by Lilly Platts
Editor’s Note: This is the second article in a series highlighting influential women in the Simmental industry.
Former ASA Trustee, Lora Rose, is one of many influential women in the Simmental industry.
Lora Rose has always had a thirst for knowledge and a desire to educate herself. This leads her to become heavily involved in the Simmental breed, being elected to the Board of Trustees, as well as serving as chairwoman of the Breed Improvement Federation (BIF). Rose was raised in a small northwestern Minnesota town, surrounded by farm country. Both of her parents were farmers, and Lora jokes that in the area they had, “11 months of snow and one month of hard living.” In the 50s, her parents moved to Washington state to find better work. Rose went on to study radiology while raising her kids and eventually found a nursing job in Colville, where she lives today. She met her husband Ron there, and he had a few cows of his own. Being close to the Canadian border, Rose was first exposed to Simmental at events in Spokane, which breeders from Alberta would attend. After meeting several Canadian breeders, they traveled across the border to purchase their first Simmental female in 1989. Rose soon became involved with the Washington Simmental Association and heard stories of the American Simmental Association’s Board from a fellow Washington breeder who was a Trustee at the time. She and Ron were now farming full-time and raising cattle, and her kids were involved with the junior programs. They put on sales in the state, and along with their kids, helped other juniors attend the AJSA Western Classic. After holding many positions on the Washington Simmental Association Board, she was nominated for the ASA Board of Trustees. She was elected and served from 1998 to 2004. She saw Simmental endure many issues and triumphs, and remains a vital piece of the breed’s history.
Lora Rose “For a long time, I was a CowBelle, but I wanted to hang out with men who were looking at ways to market cattle, improve financial conditions, and evaluate production factors. I always spent time with my dad, working on engines, and loved mechanics. I thought women were pretty uninteresting compared to men because men talked about their work. I listened intently because I had a passion for science and mechanics. “One reason I really liked cattle was the science behind animal breeding. I loved spending time with people interested in that. I learned about genetics in my training for radiology, but when Bob Schalles (KSU) retired in 1998, I asked if I could have his teacher’s manual. At my "day job" during lunch break, I studied his genetics book to gain a knowledge base for reference. Any time I went to a conference or meeting, I learned something.” “I really didn’t sit down and decide what I was going to do in life, it just happened. I deeply respect those people who were cattle industry leaders and organizers and thrived in situations where I could find ways to help others. It’s good to show that normal people accomplish things. It’s not like there was any magic, but I think a lot of things that happen in life are because people work towards them. Being involved doesn't take a tremendous brain or formal education. I feel personal success happens because of commitment and dedication, but more importantly because of your spirit of service to others. "My enthusiasm for the cattle business was driven by the fact that in the end, I wasn't going to personally gain a lot, but I believe the industry benefited by using good science. My good friend Sally Buxkemper is a woman I had so much respect for. She and other women weren’t unusual at all, they just wanted to be a part of what was going on. To do that, you had to invest time and energy. I’m the kind of person who throws myself into something or I won’t do it at all. You do it because there is work that needs to be done, and a group of people can accomplish more than individuals. Working in organizations just becomes part of how you get things done easier. Lastly, I am grateful for the friendships of so many fine people I've met throughout my years in the cattle business.