Jo Ann Smith

Jo Ann Smith has blazed trails for women and championed family-owned farms in the agricultural industry for decades. A rancher alongside her husband in Florida, Smith saw the need for global marketing efforts for farmers to survive financially in the changing world. In 1985, she became the first female president of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, the largest agricultural organization in the United States. She was the founding chair of the Cattlemen’s Beef Promotion and Research Board, under which she spearheaded and developed the highly successful Beef Check-off Program. In 1989, she was appointed by President George H. W. Bush as the Assistant Secretary of Marketing and Inspection of the U. S. Department of Agriculture. During the 1990s, Smith continued to represent agriculture by serving on corporate boards for Purina Mills, Iowa Beef Producers, and Tyson Foods, Inc., all the while remaining involved in her family’s business.

2015 Cowgirl Honoree – Florida