Hulme takes up the cattle crown
Meet Tama Co. Cattlemen’s 2023 Beef Queen
CLUTIER — May is designated as National Beef Month — a time to officially celebrate all things cattle from farm to plate — and there’s no better spokesperson for beef than this year’s Tama County Cattlemen’s Queen, Emily Hulme.
The North Tama junior has spent her childhood growing up on her parents’ rural Clutier farm – nestled in the heart of the Bohemie Alps – where they raise Gelbvieh and Angus cattle, a few sheep and pigs for fair, and the occasional chicken.
The daughter of Sam and Jenny Hulme, Emily was crowned the 2023 Cattlemen’s Queen during the Tama County Cattlemen’s Association banquet held on February 25.
“I’m the only girl in my class that raises cattle,” Emily said with pride when asked how being a cattle farmer has impacted her life.
Much of Emily’s decision to apply for the annual ambassador role came down to that everyday life, she said – simply put, she and her family raise cattle, sell cattle, and eat beef regularly.
“It tastes good,” Emily responded when asked why folks should choose beef. “And it’s good for you.”
“Everywhere she goes, she orders a bacon cheeseburger,” Emily’s mom Jenny piped up as they both stood beside a cattle lot on their farm in late April where several new calves were frolicking.
“I won’t order anything else,” Emily quickly added, flashing her infectious smile.
“She went to California [for a trip], and ordered a bacon cheeseburger,” Jenny said with a laugh.
Emily is certainly not alone in her love of beef. According to statistics from the Iowa Beef Industry Council, Iowa’s total cattle inventory as of Jan. 1, 2022, was 3.85 million – up more than four percent from the previous year, placing Iowa at seventh in the nation for total cattle and calves.
In 2021, the cattle industry in Iowa contributed more than $7.32 billion to the economy.
But despite being such a significant part of Iowa’s economy, small producers like the Hulmes continue to encounter difficulty finding local locker space, Emily said. The issue is something Emily and her family hope will remain a priority for the Iowa legislature to solve.
As peak calving season winds down and summer arrives, Emily will be busy sporting her tiara and sash at various events throughout the county including most anywhere the Cattlemen’s Association sets up their grills.
It’s a chance, Jenny said, for her daughter to not only be a bright, vibrant face for the industry, but to also gain experience with public speaking.
In addition to being this year’s Beef Queen, Emily is also involved in high school band, 4-H, FFA, basketball, and co-managing Redhawk football. She is also a member of Gladbrook’s Junior Legion Auxiliary, St. Paul’s youth group, and the Iowa Junior Gelbvieh Association.
She has dreams of one day being a teacher– preferably an ag teacher like her uncle Matt Cibula. And she would also like to continue to cattle farm but she wants to do so on more pasture than her parents have currently, she said.
“It’s just impossible to find pasture [in Iowa],” Jenny explained.
That’s another significant issue beef producers must contend with and one to which Emily will be able to lend her voice as the 2023 Beef Queen.
So how does the Beef Queen like her bacon cheeseburgers? With mayo? Lettuce and tomato? Perhaps some bacon jam like Harper’s Public House in nearby Dysart has become known for?
“Just ketchup and mustard,” Emily said before later explaining what she really likes is to grill and prepare her own bacon cheeseburgers at home with her charcoal grill.
This Beef Queen is certainly the real deal.
Over 150 people attended the Tama County Cattlemen’s Association’s 2023 Banquet this year – the organization’s most successful banquet yet. As part of the annual event, $17,700 was raised for the Tama County Fair trophy auction and $3,490 was raised for the Mid-Iowa Youth Beef Team.