Black cattle rancher Huey Howard reflects on the racism and rewards of his six-decade career
Huey shares why he’s passionate about raising cows, his favorite way to enjoy Florida beef and how he managed to buy his first plot of land after all.
When Huey Howard got into cattle ranching in 1963, JFK was president, the Beach Boys’ Surfin’ USA topped the music charts, and a white landowner could refuse to sell property to a Black man.
But that didn’t stop the Leland, Mississippi, native from becoming one of Florida’s few Black cattle ranchers.
Today, Huey and his family raise more than 400 head of cattle, and they’ve earned respect in Florida’s predominantly white beef cattle industry, in which African-Americans still account for only about 3 percent of our state’s beef producers. The family was even honored a few years ago during a parade in Immokalee.
Earlier this year, Dalia met the 87-year-old at the Howard family’s ranch in Felda, about 30 miles east of Fort Myers. It was a sweltering afternoon, so they settled into the air-conditioned cabin of Huey’s gray Chevy pickup truck as Dalia interviewed him for the Florida issue of Gravy Quarterly, a publication of the Southern Foodways Alliance. This episode’s audio comes from that conversation.
In their chat, Huey shares why he’s passionate about raising cows, his favorite way to enjoy Florida beef and how he managed to buy his first plot of land after all.
- “Burger Beast” Sef Gonzalez on Florida’s Best Hamburgers
- “We Got Engaged up at the Milking Parlor”: Modern Dairy Farmers Sutton & Kris Rucks
- Writer Heather McPherson on What You Don’t Know About Florida Food
Thank you to our sponsors: Adalay Interiors