Happy Friday Beef Lovers! I am very excited to be starting a new blog series throughout the remainder of my term as a National Beef Ambassador themed, “Beef Ambassador Spotlight.” As a beef community we are all one-of-a-kind individuals that share a common passion through our love for beef! Whether it’s rounding up cows, promoting consumption of beef in the kitchen, or going into classrooms to educate the future of tomorrow about the truth of beef cows, we are all ambassadors in one way or another! Today, we have fellow beef ambassador Ms. Alex Lucas and her beef story! – Chandler
When most people think of Florida they tend to think of beaches and Disney – but Florida has a lot more than that to offer! When people hear that I am the beef ambassador from Florida, I usually hear a lot of disbelief through the commonly asked question, “there are cows in Florida?” Florida is home to some of the biggest cow-calf operations in the United States!
When Chandler approached me about writing for the National Beef Ambassador Blog, and told me to write about myself, I knew that was a lot to ask. How do I describe to people who I am and what the Florida Beef Community is like in such a simple way? I’ll start with the basics of me: I grew up in a small town in the heart of North Central Florida. My story is unique because unlike a lot of my beef ambassador counterparts, I wasn’t involved in the show world, I attended my county and state fairs but I was never in FFA or 4-H. I gained most of my experience from my family’s small operation that my dad started. My passion for the beef community really flourished when I became more involved in the chapter of the Cattlewomen’s Association at my college, the University of Florida. I am majoring in Animal Sciences with a specialization in Food Animals (and by that I mean beef) and I am heavily involved in Gator Collegiate CattleWomen.
Me and my fellow Florida Gator Collegiate CattleWomen promoting Beef at a football game!
Being a Beef Ambassador is the experience of a lifetime. I cannot put in to words the gratitude I have for the men and women that make this possible not only for me, but for all of us. I have the best job in the world; I get to travel around the beautiful state of Florida and connect with consumers and make them realize where their food comes from, what agriculture is, and how they are affected in their daily lives by the beef community. I have had such an amazing time being able to communicate with people that are both very similar and completely different from me and making people realize that everyone in the world has a common bond: we all have common roots in agriculture. It is such a gratifying feeling walking away from a conversation with someone who took away a positive message about beef or learned something about the beef community. I cannot wait to continue to pursue my passion in the beef community and continue being an AgVocate!
Talking to Cattleman about the importance of promoting Beef!
The thing that I am most excited writing about is my experience being a member of the Beef Ambassador community. Even though most beef ambassadors don’t get to wear the big belt buckle like the Fab 5, we all are a part of the team and have the same goal: promoting beef and educating consumers about this community that we have such a strong passion for! For me, aside from being able to experience conversations with consumers and changing opinions on the way beef is perceived, the greatest part is the bond that I have formed with other ambassadors all over the country!
Some of the amazing Beef Ambassadors that are my closest friends!
Anyone that attended the National Beef Ambassador Competition in Sacramento this year can tell you. After just hours, the 22 of us were best friends. We were locked in a room together for eight hours – so that might have forced us to talk, but we were all able to bond so quickly because we all knew that in some form we all were there for the same reason – we were all passionate about the beef community. I know that I have made some of the best memories with these ambassadors and we share our experiences and learn from each other on a daily basis and once all of us have completed our service we will still be able to connect in our professional lives. While in Tampa at NCBA, a few of us were able to see each other face to face again. Even though it had been five months, and we all live in different corners of the country, it was like nothing changed. I know for all of us that this has been a life changing experience. For me, I have been able to grow as a person and an advocate of this great community. Like the rest of the ambassadors, I look forward to what lies ahead.
My great friend and National Beef Ambassador Katie Stroud!