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Minnesota Beef Ambassadors named

By Carol Stender
cstender@agrinews.com

Date Modified: 11/22/2012 6:59 PM

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The 2013 Minnesota Beef Ambassador Team has been announced.

Kelly Morrison of Belle Plaine, Shelby Schiefelbein of Kimball and Jenna White of Wadena earned spots on the Minnesota Beef Ambassador team during competition at the Beef Expo.

Morrison was also named senior lead winner and is eligible to compete in the National Beef Ambassador competition next year.

In the junior beef industry advocate program, for those ages 13 to 15, Zach Klaers placed first and John Morrison, Kelly's younger brother, took second. Erin Morrison, a sibling of John and Kelly, was recently named to the National Beef Ambassador team.

Kelly Morrison shows Shorthorns raised on the family's cow/calf operation near Belle Plaine. Her parents, Terry and Michelle, operate the farm.

She was in fifth grade when she started doing chores. Her father, seeing how much she liked cattle, encouraged her to show at local, state and national Shorthorn shows and through 4-H and FFA.

Kelly learned about the beef ambassador program three years ago from her FFA advisor. She was nervous at her first state competition, but the respect she got from adults in the cattlemen's association gave her confidence, she said. She has been a state beef ambassador for three years.

Promoting the industry is second nature for the Belle Plaine high school senior.

"Doing this is doing something that we love, but on a whole new level," she said.

Now she gets to share her family's story with others.

Kelly is the vice president of the Belle Plaine FFA Chapter and vice president of her county's 4-H federation. She is Miss Belle Plaine and active in the National Honor Society. She is part of her school's Tiger Target Team, a group of upperclassmen who talk to younger students about high school life and how to adjust to it.

She plans to attend South Dakota State University and major in animal science, agribusiness and ag communications and education.

White is a New York Mills junior and is active in the South Devon Association. She serves as an ambassador for the association and is on its junior board of directors.

Her family moved to their New York Mills farm 10 years ago. Her father, Don is from New York and her mother, Tonya, from the Twin Cities. The family's interest in cattle grew when a friend asked to pasture livestock on their land. A neighbor had South Devons and the Whites now have 40 cow/calf pairs.

Through her ambassador role, Jenna wants to promote beef and also encourage youth involvement in the industry.

Jenna is active in the NYM FFA and recently attended the National FFA convention. She is also on the school's basketball team.

She plans to study ag communications in college.

Shelby Schiefelbein is a Kimball High School junior.

She is president of the Kimball Kruisers 4-H Club, a member of the National Honor Society, involved in student government, knowledge bowl and is on the volleyball and softball teams.

Her mother, Jennifer, learned about the program through her friends with the Minnesota CattleWomen.

This was her first year competing in the contest. With her other team members, Shelby will give classroom presentations promoting the beef industry, participate in community events and write articles.

Shelby, 16, has also learned about promotions through her father, Don, who is the Minnesota State Cattlemen's Association president.

"I would see him speak at events," she said of her dad. "I learned from his example."

She was buoyed by her family's support as she prepared for the competition.

"My parents have always encouraged me to do my best," she said.

Her family operates Schiefelbein Farm.

Kelly Morrison received a $500 scholarship, sponsored by the Minnesota State Cattlemen, as senior lead winner. Additional scholarships totaling $625 were awarded to other team members from Minnesota CattleWomen and the Minnesota Beef Council through the Beef Checkoff program.

Junior beef ambassadors also received scholarships.