Brenda Black, one of the newest members of the Cattlemen’s Beef Board, is a cow-calf operator who lives in Deepwater, Mo., ranching with her family locally and in Amoret, on the Kansas border about an hour west. More on the reason behind that long distance commute later.
First, let’s talk about how she keeps herself occupied – and there is a lot to tell. She’s active with Missouri CattleWomen where she’s the President-Elect. She’s an author, freelance writer, inspirational speaker, and the owner of a writing and public-relations agency called "The Word's Out," and volunteers as a Sunday school teacher.
She holds a degree in agriculture journalism from the University of Missouri and, not one to waste those four years of hard work, has been published more than 1,500 times. Her news and feature articles appear in The Midwest Cattleman, Missouri Beef Cattleman, and The Missouri Ruralist magazines, in addition to community papers throughout the state, the Ag industry, and Christian publications.
She’s a mother, retired home school teacher, former parent educator, proud country girl, auctioneer, and, once, a professional rodeo queen. And the reason for that long distance commute? She’s a preacher’s wife and their church is south of Deepwater.
“My husband, Alan, went to Ozark Christian College while I was at the University of Missouri,” she said. “Since graduating and pursuing our careers, we've always preferred ministering to country congregations where we can relate with the people, who, like us, enjoy the rural lifestyle. He ministers at the Ohio Christian Church located about an hour north of Springfield, MO, but also does a lot of concrete work near our farm, so that allows him to check the cattle on a regular basis. I go when needed to work or sort the herd. And when it's calving time, I take charge of the first-timers here at the house. It makes for long days and is especially challenging in the winter. Alan goes the extra mile, literally, to keep both our church and the farm going.”
Like most ranches in the region, it’s a small operation with 30 to 40 cattle; Simmentals with some Angus influence. “We’ve always raised livestock and our family is better for it,” she said. “I grew up showing horses and cattle and rodeoing and I was delighted to continue many of those experiences with my husband and sons.”
Brenda and Alan have two sons, Austin and Cooper, who have ‘left the nest’ but remain close by. “Austin is 22 and he just graduated from the College of the Ozarks with dual degrees in agribusiness and animal science. He’s interning with Genex in Shawano, Wisconsin and is the 2011 Missouri Farm Bureau Male Ambassador. Cooper is a sophomore at the college working on a minor in agriculture and is active in music and youth ministry. Both have been excellent cattlemen, coming up through the ranks of 4-H and junior breed and cattlemen associations. They consistently participate in genetic and marketing decisions for our herd.”