ELLENSBURG, Wash. — Ashley House is the new executive vice president of the Washington Cattlemen’s Association.
She spoke with the Capital Press on her first day, Aug. 18.
House moved to Washington from Fort Worth, Texas, where she was director of leader engagement for the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers for a year.
Her husband, Micah, also has a new job teaching at Seattle Pacific University.
“I told my Texas guys, ‘I love you guys and I love representing you but if I want to stay married, I guess I’ve got to move, too,’” House said with a laugh.
She will commute to Ellensburg from Seattle.
House said she was drawn to the state’s strong legacy of farming and ranching.
She said she is honored to represent ranchers.
“I’ve been described before as an ag devotee, and I wear that title with pride,” she said. “I love going to bat for farmers and ranchers, and for production agriculture.”
House grew up on a cow-calf operation in southern Texas. Her particular interests are replacement heifer selection and heifer development.
House and the association’s leadership will advocate for ranchers in Olympia and in the marketplace.
“Farmers and ranchers are the best stewards of those landscapes, and we want to make sure they’re incentivized to keep doing what they’re doing ... to keep producing a healthy, affordable domestic food supply,” she said.
“The great thing about Ashley is that right away when you meet her, you feel like you’re talking to a friend,” said Mark Streuli, the association’s lobbyist. “The WCA Board noticed right away that her passion and enthusiasm for the cattle industry really came through in her interview. She backed that up with experience and leadership in association management.”
The organization’s priorities include protecting ranchers’ water and property rights, maintaining and expanding the state’s beef industry, supporting the beef checkoff, promoting beef as a healthful food and protecting private property rights.
House welcomes the opportunity to hear from the state’s ranchers.
“I love the opportunity to learn from anybody who has something that they find of particular value or interest,” she said. “I just really have a voracious appetite for learning and I’d love to make connections.”
House replaces Ellensburg rancher Danny DeFranco, who resigned earlier this year to focus on other opportunities. DeFranco started in May 2019.
Streuli said the association’s hiring committee reviewed 22 applications.
The association represents 1,200 member ranch families.