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!

2

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.

3

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.

8

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.

10

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

 

 

 

What Can We Do to Help the Beef Community?

 

Last week, your beef ambassadors attended the NCBA conference in (Not So) Sizzlin’ San Antonio! A popular question we were asked while talking to attendees was, “What are problems facing the beef industry?” and “How can we help to fix them?” These problems aren’t going to go away, and it is imperative that we be proactive in facing them. Most important, we need to tell our stories and be transparent about what we do with our animals.

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Antibiotic Usage

This is a hot topic among consumers. Myths are circulating about why we use antibiotics and that through our usage, we will be contributing to antibiotic-resistant bacteria and viruses, which will then affect consumers. As producers, we know this to be untrue. Explain to consumers about why we use antibiotics to help our animals and that we adhere to strict withdrawal times!

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Using antibiotics helps to keep our cattle healthy and happy!

 

There’s Hormones in my Beef?!

Another major concern, and one that is being propagated by anti-beef organizations, is use of hormones or beta-agonists in raising cattle for beef. It is believed that these will cause early puberty, particularly in young girls. Again, we know different, and can explain to the public the various studies proving that consumption of these meat products is safe, as these hormones and other exogenous factors are completely metabolized by the animal’s body.

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Beef treated with hormones is perfectly safe to eat, and has no adverse side effects!

 

Animal Welfare

We have all seen the horrific videos of animals being mistreated. And though we want to fight this with all our might, these things do happen. We need to communicate to consumers these are extremely rare events, and most importantly we are working to better our industry to where they don’t happen at all! I have found that talking to them about your own herd and the various practices we use certainly helps, not only to underscore your credibility, but makes it relatable.

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Sometimes the practices we utilize is confusing, so make sure to explain why we do what we do!

 

Beef Nutrition

With weight loss program ads appearing everywhere, it’s no wonder people are concerned about what is in their food! Everyone wants to be healthy, and most do not realize how nutritious beef is! It is the number one food source for Iron, and is also high in zinc, protein and B vitamins. Unfortunately, beef has gotten a bad rap for being high in calories and saturated fat. It important to utilize information and pamphlets from the Beef Checkoff to show consumers that beef packs a powerful punch and is part of a healthy diet! We all eat beef several times a week, so show them how healthy you are!

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Packed full of nutrients, beef is delicious and wholesome!

 

Across all these topics, it is most important that we start communicating and sharing our story. Anti-beef organizations have beat us to the punch, and we need to start playing catch-up! We do have it in our favor that most people already love beef, but we need to make sure it stays that way!

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Open the communication lines and start telling your story!

 

Conventional vs. Grass-fed Cattle

The beef industry prides itself on giving consumers a choice. Without our faithful consumers, there would not be the drive for demand of a beef product that our industry continues to see. As an industry, we listen to our consumers, and because of that, we not only ensure our beef is safe, wholesome, and nutritious, but also allows every consumer the choice in beef product they not only prefer, but also feel is best for themselves and their family.

Conventional raised beef and Grass-fed beef are both raised by producers to ensure a savory and enjoyable eating experience. No matter the way the animal is finished, all cattle spend the majority of their lives grazing on grass and eating hay. This is also known as back grounding. After this stage in life, producers decided the best way they believe to finish or feed out their cattle to market weight. This decision is largely based on geographic location in the United States, primarily based on the weather and feed availability. A vast majority of farmers in the Midwest choose to finish their cattle on grains such as corn and silage, primarily because of the geographic location of the Corn Belt as well as the seasonal growing periods. Personally, it is not ideal for my family to grass-feed our cattle because of the cold and snowy winters which stunt the pasture grass growth, so it is not economical to choose to raise the cattle strictly on grass and forages.

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All cattle spend the majority of their lives grazing on grass.

 

However, in warmer climates, such as in Sacramento, California, grass continues to re-germinate and grow which allows producers to maintain a grass-fed program for their animals. An abundant and array of grass growth as well as climate and water fall is important when a producer chooses to raise and finish his cattle out on grass.

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During the back-grounding phase of the beef cattle lifecycle, cattle graze on grass. The last 4-6 months determine whether cattle will be finished/fed out as conventional or grass-fed.

 

For our consumers, it is important to remember that conventionally raised beef cattle and grass-fed cattle offer a choice. There is a consistency of beef production, and our main goal as beef producers is to produce a safe, wholesome, and nutritious beef product that no matter the way it was fed out or finished, still provides the body with essential vitamins and nutrients. It is also important to remember that all beef cattle spend the majority of their lives grazing on grass and it is the last 4-6 months, mainly based on geographic and resource availability that determines how the producer chooses to finish or feed-out his cattle to market weight.

The next time you visit the grocery store to make a choice on which beef to buy, remember, all beef is healthy and nutritious and offers your body an excellent source of protein!

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All beef is an excellent choice of protein to include in your daily diet!

Above all else, Beef, it’s what’s for Dinner!

Demi

 

Feeding A Global Consumer

In the United States, we do not consume a lot of tongue, liver, tripe (along with other cuts of beef). So what happens to these cuts when the animal is processed? Thanks to a global economy, we are able to ship these cuts to parts of the world that demand these products. This past week, the beef ambassador team was at the Cattle Industry Convention in San Antonio, Texas. While we were there, we were able to learn more about hot topics in the beef community (like exports!). Here are the biggest things I learned:

Beef produced in the United States may find its way to a dinner plate across the world!

Beef produced in the United States may find its way to a dinner plate across the world.

  • 95% of the world’s population lives outside of the United States.
  • The hide is the most valuable export product. Although a lot of the hides do end up coming back to the United States in the form of leather products (like Italian leather shoes).

    Even if your shoes were imported, they may have been produced using leather raised in the U.S.!

    Even if your shoes were imported, they may have been manufactured using leather from cattle raised in the U.S.

  • Egypt purchases most of the beef liver exported from the United States. Livers are mainly sold for pet food manufacturing here.
  • Every country demands different cuts of beef. For example, in Hong Kong and China intestines and short plates are demanded, while Peru demands a lot of beef heart. It varies country by country.

    Heart doesn't look too bad when it's cooked!

    Heart doesn’t look too bad when it’s cooked!

  • We gain $300 per head from exports.
  • Compared to the rest of the world the United States eats A LOT of ground beef! Every day 100 million servings of ground beef are consumed in the United States alone.

    That's a lot of ground beef being eaten! For ideas on cooking ground beef, check out this website.

    For ideas on cooking ground beef, check out this website.

  • The United States produces a product that is very different than the rest of the world. Grass fed beef is all that a lot of global consumers have access to. The United States’ main product is grain finished beef. You can learn more about the difference here.Beef

Global trade is fascinating to me. For example, one meal can have avocados from Mexico, lemons from Chile, and beef from your neighbor down the road.

Happy Meaty Monday!

Rachel Purdy
Princess Farmer

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

Beef Fuels Boston!

The past four days have been a whirlwind! Our National Beef Ambassador team paired up with the Pennsylvania Beef Council to promote beef to runners, nutritionists, and supporters at the 118th Boston Marathon.

We spent three days promoting beef while at the marathon convention.

We spent three days promoting beef while at the marathon convention.

Prior to arriving in Boston, I expected the main demographic of consumers to be vegetarian or vegan; little did I know how well beef was supported by these elite athletes! Just by having a presence at the marathon convention and passing out recipes and beef snack sticks, we received so much support and gratitude from runners, saying that they love beef and wouldn’t be able to perform without it. It was great hearing the stories of how some runners had once been vegetarian or vegan, however, returned to eating beef and other meat proteins once they realized how much their body and performance truly relied on it.

Jay, from Australia, used to be Iron deficient until he added more beef to his diet.

Jay, from Australia, used to be Iron deficient until he added more beef to his diet.

I was shocked at the number of international attendees who came to run in the Boston Marathon and was so excited to speak about beef with several runners from Australia, Italy, Russia and Europe. After three 10-hour days surrounded by over 110,000 people, the convention came to a close and it was time to focus our attention towards the actual race.

Boston runs on beef!

Boston runs on beef!

This morning, our team had the exciting opportunity to cheer on the runners at the finish line. We held signs supporting Team Beef and cheered on the elite runners and paraplegic competitors as they made their way down the final stretch.

It was so inspiring to hear the accounts and stories of all the competitors at the marathon on why they chose to run, how they prepared, and what their main motivation had been throughout those months. Congratulations to all those who ran in the Boston Marathon this year. Remember, there is no better way to refuel after the race than by eating a big, juicy steak!

All for the Love of Beef,
Sierra Jepsen

Boots and Cherry Blossoms

West lawn in front of the Capitol

West lawn in front of the Capitol

This past week four of the beef ambassadors had the opportunity to visit Washington D.C. for the National Cattleman’s Beef Association Spring Legislative conference.

IMG_0063It was beautiful in D.C. with all of the cherry blossoms coming out, and the grass growing lush and green. But we were not in D.C. to look at cherry blossoms. The three days we spent in our nations capitol were packed with opportunities to learn about beef production across the United States. Farmers everywhere are facing issues, but those issues are are very diverse in different areas of the country. One of the most rewarding aspects of coming to this even was spending time with the cattlemen from my state. It reminded me of how genuine the cattle industry really is. While some who attended this conference were specialists in ag policy, many of the individuals where just beef producers who care about american agriculture. Beyond just caring about it, they are passionate about how they can improve agriculture and better the communication between consumers and producers.

I think that is a common misconception that people can have is that farmers don’t care about those who are eating

The team enjoying the Legislative Outback reception

The team enjoying the Legislative Outback reception

their product at the end of the day. I know from personal experience, and from interacting with cattleman from all across the US that they do care. They care enough to walk you through their farm and show you where your food comes from. They care enough to spend a week of their very precious time in Washington D.C. talking about current issues. And they care enough to wake up each and every day, go out into the field and work to make sure that you and I have a safe, and abundant food supply.

As Beef Ambassadors we are here to tell their story. We enjoyed our time in D.C. and we can’t wait for more opportunities to share our passion for this great industry.

Rachael

Leadership is Give and Take

As I’m sure you know by now (if you follow the Beef Ambassadors), we spent this week at the National Cattlemen Convention in Nashville, Tennessee. There were thousands of attendees from the industry to talk with and learn from, and it was a fantastic opportunity to take a step back and visit with the people that we are representing on a daily basis. I was nothing if not encouraged to see how proactive and involved people in the beef industry are. They are constantly looking for ways to better the industry and send a positive message to consumers.

Talking with Mr. John Sticka of Certified Angus Beef

The Beef Ambassadors had the opportunity of attending a collegiate round-table on our last day in Nashville, where we were privileged to talk to some influential folks in the industry about their roles of leadership. The round-table style was very effective; there were two leaders at each of the five tables (yes, they were round), and they talked about or opened discussion on different facets of leadership. We were at each table for five minutes, at which point we moved to the next table. Some of the leaders included Craig Huffines with the Hereford Association; Forrest Roberts, CEO of National Cattlemens Beef Association; Polly Ruhland, CEO of Cattlemens Beef Board; John Sticka with Certified Angus Beef; Weldon Wynn, Chairman of Cattlemens Beef Board, and more.  Each one of them had very impressive job titles, and were immersed in leadership every day. Five minutes was definitely not enough time, they were all a wealth of leadership knowledge and had lots of advice for us young industry leaders. After the session, we were asked if we had received any “gold nuggets” of wisdom, and one thing in particular jumped to the front of my mind. One of the topics of discussion was whether leadership meant “giving,” and how we could be givers in leadership. Mrs. Tammi Didlot, past president of American National CattleWomen, addressed this question in a way that I found to be quite the “gold nugget”. She said, “Leadership can be defined as a ‘give and take’ job. As leaders, we should always be taking responsibility, and giving respect.” This statement struck me, and made me really think about what it means to be a leader. Leadership is about taking responsibility when things go wrong and giving credit when they go right. I think that mentality truly puts things into perspective when it comes to being a leader. It’s a very big job, and something that doesn’t always come naturally. Theses things we are giving and taking as leaders aren’t necessarily tangible, but they’re very important, and, in my opinion, the key to good, effective leadership. I hope this blog has inspired you in your leadership pursuits! Let us know if you have any more “gold nuggets” to share.

Emma

#CIC14 #beefmeet

What a fantastic week it has been at the National Cattlemen’s Convention in Nashville. With 7,000 in attendance it was quite the event. It was such an honor to represent the beef ambassador program and the beef community as a whole. The trade show and cattlefax seminar were my favorite of all the events we attended. I was able to learn so many great things about our community along side my team. Make sure to tune in the next few weeks as a discuss my experiences and the convention.

Beef & Blessings,

Justana

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Music City Welcomes… BEEF!

It’s the first week of February; calves are being born and the forces of winter are in full blast. However, many cattlemen and cattlewomen from all over the nation are making their way to Nashville, Tennessee. Why you may ask? For the annual Cattle Industry Convention and NCBA Tradeshow!

Attendee's will hear from several keynote speakers while at convention this year.

Attendees will hear from several keynote speakers while at convention this year.

The Cattle Industry Convention is more than just an event; it is an investment to cattle operations everywhere. This convention features over 16 different educational sessions, panel and discussion meetings, and a tradeshow where farmers and ranchers can try out new and up coming products. These feature events are extremely valuable to cattle producers, providing opportunities to learn, share ideas with other cattlemen and women, and join together as a cattle community.  There are opportunities for attendees to form new business relationships, assist in the development of new policies impacting the cattle community and take stake in the future of the beef industry.

The NCBA Tradeshow features hundreds of vendors and dozens of new products.

The NCBA Tradeshow features hundreds of vendors and dozens of new products.

Our National Beef Ambassador team is really excited to spend a week in Nashville, networking with our fellow cattle producers and gaining valuable industry knowledge. While at the convention, I am most looking forward to the collegiate career fair. It is a very rare and unique opportunity to be in a room with employers who are all just as energized and excited for the future of the beef industry as I am! As we kick off the 116th annual convention, it’s time to come together as a beef community to learn, explore and celebrate beef.

Screen Shot 2014-02-02 at 11.04.09 PMIf you are unable to attend the annual convention and trade show with us this year, you can still get in on the action by tuning into NCBA’s Cattlemen to Cattlemen broadcasts. Full coverage of the event will be offered through televised segments, blog posts, and radio interviews all posted to http://www.cattlementocattlemen.org/ or broadcasted on RFD TV.

Hope to see you in Nashville!

All for the love of beef,

Sierra Jepsen