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County cattlemen have story time for Beef Month

October Beef Month is time-honored tradition spanning decades among the Alabama Cattleman’s Association chapters, and Franklin County cattlemen are making the most of the opportunity to promote cattle and beef products.

Last week, cattlemen read the story “Beef Cattle” to first and third grass across Franklin County. The book takes each letter of the alphabet to teach cattle farming and beef production and consumption concepts – like C for calf: “Mother cattle are called cows. A cow’s baby is called a calf” and N for nutritious: “Beef is very nutritious and helps to keep us healthy.”

Cattleman Orland Britnell, dressed for the job in the Cattlemen’s signature red shirt along with a cowboy hat, read to and talked with first grade students at Russellville’s West Elementary School. Along with the facts shared in the book, Britnell was able to tell the students about his personal experiences as a cattle farmer.

“Some of these kids have never been acquainted with anything to do with animals,” Britnell said. He was able to expand on every page of the book as he introduced the students to the world of cattle farming.

“Cows don’t wear shoes, like you do,” he pointed out, as he covered H for hooves. “They’ve got split hooves with two toes. They have four legs, four feet and eight toes. They might get a stick or rock stuck in there, and they limp. We have to observe our cattle, and if you have one limping, then you get it into a head catch … and you help them back taking that rock or stick out of the hooves. It will cause then a lot of problems, so we get it out. We help them.”

The Cattlemen donate a copy of the book to each Franklin County School.

It’s not just the elementary students who benefit from the Cattlemen’s generosity during October Beef Month. This is also the time of year when the Cattlemen donate beef product to each school for the culinary curriculum in the Family and Consumer Sciences department. “Those teachers said they really use that beef to teach with,” Britnell said. “I talk to each school and find out what they want. Some of them want stir fry, some of them want something different … Whatever they want, we give them a hundred pounds of beef per school.”

That donation was made this morning at the Franklin County Board of Education office.

The state Cattlemen’s Association coordinates October Beef Month in Alabama. “October Beef Month is a great tradition in Alabama dating back to 1964,” ACA director of checkoff programs Erin Beasley said. “Looking into the month of October, beef will be everywhere through social media, events and promotions designed to keep our favorite protein top of mind with consumers.”

Cattle production is the second largest animal agriculture industry in the state of Alabama, falling only behind poultry production. Beef cattle production in Alabama represents a $2.5 billion industry that supplies more than 7,000 jobs to Alabamians.