It pays to belong to the Franklin County Cattlemen’s Association
The Alabama Cattlemen’s Association promotes the beef industry and supports producers. Along fulfilling the mission of the Cattlemen, the Franklin County branch also gives back to the community and its members.
Steven Smith, President of the Franklin County branch, has been a member since 2008 and served as vice-president in 2013. He was promoted to president in 2014.
“The association is set up to support beef producers in the state by protecting land rights, water and natural resource rights,” he said.
Smith said the local branches have representatives in Montgomery to work with legislatures to help aid farmers, and if a bill comes about that could hurt farmers, the representatives try to prevent it.
Franklin County Cattlemen devote most of their time participating in events around the community and collecting money for scholarships given to students from the various high schools in the county, Smith said.
Six times a year, the Association hosts a rib eye steak sandwich sale in which the proceeds go directly to student scholarships, Smith said.
The sales are held in March, April, May, Aug. at the Watermelon Festival and at the Red Bay Founders’ Day, he said.
“Depending on how we do that year, (we) determine how many scholarships,” he said.
Orland Britnell, Franklin County vice president, former president and former state president, said when membership numbers dropped, the Cattlemen decided to begin the sandwich sale. Since then, they have collected over $120,000 in scholarship money.
Franklin County has the second biggest member base in the state, Smith said.
“We have members from surrounding counties in Franklin County because of the support we give the community,” he said.
Another contribution they make is by providing beef for the Red Cross blood drive four times a year, and providing beef for the Envirothon hosted by the Natural Resources Conservation, Smith said.
“Everything we do is volunteer base,” he said. “When we have a sandwich sale, it takes 35 to 40 people to operate it.”
15 to 20 volunteers are people from the community or spouses of members who come to help, Smith said.
Smith said he has a great appreciation for Cassie Medley and the Franklin County Junior Leadership Group for all their help with the Watermelon Festival and the Red Bay Founders’ Day.
During the annual conference in January, the Leadership Group helped to serve meals to members, he said.
“They do a tremendous job and we couldn’t do it without their assistance,” Smith said.
Once a member has joined, he or she will receive a discount card to over 18 local businesses, Smith said. Franklin County was the first county in the state to offer this incentive, Smith said.
“We get a lot of support from merchants in the county and various businesses,” he said. “We get a lot of support from corporate.”
Britnell said the discounts range from five percent to 20 percent, and if a member subscribes for six months to Franklin County Times, they will get six months free.
Smith said members are able to use cattle equipment free of charge.
“We’re probably one of the most active counties in Alabama because of our visibility and the efforts we provide for members,” he said.
Another perk of membership is the drawing at the annual conference in January, where a member has a chance to win a utility vehicle provided by the Association, Smith said.
Joey Masterson, Franklin County Cattlemen member and winner of the utility vehicle last year, said he joined the association several years ago and let his membership lapse, but rejoined the group last year.
Masterson said he has grown up on a farm and been around cattle his whole life—he currently shares 75 head of cattle with his brother-in-law.
“It’s my hobby,” he said. “There’s nothing like riding around in the pasture and seeing baby calves born, and seeing cattle.”
The group is a great networking tool, according to Masterson.
He said he had been looking for a bull and because Smith travels to different counties as part of his position, Smith found Masterson the bulls he had been looking for.
Masterson said he enjoys being included in the community involvement of the Cattlemen, and has been around cattle his whole life.
“It’s just something to help, you know…just something to help the community,” he said.
Britnell said the goal of the county is to exceed the previous year’s membership numbers.
“We have a great membership base in Franklin County,” he said.
Smith said, in order to join, a person will need to send a 30 dollar annual fee to the county secretary or see the Board of Directors. The fee covers a steak meal for the member, spouse and children at the annual meeting, and covers the cost of a picnic in the summer.
Masterson said his membership fee is the best $30 he’s ever spent.
“They work hard with local businesses in Franklin County to get us all they can,” he said. “It’s a great association, it really is.”
Masterson said his son is 16-years-old and Masterson’s father has already signed his son up and paid the membership fee.
“Regardless if you win the Gator or not, it’s the best $30 you can spend.”
Smith said the Franklin County motto is: “It pays to belong.”