‘Old cowboy’ cleans up at agriculture awards night

| 22/03/2012

2012 East Farm visits (16) (232x300).jpg(CNS): Paul Bodden almost swept the board at this years ‘Agricultural Oscars’ when he received the farmer of the Year award, livestock farmer of the year – Grand Cayman, Champion Exhibitor – Livestock Farmer, Best Sow; Champion Exhibitor – Cattle and Champion Exhibitor – Pigs –second place. A fourth generation farmer whose father, Wil Bodden carried him in a basket to the farm where he now lives, Bodden said, “I am just a humble old cowboy who is grateful for the awards because this helps to inspire and motivate me to continue.”

His 12-acre farm, Old Brown Ranch, is located in Lower Valley and focuses on livestock farming, mainly cattle and pigs. He currently employs four full time workers and has 160 cows and 80 pigs. His goal is to increase these numbers by 2014 so that he is able to slaughter 260 cows and 260 pigs annually.  At the moment, Old Brown Ranch slaughters on average one to two cows and pigs per week.

“The most relaxing time of my life is when I am on the farm. I can be full of red mold and cow dung and I am relaxed. Hard work is second nature to me,” Bodden said.

“I know where I am coming from and where I am going.  One of my main goals, along with some of the other livestock farmers, is to improve local beef. Beef should be tender and I am experimenting with different breeds of cow to ensure that happens. These cows shouldn’t have horns, shouldn’t be running about the field and shouldn’t be too old before going to slaughter.”

Bodden sells his beef to local supermarket and based on current trends in local farming, he is confident about future growth. “I never dreamt that we would have reached this level so quickly,” he said, while noting that the Department of Agriculture’s abattoir has made life much easier for farmers.

Farming is not the way Bodden earns his living however, as for over 40 years he has operated his own heavy equipment and aggregate business with his two sons Andy and John but over the past few years he said he has come to view farming as a business rather than a simple hobby.

“I have invested millions of dollars over the years. Now that I am nearing retirement, it has become more important to keep records. After all, I don’t want to be a broke retiree. You have to keep records to know what is happening,” he added.

Bodden received his numerous awards at the 45th Agriculture Society Awards Evening held at the Stacy Watler Pavilion in Lower Valley last Saturday evening.

Deputy Premier and the minister responsible for agriculture Juliana O’Connor-Connolly congratulated Bodden on his award.

“Paul is not only a successful farmer and livestock producer, but he is a progressive, community-minded leader who is committed to creating a brighter future for our islands. These awards are a great opportunity to recognise the farmers that make our islands agriculture so special,” she said. “Paul is one of many livestock farmers in Cayman Islands who do a great job caring for their animals, and the land, while also serving our community. He is always interested in finding new solutions to make his cattle more efficient and improve the quality of his beef.”

Category: Science and Nature

Comments (7)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Congratulations Paul, this is well deserved and recognition for all your hard work over the years.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Congrats Mr. Bodden. Keep those Caymanian traditions alive!! You know, the Cayman Cowboys are a real unique breed of people. For those who do not know Cayman's history and would attempt to categorize us as simply "Caribbean" it would be worthwhile to look into the cattle-raising families of long Cayman tradition – particularly families originating in Savannah, Lower Valley & Pedro. Those  communities by name alone indicate that heritage. Of note are the Watlers, Jacksons, Boddens, Edens of those areas, among others. No doubt families like those had more in common with Texas and the prairies than with other Caribbean islands. I recall the days when traffic had to stop when they were running their cows from one grasspiece to another – dozens and dozens per herd! Riders on Cayman-bred horses in full ranch wear. 

    Not for once suggesting that those and other cattle and horse-raising Cayman families were not proud Caymanians (and thus by extension, Caribbean people) but their lifestyle and indeed their look were typically "cowboy". 

    The diversity that we were even before the immigration of the past 30 years changed the demographic of who is Caymanian, was so special and it's encouraging to see that one of our traditions is still being carried on. I take my hat off (pun intended) to Mr. Paul Bodden and  his cattle-rearing family and colleagues.

    Sorry Andy Martin, you took Stubby's handle and ran him out of town but that doesn't count, I'm talking about the real Cayman Cowboys.

  3. Billy says:

    They call him a Cowboy, thats Paul names, going all round his farm and feeding all them….  

  4. Bodden Towner says:

    Humble old cowboy is correct.  Mr Paul Bodden is one of the finest most humble gentleman you can find in this Island, and his children are the same kind humble real grassroot Caymanians, comming from the best background.  Congtats. Paul you deserve it.  God bless.

  5. Lefty says:

    Congrtes Mr. Bodden – make us ALL Caymanians Cowboys honored! No lets go skoot booging and dance to some good old Jones, Meril, Cash and Alan J!   

  6. Savannah Resident says:

    Congrats Mr. Bodden and all others who partake within the agriculture sector.  Its nice to read some about something positive.