Pawhuska resident Barbara Strahm was recognized by her peers Friday as Oklahoma CattleWoman of the Year during the 61st annual CattleWomen’s luncheon held in Midwest City.
Nancy Buckminster, 2012 CattleWoman of the Year, announced the award which was presented by Oklahoma CattleWoman President-Elect Becca Lasich.
Straham has spent a lifetime of service to agriculture and the beef Industry. She came from a family whose lives were centered on agriculture. Her father, a research agronomist, worked in the field of grasses. He developed new strains of grasses and was instrumental in sodding the prairie after the dust bowl. Strahm’s mother, a former school teacher, was a cow-milking champion for Kansas State University but refused to teach Strahm how to milk a cow saying, "If you learn how to milk, you will spend your life in the barn!"
Strahm was always active in 4-H. As a sophomore in high school, she won a national 4-H scholarship for developing the technique of freezing prepared foods for quick meals. At this time, frozen dinners did not exist and Strahm is credited with being a pioneer in the area of frozen foods. She was featured in agriculture magazines and presented food demonstrations on a noontime TV show.
After graduating from Kansas State University, Strahm moved to Pawhuska where her husband, Dr. Sam, joined veterinarians, Drs. E.R. Walker and J.D. Savage at the Osage Animal Clinic. It wasn’t long until Strahm joined the Osage County, Oklahoma and American National CattleWomen Associations. For over 40 years, Strahm has been an outstanding promoter and educator for the beef industry and served as president of the Osage County CattleWomen and as treasurer for the Oklahoma CattleWomen.
Strahm has always believed in the importance of education. She has presented countless Ag in the Classroom presentations to Osage County schools. This year, she presented programs to 22 classrooms, reaching 465 students with a positive beef message. She recruited and trained women to not only help with Ag in the Classroom presentations, but to give their own presentations. Strahm and her assistants have organized events that taught seventh and eighth graders how to cook beef stir fry, an Ag in the Classroom round robin for elementary students, Dutch oven cooking, a trick roper, and a western history day that included a chuck wagon.
During service planning days, teachers have been provided with delicious beef lunches.
Every year Strahm is in charge of distributing beef certificates to four Osage County nursing homes which are used for family cookout events. She is in charge of beef certificates for local blood drives and at Christ’s Cupboard. Anytime there is a CattleWomen’s event, Strahm is present and ready to work.
Barbara Strahm exemplifies beef advocacy at the grassroots level. Over the years, she has shared the beef story with thousands of young students and taught them the benefits of including beef in their diets. She is most certainly an inspiration to all cattlewomen.
In accepting the award, Strahm introduced her family, noting that she taught Ag in the Classroom to grandsons Sam and Silas when they were in the 1st through 3rd grades in Broken Arrow. When teachers heard about the Ag program, many invited her to share the beef story with their classes.
"I feel like Ag in Education is so important," said Strahm. "This is something I shared with my late husband, Sam, who was a veterinarian. He loved ranching, loved animals and worked all his life to get vets and ranchers to work together to promote the health of animals and to spread the word about the importance of having a solid food system in our country. Sam would say, ‘Education is so important. People have to know how important food is to our country.’ When Sam and I met with President Regan’s Secretary of Agriculture, he said ‘As long as America has food and food to furnish to other countries, we will be the strongest country in the world.’ It’s food that makes America special. We don’t think a lot of people know this — they think it just comes from a grocery store."
Strahm introduced Osage County cattlewomen who worked with her in promoting classroom agriculture programs. These included Debbie Reed, Jamie Clement, Diane Reed and Kathryn Swan. She also acknowledged Osage County’s outstanding county agents who have helped promote the beef industry throughout the years. Strahm was especially excited to have Jessica Jantzen, Osage County’s new 4-H Educator.
"Jessica helped upgrade our Cattlewomen material," said Strahm. "Our State CattleWomen provided great posters." She also mentioned senior cattlewomen, Betty McKinley and Frances Gardner. "Although they are in their 90s," said Strahm. "They are still interested in promoting agriculture and the cattle industry. These women are just a few of the many CattleWomen who are working to spread the good news."