Idaho ranch woman honored for leadership, innovation
Idaho rancher Kim Brackett has been chosen by Vance Publishing as one of the most innovative people in agriculture under the age of 40. The company honored Brackett with one of its first 40 Under 40 in Agriculture Awards earlier this month.
Brackett and others were chosen from 200 nominees for their leadership and commitment in advancing the cause to double food production by 2050 to meet the needs of a growing global population.
Candidates were nominated because of their passion for agriculture, demonstrated involvement in the food industry and their notable records of achievement.
“We were looking to identify and recognize extraordinary individuals in agriculture,” said Shawn Etheridge, a Vance vice president and publishing director.
Brackett and her husband, Ira, run cows and calves in Idaho and Nevada and yearlings in northern California. Their four children cowboy right along with them, spending summers and weekends in the spring and fall out on the range.
She loves the lifestyle and is passionate about the industry and promoting beef, as evidenced in her involvement in cattlemen’s organizations and the Beef Checkoff programs.
Brackett is serving as vice chairman of the Cattlemen’s Beef Board (CBB), which administers Beef Checkoff programs, and served six years with the Idaho Beef Council.
Her work with the CBB finds her traveling a few times a month to meetings and conferences. She also gives presentations, speeches and radio interviews about the checkoff and the beef industry.
Her outreach also includes an award-winning blog,
beefmatters.org, in which she gives consumers a glimpse of ranch life. Approached by National Cattlemen’s Beef Association about doing a blog, she launched the project in 2009 and diligently posts photos and excerpts of her ranching life.
The blog gives the average consumer a way to relate to ranch families, where beef comes from and how animals are handled. She also uses the blog to address such issues as animal care and handling, the Beef Quality Assurance program, employees, and hot media topics – such as antibiotic use and pink slime, she said.
The blog generates lots of e-mails and lots of questions, which she welcomes, she said.
It’s all about giving back to the industry she’s been involved in since childhood, she said.
“I think it’s important to volunteer my time to the industry and try to improve it and the checkoff at the same time,” she said.
“Kim is the epitome of an effective industry advocate,” and the honor is well deserved, said Beef Board CEO Polly Ruhland.
Brackett said she enjoys going all over the country, meeting with fellow cattlemen and seeing their dedication to coming together to better the industry and the checkoff.
It’s rewarding and inspiring, she said.
The checkoff covers a lot of areas, from gaining access to foreign markets and increasing beef demand to promoting beef and educating people about beef’s nutritional benefits. Ultimately, it enhances profitability in the industry, she said.
The checkoff has had some bumps along the way but has made great strides in the last two years, building really good relationships with member organizations and contractors who carry out the checkoff programs, she said.
Brackett is a fourth-generation rancher and grew up on a cow-calf operation in southwest Wyoming. Her husband is a fifth-generation rancher, hailing from the Three Creek area in south-central Idaho.
Brackett said it’s important that her children see their parents being active in their industry to understand the importance of advocacy so they’ll step into the same role.
40 Under 40
Home: Buhl, Idaho
Occupation: Cow/calf producer
Husband: Ira Brackett
Children: Cade, 12; Zane, 10; Chantry, 7; and Rhett, 4
Ag affiliations: Vice chairman Cattlemen’s Beef Board; past chairman, vice chairman and treasurer of Idaho Beef Council; chairman of IBC’s Beef Quality Assurance Advisory Board, author of BeefMatters blog, member Idaho Cattle Association.
Other service: Past trustee of Castleford School Board, past board member of Twin Falls Health Initiative Trust; literacy tutor.