10 Lessons I Learned as a National Beef Ambassador

I think it goes without question that my year as a National Beef Ambassador changed my life. Don’t believe me? A quick peek at my social media pages will help you see how much of a priority beef has truly become in my world. From simply  growing up on an Angus cattle farm in central Ohio, to having an immeasurable love and appreciation for beef cattle production all around the globe, it’s safe to say that beef production will forever intrigue me. Although I plan to never stop learning about the beef community, this year has certainly taught me a few valuable lessons. Here are the top ten things that I have learned from my year as a National Beef Ambassador.

10. Blue Cheese is delicious; especially on top of a steak!

Telling our beef story at the National Cattlemen's Convention in Nashville.

Telling our beef story at the National Cattlemen’s Convention in Nashville.

9. The beef community doesn’t need advocates, it needs story tellers.

8. Asking a person what  questions they have will get you twice as far as telling them the answer to a question you assume they have.

7. Delaware Valley College is actually no where near Delaware… it’s in Pennsylvania.

6. It is 100% possible for college students to enjoy beef on a budget.

5. Blogging was surprisingly awesome! I’m excited to say I never missed a single entry.

4. Airplanes and airports generate some of the most interesting conversations about beef; talk about a “captive” audience!

Promoting East Coast beef production at the Pennsylvania Farm Show

Promoting East Coast beef production at the Pennsylvania Farm Show.

3. It doesn’t matter what “kind” of beef a producer decides to raise, whether it is conventional, organic, natural, grass-finished or grain-finished. Beef is beef, and all areas of the beef community should support and praise one another for providing such a wholesome and delicious product to a variety of consumer groups.

2. The young people in today’s industry are going to continue to make progressive and innovative changes to the beef community and agriculture, as a whole. I am so impressed by the ambitions and goals that today’s young agriculturalists have set for themselves, and I look forward to crossing paths with them again one day.


A selfie taken by the 2014 team on our final day as National Beef Ambassadors.

A selfie taken by the 2014 team on our final day as National Beef Ambassadors.

And #1…
1. No matter where life takes me, I will always be devoted to, and connected with, the beef community.

The experiences, lessons, and memories from this past year will continue to drive my passion for the beef community. While I close this chapter of my journey, I can’t wait to see what my next beefy adventure will entail!

Thanks for tuning in!

All For the Love of Beef,
Sierra Jepsen

What to Expect as a National Beef Ambassador

Our team had an incredible time in Denver this weekend where we retired as the 2014 National Beef Ambassador Team. We had some amazing experiences this year, and we are so excited to see what is in store for the new team.

For our retiring address, our team created a video which allowed us to share the wisdom that we acquired throughout our year and addressed some struggles that the 2015 team, and all state beef ambassadors, may encounter during their time advocating for the beef community.  We hope that you enjoy this reflection of our year!


All For the Love of Beef,
Sierra Jepsen

Get Ready for the 2015 Contest

Wow! I can’t believe I am writing a blog for the 2015 contest, it seems like just yesterday it was the 2014 National Beef Ambassador Contest, but what a year it has been.  Some of my best memories were made at the contest.  So contestants get ready for an AWESOME weekend ahead of you.

Don’t be nervous.  I know I was very nervous when I left Texas to head to the contest, but don’t be.  The judges are some of the friendliest people you will ever meet.  Have confidence in yourself and know you can do it.

Don’t stress about the last minute facts.  I will say, I spent a large amount of my time at the contest studying.  Of all the things I studied the weekend of the contest I don’t think I used any of it.  The important thing is how you communicate the information.

Show your personality.  Consumers want to be able to relate to you, be happy and show them you care what they think.  Each of the team members this year have an awesome personality and it makes it really easy for us to engage with consumers on any level.

Share your story.  This one is so important.  Growing up in or around the beef community gives you so many stories and experiences. Those stories are so valuable, SHARE THEM!

Above all HAVE FUN!!!!! The contest was so much fun last year for me and I hope it will be for you as well.  Not only was it fun, but I met some amazing friends that I can share my passion for the beef community with.  For five of you it will start an experience of a lifetime.

Beef & Blessings,


nbap contest nbap contest 3 nbap contest 2

Campus Events: My Ambassador Capstone Project

For me, campus events have been the most rewarding part of my year as a National Beef Ambassador. Having the opportunity to engage with students who are in the same walks of life as I am and be able to understand where they are coming from when they express their concerns about nutrition or environmental sustainability has certainly created a platform to have a meaningful conversation about beef. Below are the top 5 reasons why I believe University campus events have been the most valuable part of my National Beef Ambassador experience and why they will ultimately reap the most benefit for the beef community.

Anya and Stacy did an excellent job at planning and executing their Cornell "Beefapolouza."

Anya and Stacy did an excellent job at planning and executing their Cornell “Beefapolouza.”

1. The event coordinators gained valuable life skills such as how to plan an event, be detail oriented, coordinate volunteers, educate peers and effectively share their passions. In addition, we as the coordinators strengthened a few of our soft skills such as being patient, effectively communicating ideas, problem solving, and being assertive to accomplish time-sensitive tasks. These are all skills that will be necessary for us to be successful in our future careers in agriculture.

2. The campus events turned volunteers into advocates. By taking students who may or may not have had a background with beef cattle, furthering their knowledge on the beef community, and giving them an outlet to share that information with their peers, we have not only deepened their understanding of our own industry, but we have excited them to continually want to learn and share more. By transforming beef supporters into beef advocates, we are ensuring that our industry will have a strong voice in years to come.

Ohio State's "Ask a Cattlewoman" table was a place were students could have a conversation about beef on any topic they wanted to learn more about.

Ohio State’s “Ask a Cattlewoman” table was a place were students could have a conversation about beef on any topic they wanted to learn more about.

3. We knocked down barriers with millennials and created an atmosphere that was welcoming for students to ask questions and receive honest answers. College students understand that a group of individuals would not come and set up an event in the middle of their campus unless they  believed that they had something valuable to share. Students were excited to hear what we had to say and to engage in the activities, rather than simply looking for a free handout. Students are at college to learn, and any opportunity to learn from their peers is one that they were willing to take.

4. The conversations that I had with students and faculty members were the most genuine of all the events that I have been to. While our outlooks may have differed, the people I engaged with were able to share the same general concerns as I have about finances, nutrition, and what we should eat and how we should cook it. These similarities are ultimately what were able to establish credibility with the audience and allowed us to have a real conversation about what it is about beef that they loved or questioned the most.

5. Every event was unique to the campus that we were visiting. By catering to the demographic and geographic location of each individual campus, we were able to create a different atmosphere in each state that was individualized for it’s students and campus layout. The reason that many of our beef promotion techniques have failed in the past to reach millennials is that they are too “cookie-cutter.” As a millennial myself, I know that my peers and I appreciate creativity and authenticity, and that is exactly what campus events were able to do by being created by students, for students.

These campus events have been the capstone project of my year as a National Beef Ambassador. Overall, I truly believe that our interactions with students and university faculty at our campus promotions will have the most long-term impact on those that our team was able to interact with. From our peers that we spoke with, to the volunteers, and even the event coordinators, everyone involved was able to learn something new about beef and play a role in increasing beef demand and sharing a positive message about the beef community. In my opinion, there was truly no better way to reach the millennial generation than by taking the beef right to their back door. I am so grateful to see all the beef buzz that was able to be generated simply by the power of college students connecting with college students.

All for the Love of Beef,
Sierra Jepsen

“Awesome Agriculture- Beef Cattle- an A to Z book” Book review

As  a Beef Ambassador I promote beef to all ages.  As part of my competition preparation last summer, I used this book to educate some young beef consumers all about Beef.

This book uses the alphabet to highlight all aspects of the beef industry and lots of info about beef cattle.  From defining agriculture, pictures of breeds, and explaining sources of beef cattle feed, this book has lots of pictures for youngers to really learn about where their food comes from.  There is even a recipe activity to make a tasty snack using beef.

My favorite pictures has to be the mama and calf, so sweet!  If you are working with children, reading a book with pictures is a wonderful way to help them learn about agriculture and the beef industry.  Check with your library, university extension office or order here.

Always learning about beef,



-Ohio State Buckeyes 4 Beef!-

What happens when you combine a newly chartered collegiate organization, a burning passion for the beef cattle community, and an excitement to share that passion with the students of your college university? The Buckeyes4Beef Ohio State campus event!

It was so exciting to see OSU students writing positive notes about beef and posting them to our #BeefBuzz Board

It was so exciting to see OSU students writing positive notes about beef and posting them to our #BeefBuzz Board

Buckeyes4Beef took place this past weekend on my college campus, The Ohio State University. Through the efforts of the Collegiate Cattlewomen’s Club of Ohio State, the 2014 National Beef Ambassador team, and funding provided by the Beef Checkoff, our team of beef enthusiasts was able to successfully execute the largest beef promotion event to ever hit the city of Columbus.

National Beef Ambassador, Rachael Wolters plays beef trivia with Ohio State's mascot, Brutus the Buckeye.

National Beef Ambassador, Rachael Wolters plays beef trivia with Ohio State’s mascot, Brutus the Buckeye.

Buckeyes4Beef was divided into two days. On Friday, our event was held on a large grassy space in the center of campus, which we call the Oval. On the Oval, our group spent the day playing games, such as Meet Your Meat, Beef Busters, Who’s the Heifer, and Size Up Your Servings, and sought opportunities to have genuine conversations with our peers about their concerns involving the beef community. During the event, we collected surveys, asking students one question of whether their opinion about the positives of beef had improved, remained the same, or decreased after their time at the Buckeyes4Beef event. Of the 58 students surveyed, 78% said that their opinions had improved, and 22% said their feelings had not changed. Pretty awesome statistics!

Congratulations to our Take-the-Steak champs, the Buckeye Dairy Club!

Congratulations to our Take-the-Steak champs, the Buckeye Dairy Club!

On Saturday, the Buckeyes4Beef event continued with a tailgate during the Ohio State vs. Kent State football game. During the tailgate, our team served all-beef hot dogs to football fans and handed out fun beef prizes. The most exciting part of the tailgate was the “Take-the-Steak” competition; a Chopped- style cook-off where collegiate clubs and organizations formed teams to show off their beef grilling and culinary skills. After three rounds of tough competition (and a lot of really great beef) it was a pleasure to award the Buckeye Dairy Club with the Take-the-Steak trophy and the grand prize; a steak dinner for 20!

All in all, Buckeyes4Beef was a huge success. After assessing attendance of the two events, I estimate that we were able to reach approximately 700 students and tailgaters with our event, not to mention the #BeefBuzz that was exploding throughout Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. It was such an amazing experience to work with our newly chartered Collegiate Cattlewomen’s club to put on this event, especially considering the entire production was planned before we have had our first official club meeting. It just goes to show how impactful a group of millennials can be when we set out to share our passions. Eat Beef and Go Bucks!

All for the Love for Beef,
Sierra Jepsen

All Hat No Cattle

My guest blogger today is Mrs. Lisa Smartt. Mrs. Smartt is a woman who loves to laugh! Born in a small town in West Kentucky, she now writes a weekly newspaper column from her home outside Dresden, Tennessee. She lives on 16 wooded acres with her husband, two sons (who sometimes fight), a cat who desperately needs Prozac, and two German Shepherd Huskies. Her husband is one of the profs at my school and she often is a guest speaker at student events. You can visit her blog The Smartt View.

All Hat No Cattle

When I was in college, I traveled with a friend to visit her family in Alabama. We both got ready for church on Sunday morning. But when my friend walked down the stairs, her very sophisticated beautiful mother said with a pure Alabama drawl, “Dahlin’, that dress is as wrinkled as a dog’s behind.” I had never heard that saying. I laughed out loud but not too loud. I didn’t want her mama to say, “Your friend is louder than a cicada at bedtime.”
I’ve been known to use my own unusual phrases when it comes to children. “Give me a hug, you little cheesy biscuit.” “Come on over here, you little cocoa bean.” “I could just pour you on a pancake and eat you for breakfast.” I know. I know. There’s a definite food theme at work in my personal life. Can we just choose not to over-analyze that right now? Yeah, thanks. I don’t want to be as depressed as a turkey the day before Thanksgiving.
I’ve always been fascinated with southern sayings or western wisdom. I recently heard for the first time a phrase that I absolutely love. All hat and no cattle. A brilliant picture in a few simple words. Because I’ve spent most of my life in the great state of Texas, I can assure you that a big expensive cowboy hat doesn’t always indicate a ranch full of cattle. Sometimes the biggest hats are worn by suburban residents who eat scones, drink cappuccino, and never get their hands dirty. And sometimes those with the most cattle wear old unimpressive hats which mark them as a commoner not a cattle baron.
But of course we all know that the term “All hat and no cattle” is not about hats or about cattle. It’s about something far deeper. When speaking to young people, I often exhort them, “The more time you spend telling people how awesome you are, the less likely they are to believe it.” The more you work on your outward impression, the less time you’re able to devote to your inward character. When someone who is deeply in debt drives a big expensive car it’s an example of all hat and no cattle. When a person brags about his high-paying job it always sounds like all hat and no cattle. Why? Because people with high-paying jobs don’t tend to talk like that. When someone constantly explains the sheer brilliance of their child in comparison to all the “regular” children out there, it’s an example of all hat and no cattle. Insecurity tends to produce that kind of jargon.
As a true Texan, I can tell you that a well-crafted cowboy hat is a beautiful thing. Impressive. The problem? You can’t eat a cowboy hat. Someone somewhere has to own a field of cattle. But I’m not worried. God owns the cattle on a thousand hills. And that thought makes me happy. Happier than a pig in slop. (Again, don’t over-analyze that please.).

Thanks, Mrs. Lisa!


Bring Beef to Your Tailgate!

It’s finally football season! The long stretch of winter basketball, spring baseball and summer soccer has finally brought us back to the main event. While fans from across the nation may have different ways of showing their team spirit, it can be unanimously decided that tailgating will be at the heart of every college and professional football game this fall. Here are my top 5 picks for the best tailgating dishes to feature on game day:Screen Shot 2014-09-07 at 10.46.51 PM

1. BBQ Beef Sandwiches
2. Three Bean Chili
3. Walking Tacos
4. Cheeseburger Quesadillas
5. Sloppy Joe’s

When it comes to tailgating, beef really scores! Whether you need a light snack or a full meal, you can’t go wrong when beef is what’s for dinner.  Check out Beef Pro’s on Pintrest for more great beef tailgating recipes.

All for the Love of Beef,
Sierra Jepsen

California Fires

Smokey sunset

Smokey sunset

This week, I’d like to give a short update on the fires in Northern California, which are currently the largest and most destructive fires in the nation. They are right in my back yard, some less than 15 miles away from my house. Currently, the “July Complex” (which was burning in the he Marble Mountain range that surrounds my valley) has been mostly put out, but burned nearly 50,000 acres, and the “Happy Camp Complex” is still burning. The Happy Camp Complex has now burned around 100,000 acres of wilderness and is only 30% contained. The state and nation have spent nearly $55 million on this fire alone, and there are over 75 crews of firemen on the fire (almost 3,000 firefighters). Though no lives have been lost, hundreds of people have been under evacuation warning and some under mandatory evacuation. Scott Valley (the valley where I live) has been filled with smoke for most of the summer.
Many cattlemen, my family included, send their cattle to the mountains for the summer, and many of those cattle have been in direct danger of the fires. Cattle generally know to stay away from fires and don’t usually burn, but if they’re surrounded, they could have no other option. Naturally, farmers and ranchers with cattle in the mountains have been terrified for the lives of their livestock. Some of our close friends had to go bring their cattle back to the valley prematurely because they were going to be surrounded by fire. The constant threat on the lives of residents and livestock is hard to live with, but the community has responded to this issue with overwhelming support. It’s awesome to see neighbors coming together in a time of crisis.
More information on the fires can be found www.inciweb.nwcg.gov. Keep those in danger and those fighting these fires in your thoughts!

Have a great week,



Beefy Mexican Lasagna

Back to school time calls for hearty meals that are tasty and satisfying. This is a family favorite my mother found in a community newsletter several years ago.

1.5 pounds ground beef
1 medium yellow or red onion
9 corn or 5 flour tortillas
2 10 oz cans mild enchilada sauce
1 (15 oz) black beans, rinsed and drained
1 1/2 cups frozen corn
1 t. cumin
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar or Mexican blend cheese
2 T fresh cilantro, chopped
crushed tortilla chips

1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Brown ground beef and onion in skillet.
2. Combine in a large bowl- black beans, corn and cumin, mix well.
3. Spray 11 3/4″x 7 1/2″ baking dish with non-stick spray. Arrange 2-3 tortillas on the bottom, cutting as needed. Spread 1/3 of meat/ onion mixture and 1/3 of bean/ corn mixture over tortillas. Repeat 2 more times until all ingredients are used. Top with enchilada sauce.
4. Cover with foil. Back 30 minutes.
5. Uncover. Top with cheese, cilantro and tortilla chips. Return to oven for about 5 minutes to melt cheese.
6. Enjoy with green salad, hot veggies and dessert.

Additional info: This can be put together in the morning and stored in the refrigerator until afternoon. Cooking time may be increased a few minutes.

Hope you enjoy this,