Manager of the beef herd at Stuart Land & Cattle in Rosedale, VA.
Stuart Land & Cattle Company is the oldest cattle operation in the United States, dating back to 1774 still being operated by descendants of the original Smith family. The Stuarts came in through the maternal side…and you all know the influence a female can make in cattle breeding. I came into the operation by marriage to a Stuart in 1974.
Raised on a dairy farm in California with the background of farm chores and 4-H, my career has always been agriculture. Advertising and promotion for an Artificial Breeding company enable me to work nationally and internationally. Production-driven and always keeping the ultimate consumer’s needs in mind has been my goal. When I began in the beef business, I was distressed by the cattleman’s attitude that they knew what beef product would sell.
Being a housewife, I was convinced they were wrong, and time has proven this to be true. The women who have followed me staying in agricultural research have kept the consumer in mind and verified by fact the value of beef in the diet. Now in beef production myself, I have benefited by their work. At Stuart Land & Cattle we use all the tools available to us…A.I. (artificial insemination), electronic identification, scales, genomics, proactive herd health program…to name a few.
I remember in the late 1960’s asking a large well known Hereford breeder if he used scales. “Little lady, I have always used my eyes to know exactly what any animal weighs. I don’t need any scales.” I used a smile and thank you, and have found that to be the best response in a male-dominated industry. There is no need to confront closed minds.
More importantly, my advice is to dress professionally, put your head down, do you homework to be the best prepared on the subject, work with passion, put your pride away, and excel at the opportunity.