February 20, 2017
Bill Bennett, Connell, Wash., was born into the purebred Shorthorn business. After he attended Washington State College (now University), he married Norma Marsh, and they started their own Shorthorn business in western Washington.
Then in the mid ’50s, they sold the Shorthorn business, and Bill went to work as the herdsman at his alma mater. During this time he contributed to a beef science book and showed cattle for the university.
By the time Bill moved to Connell, Wash., he and Norma had four children. They relocated to become partners in a registered Hereford operation, TT Herefords. They immediately became involved in performance testing their cattle and enrolled the entire herd in the AHA’s performance testing program. In 1969 their partner’s poor health forced them to liquidate much of their herd, and although they bought out his portion, they were left with only 15 head.
Although it started small, Bill and Norma’s own ranch, BB Cattle Co., quickly grew in size and reputation. Cheryl Thomas, now an Oregon, Washington, Northern Idaho Hereford Association (OWNI) director, says even as a young girl she was very impressed with Bill. Cheryl says, “BB Cattle Co. produced bulls and heifers that were an enviable tribute to him, his work ethic and his knowledge of the breed.”
His hard work paid off; the ranch now consists of about 1,000 acres of irrigated cropland and 5,000 acres of grass. BB Cattle Co. consigns cattle to national sales and hosts an annual bull sale of its own. Through the years BB Cattle Co. bulls have won the Jack Owens Ideal Range Bull Award three times and the ranch has shown numerous National Western Stock Show champion and reserve carloads. Bill was also awarded the Beef Improvement Federation’s (BIF) Seedstock Producer of the Year Award in 1988.
Bill has also been a leader in the cattle industry. He served as an AHA director from 1985-91, as well as being involved in the Washington Cattlemen’s Association. In addition, he has been active in OWNI and the Western States Hereford Association.