Women in ag, Laura Nelson utilizes Wyoming heritage
Wooster, Ohio – Laura Nelson is a young professional who grew up in Wyoming and works for Certified Angus Beef’s (CAB) as an Industry Information Specialist within their supply and development division.
“I went to high school in Pine Bluffs and graduated in May 2009 from UW with my Communication and Journalism degree with an emphasis in agriculture. I started college at Laramie County Community College (LCCC) in Mass Media,” explains Laura of her education.
“I was an NCBA intern in college, and that was a direct result of my year spent as a National Beef Ambassador. Being an Ambassador tuned me into the great opportunities for students through NCBA. While working at the NCBA convention I met some folks at CAB, and that led to an internship in their Public Relations and Marketing Division between my junior and senior years of college,” says Laura of how she first became involved in the company.
“I really enjoyed that internship, and continued to do some freelance work for CAB during my senior year of college. Their Supply Development Team, which I had never worked with, saw some of my writing and said they had a position open if I would come to Kansas. So I went to Kansas after graduation, and there I was,” comments Laura with a laugh. “It was really the result of being a Beef Ambassador and that long list of internships.”
From Kansas, Laura moved to Wooster, Ohio with CAB, where she is currently based. She explains that most of CAB is focused on consumer marketing, and working with food service professionals, chefs, retailers and distributors. However, the Supply Development Team, of which she is one of three people, focuses on working with cattle producers, CAB-licensed feedyards and industry professionals to help develop a supply of cattle that meet CAB quality specifications and branded product requirements.
“Our job is to supply information to the beef industry. To do that, we write, and about 50 percent of my job is writing. We send out news releases and stories, and supply context to the Angus Journal, Angus Beef Bulletin and other Angus-oriented publications. We also do radio and some other audio releases,” says Laura.
“The other half of my job is dissemination of information to the beef industry. We put on educational events, and help our CAB partners with their marketing and advertisements. As their partner, we help develop ads and provide them access to our creative resources,” explains Laura.
She just returned from Amarillo, Texas, where she planned, promoted and organized a one-day educational seminar for feedyard managers and owners. “There were about 75 guys in attendance. Doing events is fun because it’s always diverse and something different,” comments Laura.
“I went to school for writing, and it’s what I love and have always wanted to do. But the diversity of being able to work with more people in the marketing and event planning components of my job allow me to have more human interaction, too,” comments Laura. “Writing is a fairly solitary occupation by itself.”
She lists the people she’s met and the places she’s traveled as some of the most memorable aspects of her job to date.
“There are people I interview and write stories about that I get so attached to, and I get so excited and passionate about telling their stories. Sometimes I really connect with people and their story,” says Laura.
“I grew up on a ranch, and my idea of what ranching is came from how I grew up. I have a specific idea of cattle ranching because that’s what my family does. But then I go to a ranch in Arkansas to do a story on an Angus breeder, and his ranch management, his business plan and everything else looks completely different because he’s in a whole different environment and ball game than what I grew up in. To visit these different people and learn about their production systems, and to see the diversity of the cattle business all over the nation, and then to share those stories is so exciting to me,” notes Laura.
“I meet all these people who ranch in these completely different environments and backgrounds, and I’ve found that at the heart they’re all the same good, salt of the earth, wonderful cow people. I always want to write these epic novels because I meet these people and am so excited about sharing them with everyone else,” comments Laura.
She lists being so far away from home as one challenge of her job.
“I miss Wyoming and home. But I couldn’t ask for a better job. To work for a company like CAB right out of college is wonderful. It’s a great company to work for, and it’s nice to have found a career that I truly enjoy; enough to make up for it moving me so far away from home.
“It’s comforting that I can be clear out in Ohio and still work with people from across the country on a daily basis. This winter I’ll be at the NCBA convention in Denver, working with some of the same people I did as a Beef Ambassador, just in a different way.
“I still get to work with folks I’ve known all my life that are in the cattle industry, and I really do enjoy seeing so many fun places and meeting so many great people,” she says.
Heather Hamilton is editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.