Words: Laura Stewart
Beef is the main product from cattle, widely known and consumed, yet beef by-products span a wide variety of other goods including paint brushes, leather, lipstick, tires, and dish soap. Oregon Cattlewomen (OCW) was founded in 1953 as an organization working to protect the beef industry. Their core work is to promote Oregon’s cattle industry and cattle by-products, and maintain an active involvement in the Legislature.
Jenny Coelho is the OCW President. Raised on a ranch near Dairy, Oregon, her interest in cattle grew through involvement in 4-H. She devoted herself to preserving the cattle industry and pursued a degree in Agriculture Resources and Economics at Oregon State University.
“I was passionate about [agriculture] since I was four years old,” says Jenny. “The farmers and ranchers in the U.S. are exceptional.
It’s not always easy and not always glamorous work. Those jobs are important, but the general public doesn’t know what it takes to get that product to the manufacturer. There are a lot of people who have to work really hard to make it happen.”
Jenny uses her role as OCW President to educate the public and inspire the next generation of ranchers. “The cattlewomen are the glue that holds a lot of stuff together in the industry,” says Jenny. “Cattlewomen help with promotion and education. As president I want to get the Oregon Cattlewomen name out there so people know who we are and what we do.”
Volunteers who fill the positions in Oregon Cattlewomen promote beef products, educate the general non-farming public, and share helpful information about legislative bills. Some of their work includes monitoring how the state handles water regulation, forest management and livestock transportation.
Recent programs in development include Team Beef, Junior Cattlewomen and new scholarships. Team Beef supports athletes, representing the benefits of eating beef by sporting Team Beef t-shirts on race day. Junior Cattlewomen, from 0-18 years old, volunteer at events and learn from experienced cattle men and women. For the first time this year, Oregon Cattlewomen is offering scholarships to college-bound individuals focusing on agriculture or related fields.
“Agriculture is so important to a nation,” says Jenny. “You have to have agriculture to feed your people. If you have a good agricultural base, your society will be productive. [Agriculture] is the backbone of the nation.”
Oregon Cattlewomen oregoncattlewomen.org Mission: To participate in the advancement of the cattle industry through promotion and education. We actively work to promote positive legislation in support of our industry.
President, Jenny Coelho;
President Elect, Diana Wirth
Area Vice President West, Katharine Jackson
Area Vice President North, Leslie Pierson
Area Vice President Southeast, Elisha Miller
Secretary, Cheryl Buchanan
Treasurer, Heidi Gordon
Budget Officer, Nancy Bailey