For over 50 years, the Muskogee County Cattlemen’s Association has had the goals to promote beef and the beef industry and support local area producers. A key program for the association is the theft rewards program. If cattle or equipment is stolen, the Muskogee County Cattlemen’s Association offers a $2,000 reward for information leading to a conviction. The association also supports producers with educational programming to help improve herd health and beef quality. Last year, the group hosted a clinic on how to properly brand animals and read brands. In 2020, a clinic will held on proper vaccinating and vaccination techniques. Efforts are underway to promote beef through creation of a radio advertisement to counter the impossible beef campaign.
Youth programs include the stocker calf program, for 4-H and FFA students whose families are members of MCCA. Each student weighs in three calves in April and raises the calves through the summer keeping records on feed, weight gain, and expenses. The calves are weighed again the first week in September, and the youth are judged on their animal's gain and the quality of their records. Winners are recognized at the annual meeting and receive cash prices for first, second and third place. The association also financially supports the county livestock show, and the Haskell FFA Rodeo and supplies awards for cattle grading contests at the county level and the regional level. At least 100 kids from Muskogee County participate in the contests each year.
The association is run by volunteers who are local beef producers with support from the staff at the Oklahoma State University Cooperative Extension Service Muskogee office. The association has a rich history in Muskogee County with memberships spanning multiple generations of ranching families. Five of the current board members had a grandfather who was a member in 1970. Passing on knowledge and skills for organization operations as well as cattle raising is a focus of the organization. Each Muskogee County commission district has two representatives on the Board, one active member and one member learning about the organization’s operations and governance. Four officers are elected by the membership annually in addition to the district representatives.
Membership is $25 per year per family, with dues going toward the above association programs. The annual meeting and steak dinner is held the second week in November and sponsored by local businesses. Armstrong Bank provides the meal, and in 2019, Cotten Wealth Management provided the dessert. Numerous businesses also place ads in the program book.
President Alan Richards says, “We are truly grateful that we have so many businesses in Muskogee and the surrounding communities that help support us.”
In 2019, the program speakers were area youth. Colby Erickson from Haskell spoke on the financial well-being of the beef industry, and Tatum Barrett from Oktaha shared her experiences with livestock.
For more information or to join the Muskogee County Cattleman’s Association, contact the OSU Extension Office at 918-686-7200 and speak to Tara Fewel or Gina Stacy.
Walkup writes for Muskogee Phoenix, a CNHI News Service publication.