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Cattlemen’s Association names its 2020 honorees

Staff Writer
Pawhuska Journal-Capital
Chance McGill

The Osage County Cattlemen’s Association has announced its annual Hall of Fame inductees, as well as the recipient of an annual scholarship given to an area high school graduate. Taylor Reed, president of OCCA, noted that the honorees are usually recognized publicly at the association’s steak luncheon at the Ag Building at the Osage County Fairgrounds. That event is not being held this year, out of concern about the possible transmission of COVID-19.

The OCCA Hall of Fame inductees for 2020 are Joe Allen and Matthew Kane Jr. The following are biographical sketches of the honorees, provided by their families:

Joe Allen

Joe Allen was born and raised here in Pawhuska. He graduated from Oklahoma A&M with a degree in Animal Husbandry. And, like our other 2020 honoree, Matthew Kane, Jr. - Joe Allen is a proud Sigma Chi. After a couple of years on active duty with the Army at Ft. Bliss, Joe returned to Osage County.

Back here in the Osage, Joe joined the family business, Allen Brothers Feed, with his dad and the founder, Jim Allen. Today, Joe’s son James - or J.R. to many of us - is carrying on the 100-year-old family business.

During the 1960s, in addition to the feed business, Joe, along with Butch and Homer Savage, Hominy ranchers, put together a little feedlot and 350-head cattle operation. Osage County ranchers Phil Reed and Kay Duke partnered in on the deal, too.

Joe and Butch Savage were creative. They leased the Hominy sale barn and used it for a cattle feeding facility. They bought corn – still on the cob. They ground it – cobs and all - for roughage - and added supplement for their feeding plan. Fed a lot of heifers there at the Hominy sale barn, usually getting them to 650 or 700 pounds before slaughter. Most went to local slaughterhouses, then the beef went on to local Osage County grocery stores.

While this is an honor from the Cattlemen’s association – let’s add that the partnership of Joe Allen and Butch Savage put together the very first confinement hog operation in Osage County.

At Allen Brothers Feed, Joe worked with ranchers and farmers like an auxiliary county extension agent. Ranchers trusted him. The cowboys and other ranch folks asked him about feeding and caring for livestock. Joe Allen was the guy to talk to about balancing rations, insect control, feed additives, least cost rations, pasture improvements and minerals.

In the 1950s, Joe helped transition ranchers from using bagged feed to bulk. Osage County ranchers saw the slogan “Save the back, forget the sack, buy bulk!” on the back of Allen Brothers first bulk truck.

In the 1960s, Joe put together a deal that helped many Osage ranchers transition to liquid fertilizer application without buying all new equipment. He convinced the liquid fertilizer companies to keep a full supply tank at Allen Brothers. Then Joe rented out towable applicators to ranchers, a low risk way to go liquid without a huge investment.

Joe Allen has also been an active part of the Pawhuska and Osage County community. He has served as president and a member of the Pawhuska School Board. Joe was on city council and served as mayor. He’s an elder of the Presbyterian Disciples Church here in Pawhuska. Joe also served on the Pawhuska Hospital Board and the Osage County Fairgrounds operating committee.

There’s a long list of ranchers and the people who keep those ranches running that still ask after Joe Allen.

They like sharing stories with Joe’s sons, J.R. and Ben - telling how much they trusted him and his advice about livestock. Joe values the long friendships and trust of these folks, too.

Matthew Kane Jr.

Matthew J. Kane Jr. (1937-1999) was a prominent rancher, banker, and lawyer in Osage County, Oklahoma. Matt was born on Aug. 26, 1937 in Pawhuska, Oklahoma, where he grew up. In his formative years, Matthew would spend his summers living on the Kane Ranch (west of Pawhuska) so that he could hone his agricultural skills, and learn all he could about cattle ranching and horsemanship. He graduated from Pawhuska High School and attended Oklahoma State University, where he received his degree in Agricultural Economics in 1959. He met Carolyn Elizabeth Conway while a student in Stillwater and they married in 1959.

Like his grandfather (Justice M.J. Kane, Oklahoma Supreme Court) and his father (attorney Matthew J. Kane Sr.), Matt studied law, receiving his law degree from the University of Oklahoma in 1961. Following Matt’s completion of education, he and Carolyn made their home in Pawhuska, where he practiced law. Like his grandmother, Mabelle Kennedy (who was Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Treasury), Matt was civic minded, and he volunteered his time to serve as the voice of knowledge and reason for many governmental entities across the county and state.

Everyone who knew Matthew knew that even though he hailed from a lawyer family, his true love was always ranching. He was a lifelong member of the Osage County Cattlemen’s Association. When not in the law office, Matt spent every free moment that he was able within the Osage County hills which he held so dear. Perhaps his proudest professional accomplishment was the fact that he was elected and served as the president of the Osage County Cattleman’s Association. Matthew was quick to volunteer his legal skills and knowledge for the good of the Osage County Cattlemen’s Association whenever needed. Matt conducted extensive ranching operations in Osage and Kay counties in Oklahoma. He also owned and managed a cattle growth lot in Kansas for a time. His operations in Osage County varied over the years from cow/calf operations to stocker steers, but his commitment to stewardship and quality never faltered.

In addition to a career in ranching and law, Matt was also a director of the Barnsdall State Bank; and advisory director to the Exchange Bank of Skiatook, Oklahoma; and a former director of NBC Bank in Pawhuska.

Matt died in 1999, and was survived by his wife Carolyn, his daughter Tracy Smith (and husband, Tim, of Tulsa), his son John (and wife, Cyndi, of Pawhuska), and his son Paul (and wife, Sabrina, of Carey, North Carolina). The Kane Ranch continued forward as a working cattle ranch after Matt’s passing. Matt’s grandson and namesake, Matthew John Kane V owns and manages a cow/calf operation on the Kane Ranch to this day.

Additionally, the following is information regarding the OCCA scholarship and this year’s winner, Chance McGill of Barnsdall:

The Osage County Cattlemen’s Association established a scholarship to award to an area high school senior. We have invested our scholarship funds with the Oklahoma Cattlemen’s Foundation. This is the second year the scholarship has been awarded. Applicants must submit an essay discussing what challenges they see the Oklahoma beef cattle industry facing in the next 5-10 years and how these challenges will impact their selected career path. They must also include what role they see the Osage County Cattlemen’s Association playing in solving these challenges. This year the $500 scholarship recipient is Chance McGill. Chance was an outstanding student at Barnsdall High School and has been involved in 4-H, FFA, Hunters Against Hunger, Horses for Heroes, and many other organizations. He inaugurated the first agricultural education program at Barnsdall High School and he plans to attend college at Oklahoma State University in the fall to double major in Agri business and Ag communications. Chance is motivated to advocate for the Ag industry, and we are pleased to award Chance this scholarship.