Monday, December 12, 2011

FFA Sub-districts Competition

For those of you who know anything about FFA, you know that it is an awesome organization. I have always been a little more partial towards the Florida Cattlemen's Association, but I love FFA and the organization as a whole.

I have stayed involved in my county, as I am the Manatee County Cattlemen Sweetheart until May. (I was asked to represent our county again, as there were no other young women eligible to be the Sweetheart. Of course, I asked if I had to wear the crown, and then I said absolutely!) :)

Last week, my fellow bovine beauties and I were asked to help with the FFA Sub-districts competition. The bovine beauties group is a few of my close cattlewomen friends, that includes Ashley, the state sweetheart two years before me, also from my county, our county sweetheart the year before me, Jamie, and a few other young ladies (the current sweetheart, Kaitlyn, and our lovely little bovine, April from a neighboring county.)

Ashley, Jamie and I are known for being silly and having a lot of fun together. Ashley just recently got engaged and I can't wait to be a part of the wedding! She is marrying a local Ag teacher, and I like to say that they are a match made in Ag-Heaven. :) Jamie married a rodeo clown/day worker, and we are never short on laughs. When the three of us were asked to help via a facebook message from a local Ag teacher, we couldn't help but message back, "Are you sure?"

The competitions are always fun to watch and help with. I realized how much I missed competing in events such as extemporaneous and prepared speaking, and realized how much I didn't miss events like parliamentary procedure! There were many other portions such as tractor driving and saying the FFA Creed.

Each event is intense and extreme, and I am always impressed at the quality of youth involved. Everyone involved in FFA and the JFCA (Jr. Florida Cattlemen's Association) that I have come across are just wonderful kids. Polite, educated, energetic, and always asking questions with a curiosity that I hope they never outgrow.

The competitions were awesome as always, and I hated leaving the people to drive all the way back up to school. Congratulations to everyone involved, and thanks to everyone who helped, and who allowed me to help.

If you have a child, or are interested in an amazing group of people to become involved with and befriend, I encourage you to look to your local Cattlemen or FFA Chapters. Alumni are always appreciated, and volunteers are always welcome. You never know, you just might become an Ag-nerd like me!

Have a wonderful week!


The Beef Queen

Just Look At My Nails!

I, like many other women, have been sucked into the online world of If you are a woman who has any desire to be fashionable or crafty, this is a site you will love!

Thanks to two very crafty grandmothers, being creative is in my genes. I love to make things, scrapbook and play around with fashion. Even though we are cattlewomen, and we know how to work hard and get dirty, we can still look great while doing it. My first project inspired by this website was a small step into the nail art world. I don't have a desire to color my hair any crazy colors, because I want to look professional, but I do believe that nails can be a place for expression. Check it out!

I have received many compliments (thankfully) and I have found that not only is this a great way to showcase how much I love cows, but it is also a great way to jumpstart a conversation with people.

I had a gentlemen at work recently tell me that Agriculture is shrinking, that he did not believe that Florida was an agriculture state, and that I would have trouble finding a job. I tell myself that people like this are only trying to help, and in their own minds, they have seen it all and done everything.

However, if someone loves the industry enough to paint it on her nails, who is to say that she couldn't get a job and succeed in the industry? I believe I will get a job, and God willing, I will.

I hope that you are all inspired to get out there and craft, and as always, to tell people all about your life and your industry, and your passions. Passionate people make life so much more interesting! Have a great week everyone!!

Thanks for reading!

Yours always,

The Beef Queen

Monday, November 21, 2011

Clearwater Uncorked Food & Wine Festival

As a BEEF industry representative and advocate, I love being able to go to events that not only give us a chance to reach out to consumers, but also to have a blast!

I was invited by Ashley Hughes, the director of promotions and marketing for the Florida Beef Council to attend the Clearwater Uncorked food and wine festival. The cattlemen who joined us cooked up some amazing flat-iron steak, and it was a crowd favorite. We had so many people tell us how tender and delicious it was, and everyone was given a recipe card so they could make it at home! Everyone said they wanted to make it, so I hope that there will be a huge amount of beef served this holiday season!

The recipe, along with many others, can be found online at, and I suggest you check it out!

Not only did I get to hang out with Ashley and some of our awesome cattlemen, I also got to spend some time with the new FCA Sweetheart, Kaitlyn Gill and her mom! I love fellow cattlewomen, because there is never a dull moment!

I wanted to blog about this event, and I wanted to share a story that cracked me up. I was handing out the recipe cards, and people were taking extra cards to share with their friends. One woman in particular came up to sample the steak and I said, "Here's a recipe card." She replied with a disapproving look and said, "My husbands a chef. I think he can figure this out." I told her to enjoy her day, and watched her walk away, eat the sample, and turn around, walk back to the booth, grab a recipe card, and say, "I think I will take this home to my husband. He needs this recipe."

I laughed for ten minutes after that happened, because it just goes to show how people can walk up with one idea, and leave with another. We were able to talk to so many people about Florida's BEEF industry, and it was such an informal setting that people are willing to stop and talk, and share stories.

These are positive lines of communication that need to be opened between producers and consumers. I love my life, and I love the people in it. A special shout-out to my parents, without whom I wouldn't be able to travel back and forth to these events. They are keeping my dreams alive, and I love them for it.

Here are some pictures of the event. Enjoy! Thanks for reading, Have a great holiday!!

The Beef Queen

Myself, Carl M, and Kaitlyn Gill outside of the event trying to avoid helping clean up. :)

There were some interesting characters at the event!

Fellow state Sweethearts - Kaitlyn Gill, FCA Sweetheart 2011 - 2012, Me, Sweetheart 2010 - 2011

Had a blast!!! Hopefully there will be a second annual Uncorked festival!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Farm City Week: Farm Tours!

One of my favorite things about Farm City Week in Manatee County is the farm tour. I want to be a tour guide one year, because they are probably the coolest tours anyone will ever invent, and I’d love to be a part of it! This year was really exciting, because we had so many people come out and participate! I arrived at SMR, one of the ranches on the tour, super early to help set up with some of the other volunteers (some from our local FFA Alumni chapters, some from our Cattlemen Association, and we even had a UF/IFAS extension agent from Ona!)
The ranches and farms on the tour are carefully selected by county extension agents who pick locations based on success and relevance to the lessons we are trying to educate the consumers in our county about. We take people in and around the community around the county and show them what farmers and ranchers do on a daily basis. The point of the tours is to show people the county and its true beauty and heritage. I had to show off a little, and pop the whip after one of my fellow cattlemen showed off before me.
The next day, when I spoke at the Kiwanis club meeting in our county, (they help plan the Farm City Week tours and put everything together), several of the members commented on my whip-popping skills, and it was nice to be remembered!
The tours are an awesome tool to educate, and a way to have a lot of fun in your own community. I love encouraging farmers and ranchers to offer tours and have people out to their facilities. I know that it isn’t as easy as putting a sign up that says something like, “Farm tours here, come on in,” but it can be such a neat thing to do!
I hope that you have all enjoyed this short post, and I look forward to many more Farm City Weeks to come!
God Bless,
The Beef Queen

Farm City Week: Kiwanis Club Meeting Keynote Speaker!

 I was asked to speak at our county Kiwanis club at their monthly meeting yesterday, November 15th, 2011 in honor of Farm City Week. My topic was Rodeo: A rancher’s way of life! I wanted to put the speech that I gave on my blog, for anyone interested who couldn't attend the meeting. It was a lot of fun, and everyone was very warm and welcoming! I was even given the "Golden Rule", an actual "Golden Ruler", since I was the keynote speaker. I'm pretty proud of the fact that I was able to be the keynote speaker, as I'm only 21, and I really enjoyed myself!

I have taken out the introduction, as you probably already know me, so enjoy the rest!

Rodeo: A Rancher's way of life.

Many people do not realize that events that are featured at rodeos around the country and state are actually based on day-to-day practices that occur on the ranch.

Growing up, we always had a few cows roaming around in the pasture. My goal is to have a herd of my own, which I plan on continuing to build after I graduate next fall. Ranching is both an art and a science, and if you ever get a chance to visit a ranch or a farm, I highly suggest that you do. One of the most effective ways to teach people about ranch life is through rodeos that are put on by Cattlemen across the nation. I love to go to local ranch rodeos and see men and women in the community, and from around the state, taking part in showmanship and sport, all the while educating the people attending about our way of life.

The Manatee County Cattlemen’s Association has an annual rodeo, and I enjoy attending and seeing how people react when the events are competed in. Public perception is always taken into account when choosing events for the lineup and program of the rodeo, and we are always careful to point out that the people participating are trained and skilled at what they do. Animals are always well taken care of, and every situation that can be planned for, is carefully thought out.

Rodeos are a fun way to see exciting and sometimes humorous events, but they also teach a lot about ranch life. Even though some events seem like they are purely for the crowd’s enjoyment, every event has a rhyme and a reason behind it.

Some interesting facts: Florida was the first state to have cattle, and 63 of the counties in Florida have cattle today. We are a growing industry, and we have many farmers and ranchers in the community today. By being the first place in North America to have cattle, we are also the birthplace of the cowboy! We aren’t just talking boots and hats; we are talking about the real deal! Ranchers represent the largest single segment of American Agriculture!

Florida cowboys were called “Crackers” because of the sound they made popping their whips in the old days, and many still carry on the term today. Whip popping contests are often held at rodeo events, and this is one of my personal favorites. My dad taught me how to pop a whip at an early age, and it is not as easy as it looks! People take this useful tool, and make it an art form. It remains an effective way to herd cattle, and helps cowboys and cowgirls run their ranches. The whips never touch the cattle or horses, and are used purely for sound. Cowdogs are also a useful tool, and they tend to be a crowd favorite. Who doesn’t enjoy two small dogs with the ability to lead and direct a herd of large cows? It is very entertaining, but extremely helpful!

Bronc riding is a rodeo favorite. This event is somewhat dangerous, and left to the skilled cowboys who showcase the ability to stay on a horse who is riled up for a small period of time. There are several variations of this event; sometimes, wild ponies are used, and the teams of cowboys and cowgirls have to try and saddle the pony and ride them for a bit. These ponies are usually taken straight out of a herd of horses that are fairly wild. It is a very entertaining portion of the rodeo, and such a real situation. In ranching life, you never know when you might come across a wild horse, and preparing for that can make the most out of a very dangerous situation.

Two of the most common and sought after events, true to real life ranch situations, are calf roping and team roping. One event showcases two riders working together, and the other event has a team working to rope the calf, to show how it is handled in the event that it needs to be doctored or given medicine. This is a prime example of how a real rancher handles cattle. It is a skill of precision, aim, timing, and patience. The calf is roped by one member around the head, and by the other around the leg. They will either pull the calf down or tie the legs if there is any potential for danger or injury to either party involved. This is a crucial skill so they can administer antibiotics, bandage up a leg, or just make sure the calf is healthy and safe.

Wild cow milking is one of my other personal favorite events. You never know when you need to milk a cow, and it may just be away from the barn, and other useful equipment. This is another exciting event, because the cows are standing up with the team members beside them, trying to fill up a bucket. We had a cow who wouldn’t nurse her baby, and if they aren’t milked within a certain time, it can be very harmful to the cow and the calf. Events like this are entertaining, yes, but they are also a symbol of something that actually happens on a working ranch.

The stampede race is a county event that is true to the name. Cowgirls lie in sleeping bags, with their horses at the other end of the arena. After someone yells, “Stampede”, to symbolize a herd of cattle who are either running away, or towards the group, the girls have to get up, put on their boots and hats, roll up their sleeping bags, carry their saddle and saddle pads to their horse, saddle them up, and ride the horse to the other end of the arena. Stampede is probably one of the most feared words in the rancher vocabulary, because it could either result in injury, death, or a loss of cattle. This event is a true testament to cowgirl skill and speed and gives them a chance to show what they’re made of.

Cow sorting and branding are two events that rely on the team working together. In sorting, three or four cattle are called out by the judges, and the team has to get only those cattle separated from the rest of the herd. This is made more difficult as other cattle can’t go past the team, and it is all about team planning and strategy. In the branding event, the team has to get a calf safely to the ground while the female team member runs over and puts a chalk mark on the calf’s hip. I enjoy the team events, and you can tell what teams work well together. Staying calm and cooperation are vital to successful ranching.

Many individual events, such as barrel racing or cutting, showcase a rider and their pure talent and ability to connect with their horse. I love watching people who really know how to ride and ranch, and it is truly beautiful when someone has that connection.

Any Farm city week speech would be incomplete without honoring Faye and Vic Blackstone, one of the most influential cowboy couples who ever lived. They lived right here in Manatee County, and Mrs. Faye was inducted into the Cowgirl Hall of Fame in 1982. She is credited with inventing several trick riding maneuvers, and she married Vic Blackstone and together, they helped influence Florida’s rodeo traditions since moving here from Nebraska in 1951. She even helped jumpstart the career of the famous singer Reba McEntire, when she got her to perform at our county fair in 1978! It was an honor to meet Mrs. Faye, and I along with everyone miss her since she passed earlier this year. Mrs. Faye and Mr. Vic had a huge impact on cattle ranching and rodeo, and we owe a lot to these examples of what cowboys and cowgirls should be like.

Ranching is still a vital part of the Agriculture industry. Over 90% of American farms and ranches are family owned and operated, with an average size of 40 head of cattle. We are feeding and providing for our communities, country and the world. Today’s beef industry is highly efficient, and we are producing more while using less. Farmers and Ranchers are the original environmentalists, because we are stewards of the land. We believe in preserving land for future generations. We know the value of good business, a healthy and safe product, and we love what we do.

I hope that you all walk away with a little more appreciation for those who are feeding the world, and I encourage you all to get out there and support those in your community who are keeping the traditions alive. There are many local places to visit, and I love to encourage families and businessmen and women alike to look up activities like “Florida Ag Venture”. This is a group of local farms and ranches in Manatee County who got together to offer services for people to come and visit their establishments. I highly recommend it.

This week is Farm City Week, and I hope that you all have enjoyed hearing about Rodeo: The rancher’s way of life. The next time you see a rodeo, you may want to stop in and get a taste of some of the traditions that keep Florida alive and thriving.

As with all of my blogs, I hope that you have enjoyed this blog, and I hope that you all have a great week! Thanks for stopping by, and I appreciate all of your support!

The Beef Queen

Follow me on Twitter! (@the_beef_queen)

Thursday, November 3, 2011

A Little Off-Topic, but On Point!

I had an awesome day, and I had to blog about it!! Please enjoy!  J
As many of you may know, I am a student at the University of South Florida currently majoring in Mass Communications. My focus is Public Relations, and I could not be happier. I am taking a moment today to not just blog about BEEF, but just to touch on the subject of college for a bit.
I was asked to speak at a middle school recently, and I had an absolute blast. I LOVE speaking in public, and this topic was right up my alley! As I gave my presentation about Florida’s Legacy and about cattle ranching and the Cowboy (and Cowgirl) way of life, I also decided that I would add in some information about college and choosing a career.
While some might think that middle school is too soon to start making plans, I think that depending on the maturity level of the audience, it is never too early to start entertaining ideas. There is something out there for everyone. Usually, children around 12 and 13 years of age start to develop passions and interests in certain areas, and it is up to us to encourage that love and interest.
 I could not be more excited with my major, and I really believe that when someone is enthusiastic about what they are doing and what they are involved in, that passion and enthusiasm will spread. That being said, I hope that the group of middle school students have been encouraged and are excited about fulfilling all of the potential and talents they possess.
The reason I chose to blog about this topic today has a lot to do with my major, and why I love Public Relations and the concepts behind it. My PR Issues teacher invited a guest speaker who was nothing short of AWESOME. (I’m leaving the names to the imagination, as I didn’t obtain their permission, and I want to respect privacy and cover my own tail). J
The guest speaker was a 25 year old ball of fire. I was so encouraged when I left class today, and I can’t wait to embark on my career. It is days like this when I thank God for letting me find such an awesome school, such an amazing support group of friends and family, and such a wonderful major that I fit, and that fits me.
Learning about social media and networking fascinates me, and that was a main part of the topic today. I encourage all of you to find something you LOVE, and blog about it. Start a twitter, and follow people with the same interests. I am on twitter @the_beef_queen, and I am also on LinkedIn.
I realize that this blog is a little more scattered than some of my last posts, maybe it is the fact that I don’t usually drink coffee and that I had some today; maybe it is the fact that I get so excited when typing on topics like this that I can’t hold back!  
I can’t wait to start my career as an agriculture advocate, and I plan on using all of these amazing tools that I am learning to accomplish my goals and dreams. Thank you all so much for reading my blog, your support means the world!!! As always, if I can be of any assistance, feel free to follow me on twitter and tweet me or email me at
God Bless,
The Beef Queen

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Faye Blackstone: Real American Cowgirl

For those of you who didn't know, or weren't able to meet Faye Blackstone missed out on a lot. If there was one person I would have loved to get to know better, it was Ms. Faye. I was blessed enough to meet her at a Florida Cattlemen Association quarterly meeting, and it was almost like meeting a celebrity. Everyone knew her name, and she was my ideal real Florida cowgirl: pleasant, but tough as nails.

I am writing a different sort of blog today, one that I have been trying to plan out in my mind ever since I heard that Ms. Blackstone had passed away. I was deeply saddened by this news. My heart goes out to her family and friends, because I know that they must miss her deeply. The world lost another great woman, and I wanted to dedicate a blog all to her.

Faye Blackstone is remembered for many things. When I first heard of her, I was enraptured by the idea that she was actually a member of the National Cowgirl Museum, and that she was in the Cowgirl Hall of Fame! I don't know if there is a cooler award or title out there! Faye was inducted in the Hall of Fame in 1982. According to the National Cowgirl museum website (, "Faye taught herself to trick ride to break the boredom to and from school". She is credited with inventing several trick riding maneuvers, and she is also known for marrying a Texas cowboy named Vick Blackstone. They rodeo'd together for around 13 years, and settled in Florida after making a huge impression on the rodeo industry.

While gathering information and pictures to put in this blog post, I found an AWESOME article on this wonderful woman. Feel free to read all about this incredible lady.
Faye was featured in this article, and I found myself near tears reading the whole time. She was definitely not short on spunk, and did not let something as silly as age slow her down. Her life was an epic tale of traveling, trick riding, and making friends from all around. My favorite quote comes at the end of the article: "I'm too mean to give up," she says. "Now don't you go puttin' that in the paper."

This article was a well-written tribute to Faye, and in my opinion, she has been honored after her passing by a number of sources. Our local paper featured her in a great story fashion, exactly how she should be remembered.

Women today strike me as so confusing. Half of the time, you never know who is loyal, and who could turn on you at any second. Southern women hold themselves to a higher standard. If you have a problem, stop complaining, and do something about it. Growing up, we are told to look after ourselves, and be independent. I wish more women were like Faye. Humble but always able to hold attention, elegant but approachable, creative and intuitive, independent, and gracious.

Ms. Faye passed away due to complications from cancer, according to the Bradenton Herald. Born and raised in Nebraska, she moved to Manatee County in 1951, where she lived with Vick until he passed away about 15 years prior due to a heart attack. One of the coolest things I read in this article was that she helped jumpstart the career of Reba McEntire by getting her to perform at the Manatee County Fair in 1978. I'm from Manatee County, so something like that is pretty surreal.

I am so honored to have met Faye Blackstone, and I will continue to appreciate all that she has done for Cowgirls. If you are looking for a real cowgirl, the buck stops with Faye.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Mom's Delicious Taco Salad!

If you know me, you know that I love to eat, and hate to cook. I fall easily in love. With food. :)

I fell in love with Nutella during my Sophmore year in college (last year) and this summer, thanks to my bestest friend Emily P, I have been drinking more water with the help of those delightful Crystal Light packets... in raspberry lemonade. Seriously, it's awesome. I don't usually drink a lot of water, but this has totally helped me drink more water this summer. This Florida heat is so extreme sometimes, and I do not want to get dehydrated!

That being said, I have found a new love in my mom's recipe for taco salad. This is a really super simple way to feed your family BEEF, and help them get those great nutrients that it offers!!

Zinc, Iron, Protein, B-Vitamins... Do I need to continue?? Not to mention that this is high-quality protein.

In the US, 4 million kids are iron-deficient, and 1 out of 5 women are seriously lacking in iron. BEEF is an AWESOME and DELICIOUS way to get some really valuable nutrition, and I know your kids and family will love it!
Since I am not Paula Deen, I am going to try and explain this recipe the best way I know how. It is so good that I literally had a craving and begged my mom to make some for me this week, and I ate a whole thing of it in one day. Breakfast, lunch and dinner. It was awesome! :)

Mom uses....

A pound of ground beef
Lettuce (not my favorite thing in the world, I'm a "Meat-atarian"......but it's so good in this "salad")
Cheddar cheese (we use a block of cheese and cut it up, but you could use shredded)
Tomatoes and onions (optional - I'm not a huge onion fan)
Doritos chips!
Italian Dressing

Seriously. Thats it. That's all you need! Cook the ground beef to an internal temperature of 160 degrees F. This ensures that the beef is cooked throughout and safe to consume. If you put in on a cutting board or any surface, always remember to clean after using it with beef, and before using it for anything else. Don't use the same cutting board for raw meat and veggies, such as if you have to cut the lettuce up, unless you have cleaned in between.
In a large bowl, mix the beef, lettuce, cheese chunks (they soften with the heat, it's soooo incredibly good), crushed doritos, and anything else you want to add (tomatoes, onions, etc.) and mix in the italian dressing.

How awesome is that??

This recipe is easy because you can change it up. My dad prefers a LOT of Italian dressing, so he adds it after we get our servings. Mom and Dad eat tomatoes and onions, so she makes me a seperate serving. It's all about finding what your family likes.

On a diet? Simple changes can make a big difference. 95% Lean ground beef is a great way to keep you healthy, and now that beef is more lean than ever before, you can really benefit from the tasty healthy protein it gives. More lettuce, less doritos, and you could also use a low-fat dressing, or less of the regular stuff.

I'm no food critic, and I'm certainly no chef. However, I do know a delicious meal when I come across it!! I am adding this to my favorite beef meals, which also includes beef stroganoff, tacos, spaghetti with meat sauce, and endless others! I would love to hear your thoughts about this dish! It's good hot or cold, I usually eat it the next day, and the next and the next... if it lasts that long!!

Enjoy, and stay tuned for more exciting tips and happenings!! God Bless :)

The Beef Queen

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Youth Fall Field day in Ona, Florida

Hey there!

Just got back from attending the University of Florida/Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) Fall field day. This is a GREAT event put on by the UF/IFAS staff to reach out to Junior Cattlemen and other youth around the state. This is my second year going, and as always, I had a blast!

The day started out with checking in with registration at the Ona Range Cattle Station in Hardee County. This is a research facility that opens up its doors to show kids (and their parents) around the state what goes on behind the scenes with ranching and farming. It's not all roping, riding horses, and drinking sweet tea; a lot of research and planning goes into having a successful operation.

I took a few pictures throughout the day... I should have taken a picture of lunch! After all of the activities, attendees were served delicious burgers, and that is precisley when my camera stopped working! ;) A girl has to eat, you know!

This event includes lunch and a trade show following 5 30minute activity rotations. The staff prepared different activities that included:
  • A bug beef lab (all about parasites and things, very interesting to say the least)
  • A Dig Deep Into Dirt lab (all about soil samples and how to tell the differences in soil)
  • Scientific Stomach (explaining that cattle are ruminant - 1 stomach, 4 compartments)
  • Beef Breed learning lab (talking about different cattle breeds and how to make a halter from a lead rope)
  • Agriculture Academia (a great opportunity for the kids and parents to hear about colleges and opportunities that await them in the Agriculture industry)
Some of my awesome friends were in attendance as well!
Kaitlynn Gill - Current FCA Sweetheart
Wendy Petteway - Florida Cattlewomen's Association President
Gene Wingate - Junior Florida Cattlemen's Association Director
Lindsey Wiggins - 4-H extension agent
Chrissy Grimmer - Beef Consumer Representative
and many others!

I love the events, because I feel at home. People who love this industry, love our product, and love to talk to people about it.

Wendy Petteway puts it best: "This is a great opportunity for us to show kids what we do, when they may not otherwise have the opportunity to see it."

I'm looking forward to some awesome times ahead! Can't wait till the next fall field day!

Until next time, God bless, and thank you for following!

The Beef Queen :)

The Beef Breed Learning lab - all about different breeds and charateristics.

A few of the cattle that kids got to see while learning about the breeds. Among other things, they learn that in Florida, Brahma is a very good breed to add to any herd. They are heat resistant and fairly docile, which is really nice in Florida.They pair nicely with Angus cattle, which we have a lot of, too.

We were so jealous of these cows!! While we were suffering from the FL heat and humidity, they were under a sprinkler! They sure looked content! :)

Dr. Tim Marshall from ABAC gave an awesome presentation all about the future of Agriculture and how it pertains to our careers and schooling. He spoke to the participants about choosing a good college, and a good steady career. It was nice, and being a college student, I got a lot out of it!

The entrance to the Cattle station in Ona, FL.

Rounding up the day with a tour of the ranch! A nice hay ride to relax after a full day of learning!

Thanks for following and reading my blog! Feel free to comment or let me know if there is anything that you are interested in learning. I am a huge fan of researching things, and I am also a huge nerd when it comes to the Beef industry - I can't get enough!

Have a great week, and God Bless!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

A few more pictures from my year as FCA Sweetheart!

As I mentioned at the end of my first blog, a few pictures wouldn't upload, due to that lovely slow internet connection out in the sticks.
Here are a few more from my travels this year... enjoy!
(Throughout this upcoming year I will be adding pictures throughout my blogs- I love when books have pictures, and I figure the same applies to blogging!) ;)
While helping out at the World Equestrian Games (only held every 4 years, the "horse olympics" was held in the US for the very first time in the history of the Games.) We were representing the Animal Agriculture Alliance. The FL Cattlewomen are very involved in this organization.

I made some new friends.....

 Us girls standing in front of the Secretariat memorial. This was right around the release of the movie, and the original jockey was signing autographs. I had him sign a AAA (Animal Ag Alliance) brochure. :)

I was able to accompany our Jr Cattlemen's Association to Denver Colorado. This is where the National Cattlemen's Beef Association headquarters are. Our youth team has taken first place in the NATION for quiz bowl, an beef-related academic contest, and Team Marketing, which is a mock-sale of cattle, for the past three years!!! Whooo-hooo!! I was so proud. Not only were our youths brilliant, but they were so well-behaved!! I was proud to hang out with them.
Above - Team members and FCA president Jim Strickland

The two above pictures are from a wonderful trip that I was able to take as Sweetheart. I visisted a lovely family in Collier County, and toured the ranch that they manage. The ranch is about 60,000 acres, and I can imagine every inch was as beautiful as these two pictures.

Dad and I at the FCA Convention this year.... Right before I had to give up my title.

Mom and I before dinner at the Convention.

My farewell speech, except that I wasn't really saying farewell, more like "Ohhhh I'll be around, don't worry". It was a nice way to finish off my year and thank everyone who has helped me out! I love them all!!

One of my closest friends Sara, who served as Polk County's Sweetheart in 2010.

I am so blessed, and I love to represent this industry. Here's to another great year!!

Aka "The beef queen"

A year as Sweetheart

Hey there! My name is Kelly and I am proud to say that I served this past year as the Florida Cattlemen's Association state Sweetheart. I fell in love with the beef industry at an early age, and it was my pleasure to serve such an amazing postition in the association. Throughout my life-changing year, I have been truly blessed and deeply humbled. I have met amazing people that I am proud to call my friends, and I have had some AWESOME adventures!!

I plan on continuing my quest to help give a voice to those farmers and ranchers who have kept agricutlure as amazing as it is, and continue to do what they do. They feed the world, the least we can do is make sure they are represented fairly! I am passionate against animal rights organizations such as PETA or the HSUS (humane society of the United States) and if you follow this blog, you will soon learn why!!

Beef producers treat their animals well (a healthy cow is a happy cow), and we strive to produce an awesome and safe product, that is also nutritous and delicious! I look forward to this new chapter in my life, as I try "freelance advocacy" for a while.... Wish me luck! :)

Enjoy the pics!

My niece Madisyn is growing like a weed!

The whole family after I won the title at the FCA convention last year!

 Outside the Kentucky Blue Grass Airport... had to dress for the occasion. Made a lot of friends on the flight home that day! :)
Tammie McElroy, Myself, and Lindsey John in front of the Kentucky Horse Park. We were all volunteering at the World Equestrian Games for the Animal Agriculture Alliance booth. It was a fun time, and Lindsey (my mentor) and I had fun meeting people from all over the world, including Mrs. Tammie (from California)!! I loved Kentucky, but it was so cold that I was happy to get back to good old Florida.
Here I am at the state fair with Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam! He is super nice in person and I enjoyed having the chance to chase him down and ask for a picture! :)

Sometimes living out in the country = slow internet connectivity, which then = forever to upload pictures to your new blog!!

Ill post more later. Thanks for checking out this blog! I hope to write regularly on all things beef! If you have any questions or comments please feel free to contact me! I would love to be your source for information, and I find that any time I am asked a question I don't know, not only do I get to reach out and ask someone really cool, I end up learning a lot!! :)

Thanks, talk to you all soon, and God Bless!!

The Beef Queen