Cattlemen plan cookout
Sherman Kirby, Hartselle Enquirer
Members of the Morgan County Cattlemen's Association are not only good at growing beef, they do a good job of cooking it, too. Ask anyone who has sampled their grilled ribeye steak sandwich. They'll tell you it can't be beat.
The association got into the steak sandwich business about five years ago because it needed a fundraiser to finance a scholarship program. After buying a commercial grill, its members began grilling ribeyes and serving them in sandwiches at various industry, community and sports events in Morgan and surrounding counties. They're booked annually to cook at Hartselle Depot Days and the annual Blount County Bull and Calf Show. Recently, they cooked for the North Alabama District Meeting of the Soil and Water Conservation Service at the Botanical Gardens in Huntsville.
The association will host a cookout at the Piggly Wiggly store in Neel Aug. 5, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Customers may place orders in advance or place their orders on-site and wait to be served. The cost of the sandwich is $5.
"Cooking at different locations in the county is something we're trying out to see how it works," President Doug Wigginton said. "We believe it will give our organization better visibility and increase membership in addition to generating money for college scholarships."
The organization began awarding a $750 scholarship to a college of a recipient's choice four years ago. It gave two scholarships in both the first and second years, four the third year and five in 2006.
"We haven't had a large number of students apply for the scholarships on any year they've been awarded," Wigginton said. "Perhaps that's because the program is new and not widely known. We'd like to change that. Any student in Morgan County whose parents or grandparents have been members of the association for at least two years is eligible to apply."
One of the scholarships is awarded to a student who is pursuing a career in an ag-related field.
"We are particularly interested in helping a student who wants to become a veterinarian and work with large domestic animals," Wigginton said. "There's a growing need for them in the cattle industry."
The association, one of the states's largest with 301 members, also sponsors the annual Morgan County 4-H Beef Cook-off and has a representative at the state capitol in Montgomery. He works to get legislation passed that is favorable to cattle producers.
"We have a membership meeting each quarter plus an awards banquet and annual picnic," Wigginton said The quarterly meetings have an educational focus. We bring in field representatives from different companies to speak on a variety of topics of interest to cattle producers.
"Our organization is not just for cattle farmers," Wigginton pointed out. "Anyone who has an interest in beef production is invited to join."