February 12, 2018
By Mary Johns
Cameron Catrett is no stranger to leading champion heifers and steers she bred and raised around a show ring. For the 2017-2018 academic year, she’s also leading the Alabama FFA Association as state president.
A 17-year-old senior at Brantley High School, Catrett is the first state FFA president from Alabama’s South District since 1995 and the first ever from Crenshaw County.
“It’s fun to serve in this capacity, not only for my district, but also as a female in FFA,” Catrett said. “FFA gives students a direction in life, no matter their background.”
While FFA once stood for Future Farmers of America, farming is not only in Catrett’s future plans; it’s part of her past and present. She and her older sister, Cassidy, are fourth-generation beef cattle farmers on land that’s been in their family since the 1940s.
“I started exhibiting cattle when I was 8 years old, and that’s when I started to build my own herd,” Catrett said. “I started with just one show steer and one show heifer, and I haven’t stopped since.”
Currently, Catrett’s herd includes about 30 mostly purebred Shorthorns with a mix of Simmentals and Limousin. Her cattle are pastured with others owned by her sister and parents, Perry and Ashley.
FFA provided Catrett opportunities to learn new beef management practices. She became Beef Quality Assurance certified through her high school FFA chapter and earned a grant to use embryo transfer with some of her cows.
“Cameron and Cassidy have learned so much, and they even push me,” Perry said. “Our cattle have definitely benefited from what they’ve learned. It makes me swell with pride to know my daughters share my passion for agriculture.”
Catrett is quick to credit her sister with pushing her to achieve success in the show ring and FFA.
“I was my sister’s shadow,” Catrett said. “When Cassidy started showing cattle, I wanted to do it. When she was elected state FFA secretary in 2015, I knew I wanted to run for office. No one really thinks two young girls can start their own herd, haul their own cattle and create a market for themselves. But it’s always fun to face those challenges with Cassidy.”
Agriculture is a big part of Catrett’s future. She plans to attend Mississippi State University or Oklahoma State University, both land-grant institutions, and hopes to go to veterinary school. No matter where life takes her, Catrett is dedicated to educating others about agriculture.
“As farmers, we have to put our story into real-world terms for consumers so they can understand how we raise our livestock and produce the products they eat,” she said. “As a young woman, I am excited about the opportunity to change the face of agriculture.”
See Simply Southern TV episode 407 for a show featuring Catrett. Visit SimplySouthernTV.net.