Cattlemen convene for annual banquet
A crowd lined up outside the A.W. Todd Centre in downtown Russellville Saturday evening, waiting to be admitted to the annual meeting and banquet of the Franklin County Cattlemen’s Association.
Evening entertainment included a steak dinner and door prize giveaways. Membership cards and discount cards were distributed. Other portions of the meeting included presentation of the annual report and nominating committee report, election of directors and explanation of membership status.
Chuck Madaris, president-elect of the Alabama Cattlemen’s Association, was the keynote speaker.
“This is my first time in Franklin County,” explained Madaris. “I’m honored to visit the largest Cattlemen’s Association in the state and to get to tell the crowd a little bit about my cattle operation, CK Cattle, in Hope Hull.
“I enjoyed making new friends and having the opportunity to share my passion for the cattle industry and to encourage support of the Alabama Cattlemen,” added Madaris.
Other speakers included Austin Blankenship, Franklin County 4-H agent; Katernia Cole Coffey, Franklin County Extension coordinator; and Extension agents Jared Daniel and Cade Grace.
Cole Coffey applauded the educational aspect of the event. “This event is a wonderful way to educate the community concerning agriculture and the resources that are available to them,” she explained. “The Franklin County Cattlemen’s Association is to be commended for their hard work with the many scholarships that are given, as well as the hard work they put in for other organizations.”
Michael Pounders, president of the local organization, spoke about the local group’s activities. He explained proceeds of six ribeye sandwich sales help provide an average of 26 scholarships to high school seniors in Franklin County. The Cattlemen also donate beef to the Family and Consumer Sciences programs in Franklin County, as well as participate in the Cattlemen’s Association reading program, support the Alabama Cattlemen’s Association’s Beef Month with restaurant promotions and operate the Franklin County Junior Cattlemen, in addition to other community activities.
“I want to thank the people of Franklin County for coming out to our annual meeting,” said Pounders. “We had over 300 in attendance. That shows the support we have for the farming industry in our community.”
2022 CATTLEMAN OF THE YEAR
Bonnie Hargett, longtime organization volunteer and secretary, was presented the 2022 Cattleman of the Year award.
Pounders introduced Hargett and presented the award. “Volunteers are an essential part of any organization,” he explained. “Bonnie Hargett has given her time and always been a driving force and advocate for the Cattlemen’s Association.” He noted she is involved in the Hargett and Hargett farms, located on her grandfather’s old home-place in Franklin County.
“Bonnie and her husband Jack have been active members for more than 30 years,” Pounders added. “We appreciate her hard work and dedication.”
Hargett said she was pleased to receive the award. “It makes me feel appreciated.”
Andrew Massey, a junior at Red Bay High School, received the Franklin County Junior Cattlemen’s Production Scholarship.
“This scholarship is a new tradition,” explained organization Vice President Caleb Beason. “It’s meant to be used to financially assist the candidate in their involvement in the cattle business.”
The scholarship was given in memory of Grayson Garcia.
“Grayson was very active in his family’s cattle operation and loved the cowboy lifestyle,” explained Beason. “He was 8 years old when he passed away. His family are longtime members of the Cattlemen’s Association.”
The 2023 Franklin County Cattlemen’s Association officers will remain the same as this past year: Michael Pounders, president; Caleb Beason, vice president; and Jack Hargett and Bonnie Hargett, treasurer/secretary.