A Year in Review

1

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!

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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.

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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.

4

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.

5

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!

6

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.

7

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.

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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.

9

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.

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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!

Demi

 

 

 

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.

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    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!

    JBS

    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!

    CAB

    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!

~Demi~

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.

tatoo

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!

Demi

 

BEEF

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!

byproducts

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.

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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.

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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!

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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!

Demi

The Value of an Internship

For many kids of all ages, the start of school has proceeded them or is just around the corner. Starting today, I am enjoying my last week of summer vacation; catching some sun doing outdoor projects and working with the show heifers before the county fair.

As a part of the requirements of many majors in college, summer internships fill the days of summer. Yesterday, I completed my first agricultural communication internship with the Ohio Beef Council. To say the very least, it was a very beneficial and rewarding experience. Looking back, I learned valuable tools and lessons that will help me and I continue through my senior year of schooling, as well as begin to look for a career within my field of interest.

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Ohio is a ‘two-hat’ state so our cattlemen’s and beef council office is under one roof. However my summer internship allowed me to be the public relations intern for the Ohio Beef Council.

I was lucky enough to obtain an internship within a sector of agriculture I am very passionate about. Taking an internship throughout ones time in school is very beneficial and provides great value. Throughout my internship I was able to better a handful of my skills such as photography, design work, and social media writing, all of which are big parts of my major.

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Learning to picture cattle and capture an array of sights during farm visits was a new and useful part of my summer internship.

I was also able to take this time during the summer to find the value in listening and watching others throughout the beef council office do their work. I learned that there is value is details. Sometimes as students we tend to focus on the bigger picture and forget the small details throughout a project or task that can allow us to excel and exceed in more ways. By listening and being given tasks that were new to me, I learned how to focus on the details of the task.

cooking demo

As a part of the Ohio State Fair, I was invited on behalf of the beef council to partner with my boss to give a beef cooking demonstration on stage. This is a great way to teach and interact with fair goers who wanted to learn a quick and easy 30-minute or less meal with beef.

I also learned the value in asking questions. There is never a question that is too dumb to ask because by asking questions I learned more.

The lessons and skills one learns throughout internships will always be a part of who they are and will be carried with them throughout the remainder of their professional career. Internships teach you the value of learning, questioning, listening, and details. Not every day of the internship may be packed full of fun task, but I learned that every given task is important and is what helps me as an individual climb the ladder to success.

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As a part of promotions and educations about the beef industry, all ages of consumers are talked to. It is important prior to attending an event to know whom the audience will be and center the beef messages around their questions. Most importantly, I learned to LISTEN to what consumers were asking me before I answered a question.

I challenge all college students to find value in taking an internship and learning along the way. You are never too old to learn or ask questions and there is value in listening and learning from others about an area or sector of an industry you may be passionate in.

 

-Demi-

 

Show stock Lessons

When I was in 4-H, my parents always told me that showing livestock was a family affair. Although the animals were my project, working together as a family and receiving help from my parents throughout the summer show season was important.

While I was at the Ohio State Fair these past two weeks, I took a second to stop and look around at the families working together. I truly believe in the saying, “those that work together stay together.” Showing cattle was always more to me than just winning a purple ribbon or shiny trophy. Showing livestock teaches lifelong values and characteristics to the youth that they will always live by. Now that I am out of 4-H and have the chance to stand back and watch the up and coming generation of showman, I cannot help but reflect on the lessons showing livestock taught me, as well as watch these characteristics showcase in other youth.

  1. Hard work- the countless hours, days and night that are put forth to care for our livestock are unmeasurable. Eight a.m. show days come early in the morning when move in to the fair was finished up at midnight. Showing livestock teaches youth how to work hard with their project for success.

    drying

    Showing beef cattle requires youth to spend time in the barn washing and drying their animal. Patience, time, and practice are three motivational goals learned through working hard.

  2. Dedication- showing livestock requires dedication to not only feed and water the animals every day, but also work with and clean them daily. Livestock youth are dedicated to the well-being of their animals all hours of the day, in all types of weather.

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    Spending the time with ones project is important to teach it how to walk, set up, and get use to a change in surroundings. Youth must be dedicated to work with their project multiple days a week to get it ‘show ready.’

  3. Manners- Working together as a family taught me that “please” and “thank-you” go a long way. Although some days can be more stressful than others or the days that parents seem to be doing everything backwards from planned, being a part of the show stock industry teaches youth to thank their parents, siblings, other youth, 4-H and FFA advisors, and the judge for their help and hard work.
  4. Tears- Everyone always has the hope of walking out of the show ring being the champion, but like so many things, there can only be one winner. Showing livestock teaches youth how to win with dignity and loose with grace. More times than not tears have been shed because an animal misbehaved or I wanted to place higher in a class than I did, but through the tears, I learned to be grateful for what I did have and shake the hand of the winner.
  5. Love- showing livestock is about loving what you do and doing it because you love it. My last two years in 4-H, I found my happy place in the barn washing and blow-drying my projects. Spending so much time with the same animal allows you to learn their personality and become best friends. Showing livestock teaches you to not only love your animals, but love your family for being there with you every step of the way.

    spotlight

    Spending so much time with an animal throughout all weather conditions and throughout the highs and lows of every show allows you to become best friends. Learning the personality of your show animals and connecting with them in and outside of the ring can bring so much joy and happiness to youths’ life.

I could never express how truly grateful I am to have been given the opportunity to grow up on a farm and show livestock for numerous years. When I look back and reflect on the entirety of the years, the ribbons and banners won mean a lot, but the valuable lessons through experiences are treasures that have helped shape me into who I am today. I hope that as I begin to help the next generation of youth, as well as watch the youth working together with family and friends, they find value in the lessons showing their livestock will give, as I did throughout my years as a show stock kid.

Show cattle and smiles!
~Demi~

The Dinner Dilemma

We have all been there. It’s 6:00 p.m., you are hungry, and you have no idea what to make for dinner. Typically I encounter the dinner dilemma as I am at the grocery store roaming the aisles trying to decide what to eat. The interactive butcher counter can help solve this problem!

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The interactive butcher counter (found here) is a great resource!

My favorite tool is the guide me to the right cut feature. From here, you can enter different criteria to find the perfect cut for the occasion. specialI love I am on a college budget, so I selected an economical cut for the other criteria. I really like stir-frying beef. It is great because there are minimal dishes involved, and it is delicious!

special

Seven results popped up! I picked top round steak, because it is one of the many lean cuts. After following the links, I found this fabulous recipe:

Steak USAEasy Asian Beef Stir-Fry
Total Recipe Time: 30 minutes
Makes 4 servings

1 pound beef Top Round or Top Sirloin Steak Boneless, cut 3/4 inch thick or Flank Steak
3/4 cup prepared stir-fry sauce
1 package (16 ounces) frozen Asian vegetable blend (such as broccoli, carrots and sugar snap peas)
1/4 cup water
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons sesame seeds (optional)
Cut beef steak lengthwise in half, then crosswise into 1/8-inch thick strips. Place beef and 1/4 cup stir-fry sauce in food-safe plastic bag; turn beef to coat. Close bag securely and marinate in refrigerator 30 minutes to 2 hours.
Heat large nonstick skillet over medium heat until hot; add vegetables and water. Cover and cook 7 to 8 minutes or until crisp-tender, stirring occasionally. Remove vegetables; keep warm.
Remove beef from marinade; discard marinade. Heat 1 teaspoon oil in same skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Add 1/2 of beef and garlic; stir-fry 1 to 2 minutes or until outside surface of beef is no longer pink. (Do not overcook.) Remove from skillet. Repeat with remaining oil, beef and garlic.
Return vegetables and beef to skillet. Stir in remaining 1/2 cup stir-fry sauce; cook and stir 1 to 2 minutes or until heated through. Garnish with sesame seeds, if desired.

This recipe only takes 30 minutes! So once you pick up the ingredients at the store, you can have a home cooked meal in no time at all.

Happy Meaty Monday!

Rachel Purdy
Princess Farmer

Stop, Watch, and Listen

When it comes to being a part of the beef industry, there are multiple facets that one can be a part of; the beef producer, the advocate, and the shower. Most youth would agree that the best part of showing cattle is not the colorful rope halters or show sticks, the daily washing and blow drying, or the sparkles on the jeans as a part of the wardrobe, (although all fun pieces of showing) but the facet of showing the animal that so much time and dedication is put in to. There is no better feeling than walking into the ring and having your steer or heifer behave and do everything you have practiced at home; and taking home a ribbon, trophy, or banner always adds an extra sparkle and rewarding memory to the experience. However, there is more to beef cattle than just showing. One must take the time to watch and listen to effectively learn and improve upon their skills and tactics.

bling

Sparkles, fancy boots, and added color are just fun extras of showing cattle, the real fun is showing off the daily hard work once you walk into the show ring.

This past week and upcoming week are filled with days spent at the Ohio State Fair working a putt putt course that helps to give scholarships to college students, as well as watching beef cattle shows and talking to fair goers and youth about the beef industry.

As I walked into senior showmanship the other morning, I could not help but notice the array of younger kids standing ringside or sitting in the bleachers watching their older peers and the judge as they battled for the top showman position. I have learned throughout my years of showing that you can learn just as much outside the ring than you can standing in it.

From the point of view of looking at the situation of each individual showman from an outward appearance, you have the ability to watch others and nitpick on their showmanship tactics and skills and learn what you yourself should do or try to help make your show animal look better for the judge. By standing or sitting back, you also have the ability to see multiple showers and animals and watch and compare, as well as learn what the particular judge judging the show likes and does not like. It is important as you watch, listen, take notes, and learn to keep open perspective of how others show. All animals entering the show ring have different personalities and were raised in different environments, and the same goes for the showers. Some showman learned different tactics than others and while watching a show it is most important to simply study how other showman work around the space in the ring and keep their animal calm to show their best to the judge.

heifer in chute

Youth of the beef industry taking the time to attend a show clinic to learn some tips and tricks prior to showing their animals.

Taking the time to watch, at whatever age of shower, parent, or spectator you might be, allows you to BE THE JUDGE. This is one of the most important parts of watching a show. You have the ability to watch the same show as the judge and formulate your own reasons and opinions for placing the way you choose, and by doing this you learn what is most important to you while showing and then as a shower yourself you can start implementing that piece. It is also important to really take the time to listen to the judges’ reasons for placing the way he did because you learn what he is and is not looking for in the showers.

little girl

Youth of all ages can engage in shows and learn from watching others and listening to the judge give reasons for his placements. Taking the time to stop, watch, and listen can really pay off in the end!

The best way to learn is to watch and listen multiple times, as well as learn to be the judge yourself. It is amazing how much one can learn by taking the time to step away from the halter and take the time to stand ringside.

 

Happy Tuesday!

Demi

 

Where your Meat Comes From

The bovine timeline, from the time an animal is conceived until it ends up on your plate takes a total of approximately two years. The final step of the timeline is the packing plant/distributor.

There are many different shapes and sizes of packing plants across America. Some process between 20-30 animals per day, while others process thousands of animals per day. In either case however, packing plants are inspected by the United States government where both sanitation and attention to details are the number one priorities. Employees are well-trained and understand the importance of keeping the facilities safe for all workers while making sure the products are safe and wholesome.

It is important that the cattle have minimum stress through the process of the packing plant. From unloading off the trailer with ramps for easier walking, into pens that have watering tanks and sprinklers to help cool the cattle, into a Temple Grandin style walking coral, the cattle are moved in a low stress and low noise environment.

Through the Temple Grandin livestock handling facility design, cattle corrals in packing plants are made as winding from the pen to the harvesting facilities. Through the designs, Dr. Grandin also has researched and stated in the layout rules that the holding pen must be level, cattle must walk through the ramp single file, and the animal must be able to see two-three animals ahead of it while walking through the chute before it curves.

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Through research and the study of animal behaviors, Temple Grandin designed a curvature type walking chute that the animals proceed through as they enter the harvesting facilities. This allows for a minimum stress movement pattern for the animals.

The research done by Dr. Grandin has indicated that these methods are the most human and allow minimum stress on the animals and therefore are implicated at packing facilities.

Packing facilities are also sanitized every day and regularly inspected by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to ensure clean and sanitized work areas and employees. As a part of the packing plant, the meat is also inspected by the USDA to ensure a safe, quality, and wholesome product before it enters a grocery store.

USDA-inspector[1]

A USDA inspector looks at the quality grade of meat and labels it as she sees fit prior to the meat entering the foodservice chain.

Throughout the entire bovine timeline, sanitation, health, and treating the animals humanely are all top priorities of beef producers and meat packers. All sectors want to ensure a safe, wholesome, and nutritious product is produced for both their tables and other consumers. Knowing that in the year 2050, 18 billion people in this world will need to eat falls in the hands of all livestock and crop producers, therefore, they do their job diligently and respectfully to maintain the health and safety of their animals that are being raised so others can eat.

lifecycle

The beef lifecycle takes approximately two years from conception of the animal until it ends up on your plate. During every step and process of the lifecycle, beef farmers and producers are determined to produce a safe, quality, and wholesome product on four feet and on the dinner table!

 

Have a great day,
Demi

 

Why I am Crazy About Cattle

When you are overwhelmingly passionate about something it can sometimes be difficult to translate that passion into words. Here is my attempt to articulate my passion.
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My passion for the beef community started when I took my first breath. Growing up on a multi-generation ranch, work was not an option. Even before I could walk, I was riding in the feed truck with my dad. Jobs started at a young age, because we needed the help. Regardless of the size of the job, each was critical to the success of our family business.
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God gave me something very special when He gave me my passion. I am who I am today because of my involvement in the beef community. From caring for sick cattle, I learned compassion. From working alongside my relatives, I gained unbreakable bonds with my family. From watching my father work, I learned how to learn. From watching cattle die, I learned what death is. From taking instruction, I learned how to listen. From making mistakes on the ranch, I learned the importance of constructive criticism. From watching my father in business deals, I learned integrity. From old ranchers, I learned the importance of a firm handshake and confident eye contact. From persevering through the rough times, I gained character. From pulling baby calves in the middle of the night, I learned dedication.  From being surrounded by the breathtaking beauty of creation, I learned how big God is. All the good and bad times – they have helped cultivate me into who I am today.
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It breaks my heart to walk the halls with seniors in college who have absolutely no idea what they want to do in life. They wake up in the morning feeling complacent with no direction and no motivation, and go to sleep feeling hopeless and lost. I wish I knew how to gift or teach these people passion. I wish I could give them something that would spark in them a flame, something that would get them out of bed in the mornings, something that the very thought of not taking action would make them unbearably uncomfortable, but I can’t instill that. Each person must find that individually.
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I had every intention of giving you three simple bullet points about why I love beef, but my passion goes much deeper than a few bleak sentences; rather it is tied to every fiber of my being. So for me to put it into words is for me to truly reflect my innermost motivations.
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Moral of the Story: Yes, I consider myself very blessed to have an overwhelming passion for the beef community that motivates me to work very hard to make a positive difference every day. But whether you are passionate about helping people, organizing files, working with technology, or anything, find what gets you out of bed in the morning.

God bless, folks!

 

Kalyn McKibben

Blonde Beef Babe