Montana woman honored for beef promotion

Paulette Keller of Lloyd, MT, was named the 2006 Outstanding CattleWoman of the Year during the American National CattleWomen’s awards reception on February 1 at the Cattle Industry Annual Convention in Nashville. Of her enthusiasm for the beef industry, Keller says, "I feel like it's my job to help promote my industry when the need calls, whether in the grocery store or in the schools."

Montana CattleWomen's nomination for Keller for Outstanding CattleWoman of the Year was nine pages long. She joined the American National CattleWomen in 1982 and has served on the ANCW Board of Directors and as Region V Education Committee chair. She also took the opportunity to participate in national events including recent promotion projects, National Beef Ambassador Program, National Beef Cook-Off, and ANCW’s annual meetings, summer conferences and regional meetings. For Montana CattleWomen, she has served in such leadership capacities as vice president, president elect and president, as well as serving in almost every committee position.

Perhaps because she is a former teacher and current teacher's aide, education is Paulette's passion when it comes to promoting beef. She also sees a definite need to share agricultural awareness with children. During a school nutrition program discussing all parts of a cheeseburger, Paulette was asked by an eight-year-old third grader, "Do you drink cow's milk?" Paulette answered, "Yes I do, don't you?" The child said, "No, I drink the milk from the store."

Paulette also teaches young children a song she wrote called "Cheeseburgers" that includes exercise and movement. "Often when I leave school, they are singing it in the halls," she says. She has actively supported the National Beef Ambassador Program both in Montana and participating in the national event.

When presenting programs to seniors, she focuses on new simple ideas and how to make beef tender. Paulette helped obtain a Montana Department of Agriculture grant for the successful "Crock of Beef" program that teaches cooking, food safety and nutrition to food stamp recipients in Montana.

Paulette is active in her community through 4-H, homemakers club, and volunteering in the schools. She is also an election judge and fire department supporter. She and her husband Mike have two children and two grandchildren. They operate a cow/calf operation near Lloyd, in north-central Montana.