A Year in Review


20 senior competitors traveled to Denver, Colorado in hopes of earning one of the five spots as National Beef Ambassador. Five people representing five different states brought together for their passion and love as beef-met as strangers and will leave as friends!


The power of a brand, loyalty to customers and the qualifications for grading CAB beef were all valuable lessons during our first trip as a National Beef Ambassador Team.


Genetics are key to the breeding of beef producers. Fore front thinking done on behalf of businesses such as Select Sires, there is the ability to continue producing quality, safe, wholesome, and nutritious beef.


Educating a variety of individuals at the Pennsylvania Farm Show proved to be enlightening and engaging. The beef industry is proud to use food byproducts such as distiller grains and chocolate meal as a part of a total mixed ration for cattle.


Sizzling Hot San Antonia and the NCBA Convention was a week long educational adventure. Learning from some of the top notch beef industry men and women, experiencing the trade show, and being able to share some of knowledge about the beef industry showcased our time in Texas-where everything is bigger and better!


A part of the New York City Half Marathon with the Pennsylvania and New York Beef Councils, I learned how busy and health conscious New York City residents are and was able to promote lean beef to the area runners as a great recover protein.


While in Denver, Colorado, we were able to tour one of the largest feedlot companies and packing plants owned by JBS and Five Rivers Feedlots. The efficiency and timing of every worker in the JBS harvesting facility was down to the minute, and yet so amazing to think the abundance of meat that this plant harvests, packs, and ships in a single day so that consumers around the world can eat.


Greely, Colorado is home to Greely Hat Works. This company sells cowboy hats all around the world and bases their business off of customer loyalty and trust-a similar theme to producers in the beef industry.


Through a grant awarded to the National Beef Ambassador Program, we had the privilege to attend the Spring Legislative Conference in Washington, D.C. Here we were able to meet key players in the beef industry allowing us to network and learn from them, as well as spend a day on Capitol Hill with our individual state representatives to discuss important beef industry issues.


Cooking demonstrations were a big component of the Nashville cooking show. Here teammate Will and I prepare a fresh twist to a summer salad called Sugar Snap Pea and Sirloin Salad which included a lean cut of beef, barley rather than lettuce, and lemon peel for an added flavor. As a part of the Nashville Cooking Show, there were also interactive, hands-on stations that helped consumers better understand how to freeze beef, cut beef, season beef, and take the temperature of beef.


All in all this past year serving as a National Beef Ambassador has been filled with learning experiences, exciting travels, binding with individuals from various parts of the United States, and making memories that will last for a life time. Thank you to all those individuals who helped to make this past year a success!

For those contestants gearing up to travel to Denver next week, have fun! Meeting people from different backgrounds and learning about the beef industry from other advocates is a once in a lifetime opportunity. So above all the nerves, smile and showcase your inner personality, because it’s what makes YOU shine!

-Above all else, Beef It’s What’s For Dinner!





Competition Tips and Tricks

As my year on the 2015 National Beef Ambassador Team comes to an end, I would like to share my tips and tricks for the competition. Both Will and I competed at the 2011 National Beef Ambassador Competition as juniors, so this wasn’t our first rodeo. Whether you are a returning contestant or if this is your first time, it is important to remember to keep your nerves in check. This experience is supposed to be fun! With or without a title, you can still advocate for the beef community. Some of the best beef ambassadors I know are just ordinary people that spark up conversations with friends and family about beef. ResidueDon’t be overwhelmed by the competition! This is a time to meet other people with similar interests as you. Some of my closest friends are my teammates, and I never would have met them if I hadn’t become involved with this program.ResidueBe yourself! The best way to relate to people is to just be yourself. People will notice if you are trying to be someone that you aren’t. Everyone has a different personality and style of relating to people.


Remember to smile and have fun! This is a learning experience. Whether you walk away with the title or not, you took the initiative to make it to the national competition. Enjoy every moment of it. Good luck to all of the National Beef Ambassador contestants! Go beef!

Three Lessons Being a National Ambassador Taught Me

Throughout this past year serving as a National Ambassador, there have been many lessons learned and themes that we have focused on as a team within all of our exciting travels. As I begin to reflect on this passing experience, there are three main lessons that really stick out to me as having learned and grown through as an individual during the duration of representing Ohio as a National Beef Ambassador. Reflecting on these three components of the year, I realize that although in just two short weeks my title of National Beef Ambassador will no longer be, however I will carry the lessons learned, the friendships made, and the memories gained for a lifetime!

  1. Think Ahead– An effective leader is one who has the ability to continuously think and plan ahead. This proved to be beneficial most importantly when dealing with school and travels coinciding. It was important as a college student to let my professors know the prestige of being a National Beef Ambassador, as well as what this role entitled, but also think ahead to the assignments and tests I would be missing. I quickly learned that being able to address a situation before it occurred help to prevent stress, which also allowed me to enjoy my plane rides, trips, and still succeed at school.


    This past year taught me to step outside of my comfort zone, try new things, speak with new people, and most importantly make memories and live with a smile.

  2. Listen– I was unique to the National Beef Ambassador team this year as I was the only one of the five representing individuals east of the Mississippi. Roaming cattle, abundance of feedlots, and using horses to move herds were all new concepts to me within the beef industry. I learned that throughout these trips however, everyone had something different to learn and benefit from, but the best way to learn is to simply listen. Throughout the trips out west into Denver and San Antonio, I was able to tour ranches much larger in capacity compared to my farm at home, but I also was able to share my own experiences and knowledge with teammates and fellow beef industry representatives that expressed curiosity in how central Ohio raises beef cattle. Through listening I learned that after all, we are all in the beef industry working towards a common goal!


    Visiting JBS Packing Plant and Five Rivers Fedlot was an eye opening experience for me. It was evident by this trip that in all levels of the beef lifecycle the number one priority of farmers and ranchers is to produce a safe, wholesome, and nutritious product on four feet and on the table.

  3. Friendships matter– No matter the distance between home towns, a friend is someone whom you know will be there when you need them. You do not have to talk every day to be considered best friends. Approximately one year ago 20 nervous contestants met for the first time in Denver, Colorado in hopes of being allowed the honor and privilege to travel the United States promoting the beef industry. From the hours spent waiting in airports, late night conversations in hotel rooms, taxi rides around Nashville, and most importantly sharing our love of beef and the beef industry, I can now call my teammates my best friends!


    When five people are brought together under the same common interest of having a passion for educating and promoting others about beef and the beef industry, there is no telling the impact they will make!


Stroganoff in a Flash!


Life always gets hectic after school begins. When I get home from class and meetings at night, the last thing I want to do is make dinner.



I make some kind of casserole very frequently. They are easy and fast. Last week my mom gave me the recipe for Stroganoff casserole. It is very quick and tastes great.


  • 1 tube of biscuits
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 chopped onion
  • 1-7 oz. Can of mushrooms
  • 1 cup of sour cream
  • Optional Cheese to sprinkle over the top


Cook the ground beef to 160° F add the onion and cook until soft. Mix in the mushrooms and  sour cream. Open the can of biscuits.



Place the individual biscuits into a greased 9×9″ dish. Place the beef mixture over the biscuits in the dish. Sprinkle cheese over the top. Bake at 350° for about 20 minutes, or until the cheese has melted.

I like to serve this with peas and a fresh garden salad. Bon Appétit!

A Special Bond

A mother’s love is endless, strong, and always giving. A mother’s love does not go unnoticed and should not be shared and celebrated just one day out of the year specifically on Mother’s Day. I want to take the time today to honor and thank my mother for all that she does, her endless support, and over powering love. No matter the time of day, she is always there for me and can always seem to give the right advice to stop the tears or make my smile bigger.

My mom understands the value of hard work. She always put her family, especially my brother and my needs before her own. She never goes to sleep until a task is complete and she also understands the value, and has instilled it on me to never give up, always to power through a challenge or task. This is very evident in her during fair season when she was always out in the barn with me helping me with projects and is the first and last one to leave the fair at nights.


The county fair is my families “vacation.” Just like my mom, I love to spend the days in the barns talking with old friends, and there is nothing better than stepping into the show ring with an animal you have spent all summer working with!

My mom is always my biggest supporter. She has been there for me throughout all of my activities and watched me achieve and fall short of some of my goals and dreams, but through every step of the way she has been there to cheer me on. Throughout my four years of high school sports, she never missed a cross country or track meet, making sure she was standing somewhere along the sidelines cheering the loudest.

My mom realizes finding the value in positive aspects of all circumstances. Through the years I have participated in school, sports, and shown cattle, I have come to realize I am my hardest competitor. I put more pressure on myself to do well and achieve things than both of my parents do, teachers, or coaches ever have. I am also the person that seems to beat myself up the most, get frustrated and discouraged when something does not go the way I anticipated. My mom has always informed me that through all disappointments and adversities, there is a positive. She has encouraged me to find that positive and focus on it rather than all the negatives from a situation.

baby me

A flashback to my mom and I when I was only a few months old. By the look on her face, I can see instant love and support.

My mom is also my best friend. I have learned over the years as I have gotten older that the bond between a mother and daughter is inseparable. I feel so honored and lucky to have been blessed with a mother whom I want to share special memories with; go shopping, work with the show cattle, plant flowers, call on the phone every day to talk to…all of these special parts and pieces to a relationship that allow me to cherish the bond we share and the conversations we have.


An annual trip to get flowers and go shopping; I always make sure to have someone snap a picture with us so I will always be able to have these memories. A day filled with stories, laughter, and irreplaceable mother-daughter bonding.


To my mom who is also my best friend: thank you for always being here for me, for giving me that shoulder to cry on and for being the person that shares my joy and laughter. Thank you for taking a million pictures throughout all of my activities so I will always have those memories documented, thank you for being my biggest supporter in and out of the show ring, at track meets, sharing twelve years of dance with me, and cheering on the cross country course. I am beyond grateful for the relationship we share and the memories we have created!




Happy Labor Day!

Happy Labor Day everyone! I always think Labor Day marks the official end of summer. Labor Day is a good day to kick back and spend time with friends and family. Most years, my family and I would load up and head to the mountains. The weekend would be spent with family and friends at a remote cabin in the mountains. It was a nice mini vacation from the work of the farm before school started for my brother, mother, and I.

cabin photos 054

The view wasn’t bad either!

At the cabin, we played countless board games, hiked for miles, and enjoyed everyone’s company. One thing was always the center of our pilgrimages to the cabin-the food! Each family that went would take turns cooking meals for everyone. Since the cabin lacked the amenities of indoor plumbing or electricity, cooking was always interesting. Grilling was always popular on Labor Day. vote

I love grilling, I think it really brings out the robust flavor profile of beef. Beef It’s What’s For Dinner has some great resources for cooking beef any way you could think of. Check out their grilling page for tips, tricks, and recipes to make any barbecue a success! My personal favorite meal on the grill is kabobs. I really love using the vegetables that are in season to pair with beef. Here’s a recipe for kabobs to kick off your Labor Day weekend:

Beef, Pepper, & Mushroom Kabobs


1 pound beef Top Sirloin Steak boneless, cut 1-inch thick
1 large green, red or yellow bell pepper, cut into 1-1/4-inch pieces
12 large mushrooms
1 package (6.0 ounces) long grain and wild rice blend
1/4 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon water
2 teaspoons Dijon-style mustard
1 teaspoon honey
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
1/4 teaspoon pepper


  1. Trim fat from beef steak; cut into 1-1/4-inch pieces. In large bowl, whisk together seasoning ingredients; add beef, bell pepper and mushrooms, tossing to coat. Alternately thread pieces of beef, bell pepper and mushrooms on each of four 12-inch metal skewers.
  2. Prepare rice according to package directions; keep warm.
  3. Meanwhile place kabobs on grid over medium, ash-covered coals. Grill kabobs, covered, 8 to 11 minutes (over medium heat on preheated gas grill, 9 to 11 minutes) for medium rare (145°F) to medium (160°F) doneness, turning occasionally; season with salt. Serve kabobs with rice.

Happy Meaty Monday!

Rachel Purdy
Princess Farmer

Forms of Identification

Identification within the cattle industry is a very important part of management and record keeping. It is important that as beef producers we use a form of identification to differentiate our cattle from one another, as well as keep our records complete and understandable through documentation. There are four main types of identification that beef producers can choose to use within their cattle herds. No one identification method is better or worse than the other. Depending on geographic location is a big determining factor of identification and how producers will choose to identify their cattle. Below are the four identification methods that beef producers use to identify their cattle within the herds.

ear tag

Ear tags are comparable to an earring in a human. Displayed on the outside of the ear with numbers or letters, this method of identification is used more so within smaller herd sizes because the ear tags are not super big. Reading them may require being a closer distance to the animal, but ear tags can come in multiple colors which can differentiate owners within a family or breeds within a herd.


A tattoo is a form of identification within the ear. Little needles pinch through the ear flesh and leave permanent holes within the ear. Both numbers and letters are used in this form of identification which is used specifically for show cattle. Tattoo identification is used to match identity on record papers, which is comparable to a humans birth certificate. The letters signify the year which is universal for all herds and the numbers indicate the order of birth between calves on the certain farm.

hot branding

Hot branding is a prevalent form of identification within large herds, specifically out west due to the large number of cattle within all ranchers herds. This form of identification uses hot coals to burn the hair off of the animal and can be seen at far away distances. Only hurting for minimum time, both letters and numbers are burned into the animal to signify a specific farm. Because pasture land is plentiful and herds are larger, it is important that ranches brand their cattle at a young age to identify their calves versus a neighbors which also prevents stealing.

freeze branding

Freeze branding is comparable to hot branding where the brand is permanent to the animal with both letters and numbers. Freeze branding uses extreme cold to kill the cells in the animal’s skin that produce pigmentation, or color, and is a prevalent method out west where herd sizes are large. A freeze branded animal will have white hair where the freeze branding iron touched the skin.

We all have a form of identification to differentiate us from other people, and the same is with cattle and cattle herds. Methods are helpful and necessary within beef herds to increase healthy management and effective record keeping.

Happy Tuesday!



Freezing For Later

Another semester at the University of Wyoming begins today. As soon as classes begin free time becomes a rare commodity. This year I decided to finally “grow up” and get an apartment. I no longer have a veritable smorgasbord of food hot and ready to eat at the cafeteria. I enjoy cooking, however during the week I might not have much time to prepare delicious and nutritious meals. Preparing in advance helps with time management.

zucchiniIt saves money to buy beef in bulk and freeze it for later. I like to have large packages of ground beef and cook it before I freeze it.

Ground beef

Last night, I cooked a 2 pound package of ground beef so I have recipe ready ground beef in the freezer whenever I need it.IMG_9097I like to use plastic containers to freeze my beef in. Although you can use freezer bags as well. It is important to label the dates on the containers. Cooked beef can stay in a freezer for up to 3 or 4 months.



Happy Meaty Monday!

Rachel Purdy
Princess Farmer



Today marked the start of my senior year in college at The Ohio State University. As I prepared for what I hope is a fun-filled educational year, I began thinking how beef as a protein would empower me throughout my 15-week semester, long nights of homework, and early morning test days. In the spirit of school, I decided to create a poem using the word ‘beef’ and the essential products and nutrients that it provides us throughout our daily life, especially as another year of school lies ahead of us. Good luck to those getting back in the routine of listening in class and doing homework, and remember, you do not have to be a student to enjoy the numerous benefits of beef that it provides to you on a daily basis!


B- by-products from beef cattle allow 99% of the animal to be used. From automotive care, medical use, and sporting equipment, a by-product from the beef animal is sure to impact you in your daily life!


Whether its an afternoon game of baseball, painting your fingernails before dinner, driving your car, or eating a gummy bear, beef is a by-product in all of these everyday items.

E- essential nutrients that your body needs to maintain health. Beef provides 10% of 10 essential nutrients, including zinc, iron, and protein, in less than 10% of the daily recommended caloric intake. Eating a three ounce serving of lean beef provides 25 grams (about half) of the daily value of protein we need to fuel our bodies.


Beef is a great source of ten essential nutrients that help to keep you healthy and focused throughout your busy day.

E- energy! Start your morning off right by eating beef for breakfast to help power you through your day. B vitamins help maintain brain function and riboflavin helps convert food into fuel to help you stay awake and alert throughout both early morning classes and late night labs.

5207.00_Brkfst_Burrito 044

Why drink several cups of coffee in the morning when eating beef for breakfast can replace your tired feeling and give you the needed nutrients and energy to get you through your day.

F- fuel for the finish. Whether it’s finishing up your seven page paper or studying for an exam, with beef, you will feel energized and your brain will still be sharp because beef contains beneficial vitamins and minerals to help fuel you throughout your entire day. Beef provides you with that late night “kick” to help you ace your paper and test!


As an excellent source of protein, beef gives you the fuel you need to stay alert, awake, and on task even late at night!


Remember, with beef, all things are possible!

Happy Tuesday!


Beef Up Zucchini

Every fall, it seems like zucchini is always abundant from gardens. This recipe is a great way to beef up zucchini. Zucchini bread gets boring eventually.

Beef-Stuffed Zucchini Recipe

TOTAL TIME: Prep/Total Time: 30 min.
MAKES: 4 servings
  • 4 medium zucchini
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 3/4 cup marinara or spaghetti sauce
  • 1 egg, beaten
  •  1/4 cup seasoned bread crumbs
  •  1/4 teaspoon salt
  •  1/4 teaspoon pepper
  •  1 cup (4 ounces) shredded Monterey Jack cheese, divided
  • Additional marinara or spaghetti sauce
  1. Cut zucchini in half lengthwise; cut a thin slice from the bottom of each with a sharp knife to allow zucchini to sit flat. Scoop out pulp, leaving 1/4-in. shells.
  2. Place shells in an ungreased 3-qt. microwave-safe dish. Cover and microwave on high for 3 minutes or until crisp-tender; drain and set aside.
  3. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, cook beef and onion over medium heat until meat is no longer pink; drain. Remove from the heat; stir in the marinara sauce, egg, bread crumbs, salt, pepper and 1/2 cup cheese.
  4. Spoon about 1/4 cup into each shell. Microwave, uncovered, on high for 4 minutes. Sprinkle with remaining cheese. Microwave 3-4 minutes longer or until a thermometer inserted into filling reads 160° and zucchini are tender. Serve with additional marinara sauce.