The Beef Ambassador program has a long history in South Dakota, impacting hundreds of youth allowing them to develop lifelong communication and leadership skills. Amanda Radke from Mitchell, SD was once a South Dakota Junior Beef Ambassador. She served in this role in 1998 as a 10-year old and then again as a South Dakota and National Beef Ambassador in 2006 when she was 18 years old and a senior in high school/freshman in college. Radke’s grandma, Carol Wienk, of Lake Preston, SD got her involved in the program, and with the help of Sue Sibson of Salem, and the late Delina Nagel of Springfield, Radke learned the ins and outs of promoting beef at consumer events. Dedicated SD CattleWomen understood the importance of sharing beef production stories to build consumer confidence and boost beef demand.
It was thanks to their decade of mentorship that led Radke to win the National Beef Ambassador Contest, a checkoff-funded program. Her year of service had her traveling from coast-to-coast where she promoted beef at the Boston Marathon, World Ag Expo, Washington, D.C. grilling events and more. This valuable experience taught her how the Beef Checkoff works and helped her gain a better grasp of the beef production chain, from cow-calf to the retailer.
“It was disheartening to see this program end, not only because it helped kids like me explore careers in the beef industry and get engaged in the cattle business from a young age, but also because I believe our youth are our best voices for promoting our products,” states Radke. “Anytime we can engage young people and provide a platform for them to share their passion, enthusiasm and energy for the cattle business, it is beneficial to every single one of us in this industry. We need to support these kids and provide them with opportunities to learn, grow and be champions for agriculture.”
“I am so pleased to see the South Dakota Beef Industry Council revive this ambassador program, and my husband Tyler and I are absolutely honored that our daughter Scarlett gets to be part of this initial relaunch as a Junior Beef Ambassador,” states Radke. “She is enjoying learning more about cattle production, beef preparation, nutrition, by-products and more, and it's been a wonderful experience to watch her flex her muscles in presenting this information with the public through her videos. Although she is young, we hope her passion still shines through and gets families excited about eating beef during Beef Month. We are grateful to the SDBIC for giving her this opportunity to be a voice for the state's beef producers.”
The South Dakota Beef Industry Council has opened applications for Junior Beef Ambassador and they can be found on the website at sdbeef.org. “I would encourage any parent, who is looking for a fun spring/summer project, to shoot videos of their kids in action on the ranch or in the kitchen and give them the chance to share their beef stories with others,” states Radke. “We need bright young minds and strong voices to lead this industry forward, and I have all the confidence in the world that with a little support our kids will step into this all-important role as our advocates.”
The ambassador program has two participation levels. Level one is designed for those interested in simple, easy in action posts that can be submitted to the SDBIC and shared through social media platforms. Level II is designed for those youth who are interested in volunteering at events, engaging in and planning local community outreach projects, and working alongside SDBIC staff in exploring the impact of the beef industry. Visit https://www.sdbeef.org/all-about-family/south-dakota-beef-ambassador to learn more and find an application.
Posted: May 7, 2020