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

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