The Jackson County Cattlemen’s Association held their annual cattlemen’s banquet a little later than normal this year thanks to hurricane Michael. The event was postponed from October after Michael converged on Jackson County October 10th.
Each year, the banquet is the highlight of the Association’s year of work throughout the Jackson County and the state. The changing of the guard brings new officers with many thanks to those outgoing officers who gave 150% throughout the previous year. Those activities were kept on schedule with President Jeff Snell taking over for outgoing President Kim DeFelix. DeFelix made Jackson County history as the first female president of the Association. Snell brought a round of laughter during his opening remarks, welcoming everyone and acknowledging dignitaries, elected officials, judges both past and present when it was brought to his attention that he had forgotten 14th circuit judge Ana Garcia. For those who aren’t aware, Garcia is Snell’s wife.
The banquet is full of food, prizes, awards and fellowship for those involved in the agriculture business in Jackson County. This year, the Marianna Middle School FFA, led by Charlene Beebe served the guests a meal of smoked steak, baked potatoes, salad, rolls and an assortment of desserts. This year, the Association stepped up their game with white linen tablecloths and navy overlays, adorned with Mason jar appointments on each table. The theme this year was ‘Commitment to Serving Our Country, Community and Industry’. With that theme the special guests of the banquet were local veterans.
Following the meal, Snell began with the duties at hand beginning with the awarding of a plaque to outgoing president Kim DeFelix. DeFelix said, “It has been an honor and a pleasure to serve as president this past year, although it was one of the worst years possible for this county. I am flattered that the board members thought enough of me to put me on the board, let alone on their president. We accomplished a lot with the main goal being the youth of this county.”
Scholarship chairman Albert Milton announced seven scholarship recipients. The Association had 39 applications submitted for consideration. Those receiving $1,000 scholarships were Zoe Burch, Cheyenne Dennis, Cameron Hand, Kennedy Harris, Liam McDonald, Hannah Nobles, and Nathalie Yoder. All recipients are enrolled at Chipola College. Milton praised the students for their efforts and said the Association was glad to now offer both vocational and academic scholarships.
Kim DeFelix said goodbye to last year’s Cattlemen’s Association sweetheart, Nathalie Yoder and hello to this year’s sweetheart, sister Anslie Yoder.
Doug Mayo came to the podium to present the Top Hand of the Year award and the Cattleman of the Year award. The Top Hand of the Year award goes to someone who has gone well above the call of duty, someone who is always willing to pitch in and help with duties not assigned to their position. Mayo said of the Top Hand recipient, “This year’s recipient is so involved with the operations of our Association that the board members had to lie to them and tell there wasn’t going to be a Top Hand Award this year.” Mayo went on to praise the hard work of the Bigham family as a whole for having wasted little time in getting involved and working hard with the Association and our community, “In 2014, the board recognized it was time for one of our own members to take a more active role in managing the finances of the organization and that is when Stormie Bigham agreed to take over the management of bookkeeping as the chief financial officer of the Jackson County Cattlemen’s Association.” Mayo said the Association could think of no one more deserving of the award, despite the fact that Stormie is allergic to cattle! How appropriate that the Top Hand Award for the Jackson County Cattlemen’s Association would have that particular allergy! Congratulations to Stormie Bigham on her ‘Top Hand Award’.
The Cattleman of the Year Award went to Dale and Cindy Eade of Cindale’s Farm. Dale and Cindy Eade began their venture in the dairy industry in 1980 by managing at Bassett’s Dairy in Monticello, FL with a herd of more than 2,000 cows. Dale served as manager until the Bassett family decided to exit the dairy industry in 1994. The Eade’s knew that they wanted to continue to dairy, so they found a farm to lease in Jackson County. They purchased cows and rented the Reardon farm in Cottondale, where they stayed for 2 years before having the opportunity to lease the Torbett farm in Marianna. This property allowed for them to increase their herd size to roughly 300 head. They remained at this facility until 2004, when they were able to move onto their own property under the name of Cindale Farms directly across Old US Road. This property gave them the opportunity to design an innovative low maintenance milking facility with state-of-the-art waste management to recycle nutrients directly back to their pastures that feed their cows. Cindale Farms is home to approximately 500 head of dairy cattle and covers a diverse landscape. The farm employs intensive rotational grazing of their milk herd, while being supplemented with a balanced diet for milking animals. All the young replacement animals are raised on their farm. While much of the focus of a dairy is on milk production, they are also part of the beef industry with cull animals sold from the dairy going into the beef supply chain. The Eade’s market approximately 100,000 pounds of beef from their farm each year. Congratulations to Dale and Cindy Eade on being named Cattlemen of the Year.
Also recognized, with no prior knowledge of the award was Mack Glass. He was recognized for his years of service to the Jackson County Cattlemen’s Association not only at the county level but throughout the state and at the state level, including yearly trips to Boots on the Hill. Also recognized was Mack’s wife, Alicia Glass for her hours of dedication, traveling with Mack to various meetings throughout the state.
President Jeff Snell announced two awards that were also not on the agenda. Shelia Mader was recognized for her continued support of the Jackson County Cattlemen’s Association. Also recognized and present a plaque was Times publisher Woodrow Hatcher for his efforts to bring good news to Jackson County through the Jackson County Times newspaper.