Magnuson named National CattleWoman of the Year
for Tri-State Livestock News
When it came time to present the Outstanding CattleWoman of the Year award, a slide show began with a picture of a young girl, and Susie Magnuson of Eaton, CO – in attendance at the Cattle Industry Annual Convention in Florida – thought to herself, “Gee, that looks like me.”
So did the next picture, as did the one after that.
Magnuson quickly put two and two together, and, after calculating the sum, sat in shock.
“I just couldn’t believe it,” Magnuson said of the national honor she received last month – an award her two sons, Tim and Jim, had known about since November, but kept secret from their mom.
Parents don’t often condone acts of secrecy from their children, but Susie was willing to let this one slide, she said with a laugh.
“Yeah,” she said Monday, back at the family farm and ranch on Weld County Road 33. “They did good … never suspected a thing.”
Standing as a lifetime achievement honor within the organization, the American National CattleWomen recognized Magnuson with the Outstanding CattleWoman of the Year award for her approximately 25 years of service to the beef industry and to the group.
It was the second honor the family has bought home in recent months.
In August, the Magnuson family’s 233-acre plot, established in 1910, was one of 10 in the state recognized during the Annual Centennial Farms Celebration Friday at the Colorado State Fair in Pueblo – an event that each year honors Colorado families that have operated farms or ranches for 100 years or more.
Magnuson served as president of the American National CattleWomen organization in 2004, as president at the state level in 1995, and as parliamentarian in 2012 for the cattlewomen’s group that focuses on education and promotion of the beef industry.
Though ecstatic, this month’s awards ceremony was “bittersweet,” Susie said.
It was her husband, Ted, who had encouraged her from the beginning, telling her that volunteering in the cattlewomen’s activities – traveling to schools, Rotary meetings and events to help the general public understand beef production and agriculture, and volunteering countless hours to cook meals for fundraisers – was a huge benefit to all farmers and ranchers, like himself.
When Susie took the reins as president of national organization, Ted knew Susie’s nearly 100 days on the road that year meant that more of the farm, family and household duties would fall on his shoulders, but he never complained about the influx of responsibilities, she said.
“It’s so important to put a face with agriculture,’” Susie said, quoting her husband.
While he was a big part of her work, Ted couldn’t be there in Florida this month, at least not in person, to watch his wife receive her national honor.
Ted died in 2008 after battling cancer.
The national honor she received this month may have her name on it, Susie said, but it’s for both of them.
“There’s no doubt about that.”
As was noted by the National American CattleWomen, Susie’s volunteering for the greater good isn’t limited to just farmers and ranchers.
After Magnuson graduated from Arickaree High School in eastern Colorado in 1970 and from Grace Bible College in Grand Rapids, MI, she went to the Congo for a two-year mission trip.
Magnuson – diagnosed with breast cancer in 2011, but now in remission – is also involved with the Weld County chapter of the American Cancer Society, she serves as a board member on the Weld County Livestock Association and is a long-time supporter of the local 4-H chapter.
“She’s such a hard-working person. The beef industry is absolutely blessed to have her,” said Susie’s son, Tim, who along with his mother and brother, oversee operations of the family farm and ranch. “All my life, if she wasn’t home, she was out supporting the industry.
“This award is a great thing. I’m at a loss for words.”
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Outtagrass Cattle Co. cartoon by Jan Swan Wood for the June 19, 2021, edition of Tri-State Livestock News