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PHOTO BY MARÍA CAMP / Children participating in Franklin County Junior Cattlemen field day Saturday are (back from left) Joe Dale Norton, Bo Lemay, Noah Wyatt, Colt Thomas, Andrew Massey, Elizabeth Pounders, (front from left) Jackson Hightower, Cade Lemay, Anna Norton and Madeleine Lemay. 

Franklin County Junior Cattlemen partake in field day

By María Camp / For the FCT

The Franklin County Cattlemen’s Association held a field day for its chapter of the Alabama Junior Cattlemen’s Association Saturday at Michael Pounders’ farm in Phil Campbell.

The day started by educating members about the proper judging methods of cattle meant for food production versus cattle intended for breeding. Franklin County Cattlemen’s Association vice president Caleb Beason explained, “The criteria are different for market and breeding cattle, and it’s important to understand the differences.”

Members learned that knowing proper industry terminology is important – for example, the difference in “heifer” versus “cow.” Beason said, “Once a heifer has given birth, she is referred to as a cow.” Participants also learned about farm safety.

Some members brought cattle and exhibited them for judging. Winners were Colt Thomas, first place, Market Steer, and Noah Wyatt, first place, Bred Heifer.

Following this, Junior Cattlemen – who include boys and girls ranging in age from 8-13 – participated in a skill-a-thon, where they competed against each other to test their memories of the information presented.

  • Cattle judging winners: first place Anna Norton, second place Colt Thomas and third place Noah Wyatt.
  • Skill-a-thon winners: first place Colt Thomas, second place Anna Norton, and third place Madeleine Lemay.
  • Poster contest winner: Noah Wyatt.

The final event of the day’s activities let the children enjoy competing while driving golf carts through a hay bale obstacle course.

“I am extremely proud of the work that is being done. I support Caleb (Beason) in what he’s doing with the youth program for Franklin County,” said Michael Agar, director of industry relations and youth programs for the Alabama Cattlemen’s Association. “I am getting good ideas to use at the state level in my office from what is being done here.”

Beason said Franklin County’s chapter for the Alabama Junior Cattlemen started in January. “The program is still in the planning stages. It’s open to those 21 and under,” he said. “We hope to get more youth involved in the coming year. Membership is open to both farm kids and non-farm kids.”

Steven Smith, president of the Franklin County Cattlemen’s Association, said he’s proud of the participation they have seen in this first year of the program. “I’m thrilled with the turnout,” he said. “We want to educate our youth, and we look forward to this coming year, perhaps increasing our membership and helping children gain more knowledge of cattle production in Alabama. The youth are the future of cattle producers.”

Smith thanked Agar for taking the time to come from Montgomery, as well as thanking “Caleb Beason for his efforts in putting this together, Joe Hester, and Michael Pounders for the use of his farm and facilities. I also want to thank Greg Hamilton, the superintendent of the Franklin County Board of Education, and Jarod Massey, Red Bay High School’s Future Farmers of America instructor.”

The Franklin County Cattlemen’s Association also thanked local businesses for donating money to be used as prizes and to help pay for the event: CB&S Bank, Northwest Alabama Livestock Auction, Alabama Farm Credit, Spry Memorial Chapel, Oliver Insurance and Farmers Warehouse/Farmers Exchange.