Happy Earth Day!

Today is earth day. It is celebrated in 192 countries around the world. It started in 1970, with the intent of devoting one day of the year to celebrate environmental protection. In a way, beef producers across the United States are celebrating Earth Day each day! Farmers are very conscious of the natural resources that we have available, and they are constantly implementing new practices that make their operations for efficient and environmentally friendly.

Check out this video about how farmers are stewards of the land.

And Happy Earth Day from all the National Beef Ambassadors!

 

Rachael

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

My Little Brothers

To complete our series on siblings in honor of National Sibling Day, this week I am going to highlight my younger brothers, Ben and Will. My brother Ben is fifteen years old and a sophomore at Etna High School. Similar to Justana and her brother Kater, Ben stands at about 6’1 and towers over me, but he will always be my little brother. Ben is a pretty easy-going guy, but he’s one of the hardest workers I know. While most high school boys are busy chasing girls and playing video games, Ben spends most of his time either working on the ranch or perfecting his jump shot for basketball (he spends hours at the hoop in our driveway). In addition to ranching and basketball, Ben plays football, is an active FFA member and avid bow hunter, and shows cattle along with myself. I’m sure he chases a few girls as well, but I try not to ask. Will just turned eleven years old, and is one of the funniest little kids I know. He always has something to say even if he has no idea what he’s talking about, which naturally makes for some good laughs. Will is everything that is “eleven-year-old boy,” from being fascinated with bugs to not owning a pair of jeans without holes in the knees. Everyone who knows Will knows that he is “Mr. Chicken Farmer,” and always has eggs for sale. Since he was about 4 years old, he’s been responsible for taking care of the chickens (feeding, watering, collecting eggs, etc.), so my parents decided that he should get any profit that they generated. His flock has grown to about 20 laying hens and 2 roosters, and, as you can imagine, that’s a lot of eggs. Though I spend a lot of time wanting to strangle my brothers, they are some of my absolute favorite people. I can’t wait to see who they grow up to be and I know they both have very bright futures ahead of them.

Will's Chickens

Will 4-H

 

 

Thanks for following the beef ambassadors, and make sure to keep up with the team’s travel to Massachusetts for the Boston Marathon this week!

Emma

Learning to Ride Bikes and Advocate For Beef

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If you were to look up Passion in the dictionary, you would most likely see a picture of my sister, Keili (Kay-lee) Summey. There is no one I know that possess more character, integrity, and dedication for what they do. Ever since I could remember I have always looked up to my sister, and being the typical younger sibling that meant trying to be just like her. The inspiration I received from having Keili as a constant role model is what motivated me to learn how to ride a bike and advocate for beef.

We were at the park. She had just gotten her training wheels off and was about to try riding for the first time. From the second she got on her bike I wanted to do it too and begged my father to take my training wheels off. He tried to explain to me that since Keili was a year older than me, she could do things that I couldn’t and that my bike wasn’t built to have the training wheels taken off. But there’s no use reasoning with a four year old. The next time I saw Keili’s bike alone I grabbed it and began to take off. Before I knew it I had taught myself to ride. Ever since then my desire to be more like my sister has continued to push me past my own limitations.

My sister use to be VERY shy, I mean afraid to ask a waiter for Ketchup shy. Somehow when she started high school this new, more outgoing, confident side came out of her and she was doing things I never would have expected like raising animals, public speaking, running for office, and taking agriculture classes (and more importantly, she was good at it!). I couldn’t help but become fascinated with the change in her and wanted to know the cause. I joined FFA, started taking Ag classes, and before I knew it I was hooked!! It wasn’t too long after that we both found our love for the beef community and became Ambassadors (she was the Arizona Beef Ambassador before me).

Now Keili and I are both living together, working together, serving as OCCW (Oklahoma Collegiate CattleWomen) officers together, and attending Oklahoma State University to obtain degrees in Agriculture (her in Agriculture Education and me in Agriculture Communication). Our fridge is always stocked with beef and whenever I need advice on anything beef related (like how to talk to consumers, or how to teach a class on beef), or even general life advice, she is always my go-to person. Some may think that it would be annoying having a sister that is in to all of the same things as you, and follows the same career path would be very annoying, but to us it’s all we’ve ever known and we wouldn’t have it any other way!

Peace, Love, Beef (and National Sibling Day),

Tori

An American Cowboy

Along with my fellow beef ambassadors, this week we are blogging about our siblings in honor of National Sibling day last Thursday. So here we go! I have one little brother, although he’s out grown me by a good 4-5 inches, he will always remain my “little” brother. Kater Buck Tate, if his name alone doesn’t tell you, he is quite the character. “Buck” was our great grandfather’s name.

Like most siblings we can't "just smile" in any picture!

Like most siblings we can’t “just smile” in any picture!

 

When I first started thinking about how I could write a blog about my brother and beef, I soon came to the conclusions of “An American Cowboy.” Growing up on a ranch we have learned spending more time with cattle than people is completely normal, although I don’t mind a little socializing. Kater on the other hand had always rather spend his time with his horses and cattle than people. Being a “cowboy” isn’t a gold buckle at the NFR or wearing your hat around town. Being a cowboy is exactly what is sounds like… a cow boy. According to the dictionary a cowboy is “a man, typically one on horseback, who herds and tends cattle.” When you break it down it might not sound quiet as glamorous, but it also takes a special kind of person to be one, someone who has a true passion for livestock. He doesn’t need fame or fortune; he just needs a good horse and a place to call home. I can honestly say my little brother is one. He had rather wake up at 5 a.m. to take care of cattle, than get to sleep in until 7a.m. and go to school; he loves his horses and cattle more than just about anything; he doesn’t mind a hard days’ work; most of all he thanks the Lord each day for having the freedom to be a “cowboy.” As a 5th generation cowboy, you could say it is in his blood.

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Beef & Blessings,

Justana

A Family Affair

Staying true to our theme of recognizing our siblings this week, I want to tell y’all how my siblings and I fell in love with agriculture, and have come together as a family to manage our family farm.

My parents were not exactly farmers. Actually, having grown up in southern California they couldn’t have been further removed from agriculture. But when we moved to the panhandle of Idaho we found ourselves in the middle of thousands of acres of wheat.

We had a fair amount of pasture, and knowing nothing about what we were about to get ourselves into we bought some Suffolk sheep and never looked back. Four years later, my siblings and I were tending to 40+ head of sheep.

Bethany leading a tour of the Disney Greenhouse

Bethany leading a tour of the Disney Greenhouse

When we moved to Tennessee we sold all of our sheep, and started to start a new flock on our new farm. When in Idaho we lived in what was called the Palouse. We adopted the name Palouse Farm.

What amazes me about my siblings is how we have all developed a deep passion for agriculture. But we have each found our niche in the industry. I would like to introduce you to each of my siblings, and tell you why they continue to inspire me each and every day.

The eldest of my two sisters is Bethany. She is currently a graduate student at Washington State University, pursuing her Masters in Plant and Soil Science. I always told her that I didn’t understand how she enjoyed dirt (or soil as she calls it) so much. But she always reminds me that without proper nutrients in the soil, the grass won’t grow, and my cows wouldn’t be able to eat. It makes me thankful that there are individuals in the agriculture industry, like Bethany, who are concerned and passionate about the forages that are necessary for cattle to graze.

Hannah and I

Hannah and I

My next sister, Hannah, is the far more awesome, red haired version of me. We are partners in crime and have been plotting mischief since 1995. She is an Animal Science student here at UT with me. We are teammates on the UTM Cross Country Team. She continues to inspire me to be a better person. When she graduates this year she will begin an adventure sharing Christ’s love through agriculture. She will be going overseas for two years to work in agriculture missions.

Finally, my little brother Aaron is a junior in high school. Since my sisters and I left for college he has taken full responsibility for the farm. He was the baby of the family, and the only boy. But he managed to make it out without too many battle scars. He plans to also attend UTM and pursue a degree in agriculture.

It amazes me how one industry has so greatly impacted each of us that we chose to pursue a degree and career in it. It is equally fascinating to me that we have found our own unique niche in agriculture.

Aaron and I

Aaron and I

 

 

Without my siblings I wouldn’t be who I am today. I am so incredibly thankful for the impact they have had on my life.  For the Wolters family, farming has always been a family affair.

Beef & Blessings,

Rachael

My Sister, Cheyenne

I can’t imagine growing up as an only child. Interestingly enough, none of the members on our 2014 National Beef Ambassador team did! In honor of National Siblings Day, which occurred last Thursday, our team would like to dedicate our blogs this week to our siblings as a reflection of how they have made us better people and better agriculturalists.

Meet my older sister, Cheyenne! Screen Shot 2014-04-13 at 11.05.50 PM

My sister receiving her American FFA Degree.

My sister receiving her American FFA Degree.

Cheyenne has always been a great role model to me and has taken a lot of time throughout the years to help me be my best. Being the little sister that I am, I always watched Cheyenne and involved myself in the same activities. Although she doesn’t know it, I credit my sister for being the reason that I became so involved in the FFA. After seeing her compete in various CDE contests, start her own herd of beef cattle for her SAE project, and especially, serve as an assistant officer for our chapter so she could earn her State and American FFA degree, I knew that I wanted to become more involved in the FFA and agriculture, as a whole. If it hadn’t been for my sister, I may never have fallen as deeply in love with the beef community as I am today.

My sister and I have always bonded over our love for the cattle that we raise on our farm, whether it was walking the pastures together on calf checks, working with our 4-H steers in the barn, or helping dad with vet visits in the summer. However, my sister wanted to take her passion one step further and, naturally, her little sister followed suit. Cheyenne and I both served as our county’s Queen of Beef, Cheyenne first in 2010, and then myself in 2012. If it hadn’t been for that experience, I would have never become an Ohio Beef Ambassador or a National Beef Ambassador.

My sister has always been there for me, even if it was just helping me drink from the water hose!

My sister has always been there for me, even if it was just helping me drink from the water hose!

I honestly can’t say where I would be in life without agriculture, beef, and especially, my sister. Starting from a very young age, my sister and I quickly realized how much fun two girls can have on a farm, from wrangling kitties, riding ponies, bottle-feeding calves, and chasing our grandpa’s sheep. Who would have known that years later, we would still be having just as much fun together working in agriculture, whether it is singing together in the hay mows, laughing at how poorly I shift gears on the 4-wheeler, or having late night talks about internships and career goals. I am always reminded of why having a sister is so great, especially when looking back on how I became so connected to agriculture. Screen Shot 2014-04-13 at 10.59.21 PM

As a lesson to everyone with younger siblings, know that they are learning from you every step of the way. Thank you, Cheyenne, for working hard every day and setting such an excellent example for me to lead by.

All for the Love of Beef,

Sierra Jepsen

Being a Californian

As I mentioned in my first blog, whenever I introduce myself as being from California, I always get responses like, “You must surf to school then,” or, “Oh, so what celebrities do you know?” Needless to say, my response: “Oh, no, Northern California…no beaches (slight frown) or celebrities,” gets old real quick. I’ve thought about it more, and I realized that California is a very unique state in that it really is so diversified. I may be biased, but I think it’s cool that California is such a big state that most of the stereotypes don’t even fit half of the state. So, I thought I’d share some fun facts about the lesser-known part of California and the huge agricultural industry that it contains:image

  1. The top five agricultural commodities in CA are dairy, grapes, almonds, nursery, and cattle.
  2. There are a total of 81,700 farms in CA covering a total of 25.4 million acres.
  3. The average farm size is 313 acres.
  4. California is the top agricultural-producing state in the United States, and if it were a country it would be the fifth largest agricultural-producing country in the world.
  5. There are over 400 different commodities in California that generate nearly $10 billion each year.

I guess this was a bit of a #farmfactfriday #californiastyle #exceptonsunday, but I hope you enjoyed!

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

The 100th Little International

The 100th Little International was held this past Saturday at Ohio State, which happens to be my favorite collegiate event!  The Little International is a university-wide showmanship competition where participants have the choice of showing a beef animal, a hog, a lamb or a horse. Naturally, I chose showing cattle.

This picture was taken on "Drawing Day" when our team selected our heifer, Lady.

This picture was taken on “Drawing Day” when our team selected our heifer, Lady.

It's hard work to break a beef animal to lead,  and sometimes you walk away with a few battle scars.

It’s hard work to break a beef animal to lead, and sometimes you walk away with a few battle scars.

Preparation for the Little International actually began the first week in March when our group went out to Ohio State’s livestock facilities and selected our heifer. From there on, we had exactly one month to prepare for the contest. Our team spent several hours each day at the barn, walking our heifer and getting her used to being worked with. This may sound like a simple task, but all the heifers we had to choose from this year were older than the ideal age to break cattle (which is about 6 months of age) and already weighed 850 lbs, so we definitely had our hands full. Of course, it also didn’t help that we selected the largest heifer in the lot!

My favorite part about the Little International is that there are both experienced and inexperienced divisions; so even if you have never shown a particular species before, you can still learn from an experienced showman and compete against other individuals who are still learning as well. This year was especially fun because I got to work with two of my best friends to teach them how to show cattle. Although it’s great to talk with my friends about beef, there is no better feeling than actually involving my peers in the cattle industry and giving them the opportunity to work with the animals one on one.

This great shot of our team was taken as we gave our heifer a pep talk before going into the final drive of the competition.

This great shot of our team was taken as we gave our heifer a pep talk before going into the final drive of the competition.

On show day, as I watched my inexperienced showmen in the ring, it reminded me of how my dad used to stand along the gate watching my sister and I show. No matter how much fun it is to be in the ring personally, it’s an even greater reward to watch your friends succeed in the ring. I am so proud of both my inexperienced showmen for working so hard this past month and for always smiling, even if they were frustrated. It’s a relief to finally see all of our hard work pay off; I’m already looking forward to next year’s Little International competition!
All for the Love of Beef,
Sierra Jepsen