We are in “LUCK” to have such incredible women represent our industry. Our March “Women of Wool” feature is Kay Nicholson Benson! Kay did not grow up on a farm or ranch. Her Dad was a car salesman and her Mom a bookseller. She was one of those kids, however, that loved animals-even though then a poodle mix was her only charge. Attending SUU (then SUSC) most of my classes were in the Science building where legends like Dr. Bowns, Daryl Matthews, and Al Tait fed her passions for all things agriculture. At an Ag Club social Kay met and fell in love with Kendall Benson. They married, had two children and raised them submersed in as much manure and chores as possible. It really came together for Kay on a spring day in a large lambing shed on Bumblebee Mountain. She had an epiphany. It wasn’t something that would change the world, but it changed her. Sitting on a short stool, her knee in a ewes’ shoulder holding her still, she held a ‘not so dry’ lamb in one hand and her other around behind the ewe pressing her bag closer to where that lamb thought it’s mothers teat should be. When the lamb started his slow suckling, then like an engine turning over, more frantic, finally settling in to a rhythm, there Kay sat with amniotic fluid and birthing blood on my hands and noticed she was.... happy. Happy! From then on, “lambing” was a revered time, way more fun than Disneyland, as her daughter said. Starting with lambing, Kay understood the value and importance of a good, hot meal. Lambing, docking, shearing, hauling, tagging, trailing - she cooks for the crews. She thinks a few of them come help more with food on their minds than work! Kay likes to cook-and likes feeding a crew that will eat! They bought a small herd of breeding show stock. Kay was a show mom for many years and learned how to “fit” a lamb nicely, helping out other show kids if they needed their lambs fitted.
Retired, she now helps their son with his sheep. He is a graduate from SUU and a Conservation Planner with the NRCS. Their daughter didn’t stray too far from her beginnings. She is also a graduate of SUU, teaches Agriculture, Plant Science, Utah History, and is an FFA Advisor. The first time Kay held a camera-and old 35 mm Cannon, it woke something in her and she began to take pictures (mostly pictures of sheep!). Sheep are beautiful animals, their uniformity, movement, wool texture, and expression, when captured is enchanting. She is in love with photographing sheep-all things sheep-sheep camps, herders, sheep in the chute, shearing, and the noble guard dogs who protect their flocks. It is always an honor when one of her photos is published whether it is local, State, or on a National level, and used to document and promote the livestockmans’ lifestyle, our dedication to land stewardship, and our love of livestock. While at work with her son’s herd, be it shearing, lambing, trucking, herding, checking, doctoring, or trailing – Kay’s camera is never far from reach!
THANK YOU Kay for being a committed, lover of Ag and for capturing incredible photos for all to enjoy!