Emma Christiansen was selected as the 2013 South Dakota Beef Ambassador at the state-wide contest held July 26, 2012 in Huron, during the South Dakota Summer Spotlight.
Christiansen plans to attend South Dakota State University in the fall to study agribusiness. She has her own herd of beef cattle, which she started in 2009.
“My herd remains small today, but growing,” she said. “It is something that I hope to continue to grow and reap benefits from in my adult life. As of right now I am not focused on producing any one certain breed, but high-quality cattle.”
Her love of the beef industry was evident as she competed in the state’s beef ambassador contest.
“Preparing for this competition was a tremendous amount of work,” she explained. “Although I have a lot of previous knowledge about the beef industry, raising cattle, and the health benefits of beef, I reviewed a lot of information, and even learned some new things. I really hope to even further my knowledge about beef. One of the biggest reasons I wanted to be the beef ambassador is because as a producer myself, I want to be the voice and representative of other beef producers in South Dakota – to share our story, our concerns and hopes for the future of beef.”
Contestants were judged on their performance in four different settings: a personal interview; media interview; consumer promotion event; and a written response to a recently published news article regarding the beef industry.
“For my personal interview, I developed a classroom presentation for elementary students,” Christiansen said. “I designed a game called ‘Feed to Food & More.’ Its focus is to teach kindergartners and first graders where their meat comes from. As a player, it takes students from being a calf in a cow-calf operation to being a steak on your plate at the dinner table, along with showing them the hard work and many people that are involved in producing beef. From working with students and playing the game, I want to leave the message that a producer’s job and livelihood is to provide grocery stores and markets with safe, healthy and quality beef.”
Each contestant in the South Dakota Beef Ambassador Contest received cash awards from the South Dakota Beef Industry Council (SDBIC), as well as cash and prizes from the South Dakota Cattlemen’s Auxiliary and South Dakota CattleWomen.
In second place was Kelsey Repenning from Mitchell, SD. Winning the junior division was Kiera Ledde from Stockholm, SD, and Abby Repenning from Mitchell, SD. Sawyer Naasz of Platte, SD, won the beginner division. Christiansen will go on to represent South Dakota at the national competition in the fall of 2013.
“As a beef ambassador, I am looking forward to working with youth, students in the classroom, and all consumers to share the beef story, teach about the benefits of beef, and especially strive to clear up a lot of the false information out there about beef,” Christiansen said.
“We had a talented group of individuals who competed in the contest this year,” said program manager and 2011 beef ambassador Courtney Nolz. “Christiansen will serve the industry well as she travels the state promoting beef to consumers and students. The beef ambassador program is checkoff-funded, and I believe this is a great use of the checkoff dollar. It’s an investment in young beef producers, and it’s a commitment to educating the general public about beef. Our ambassadors are able to connect well with our consumers to share information about beef safety and nutrition at events like DakotaFest and the Sioux Empire Fair. Look for Christiansen at some of these upcoming events.”
Editor’s Note: For more information on the South Dakota Beef Ambassador Program, check out www.sdbic.org