Tag: Idaho Cattle Association

2023 Convention Recap

The Idaho CattleWomen Council held a meeting and social during the Idaho Cattle Association annual convention in Sun Valley in November. We had nearly 50 women and guests in attendance. Everyone enjoyed refreshments, and an ice breaker, where each shared if they could have dinner with any person (past or present) who would it be and why.

The business meeting included updates on the committees—website, store, saddle/scholarship. A committee was formed to discuss the possibility of ANCW membership. They will report back during the summer meeting in June 2024. In addition, the resolution in regards to the Idaho Cattlewomen Council and ANCW was reaffirmed.

New leadership for ICWC is Tay Brackett, who moves up into the ICW Chairman seat and onto the ICA Executive Committee. Christie Prescott becomes the ICW Rep to the ICA Board of Directors.

We had another great turnout for the Annual Photo Contest. All entered photos need to be emailed to Morgan at the office if they haven’t been yet. They will be used in future promotions and marketing materials for the association.

three women socializing

L-R: Anita Gonzalez, Saddle and Scholarship Chair, Tay Brackett, ICWC Chair, Christie Prescott, ICW Rep for ICA Board of Directors

man standing behind saddle

Congratulations to Kevin Byington who won the 2023 Saddle. Thank you to our sponsors, AgWest Credit, Amie Halstead and D&B Supply for your support. Thanks to all who purchased tickets. Proceeds go toward our scholarship fund.

Laurie Lickley, who has served as a past ICWC Chairwoman and ICA President, announced her bid for the Idaho Senate. The cattle industry is proud to stand behind this rancher and industry leader.

charcuterie spread on table with nuts, cheese, fruit, chocolate

Categories: Idaho Cattlewomen

Women in Ag: Cattle Industry Champion, Ramona Karas

Ramona Ridley Karas was raised on a farm in Marsing, Idaho. Upon graduation Ramona participated in the Lions Club exchange program and spent two months in a rural town in Australia. After returning home, she attended college at Boise State University while working at US Bank for 10 years. She met and married Buster Ridley and had a daughter, Sierra.  Living on the ranch is when she began working at Simplot Livestock, where she’s worked for almost 24 years, holding various positions, but now serving as Marketing Solutions Manager of Simplot Land & Livestock. Ramona now lives in Nampa and is married to Brandon Karas, who also works in the agriculture industry. During Ramona’s tenure with Simplot, she has served our local communities in many capacities, volunteering with Canyon County Boys & Girls Club; Canyon County Festival of Trees; Agribusiness Chamber Member and class volunteer for the Grand View Grade School.

We would also like to point out that Ramona has served on the Idaho Cattle Association’s Board of Directors for the past 21 years, where she has held the position of Feeder Council Chairman; Cow-Calf Chairman; Director at Large; Allied Industry Chairman; PAC Committee; CALF Board and Convention Committee.

How are you involved in agriculture today? I work for one of the largest agribusiness companies in Idaho—Simplot. I am currently the Marketing Solutions Manager for Simplot Land & Livestock. We have one of the largest cow-calf operations and feedlots in the U.S. and farm approximately 70,000 acres. We also distribute animal health products, seed, supplies, equipment, and manufacture feed and mineral for the dairy and beef industries. I’m proud of our commitment to help every aspect of the cattle industry raise quality animals

How has your life been shaped by agriculture? I grew up on a farm, where we raised mostly corn, alfalfa seed and pasture for grazing. We ran some yearlings in the summertime and I participated in 4-H with a steer until I graduated from high school. I loved horses, but my father always said they were “hay burners,” so I couldn’t have one. Finally I had a bet with my dad that if I won All -Around Showman of the Owyhee County Fair, he would have to buy me a horse! I loved that horse for the rest of my high school years, and even ended up taking Horse 4-H as well! Being raised on the farm, you learn to rise with the sun, work all day and sometimes not go to bed until long after the sun has set. We sat down to the table at meals as a family and talked—no cell phones, no TV, just family talk. We were very scheduled: Lunch was always served at noon, dinner was at 6:30 and at 3:30 when we got off the bus, Grandma had something baked and everyone took a break for baked goods and coffee. Being raised in an agriculture environment taught me to be a dedicated worker, not looking at a clock to see if it was 5:00 and time to end the work day, but rather to look at a job and see what was needed to complete the task, timetable aside. It taught be to be flexible, that Mother Nature will be consistent—consistently changing. It taught me to have patience; good things come to those that toil.

Ramona and her daughter, Sierra Ridley-Palmer, during the 2014 ICA Annual Convention and Trade Show.

Ramona and her daughter, Sierra Ridley-Palmer, during the 2014 ICA Annual Convention and Trade Show.

Who inspires you or serves as a mentor? When I started at Simplot I knew much more about farming than I did cattle. Tom Basabe (President of Simplot Land and Livestock), my boss, took the time to teach me about feeding cattle: limited feeding method; rations; conversion rates; average daily gains, trials, and many other things I’d never heard of before. It was also the first time I ate a steak that was cooked medium and oh how great that was! My family had always cooked meat well done! Tom gave me responsibility to do my job, but always let me know he was there if needed. He helped me with my decision-making skills, taking responsibility, and being dedicated to the agricultural industry.

How do you provide encouragement to others? Laughter! As I’ve aged, I realize life isn’t that complicated.  My advice is don’t be too serious, and try to find humor and goodness in life’s everyday trials.

If given the chance, what message about agriculture or the beef industry would you share with a large group of people? I would challenge them to understand where their food really comes from. Not the grocery store, not the convenience store, but from the farm and ranches—both family and corporate owned. They need to realize that as the population increases we need to continue to improve our footprint to provide sustainability for future generations.

What are you most thankful for? I am most thankful for God who has blessed my life with so many wonderful things: a career in agriculture, a supportive family, an abundance of friends, good health, a sweet daughter and a loving husband.

What is your favorite meal to cook yourself or for others? Well, I love cooking, so that’s a hard one. I guess it would have to be that perfect New York steak, cooked medium rare, pan-seared in a cast iron skillet, finished in the oven, smothered with white wine cream sauce, caramelized onions and a bit of blue cheese sprinkled on top. Add a wedge salad topped with red onions, diced tomatoes, crisp bacon, blue cheese crumbles with a ranch/balsamic vinegar glaze and you are in heaven! And don’t forget the glass (or bottle) or earthly red wine. You don’t even have to have bread with this meal!

Ramona and her husband, Brandon, were married 11/12/13, in Sun Valley.

Ramona and her husband, Brandon, were married Nov. 12, 2013, in Sun Valley.

What is the first thing you do when you walk into a grocery store? I walk around the perimeter starting on the right (which is usually the fresh veggies), then dairy section (gotta have my cheese! And half and half for my coffee), then to the meat section, ending at the wine. I only go down the center isles if I need something else.

What are some of your favorite pastimes and/or hobbies?  I love cooking, traveling, camping, fishing, riding the Harley, skydiving, zip line, most anything with an element of danger.

What are three little known facts about you? 1) I took ballet lessons for seven years (hated every minute of it!). 2) I was a pro marksman (beating all the boys) in Junior High. 3) I love looking like a badass, wearing my leathers and riding the Harley!

Be sure to follow Ramona on Facebook!

Categories: Beef, Blogging, Idaho Cattlewomen, Ranch Life

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: Natural Resources Policy Advisor, Karen Williams

Karen Marchant Williams was raised on a cattle ranch in Oakley, Idaho. After graduating from college with a degree in Animal Science with an agri-business and political science emphasis, she began working for the Utah Cattlemen’s Association. The pull back home to Idaho was strong and after one year, she was able to find a job with the Idaho Cattle Association (ICA) where she has now worked for the past 16 years. Her role for ICA centers on natural resource policy issues, particularly relating to public lands grazing and wildlife issues. Her experience on public policy issues, combined with her family’s cattle ranching heritage provides her with the unique ability to represent Idaho’s cattle industry on the issues that affect the livelihood of Idaho’s ranching families. Karen works from her home office in Twin Falls where she and her husband Jason raise three red-headed girls, Sadie (10), Abigail (8), and Ellie (6). As often as possible, Karen and her family help out on her family’s ranch.

How are you involved in agriculture and/or the beef industry today? It is fair to say that my life is consumed by my care for agriculture, particularly the cattle industry. With my job for the Idaho Cattle Association, I literally spend every day studying and seeking resolution to the problems that face our industry and threaten the livelihoods of Idaho’s cattle ranching families. In addition to going home to my family’s ranch to help as often as possible, we also own a few acres, which allows me the satisfaction of having livestock around. It also provides my girls with the connection to chores and animals that helps to build their character, sense of self-worth, and value of hard work, even if on a smaller scale than what I grew up with.

How has your life been shaped by agriculture? I cannot remember not having a passion for agriculture. It is in my blood as generations before me pioneered their way through the agrarian lifestyle. I grew up on a place where the term “family ranch” truly characterized our outfit. We worked together and were given responsibilities at an early age that were essential to the running of the ranch. My ties to that place are as strong as any of the bonds I feel with the people in my life. Because of that, I have an innate desire to stay close to that livelihood and do all I can to protect it. My education, my career, and my efforts to raise my children have all been centered with a love of this industry.

If ever a spare minute can be found, Karen loves going to help her family on their Basin ranch.

If ever a spare minute can be found, Karen loves going to help her family on their Basin ranch.

Who inspires you or serves as a mentor? I consider myself greatly blessed to have been surrounded by inspiring people my entire life. Both my father and mother were raised on cattle ranches and then together built up their own ranch and spent countless additional hours volunteering their time in community and state-wide agricultural organizations. From them, I learned an appreciation for the honest reward of hard work and a strong sense of my civic duty to work for the betterment of society. Also, I never cease to be inspired by the incredible men and women that make up Idaho’s cattle industry. I often think that that term “salt of the earth” had to be coined based on a cattle rancher. It is for them that I am proud to work every day.

How do you provide encouragement to others? I am generally an optimistic person who recognizes the great blessings of my life. I hope that my positive outlook drives the way I interact with people from all walks of life and provides encouragement and hope.

If given the chance, what message about agriculture or the beef industry would you share with a large group of people? With very few exceptions, Idaho’s cattle men and women are driven by the pure desires to care for their animals, pursue an honest, hard-working lifestyle, and to provide nourishing food to the world’s growing appetite. Their presence out on the land, both private and public, ensures that the cherished nature of wide open spaces are preserved and that the land is conserved. With all of the very real crises facing humanity across the globe, I am constantly confused by those activists who target our industry and seek to destroy the livelihood of those people who only desire to provide for the world. These are the acts of a generation who have never known true want or starvation. With our bounty comes trials.

Aren't those the cutest cowgirls you've ever seen?

Aren’t those the cutest cowgirls you’ve ever seen?

What are you most thankful for? I am thankful for my faith, which fortifies me with daily strength and provides me with perspective on those things that matter most. At the very top on that list is my family—nothing comes before them. I also live in daily gratitude for the freedoms and peace we enjoy in this country. Lastly, I am ever-grateful for my heritage, which is steeped in the cattle industry and for the way of life I was born into and continue to be blessed to pursue and share with my children.

What is your favorite meal to cook yourself or for others? There are few things more satisfying than eating from the fruits of your labors. I love to make a late summer meal for my family where nearly everything on the plate is homegrown: grilled steak from the spare fair steer we raised; new potatoes and corn on the cob—both smothered in butter, along with tomatoes and watermelon from the garden, and peaches from our trees. Throw in some straight-out-of-the-oven rolls and it’s hard to imagine that life could be much better!

I also often take the opportunity to provide meals for friends who are sick or need a pick-me-up. I wouldn’t even consider bringing them anything other than a beef dish. I always hope that my cooking brings the comfort of a good hearty meal and a reminder of the versatility and nutrition of beef as a key ingredient in meals.

What is your favorite childhood memory? I was blessed with a childhood full of wonderful memories, but one that really stands out to me is my participation at the county fair. Showing cattle is also something that is also in my blood and I loved everything about the fair—from the feeling of reward at the end of a summer of hard work to the strong sense of community gathering to the delectable once-a-year food. The best part about this memory is that it is one that can be relived every year—especially since my oldest daughter is now showing a steer, and from all appearances, it’s in her blood every bit as much as it is in mine. That is a joy to watch.

Karen, spending time in one of her favorite places, Washington D.C.

Karen, spending time in one of her favorite places, Washington D.C.

Favorite place to visit? First and foremost is the Basin (home of my family’s ranch). It does a lot of good for my soul. Secondly, I love Washington, D.C. I really enjoy American history and there is no place richer with history than D.C. I also get carried up in politics and love the electric feeling of being at the heart of the place where our great country is governed—yes, even in spite of the fact that I am more frequently than not frustrated by the actions our leaders take. During my college years, I had the wonderful opportunity to complete an internship in D.C with an Idaho senator. That experience was very formative for me. Now I typically have the opportunity to travel to Washington about once a year to meet with elected and agency officials to represent Idaho’s cattlemen and women on the important issues facing our industry. That is an opportunity, and a responsibility, that I do not take lightly.

What are three little known facts about you? 1) It may not be little-known, as my infatuation is made quite clear to those around me, but I LOVE George Strait. I can say with 100 percent assurance that no musician will ever, ever come anywhere close to eclipsing my love for all things George. 2) I turn into a different person when I watch BYU football. All of my normally subdued character traits become overshadowed by the rabid fan within me.  Since my kids have had to live with me during the tremendous ups and downs of this season, they have taken to asking me at the start of each game, “Are you going to scream this time?”  3) I hate mice. With every fiber of my being. I cannot understand the purpose for the creation of these vermin. Knowing that he married a “tough” ranch girl, my husband can never comprehend how I can get so worked up and completely undone by the presence of a mouse or even their often-present calling card. I can’t comprehend it either; it is irrational, but I just can’t help myself. I think they might be the only drawback to living in the country.

Keep up with Karen by following her on Facebook and Instagram!

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

Gettin’ the Heck Out of Dodge

I just returned home from an amazing three days in Sun Valley at the Idaho Cattle Association Convention. It had been more than ten years since our family had been to a Convention, so I was wondering how much had changed. Fortunately, only the venue from Sun Valley Lodge to Sun Valley Inn was different. The good people remain the same regardless of the years. The Convention’s theme was innovative. . .”Not your Grandad’s Industry.” That was an understatement with the current market conditions. The speakers and agenda were thought-provoking with some interesting trends. I kept thinking that it wasn’t Grandad’s industry, but it will be our children’s industry. The time away from the ranch and its demands gave me time to think and plan and question. The current topics and statistics were important to me as we strive to inform our consumers about our product.


ICA Convention Materials & Notes for my report to the Weiser River Cattle Association meeting.

On the drive back home over the Camas Prairie, I realized that “getting the heck out of Dodge” is very necessary, especially in ranching. We’ve never really taken a “vacation” in 30 years of marriage. If we did get away for more than 24 hours, the event was generally tied to cattle or kids. But, that has been the interesting part; to travel to something or somewhere that rejuvenates your passion.


The Trail Cook looks just like me when I wonder what we’ll have for supper. . .something with Beef, of course!


Remington originals. . .Wow.


The Ranch Life exhibit at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, which explains not only our past, but does an excellent job of showing what we do today.

On a recent college visitation trip to Kansas and Oklahoma, my daughter, Dana, and I took an afternoon to explore the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City. What an amazing tribute to our industry, its heritage and art. I was thankful we took the extra time to visit it.

Although I have lots of laundry, a basketball game and cows to feed today, I feel ready to tackle the demands with a bit more energy. It was great “gettin’ out of Dodge,” but it’s really good to be home.

~ Julie

Julie and her family own a cow-calf, yearling operation and custom feedlot in southwest Idaho. She and her husband were raised on livestock ranches and their industry roots run deep. Their children have been very active and involved in the ranch and feedlot, and are developing their own herds of quality cattle.

Categories: Blogging, Idaho Cattlewomen, Ranch Life