In her job as president, she works to encourage engagement between producers and consumers; organizes, facilitates five statewide meetings every year; writes articles for the state beef association’s newsletter and attends various meetings and events across the state and nationally, partnering with county groups, the state beef commission and the American National CattleWomen.

How have your experiences working in your field influenced your growth, personally and professionally?

Porterfield: This position has taught me so much as a volunteer leader. A big part of that is learning more about service and becoming the voice for a collective group of people. The travel, networking and experiences I’ve shared over my two terms as president have allowed me to expand my knowledge of the entire industry and also get to know more about our state and local cattle ranchers. It’s also pushed me in the realm of communications, whether it be through writing articles, news and podcast interviews or social media. Being the voice of cattlewomen, I’ve had to devote a lot more time to stay up on industry issues, rather than rely on my parents to relay the information through daily ranch life.

Who has influenced you in your leadership role?

Porterfield: My mother, hands down, has been my biggest influence throughout my life. Serving the CattleWomen is a special thing we share. She started me out at a young age by taking me to every event she could. I became familiar with the purpose of the organization and grew an appreciation for all the hard work these women put in, not only at their ranches back home but also into building and running the many programs they created to support education about the beef industry. You gain so much from knowing other women across generations who share the same passion and vision you do, and knowing all those women helped shape me to becoming a leader.


What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

Porterfield: My mother taught me to always show up and always follow through on your commitments. I’ve definitely seen the importance and difference it makes when choosing to be involved in activities or organizations. It makes the true leaders stand out from the rest.

Who are other female role models you look up to? Why?

Porterfield: I’ve been so blessed in my life to know so many ranch-working women, from grandmothers to aunts, great friends and fellow cattlewomen across the country. Each one has a story, and some of them are truly inspiring. Knowing these women and seeing what they do motivates me and reinforces my idea that I’m on the right path and in the right industry to keep doing what I truly love – raising beef.

What roadblocks have you run into, and how have you overcome them?

Porterfield: Learning how to be on the offense rather than the defense when it comes to advocacy for beef and agriculture was an important transition. While advocacy is something I’m largely passionate about, this was important to me to adapt to. By working with other industry groups like the state’s beef commission or listening to other advocates, I now trust where to look to for viable information to share and spin the positive, uplifting, productive messaging we need to be getting out to both fellow producers and our consumers.

What advice would you give to other women in your field?

Porterfield: Do what you can to help others feel empowered and that they can provide purpose in an organization in so many different ways. They don’t have to be exactly like you or other leaders to be involved and contribute to our industry. Everyone varies in skills or backgrounds – that’s what makes a volunteer organization stronger.

How do you balance your job with family and/or personal time?

Porterfield: I try to balance very carefully and have learned to say “no” to some things. Volunteering is great, and it’s rewarding to be in a leadership position running an organization, but I’ve had to learn I can’t do all the wonderful things I want to do and still have time for family or hobbies.

Do you involve your family in your work? If so, how?

Porterfield: One nice thing about my organization is: We partner with the Washington Cattlemen sometimes for big events, and that can also make for a nice family outing. Being able to all go somewhere together to accomplish something but also enjoy our time together has been a great way to carve out some extra family time.

What accomplishment are you most proud of?

Porterfield: I believe in getting young women involved, especially in a group like CattleWomen. This last year, our state placed third in the American National CattleWomen membership drive contest. That was attributed to starting a junior cattlewomen membership level for Washington and by providing more information through our Beef Ambassador Scholarship Program. The entire membership was so excited about youth getting involved, and we were successful in our goal to expand in that area. Being recognized on a national level for it was icing on the cake.

What is your favorite thing about ranch life?

Porterfield: My favorite thing about ranch life is: You get to do it with the ones you love while being so close to some of God’s most amazing creations. It’s an extremely humbling lifestyle, and there are new challenges on the horizon all the time. I can’t fully explain how proud I am to be the sixth generation in my family to do this and continue on their legacy. end mark

PHOTO: Kady Porterfield, president of Washington CattleWomen. Photo provided by Kady Porterfield.