on the market.

Photo Credit: Carol Ryan Dumas

Photo Credit: Carol Ryan Dumas

Who inspires you or serves as a mentor? I have been fortunate to have had many mentors along my industry leadership path. First and foremost, I owe a debt of gratitude to Joe Tugaw for his mentoring in my early years. He and Gene Davis, Dave Nelson, and others whom I’ll reserve credit (still living) helped shape my leadership style. I miss them dearly. I am wholly inspired by Justice Sandra Day O’Conner who was raised on a ranch on the Arizona/Nevada border and was the first woman appointed to the Supreme Court by President Reagan. Her book Lazy B, with whom she penned with her brother Alan Day, actually portrays many of our lives today. Justice O’Connor’s approach to process and practicality motivate me.

How do you provide encouragement to others? Identifying the next generation of industry leaders is important to all organizations and especially to me. Oftentimes, we get so caught up in playing defense that we forget offense may be more important in winning the battle. We’ve got to engage the offense!

My mantra is write it down, make it happen. We set life, professional and business goals 25 years ago when we got married. My children, each year, write down their annual five, 10 and 20-year goals. Where do you want to be and how do you want to get there? Let’s make it happen; I’ll help.

If given the chance, what message about agriculture or the beef industry would you share with a large group of people? When my alarm rings at 5:30 a.m. every morning and that first cup of coffee awaits, I know the job that I have ahead of me that day and every day is a job I love. See #2.

Three generations of Lickleys, in front of their barn, which was relocated and preserved at the IFARM Museum.

Three generations of Lickleys horseback in front of their barn, which was relocated and preserved at the IFARM Museum.

What are you most thankful for? I am very blessed to have an amazing healthy family. My father-in-law is the best; we have good, sane, well-rounded children, and with an empty nest Bill and I still enjoy each other’s company (or he says he does, ha!). I am simply blessed.

What is your favorite meal to cook yourself or for others?  I am a big ribeye steak girl, medium rare on the Traeger! Prior to last month, my best steak may have been a typical Prime steak from the freezer; however, I recently had an Akaushi steak, which created an “umami” overload. I still have two steaks in the freezer….add a beautiful bottle of red wine and a veggie salad, and I’m in heaven. My family loves a good steak, although they say my meatloaf is pretty tasty too!

What’s the first thing you do when you get to the grocery store? Perimeter, perimeter, perimeter and meat case! I really like WinCo and usually check out the meat case for interesting conversation and selection (when excess beef is needed I do shop Costco), etc. FYI, they just changed up their meat case; maybe they were inspired by all the millennial consumers buying beef these days.

What are a few of your guilty pleasures? Beef—No guilt here, though—it’s delicious and nutritious, coffee, red wine, a good book, and exercise. I’m pretty easy to please!

What are three little known facts about you? 1) My grandfather rowed for Columbia University in the mid 1930s, just before the 1936 University of Washington team won the Olympics in Germany (you must read “The Boys in the Boat”). After practicing medicine in Republic, Wash., he was elected Spokane County Coroner.  2) My mother played half-court basketball at Washington State. 3) My father had an Outfitting and Guide Business in Salmon in the late 1960s and 70s with a former Fish and Game Director.

Follow Laurie along in life on Facebook and Twitter!

Categories: Beef, Blogging, Idaho Cattlewomen, Lifestyle, Ranch Life

Women in Ag: Small Town Superwoman, Jodie Mink

Jodie Lanting Mink grew up on a family farm and ranch south of Hollister, Idaho, with her parents, brother and sister, as well as aunts, uncles, cousins and grandparents. She always felt comfortable working cattle and learning from anyone that was willing to share. She participated in 4-H for 10 years, taking steers and heifers to the Twin Falls County Fair, a place where her family is still known for having some of the best stock. Jodie attended the University of Idaho, graduating with an Animal Science/Agribusiness degree, with minors in public relations and communications and began a master’s degree program in Agricultural Economics. Jodie and her husband, Justin, were married shortly thereafter, and in 2005 moved back to his family’s ranch in Cambridge. Together they have three sons, Jayden (15), Jarret (12), and Jace (8).

How are you involved in agriculture and/or beef industry today?  My involvement in the beef industry has many different aspects. I briefly worked as an educational outreach coordinator for the Idaho Rangeland Resource Commission before taking a full-time job with the Cambridge School District as the agricultural education teacher and FFA advisor. I see 95 percent of the students enrolled in Cambridge High School in one of my agricultural classes every day! The opportunity to reach these students and educate them about the beef industry and agriculture is an honor. I also assist on my husband’s family ranch, Mink Land and Livestock. My heart is content when my entire family is able to work alongside each other riding, packing salt, putting up drift fence or stacking hay. My role on the ranch is also to provide outside income. My father-in-law Russell Mink once commented that the ranch has success because the wives bring in outside income. My mother-in-law Peggy Mink and I both take comfort in knowing that our jobs outside of the ranch help to keep this multi-generational ranch moving forward. Educating my own kids, as well as my students at school about their role in the use of natural resources, the production of a safe and quality protein source, as well as their responsibility in the conservation and management of the land for sustainability for years to come is my true passion in life.

How has your life been shaped by agriculture and/or beef industry? I remember from early age learning from my parents, Bob and Rhea Lanting, about the importance of animal husbandry, how to make hard decisions, the results of hard work, and ultimately that my life would always include this lifestyle. My parents often laugh about why my sister and I both married into family ranches that often include few vacations and long hours. I guess the answer to that question is best summed up by saying….What other job do you get to see nature in its ultimate beauty, work with hardworking, honest people who have similar visions, as well as work side-by-side with your family daily to provide food for a growing nation? I hope that I also can pass along that inborn love of agriculture to my three boys.

Who inspires you or serves as a mentor? My FFA students and my own kids inspire me. I have learned that if I provide the tools and resources and create a learning atmosphere that is engaging, there is no limit to the successes that my students will experience. They motivate me every day to be a better Ag teacher. To see my FFA students walk across the state at both the state and national events proves that small agricultural communities are producing the future leaders for our industry. It doesn’t get any better than that!

Jodie credits her students and FFA chapter members, as being one of her life's biggest motivations.

Jodie credits her students and FFA chapter members, as being one of her life’s biggest motivations.

I have two mentors that I currently use to “check” my ideas, and realign my focus. Julie Kerner and Pam Schwenkfelder are two women that I so admire. Their love and relentless time spent working toward the betterment of our beef industry is admirable. I often look to them for leadership, help with balancing family and ranch responsibilities, as well as the importance of being a productive member in the community. They might not know that I am watching their actions, but I find both of them to be strong leaders in our industry, thus I try to emulate these qualities in my daily life.

How do you provide encouragement to others?  I hope to provide encouragement for others by providing enthusiasm. Enthusiasm is contagious. If I am able to simply provide the initial excitement, others buy-in quickly. About eight years ago, I was contacted about starting a Progressive Agricultural Farm Safety Day for youth in our area. At first it was difficult to get the key community members on board. But with some persistence, our Cambridge Ag Safety day is a highlight in our community. This year we topped almost 100 participants and 60 volunteers. Because of that awesome turnout, I actually did very little for this huge event. Everyone in the community is now vested in this wonderful program and comes together to provide the education and resources for it. That all started with an idea and a little enthusiasm.

If given the chance, what message about agriculture or the beef industry would you share with a large group of people? We need to share the stories of family ranches. People that are purchasing our product need to make those connections to our Idaho beef families, the role we play in caring for the land, and the mission we have as key components in communities around Idaho is essential.

During last week's Idaho Vandal football game, the Mink family was named CHS Farm Family of the Year!

During last week’s Idaho Vandal football game, the Mink family was named CHS Farm Family of the Year!   Photo credit: Autumn Lynn Photography

What are you most thankful for? I am most thankful for my family, my friends, my students, and the agricultural community I live in. In August of this year a spiteful mosquito gave me the West Nile virus, which led to viral meningitis. My inability to teach school or even take care of my family’s needs has truly opened my eyes to the importance of relationships. The Cambridge and Midvale communities have helped me and my family extensively. Small agricultural communities are the true heartbeat of our nation. Relying on neighbors and assisting others when needed is ultimately the reason Justin and I have chosen to raise our children in this community. I am thankful for a wonderful rural school that allows individual growth with an enormous amount of agricultural-influenced curriculum. I am looking forward to getting back to school in January, and assisting my husband on the ranch. As much as this illness has frustrated me, I am thankful for the life lessons in humility, patience and setting priorities.

What is your favorite meal to cook yourself or for others? I love my Crock-pot and my Traeger grill. Nothing beats a tender roast with potatoes and carrots after a long day. My kids love hamburger pizzas on the grill. Using a simple pizza dough recipe, I grill individual sized rounds on the grill for 3 to 4 minutes on each side. I then allow the kids to individualize their pizza. Favorite toppings include hamburger, olives, tomatoes, artichokes, spinach, and mushrooms. After topping with cheese, they go back on the grill for another 3-4 minutes to melt everything to perfection! They are an absolute favorite.

What is the first thing you do when you walk into a grocery store? The first thing I do when I walk into the grocery store is to make sure that my kids and husband are not with me! I am a very organized person and attack the grocery store with a plan. I only shop in a larger grocery store every 2-3 months, so it’s also essential that my large white cooler is loaded in the car! My local community grocery store provides all the weekly needs!

The Mink family celebrates the success of their kids, after a local fair.

The Mink family celebrates the success of their kids, after a local fair.

What are some of your favorite pastimes and/or hobbies? I LOVE sports! I enjoy all aspects of sports, especially watching my kids participate in football, basketball and baseball. I am a little bit competitive and often get excited at games, so my husband often selects a seat away from me! I also enjoy taking pictures and entertaining family and friends in our home.

What are three little known facts about you? 1) I am a Vandal through and through. I used to have duct tape in my classroom that I would use to cover up logos and names of that “other” university on students’ shirts and sweatshirts. 2) I really don’t like chocolate, but I do love salt water taffy. 3) I love to write little notes to everyone. My kids and students might find them stuck in their book, slid into their locker, or handed to them before an important contest or game. Many of my FFA students keep these notes of encouragement in their FFA jackets. One student told me that when she is having a bad day, she pulls out all her notes and finds new inspiration.

Be sure to keep up with Jodie, by following her on Facebook, or by following the Weiser River Cattle Association!

Categories: Beef, Blogging, Idaho Cattlewomen, Ranch Life

Women in Ag: Social Media Savvy Cowgirl, Chyenne Smith

Chyenne Smith was just a small town girl from Montana, working in construction when she met her best friend, and now husband, Jay Smith. They took his small herd on a leased ranch, moved into a ranch of their own and have been building it up ever since. Chyenne jokes that they “think we’ll officially have it paid off when we’re 80, but who’s counting.”

How are you involved in agriculture today? I wish I could say I was involved in more aspects of agriculture than ranching, but that pretty much sums it up with the exception of our involvement in the Idaho Cattle Association. Jay is currently serving as a board member, while I on the other hand get to sew a brand square for the quilt our local cattlewomen auction off every year. This might not sound like much (ok, I do more than that) but I didn’t know how to embroider before this, so it’s a big deal.

How has your life been shaped by agriculture? How can anyone’s life NOT be shaped by agriculture?! Trust me, I now know the answer and the reality of that question. Growing up rural, riding horses and helping on ranches when I could left me craving more. Luckily and thankfully I was able to do more. Now our whole world revolves around agriculture. Agriculture shapes how we eat, what we eat and most thoroughly when we eat.

Who inspires you or serves as a mentor? Mentors are not hard to come by in my or Jay’s family. Certainly our mothers, who both were remarkable forces to be reckoned with, in what is still referred to as a man’s world. My mother worked right alongside my father in construction. Jay’s mother grew up ranching, helping first her father, then her brother and now us. Both our fathers have taught me the value of work ethics, which have served me well in every job I have ever taken and now more than ever in ranching and raising a family.

With her love for ranch life, Chyenne couldn't be happier pushing cows through the mountains near their home.

With her love for ranch life, Chyenne couldn’t be happier pushing cows through the mountains near their home.

How do you provide encouragement to others? I have always thought encouragement was a tough recipe. My best example of this is the main reason I am a decent cook and a horrible baker … when cooking you can substitute ingredients and throw all sorts of extras in, not so much in baking if you want to eat the end result… I think it’s important to try and encourage everyone around me so, we help our neighbors, we include everyone we can that wants to be a part of the ranch and most significantly, I’ve found the most helpful thing I can do is give a kind word and often.

If given the chance, what message about agriculture or the beef industry would you share with a large group of people? My overall message, which I share daily through Facebook® and Twitter® is simple: You need to come see for yourself. All the media, hype, movies, documentaries and pictures, positive or negative in message, don’t hold a candle to actually stepping onto a ranch or farm and speaking with real people who work the life every day.

What are you most thankful for? I am thankful every day for absolutely everything … for our family, our friends, our health and for this wonderful life full of adventure an opportunity.

What is your favorite meal to cook yourself or for others? Cooking on the ranch, is my other “other job”, the one that comes with dishes… My favorite thing to cook for a crowd that’s been working to help us all day would be a nice big roast with mashed potatoes, green salad, rolls and pie. My absolute favorite thing to cook for just our family is soup, which goes back to the whole throwing in whatever sounds good at the time.

What’s the first thing you do when you get to the grocery store? Going to the grocery store is an exercise in chaos theory for me … but I usually hit the produce section first and load up on fresh vegetables, fruits and cheese.  If I’m lucky, I have a plan for meals that will direct me through the rest of my shopping experience after that.

What is one of your most favorite childhood memories? When I was 17, my uncle sent a 3 year old green broke horse for me to work and then sell. I spent the better part of the year riding her through our hills and training/practicing reining and western pleasure. When it came time to show her off to potential buyers, she was a rotten example of a good horse, no help from me. Odd, that she only performed badly when there was interest in her … My uncle, knowing how attached to her I must have become, decided to give her to me as a graduation present and now, my favorite horse to ride on our ranch happens to be her son.

For the Smith's, moving cows is quite often a family affair!

For the Smith’s, moving cows is quite often a family affair!

What are some of your favorite pastimes or hobbies? My favorite pastime is and has always been riding horses, which works out quite well with all the range riding that is required from spring through fall. In the winter months I also enjoy crocheting when I’m not tending to a calf on the porch…

You can keep up with Chyenne on Facebook, and Twitter!

Categories: Beef, Blogging, Idaho Cattlewomen, Lifestyle, Ranch Life

Women in Ag: North Idaho Purebred Breeder, Maureen Mai

Maureen Mai was born and raised in Bonner’s Ferry, Idaho—a town just 30 miles south of the Canadian border. She and her husband, Ryan, met during their time at University of Idaho, getting married soon after they graduated. They have been involved in almost all aspects of the cattle business, starting with buying and selling stocker calves, developing a feedlot, and leasing a set of commercial cows, all while continuing to grow the purebred herd she started in her early teen’s. Maureen, Ryan and their son Dillon are now focused on their purebred herd, selling their bulls each February in the Bulls of the Big Sky sale.

How are you involved in agriculture today? It certainly varies from the seasons, but driving tractors and working with cattle fall into all the seasons. I tend to fill in where it is needed, whether it be with the hay rakes, the big baler, as a fence builder, or a truck driver. I operate the combine during our grain harvest…but I am trying to retire from that since I am now more involved with our county fair and 4-H. I am a 4-H leader for the Beef projects. The cows need checked weekly at all their pastures in the summertime and they get fed daily when they aren’t on pasture the other six months of the year. I do the bookkeeping for our business as well as the Idaho and Montana Simmental Associations, and our Bulls of the Big Sky Sale group. So, unfortunately I have to sit behind the computer quite a bit as well.

How has your life been shaped by agriculture? Agriculture has shaped my life from the beginning. My parents had cattle since they were married. They also farmed hay and grains on a small basis and also were involved with the nursery industry for a while. I started 4-H as soon as possible with market steer and horse projects. When I was in high school I was selected to attend the ACT (Advancement for the Cattleman of Tomorrow) Program sponsored by the University of Idaho. After touring Idaho and seeing all of the possibilities and potential with agriculture, I knew I had no intentions of leaving it.

Who inspires you or serves as a mentor? Lots of people have inspired me and many have and do serve as mentors. In the beginning it was a family friend who drug me all across the country to cattle shows. She got me hooked on showing beyond the county level and being an important part of our breed association. All she ever asked is that I would do the same for someone sometime (I have since then hauled her granddaughters and several other kids a great many miles). Dr. Carl Hunt, retired Beef Nutrition Professor at U of I certainly inspired me to think “outside the box” whether it be for feeding/nutrition or profitability or general beef management. Marty Ropp with Allied Genetic Resources has mentored us into developing a pretty strong and competitive herd of Simmental cattle, which we sell to commercial cattlemen at our bull sale.

Maureen and Ryan's son, Dillon, taking the time to play with a new calf.

Maureen and Ryan’s son, Dillon, taking the time to play with a new calf.

How do you provide encouragement to others? Providing encouragement to others???  My husband might say I yell really loud… but I try not to use that technique first. Especially with kids I try to help them achieve their goals by providing advice, pointing them to the right resources, and build their confidence as we go. I usually try to show them how to do something and then make them do it-—with supervision. It helps build their confidence and it teaches them to try new things. They usually end by saying, “that wasn’t so hard” or “that was really cool.”

If given the chance, what message about agriculture or the beef industry would you share with a large group of people? My message about the agriculture and beef industry is…it is SAFE, DELICIOUS and NUTRITIOUS. The farmers and ranchers of the U.S. get up early and stay up late to take care of their animals and crops to make a safe and delicious product for our consumers. It is often a 24 hour a day, 7 days a week, on call job to keep animals safe and harvest crops before bad weather. The dedicated 2 percent of the population commits their lives to put a safe product on the table for the other 98 percent.

What are you most thankful for? I am most thankful for my family and the ability to live the life we do. We work hard but it is so exciting every spring to see a new year of baby calves hit the ground and see if all of last year’s plans worked. I love the early mornings of spring when the green grass pops up as you go out to feed the cows. It is exciting to start the harvest to see how the crops do that you’ve watched grow all summer. Most of all my son gets to experience all these joys as well.

What is you favorite meal to cook yourself or for others? Cooking isn’t my favorite thing to do but it seems to be essential. My favorite quick dish and family favorite is the Black Bean Tamale Pie—it has a corn bread/sour cream crust with hamburger, black beans, corn and taco/fajita seasoning inside. It was a “Beef It’s Whats For Dinner” contest winner years ago.  If company is coming over though I do love to BBQ a good Tri-Tip and some sort of high-calorie loaded potatoes.

A few members of Mai's cattle herd.

A few members of Mai’s cattle herd.

What is the first thing you do when you walk into a grocery store? The first thing I do when I walk into the grocery store is…remember I left my list at home!

What is your favorite childhood memory? My favorite childhood memories are usually related to horses and riding around the neighborhood with my friends. On our adventures we would stop and pick flowers for our moms—which were really weeds, but at the time we didn’t know that!

What is your favorite store to shop in? Favorite store to shop in is Costco and a Big R or D&B. If they don’t have it, we probably don’t really need it!

What is something people might be surprised to know about you? We put up and delivered small bales to the local horse market before we moved to the big 3x4x8’ bales and entered the export market—some of our hay has gone to Korea, Japan (to feed their dairy cows and race horses), and Saudi Arabia (to feed their camels). We continue to custom bale thousands of tons of hay and straw each year.

What are a few of your hobbies? In our spare time, I enjoy boating with family on Lake Pend Oreille, riding our horses, attending to my yard of flowers, and snow skiing.

You can reach out to Maureen by emailing her at rymocattle@gmail.com.

Categories: Beef, Blogging, Idaho Cattlewomen, Lifestyle