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Welcome to Gila County Cattle Growers Association
The Gila County Cattle Growers' Association organized in the depth of the depression, during one of the worst droughts since the first settlers and their cattle arrived in Gila County in the 1870's. 104 ranchers joined this association the first year, 1934, many of them donating a calf to help finance their association.
The chief purpose for organizing was the will to survive. Most had learned from their pioneer forefathers that cooperation with neighbors is essential for survival in times of adversity and adds to peace of mind in times of prosperity. At the outset, the GCCGA worked with our Federal Government on the emergency drought relief. Our other chief objectives were and continue to be:
• Stimulating and improving the marketing of cattle.
• Improving the security of tenure on our U.S. Forest Service grazing allotments by incorporating better range management practices.
• Working for better and more practical laws and regulations at the state and national levels.
• Supporting our Arizona Cattlemen’s Association and our National Cattlemen's Beef Association.
The cooperative activity of our members, directors and officers has developed a very harmonious and effective association.
Many challenges faced the cattlemen of Arizona through the years including forest and public land administration and rules, as well as screwworm eradication, Brucellosis certification, and yes, cattle rustling which still goes on today.
On November 29, 1935, in an article in the The Arizona Record Louie Horrell, Secretary of the GCCGA was quoted, “The industry is faced with many dangers on federal regulations, both those in effect, such as restriction of grazing on public lands and forest reserves, and those proposed, such as an AAA Program and projected reciprocal treaties, especially with the South American countries, where the foot and mouth disease is prevalent.”
In July 1945, 9,000 head of cattle were shipped from Globe to Colorado and California. In addition, 1,200 head were sold directly to Daou Packing Company to be slaughtered and sold to residents of Globe-Miami area.
In April 1966, the members voted to hold an association sponsored auction on May 25. The marketing committee and Pat Gray put together a 'Sellers School' to help prospective cosigners prepare.
In January 1977, the Board of Directors voted to build 66 heifer pens at the Burch Sale Yard with a capacity of approximately 1900 head.
In 1983, a storage room for the yard and a permanent telephone installed at the yard. Imagine having one telephone available as we now depend on our cell phones. The sale continued with success through the 1990s reaching its height at the record 1994 sale. Even with the large decrease in grazing number permits, the Association was still able to have a spring sale in May 2000, drawing cattle from throughout the county.
The 2002 sale was held in April because US Forest Service forced the ranchers to pull their cattle off Tonto Forest due to extreme drought conditions. No sale was held in 2003, 2004, or 2005. Through the encouragement and hard work of then GCCGA President, John Fowler, the Association held their sale again in 2006. Once again, the annual sale was back on track.
Today, the Gila County Cattle Growers Annual Replacement and Stocker Sale is the largest sale of its kind still being held in the state of Arizona.
© 2013 Gila County Cattle Growers Association
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