Contributing to something bigger than yourself

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Cow/calf and stocker producer Kim Brackett from Buhl, Idaho, was elected by fellow Cattlemen’s Beef Board (CBB) members to serve as CBB chairman in 2014. The vote came today during the 2014 Cattle Industry Annual Convention in Nashville, Tenn.

The oldest of four girls, Kim grew up on a cow/calf operation in Wyoming spending countless hours on her “dad’s payroll”. After high school, Kim received her undergraduate degree from Utah State and went on to finish her Master’s Degree at Boise State; she is also working through a Doctoral Program.

During her time at Utah State, she met fifth generation cowboy Ira and the two were married in 1995, after which they moved to southwestern Idaho to his family’s ranch to work with his grandfather and father. Ten years later, Ira and Kim decided to diversify and buy some farm ground, installed pivots and ran a stocker operation during the height of the age and source verification era.

Four years ago, the couple further evaluated how much time they were investing in paperwork and the bureaucracy and continual litigation by environmental extremists as it related to their federal lands. Departing from the way Ira’s family typically operated the ranch, they sold their federal land permits and bought some private ground and lease land in multiple states in the west. Kim says it was a decision they didn’t take lightly but one they are extremely pleased with, and it enables their four children to be actively involved on the ranch every day whether it be chores, feeding calves, moving cattle, fixing fence, hauling out protein supplement or checking heifers, just to name a few.

Among her many titles, Kim is mother to four children:  Cade, 12, Zane, 10, Chantry, 7 and Rhett, 5. The kids are all involved in 4-H and the family spends time discussing genetics, how important it is to calculate feed rations and how that translates into carcass quality. Kim says it’s important for her children to understand the entire beef lifecycle.

Kim spent six years on the Idaho Beef Council working her way through leadership positions during pivotal years of hiring a new beef council executive and increasing the state checkoff. She says this was one of her proudest moments as chair in learning consensus-building among all segments of the industry and building a coalition of folks who understood the checkoff and saw the need for increasing it within the state. Kim has also served as Federation of State Beef Councils director, been active in the Idaho Cattlemen’s Association, local cattle association, and local school board. Furthermore, she served as chair of the Idaho BQA advisory board, was a Sunday School teacher for many years, literacy tutor, volunteers at the kids' school, and served on the county-wide health board.

Kim’s first experience with the checkoff was as chair of Idaho’s state cookoff. “To be stepping up as Cattlemen’s Beef Board chair is a phenomenal evolution in what seems like a relatively short amount of years,” Kim says. “I never fully appreciated how hard the checkoff works for me and my family and our ranch, nor did I understand the scope of checkoff programs. Some people say I’m the ‘face of the checkoff’ as chair and I laugh that off but also take a lot of pride in that because I’m so proud of our checkoff programs and how they work for us as cattle ranchers.”

Kim truly embodies the cattle industry and represents the hard-working men and women across the country. She is out there every day working cattle, loading trucks, sorting cows and pulling calves. “I am a beef producer, too.”

When asked to point out checkoff successes to her fellow producers, Kim highlighted the BOLD study (Beef in an Optimal Lean Diet) – and how pivotal this nutritional research was in communicating with consumers about the benefits of beef in a lean diet. She also noted the Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) program and how the decisions producers make on the ranch affect their end product; Kim encourages all producers to be BQA-certified and active in providing a consistent beef product that consumers are asking for.

Switching gears, Kim says as chair, she hopes to build bridges. “That means embracing our differences as CBB members because the one thing that does unite us is that we care about this cattle industry. We care enough to be on the board, to be involved, and to be engaged in making decisions for a strong checkoff program.”

Kim says she would be remiss to not mention at the end of her story Ira and his constant, unwavering support for her in her role on the Beef Board. “He is a superhero. He is my number one fan and my biggest supporter. I couldn’t do any of this without him, or my kids. Seeing ‘mom’ contributing her time and effort to something bigger than she is, the greater good, is a valuable lesson for them.”

In her “spare” time, Kim blogs at BeefMatters.com. For more information about your beef checkoff investment, visit MyBeefCheckoff.com.


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Graybull    
Wyo  |  February, 07, 2014 at 05:31 PM

Best of Luck……..Kim……. Hopefully you will challenge the status quo at the Beef Board and Checkoff. To your predeacessors credit……..their message to American Consumers has been working…… "Beef is OK……IF you eat certain kinds and not too much." IF you don't believe that beef is the best food you can eat……..bar none……..maybe you should not be in that position.


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