Colorado State University Recognizes Polly Johnson as Livestock Leader

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Polly Johnson, a fifth-generation rancher from southeastern Colorado, has been selected by faculty members of Colorado State University’s Department of Animal Sciences as the 2009 Livestock Leader. Johnson was recognized for the prestigious honor today during Colorado State University Day at the National Western Stock Show in Denver.

The person or people selected each year for the Livestock Leader award are dedicated to the livestock industry, have demonstrated leadership, and furthered their field. The department of Animal Sciences recognizes each of the recipients for their work with the prestigious award and with a portrait prominently displayed in the department.

Johnson was born in Fort Collins, raised in Kit Carson, Colo., and then returned in 1952 to attend Colorado A&M, now Colorado State University. After graduating in 1956, Johnson worked in Arizona, where she met her husband Rogers Johnson. The couple returned to Kit Carson and took over operations of her family’s ranch in 1970. The Collins Ranch is now a fifth-generation family ranch. Johnson serves as owner, manager and president of the 40,000-acre cattle ranch. She is actively involved in day-to-day operations and management of the ranch which has been in the family for more than 100 years.

"Polly Johnson is an important link in this fifth-generation family ranching operation," said William Wailes, chairman of the Department of Animal Sciences at Colorado State. "Animal Sciences is extremely honored to recognize Polly Johnson for her livestock leadership in mentoring this ranch family lifestyle model that has been very generational."   

Johnson has been active in CSU alumni events and has served on the CSU Alumni Board of Directors. She continues to attend CSU football games and other university events. Johnson serves on the Cheyenne County Hospital Board, Kit Carson Historical Society, Colorado cattlewomen’s organization and National Cattlemen’s Association. Johnson is the second individual woman to ever receive the Livestock Leader award.