Beef Month: Being [ Beef ] Queen is more than a pretty crown – it’s a way of life

By Denise Lana,

Newly-crowned queen Lauren Holthaus has been working with cattle since she was young.

In Winneshiek County – where people are outnumbered by cattle five-to-one – being crowned Winneshiek County Cattleman Association’s Beef Queen is more than just a sash and pretty crown –it’s a way of life.

Newly-crowned queen Lauren Holthaus has been working with cattle since she was a youngster, and at 16, Holthaus knows as much about cows as many seasoned farmers. She is passionate about all things beef, and she doesn’t hesitate to share her love of the industry with everyone she meets.

“I got to talk to a bunch of younger kids recently, and it was so heartwarming,” Holthaus proclaimed, stressing her excitement to participate with upcoming parades and pass out beef sticks and candy to the community.

She has also been a strong participant with cattle showing, spending 2023 and early 2024 showing a Foundation Simmental cow named Stye & Sis. The cow, called “Sadie” by Holthaus, is one year old, and according to the beef queen, “Best friend isn’t even a proper word,” to describe her bond with Sadie. “She’s my girl! We have a very special bond – she finds comfort in me.”

Beyond the regular duties of a reigning queen, Holthaus wants to use her platform to educate people about deeper issues facing the beef industry. As Holthaus explained, in a world where farms are historically a fraction of the size they used to be, many people think that smaller farms automatically equal cramped living quarters and neglect. 

But Holthaus insists nothing could be farther from the truth.

“I think a lot of the industry is very misled, thinking that beef producers mistreat their cattle,” Holthaus professed. “There is a strong relationship between cattlemen and their cattle; I love my cows more than anything! They are my best friends!”

That desire to inform everyone about the misnomers of small beef farms has ignited Holthaus, who is especially driven to set the record straight about raising cattle in smaller confined housing.

Holthaus explained that the challenge of food production is never-ending, with less land available to farm combined with an increased population.
“A lot of farmers are having to turn to more confined areas  – farmers are just trying to meet demand,” according to Holthaus.

She plans on using her reign as queen to promote agriculture and make and build relationships that will help her in the beef industry in the years to come.  Hoping for a future in communications, Holthaus wants to continue building educational relationships in the beef world. She shared how she wants to travel the globe, witness and learning how different countries and cultures tackle agricultural challenges and cattle production. 

“Seeing how other cultures raise cattle would be very cool,” Holthaus shared with a huge smile. “Everybody needs food, and from a crops, cattle, or dairy stand point, there are so many ways to provide – those different ways to approach agriculture is what makes our world go round!”

The complete beef edition can be found in the May 16 Public Opinion newspaper.

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