2011 National Beef Ambassador Team Announced
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Madlynn Ruble, Albert Lea, Minn., Jessica Sweet, Livermore, Calif., Austin Joyce, Pearland, Texas, Kelli Fulkerson, Burlington, Mich., and Kristen Stufft, Lewistown, Penn. were chosen as the 2011 National Beef Ambassador Team winners at the annual competition, funded in part by the beef checkoff, held Oct. 1-3 in Rapid City, S.D. Contestants were judged in the areas of consumer promotion, classroom presentation, media interview technique and issues response.
Twenty-six contestants from throughout the country vied for a place on this elite team of agriculture advocates and $5,000 in cash prizes as well as five educational scholarships totaling $5,000 given by the American National CattleWomen Foundation, Inc. Additionally, one Beef Ambassador will be chosen for a prestigious USDA internship in Washington, DC.
Madlynn “Maddy” Ruble is a sixth generation cattle producer. Ruble, a freshman at the University of South Dakota, is majoring in Spanish and Political Science. She has been a leader in 4-H and FFA and has spent many years volunteering for the Red Cross, United Way and her church. Jessica Sweet is involved in her family’s cattle ranch and enjoys showing livestock at her county fair. She is a freshman at Modesto Junior College studying agriculture education and business. Sweet has been involved in FFA and 4-H, and aspires to become a high school agriculture teacher. Austin Joyce, a freshman at Texas A&M is majoring in Agriculture Business. Joyce enjoys raising Red Brangus with his dad and uncle and hopes to have his own ranch someday. Kelli Fulkerson a sophomore at South Dakota State University is serving as a National Collegiate Agricultural Ambassador. Fulkerson travels around the nation speaking about American agriculture. She has worked hard to create a breeding program for her own herd of registered Angus cattle. Fulkerson can’t imagine life without livestock and in the futures strives to share that passion with others. Kristen Stufft was extremely active in 4-H and is on the board of directors for the Junior Hereford Association. Currently a junior at Penn State University, Stufft is majoring in Animal Science. Stufft enjoys telling everyone she meets about the importance of beef as part of a heart healthy diet and the true beef production story.
While preparing for this national beef promotion and education competition, youth across the nation learn about beef and the beef industry within their family and with support from state CattleWomen, Cattlemen’s associations and state beef councils. The preparation highlights industry issues of current consumer interest. Winners of the state competitions compete at the national level receiving additional media training. After the event, as youth ambassadors, they speak to industry issues and misconceptions, while educating peers and others about food safety, nutrition and the Beef Checkoff Program at consumer events, in the classroom and online.
The Beef Checkoff Program was established as part of the 1985 Farm Bill. The checkoff assesses $1 per head on the sale of live domestic and imported cattle, in addition to a comparable assessment on imported beef and beef products. States retain up to 50 cents on the dollar and forward the other 50 cents per head to the Cattlemen’s Beef Promotion and Research Board, which administers the national checkoff program, subject to USDA approval.