Repenning to represent SD beef industry |

Repenning to represent SD beef industry

Kelsey Repenning, Ella Stiefavter and Leslie Zubke were selected as winners in their age divisions at the South Dakota Beef Ambassador Contest in Huron, SD on July 25. Photo courtesy of SDBIC

Kelsey Repenning, daughter of Steve and Lori of Mitchell, S.D., was selected as the senior winner of the 2013 South Dakota Beef Ambassador contest. Ella Stiefavter was selected as the top junior participant, and Leslie Zubke was the beginner champion of the annual event held in Huron, S.D., on July 25.

Youth participants are judged in four areas including a media interview, consumer promotion, youth presentation and issues response. From answering questions about beef nutrition, to countering media misconceptions, to debating Meatless Mondays, the students had to study and prepare prior to the contest.

Repenning explained how her childhood spent on her family’s Hereford and Angus ranch, Black Top Farms, has helped to prepare her for her new role as ambassador.

“It was important to keep up with current beef industry trends as I prepared for the contest,” she added, “In addition to studying, living and working on a cattle operation has helped me to keep in touch with what’s going on in the industry while getting first-hand experience in the business.”

Repenning had to prepare a youth presentation for classroom visits. She based it on the children’s book, “Levi’s Lost Calf,” and developed a lesson plan including a vocabulary list, a writing assignment and a coloring page.

In the consumer promotion portion of the contest, she had to “sell” a heat-and-eat beef product, explaining to consumers how to prepare and enjoy the beef meal. Later, she tackled the issues response with the topic of Meatless Mondays, and she wrote a letter to the editor explaining why people can eat beef and not worry about their health or the environment. Finally, in her personal interview, she was able to express her passion for the beef industry and her desire to become the next Beef Ambassador.

“I’m looking forward to telling my story as a Beef Ambassador and getting out there traveling across the state to present my agriculture lesson plan to kids in the classroom,” she said.

Repenning will make possible appearances this summer at DakotaFest, South Dakota State Fair and the Sioux Empire Farm Show. On behalf of the state’s beef producers and the beef checkoff program, her role is to promote beef and boost beef demand in the state through her efforts.

“It’s more important now than ever before to tell the beef story, with so many misconceptions about the beef industry circulating, we’ve got to get our story out there,” she stressed. It’s hard for ranchers to do that when they are conducting day-to-day business, so the Beef Ambassador’s role is to get out and represent cattle producers and share their stories, she said.

Repenning is a sophomore agricultural communications student at South Dakota State University. She is active in Block and Bridle, Little “I,” Collegiate FFA and the South Dakota Junior Hereford Association. She was also active in 4-H and FFA. Her passion for the beef industry stems from her family’s cattle operation, in which she and her younger sister Abby are active.

“I hope to one day write for agricultural publications and share my passion for the industry,” she said. “I also want to continue to be involved in the beef industry and grow my herd of Angus and Hereford cattle.”

Repenning won a $500 scholarship plus an all-expense paid trip to the National Beef Ambassador competition in 2014. The junior and beginner winners also won cash prizes and will be able to learn from Repenning in her role as the senior ambassador. For more information on the South Dakota Beef Ambassador Program, which is funded by the South Dakota beef checkoff program and hosted by the South Dakota Beef Industry Council, check out

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