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Cattleperson of the Year presented to 2 men who gave their life to the industry

HC Cattlemen Association pledges $15k to MPCSD's FFA, AgEd program

GTNS photo by Grace King

Edith Leiviska, 1, digs in to mashed potatoes while sitting on her aunt Bryn Miller’s lap at the Henry County Cattlemen’s Banquet at Manning Hall on Thursday, Feb. 7.
GTNS photo by Grace King Edith Leiviska, 1, digs in to mashed potatoes while sitting on her aunt Bryn Miller’s lap at the Henry County Cattlemen’s Banquet at Manning Hall on Thursday, Feb. 7.
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Being awarded Cattleperson of the Year by the Henry County Cattlemen’s Association is not just about raising cattle, it’s about a lifestyle.

Cattleperson of the Year was awarded to two men during the annual Henry County Cattlemen’s Banquet at Manning Hall in Mt. Pleasant on Thursday, Feb. 7.

Fred Linn and Dave Simmons were chosen as this year’s Cattleperson’s of the Year, an award presented annually to people who have given their life to the industry by volunteering their time, giving back to others and teaching the next generation while continuing to raise a productive herd to feed their family and the world, said Adam Smith, president of the Henry County Cattlemen’s Association.

This award is about caring about a community, volunteering with no expectations in return, and being selfless, Smith said.

“It’s long nights and hard work and perseverance. It’s making those cattle your priority even when it’s 20 below zero outside,” Smith said. “This is not a job for the faint of heart. This is a passion that must be there to want to continue and enjoy getting up at 3 a.m. to check on a calf being born.”

Linn, who grew up on his parents farm on the Skunk River south of Rome, is a man of few words but of great wisdom, Smith said.

Simmons has shown that raising cattle is more than a job. It’s a lifestyle to be passionate about, Smith said.

Simmons, who grew up on a small farm in New London, has loved working with cattle since he could barely reach the tractor pedals. He has a “natural ingenuity and passion for farming,” Smith said.

Simmons has always loved his cattle, and would rather be tending to the herd and bailing hay than driving a tractor planting or harvesting crops. His family jokes that Simmons is always the last in Henry County to get the crops out each season.

Smith said that spring is always an interesting time on Simmon’s farm, with him bringing two or three calves into the house to warm up from the ice and snow during calving season.

Simmon’s pride is his family. His children are proud of the way he has shown them patience and a great work ethic over the years, and his grandchildren love coming to the farm to help out, Smith said.

“Simmon was able to put all three of his children through college ... Education is something he held very highly and wanted to give his kids the opportunity to pursue their dreams,” Smith said.

Simmon’s award was presented to him by his three grandchildren: Anthony Lee, 14, Nick Lee, 12, and Keagan Walker, 10.

“I have been very blessed over the years,” Simmons said. “These three buckaroos, they probably won’t be horse riders. They’re motorcyclists,” he said with a laugh, pointing to his grandchildren.

The county raised champions at the 2018 Henry County Fair were also recognized. The champion breeding beef was Lloyd Shorthorn, and the calf was shown by Kalayna Durr. The champion market beef was Linc Alter, and the calf was shown by his son Bradey Alter.

The Cattlemen’s Association also announced their donation to the Mt. Pleasant Community School District’s Future Farmers of America and agriculture education classes that will be launched for the 2019-2020 school year. The association pledged $15,000 over three years to bring FFA back to Mt. Pleasant. The check was presented to Marjorie Beckman, career and technical education and family and consumer living teacher at Mt. Pleasant Community High School.

“This is a big opportunity for a lot of students in Mt. Pleasant and other school districts in Henry County to be able to participate in an FFA program that is very valuable to their learning,” Beckman said. The agriculture education task force’s goal was to raise $300,000 for the program for three years. They have reached over $200,000, and the district is taking resumes for teachers for the program.

The Cattlemen’s Association also gave $400 in beef certificates to each school to be used to buy beef to help teach students how to properly prepare it, Smith said.