Why are all of these cattle tied up?

Every state fair or large cattle show I go to I always seem to get the same question time and time again. “Why are all of these cattle tied up here? What are they doing with them?” So I am going to take the opportunity to clear the air on what all of this cattle show business is all about! This weekend I showed at the Alpha Gamma Rho Presidential steer and heifer show here at my home school of South Dakota State. This is a small regional show put on by members of the fraternity that allows youth from the South Dakota and surrounding states to get out and show off their cattle projects. I was fortunate enough to have champion Limousin heifer so all and all it was a good weekend! But let’s get started on the process of what all these 4-Hers and FFA kids do the whole year to get there cattle ready for state fair.

My show heifer for this year at the AGR Presidential Steer show in Brookings SD.

Step 1: Picking a calf.

In this step the up in coming cattle rancher will go visit a ranch (or if fortunate enough their own herd) and pick out there calf for the year. This is typically done in the early fall right before weaning.

Step 2: Getting to know each other.

Once the young 4Her has gone and brought the calf home they need to get to know each other and this takes a lot of time. During this time the calf will calm down and become more comfortable with you. Also during this time you can halter break your calf and teach it to lead.

Step 3: Getting ready for the show.

Once you have your calf trained well it’s time to grab a brush and get to work. To get ready for the show you need to have your calf looking like a winner. To do this you spend a little time every day brushing, blow drying and combing their hair in an upright and forward motion. This makes their hair look all full and fluffy.

Step 4: Going to the show.

This is the step that is most visible to the public and is to me is the most fun. You get a chance to show off the hard day to day work that you have put in with your animal. There are typically contest such as interviews on what you have learned through the years as well as showmanship where they see how well you are able to communicate with your animal and set them up to look the best they can. There is also the actual show where the judge will evaluate your animal as to how close it is to idea. Some of the things they are looking for are how muscular they are, How structurally sound they are as well as in some cases how attractive they are.

This is the simple overview of what all goes into those 4-H projects you may see at your local county or state fairs. But always feel free to ask any of these kids questions they are all very proud of their projects and would be happy to tell you about them!

Cow Calf update #2: Cow and calf are both doing well and enjoying the dry outdoors before this snow storm hits tomorrow. Luckily there is a barn nearby for shelter.

BEEF, One Powerful Protein!

Welcome Back!!!

I am pleased to announce to  all of you fellow followers of the Beef Ambassador blog, that I Arika Snyder just finished signing up for the Boiler Maker 15K Race for July 8th in Upstate New York!! This will be my first big race to be participating, other than my high school track and field and boy, I’m sure anxious and excited all at the same time! Did you know that just by putting in small workouts in your daily schedule can really make a difference over a long run, haha I made a pun.  Being a college student and all, I’ve had my fair share moments of being lethargic and content with my daily late night runs to the student cafeteria for occasional fries and maybe adding in that famous Ben and Jerry’s ice cream every weekend night. It wasn’t until this past summer I realized that I had started to become what I ate. Not only was I eating unhealthy foods for days on end during my freshman year, but also didn’t have sports in college that interested me in getting involved which resulted in me receiving no physical activity.

Now, a sophomore in college I currently rent an apartment off campus and have the option of cooking my OWN food with healthier choices. Now, I bet you’re guessing I’ve eliminated meat from my diet completely in order to lose close to ten pounds since last year? You’re mistaken! I’ve actually been consuming MORE beef than ever before with delicious side dishes. Beef has been the key all along to a healthy diet and I never knew. Over the last several decades, the media has tried to state that eating red meat can cause disease as well as high cholesterol and possible heart attack and/or stroke.  These beliefs are only myths, in reality beef is especially packed full of iron, zinc and protein. All nutrients that I’m going to need for a successful race this summer, iron and protein are even more important for when you’re doing physical activity because protein is used for building strength, while iron is used for the production of red blood cells so I can keep going longer with quick short breaths. I believe with the right amount of exercise and a daily serving of beef, you can say goodbye to all those unnecessary lbs you been working so hard to get rid of all year. Try a marathon or even a short jog to start off with and then improve each and every day! Not only will you look good, you’ll feel good as well.  You don’t need to fall for the tv commercial ads on how their product will make you lose weight. Join Team BEEF and make a change today!! Be sure to keep a look out for many updates throughout the year about my progress with preparing for the BIG day!!

With a Cattle Calling,

Arika Snyder


        Greetings from the Liberty State of Pennsylvania! My name is Arika Snyder, I am one of the five new members on the 2011-2012 National Beef Ambassador Team. It is such an honor to be representing our Nation’s Beef Industry and I take great pride in representing it each and every day. I won’t start from the very beginning of my existence, but I will let you in on how I got to where I am today.  I was lucky enough to have known someone who currently had been serving as Pennsylvania’s Beef Ambassador since last year. She approached me with an exciting opportunity to represent Pennsylvania’s beef industry. When I first heard about this opportunity, I was a bit wary of the decision and wasn’t sure that it was something worth applying for. I was only involved with my 4-H beef club for two years and barely knew all the basics of the industry itself. Before too long I prepared myself for the long road ahead of me and ended up walking away from the Beef Expo as the next Pennsylvania Beef Ambassador.

          Since then I have done various consumer events and educational trips, leading me to receiving my title in Wooster, Ohio late October. I thank everyone that has gotten me to where I am today. I care a great deal for the industry that we all know and love. As the 9th generation to have worked  the land on my family’s farm, I know what it’s like to have a great sense of pride in the agriculture industry.  Not a day went by where I wasn’t asking my father if I could go to the barn to visit with the cows or help my grandfather rake and mow hay.  Agriculture runs deep in my blood and it holds the key morals and values that I have to this day.

            Like eHarmony, I guess I can let you in on activities I like to do and things I am involved with other than the Beef Industry. I am a current Undergraduate Student studying at Pennsylvania State University and my current major is Animal Science Science option.  My future goals after completion of my BS degree is to attend a 4 year Veterinary School and have a mixed practice vet clinic or pursue a career dealing with animal nutrition or genetics. I am a very personal and active member in my community and any person can attest that I can carry an excellent, well drawn out conversation for hours!  I hope that I can entertain as well as inform you about my passions in the industry and my sense of humor throughout the next year.  I plan on making these blogs personal so not only are you learning more about the industry itself but you can understand the person that I am and the character and morals that I hold!

With Beef Love,


Knowledge, Passion, and Youthful Enthusiasm

This weekend the 2011 National Beef Ambassador team traveled to Wooster, OH to reign over the 2012 National Beef Ambassador Program (NBAP) Contest.  This year’s competition consisted of 29 talented students vying for the chance to earn the title of 2012 National Beef Ambassador.  Of these students 11 were junior contestants ranging from 12-16 years of age, and the remanding 18 were senior contestants from the age of 17-20.  All students that competed this weekend were afforded the opportunity to have a very special person within their presence to not only help cheer them on but, also to offer them an abundant amount of knowledge and wisdom, Mr. Bill Donald National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA), 2011-2012 President.  During Bill’s time with the contestants in Wooster, OH he conveyed something that is vital for today’s youth.

The first was that students have a vast amount of knowledge to represent this industry.  It’s crucial that we as advocates know what exactly it is that we are talking about.  My mother said it best, “Due unto others, as you wish to have done unto you.”  I know that I personally don’t care to have someone that doesn’t know what it is that they are talking about try to tell me about that certain subject.  I want them to be knowledgeable, just as others should want us as ambassadors to be knowledgeable.  Personally this knowledge is derived from a passion, the second point that Mr. Donald conveyed.

Passion is not something that can be taught, earned, or even bought, it is something that has to come from somewhere much deeper within one’s self.  The beef cattle industry is my life, it’s what I was raised around, taught about, and it’s where I want to dedicate my life to.  Naturally it’s my passion.  When we are passionate about something it’s not a task but rather a pleasure for us to express.  The knowledge then flows natural from ourselves and people start to inquire about the enthusiasm for this passion.

Youthful enthusiasm is something that adults unfortunately do not possess.  Now I am not saying that an adult can not be enthusiastic about certain things within their lives, however their enthusiasm is nothing compared to that of a younger youth member.  In my mind youth have a way of showing their passion and knowledge to others, that is like no other form of expression.  This is mostly conducted through their enthusiasm for whatever it is that they are speaking about.  All members of the 2012 NBAP have this enthusiasm and it is truly inspiring.

Mr. Donald’s words will never be forgotten by myself I hope to always possess these three key qualities as I grow as a future leader for the American Beef Industry.  I challenge all contestants, parents, state chairs, and everyone that loves the beef industry to live their daily lives with knowledge, passion and a youthful enthusiasm.


Bless the Bovines,


New Beef Ambassador Team for 2012

John Weber (Minnesota), Kim Rounds (California), Arika Snyder (Pennsylvania), Rossie Blinson (North Carolina), and Emily Jack (Texas) were chosen as the 2012 National Beef Ambassador Team at the annual competition, funded in part by the beef checkoff, held Sept. 30 – Oct. 2 at the Shisler Conference Center and Hilton Garden Inn in Wooster, Ohio. Eighteen senior contestants, ages 17-20, were judged in the areas of consumer promotion, classroom presentation, media interview technique and issues response.

Contestants from throughout the country vied for a place on this elite team of agriculture advocates and $5,000 in cash prizes sponsored exclusively by Farm Credit. Additionally five educational scholarships totaling $5,000 were given by the American National CattleWomen Foundation, Inc. For the past several years, one Beef Ambassador has also been chosen for a prestigious USDA internship in Washington DC.

This year’s contest also hosted a junior competition for youth beef industry advocates ages 12-16. 11 passionate contestants vied for cash prizes, competing in two judged categories: Media Interview and Consumer Demonstration. The first place winner was Austin Gaspard (Louisiana), the second place winner was Abigail Grisedale (California), and the third place winner was Rachel Purdy (Wyoming). They all took home checks sponsored exclusively by Farm Credit for their top scores.

Let the Competition Begin!

I am writing this in the Oakland International Airport at 5:00am on my way to the 2012 National Beef Ambassador Contest! Today many of the contestants are traveling today to the beautiful city of Wooster, Ohio to compete for scholarships and a spot on the 2012 National Beef Ambassador Team.

Tomorrow the contestants will kick off the weekend by participating in  workshops held by Daren Williams and then by the current National Beef Ambassadors. After that we will have our kick off BBQ with great food and the opportunity to get to know each other. But the real pressure is on Saturday morning when the senior and junior contests begin in the four different sections of the contest; media interview, consumer event, written portion and classroom lesson plan. Then, in only 72 hours the 2012 National Beef Ambassadors will be announced!

Each contestant has prepared and studied for this weekend for months and each of the them deserve to compete and all of them are wonderful beef advocates already. So good luck to all the contestants, I am looking forward to a fun, knowledgeable, BEEFY weekend.

If you wish to keep updated on how this weekend progresses please join us on Facebook or follow us on twitter at #NBAP2012.

Until next time,


Greatest Opportunity…

Well in less then a month the 2011 National Beef Ambassador team will travel to Wooster, Ohio to watch the 2012 National Beef Ambassador team be selected. I haven’t decided exactly how I feel about this but I do know that, we and all of the contestants are in for a great, exciting weekend!

The National Beef Ambassador program is a great opportunity and scholarship for college aged students to become involved in an industry we are passionate about. But with such a program many people ask “How do you get on the Team?”

There are four different parts to the contest and three different prerequisites before coming to the contest as well.

The three prerequisites that must be done before the contest include;

  • 2 consumer promotion events- These may be anything from a county fair to a farmers market.
  • 1 Media interview- getting interviewed by a reporter, blogger, tv or radio station, etc.
  • 3 Classroom Presentations- The contestant must create their own lesson plan, teach a class of  students and then be evaluated by the teachers as well.

Then the four parts at the contest include similar activities:

  • Consumer Promotion Event- each contestant goes into a room, sets up a table with the beef pamphlets provided, and then interacts with mock consumers. While doing this they are judged on their  interaction with the consumers, answer to questions, and the use of pamphlets and product.
  • Mock Media Interview. The contestant enters into a mock interview where they are judged on industry knowledge, how informative they are, mannerism, appearance, and confidence in what they are saying
  • Issues Response- The contestants are given an article that maybe considered anti-beef/agriculture. From there they must answer questions and write a letter to the author persuading them to believe in the beef/agriculture industry. Their writting is then judged on persuasiveness, punctuation, spelling, accuracy and originality.
  • Classroom Presentation- during this part each of the state beef ambassadors get the opportunity to explain the lesson plan they created to the judges where the judges look for quality of lesson and report.
This contest is exciting, difficult, exhilarating and most importantly educational! Through this you get to learn how to be a beef ambassador whether you are on the traveling team or not and that is the most important thing!
If anyone want to know more about the program please go to nationalbeefambassador.org.