ACA History

The start of the Alabama Cattlemen’s Association began with Luther Fuller, a farm products agent for the Tennessee Coal, Iron, and Railway Company (T.C.I.) based out of Birmingham, Alabama. T.C.I. sold metal and steel products such as wire fencing, metal gates, feed troughs, as well as basic slag to cattlemen and farmers. During World War II, cattlemen were disadvantaged by rationing of beef and other food supplies as well as price roll-backs on beef. Fuller recognized that his customers and their industry were under attack and the best way to defend them was to get them organized.

In the late 1930’s, and organization called the Alabama Livestock Growers Association (ALGA) had been formed but had become largely inactive by 1943. It was then that Fuller contacted the ALGA President U.C. Jenkins and Secretary K.G. Baker about reorganizing their organization into a “working” cattlemen’s association for the benefit of all cattlemen in Alabama.

Jenkins and Baker were keen to the idea and in a letter dated December 29, 1943, they invited the 256 cattlemen who were or had been members of the ALGA to a meeting to be held the next month in Demopolis, Alabama. Fuller sent another 76 letters to county extension agents and extension personnel for a total of 332 letters mailed. This letter called for all interested cattlemen to meet on the night of January 4th, 1944 at the Demopolis Inn to consider forming a “visible” cattlemen’s association. Many cattlemen were planning to be in Demopolis that week for the state’s premier beef cattle event, the Alabama Beef Cattle Show and Sale being held January 4, 5, and 6.

With 60 cattlemen in attendance, a consensus was reached that the ALGA would be best laid aside for the benefit of starting a new organization with a new name. State Senator R.J.  (Bob) Lowe of Huntsville made the motion to organize the Alabama Cattlemen’s Association with a second from Luther Fuller and the motion passed with unanimous approval.

Those early organizers recognized the importance of naming leaders for their organization that possessed a zeal for the cattle industry and also carried a level of influence to get things done and deal successfully in the state legislature. The association’s first officers were State Senator Bruce Henderson from Wilcox County as President, State Senator Bob Lowe of Madison County as Vice President, cattleman and businessman W.P. Breen of Greene County as Treasurer, and State Chamber of Commerce Agriculture Division Director Tom C. Reid of Montgomery County as Secretary. Interestingly, ACA’s first Secretary didn’t own any cattle but his position allowed him to maintain official “offices” for the association within his division at the Chamber.

In ACA’s first year, the statewide membership included only 40 members but that number was sure to rise. Over the years, strong and dedicated leaders helped ACA to grow its ranks to a high point of 18,620 members in 1974. Because ACA’s strength lies in its network of county chapters and volunteer leaders, ACA is sure to continue as a voice for cattlemen in Alabama for years to come.

Please examine the timeline below to see some highlights from ACA’s sixty plus year history

ACA Timeline

1944    Alabama Cattlemen's Association Organized from the Alabama Livestock Growers Association
1948    ACA Constitution and By-Laws Adopted; Annual dues set at $5
1950    Alabama Cattlemen's Association Becomes a Legally Incorporated Association
1951    Coliseum Completed in Montgomery as a “Showplace” for State Agricultural and Livestock Enterprises
1953    First “Eat More Beef” bumper sticker; Organization of the Alabama CowBelles Association
1955    ACA Underwrites FFA Livestock Judging Program
1958    First Issue of the Alabama Cattleman Printed; Southeastern Livestock Rodeo and Livestock Week Began
1959    Alabama Junior Cattlemen’s Association Organized
1961    Alabama CowBelles Association Starts Senior High Beef Cookoff
1962    State 10 Cent Checkoff Goes Into Effect
1963    Association Becomes Independent from the State Chamber of Commerce; E. Ham Wilson Becomes First Executive Vice President
1964    October Declared Beef Month by Governor Wallace
1965    Beef Wagon With Life Size Steer Mounted on Top Travels Alabama
1967    Governor Declares Beef the Traditional Father’s Day Dish
1970    ACA Recognized as the Largest State Cattlemen’s Association in the Nation with 12,137 Members
1972    John M. “Bubba” Trotman Elected ANCA President
1974    ACA Membership Reaches All Time High of 18,620
1976    SLE Pays for Expansion of the Cattlemen Building; Cattle Numbers Peak at 2.7 Million
1978    “Stocker 700” Program Launched Working With Alabama Cooperative Extension  Service
1980    First Annual Young Cattlemen’s Conference
1982    Auburn University Bull Test Sells Record Setting $320,000 Bull
1984    Dr. Billy Powell Becomes Second Executive Vice President
1986    Congress Passes Legislation Implementing National $1 Check-off Program
1988    Alabama CowBelles Association changes name to Alabama CattleWomen’s Association
1990    Auburn’s Lean Beef Burger Makes National Headlines
1993    50th Annual ACA Convention and Trade Show Held in Montgomery
1995    MOOseum Opens in the Alabama Cattlemen’s Association Building
1997    State Legislation Passed Establishing Cowboy Vanity Tag  
1998    $52 Million Alabama Agricultural Bond Initiative Signed by the Governor; Alabama Declared Brucellosis Free by USDA
2001    Anne Payne Elected as the First Female ACA President
2003    Cattlemen Vote to Re-Instate the State Beef Checkoff Program
2008    50th Year of The Alabama Cattleman
2011    Cattlemen Voted to Increase the State Beef Checkoff Program to $1

Executive Vice President of the Alabama Cattlemen's Association

E. Ham Wilson                        1952-1985
Dr. William E. Powell, III      1985-Present

Alabama Cattlemen’s Association Presidents 1944-2012

J. Bruce Henderson  1944-1945
R.J. Lowe 1946
W.P. Breen 1947-1948
William Howard Smith 1949 
O.J. Henley 1950
J. Ernest Lambert 1951
Mack Maples 1952
Preston Clayton 1953
M.C. Stallworth, Jr. 1954
T. Whit Athey, Jr. 1955
Carl Thomas 1956
Mortimer H. Jordan 1957
J.L. Adams    1958
Arthur Tonsmeire, Jr. 1959
Edward Wadsworth  1960
J.E. Horton, Jr.  1961
Richard Arrington 1962
E.R. Howard 1963
Seldon Sheffield 1964
Richard Beard, Sr. 1965
John M. Trotman 1966
Dr. A.C. Newman, Jr. 1967
G.W. (Billy) Robertson 1968
W. Comer Sims 1969
Cecil Lane 1970
Harold Johnson 1971
Henry B. Gray, III 1972
W.M. (Bill) Brown 1973
Forrest Killough 1974
K. Stanley Drake 1975
Raymond B. Jones 1976
Harold Pate 1977
W.R. Lanier   1978
Milton Wendland   1979
Julio Corte, Jr. 1980
Joe R. Crawford 1981
Dr. Billy Powell   1982
Dr. George Killian 1983
James E. Hart, Jr.   1984
Dr. George C. Smith 1985
Steve Tondera 1986
Ronnie Holladay  1987
Buck Compton  1988
Billy Maples  1989
Bill Johnson 1990
Glynn Debter  1991
Ned Ellis   1992
Ronny Donaldson 1993
Phil Hardee 1994
Tim Coe  1995
LD Fitzpatrick 1996
Bob Helms 1997
Gregg Blythe   1998
Wendell Gibbs 1999
Wayne Thames 2000
Anne Payne 2001
Jeff Donaldson 2002
Dr. J. Lee Alley  2003
Bill Pope 2004
Perry Debter  2005
Eric Smith   2006
Max Bozeman 2007
Orland Britnell 2008
Steve McDonald 2009
Mike Dee  2010
Leo Hollinger
2011
Donna Jo Curtis 2012