Future of Agriculture 043: Sharing Ag With Over 2 Million People – Joel Cowley President and CEO of the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo

Today’s guest, Joel Cowley, grew up with his grandparents who exposed him to agriculture even before being introduced to books at school. Losing his parents at an early age, he knows the importance and value of agriculture programs since one of these supported parts of his college education through scholarship.  

The confidence that was built from being exposed to agriculture at a young age allowed him to acquire a bachelor’s degree in animal science from Colorado State University, a master’s degree in animal science from Texas University, and another master’s degree in business administration from Michigan State University.  His passion for agriculture and knowledge in management led him to be the president and CEO of Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo for the last three and a half years.

On today’s episode, Joel gives us a glimpse of the 23-day festival happening in Texas called the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. With the mission to promote agriculture, Joel and his team prepare an annual experience that’s worth looking forward to as he talks about what to expect – livestock show, horse show, fascinating exhibits, fun carnival, shopping, creative food, and great entertainment. They hope that the spectators will have more appreciation for agriculture once they have experienced this much-anticipated affair.

“Agriculture is going to need to become more efficient, and it’s going to take technology to meet the future demands.” – Joel Cowley

This Week on The Future of Agriculture Podcast:

  • Joel shares how the livestock show started and the importance of Livestock Show and Rodeo in the cattle industry.
  • He elaborates on the ways they try to accomplish the mission of Houston Livestock and Rodeo.
  • Joel discusses how he and his team present different exhibits in interactive and engaging ways to address possible questions and concerns about agriculture during the show with attendees of 2.5 million
  • He also talks about the program of the festival, what the audience can expect to see and experience, and the demographics of the spectators.
  • He shares the number of workers, both full-time and volunteers, who help put the show together.
  • Joel elaborates why Houston was coined by watchdog groups as “The Most Philanthropic City in America,” and how he and his team have diversified the festival’s entertainment since Houston has been proclaimed “The Most Ethnic and Culturally Diverse City in America.”
  • He cites the allocations of the funding raised during the festival.

Check Out Joel Cowley Across the Net:


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Tim Hammerich

Tim is a strategic communications consultant, founder of AgGrad, and the host of the "Future of Agriculture" podcast. Originally from California, he is now based out of Boise, Idaho.