Promoting beef Noble looks toward year as ambassador
“I am really going to focus on elementary, middle school and high school groups, advocating for agriculture and talking about how we can make a living,” says Laura Noble, Wyoming’s new Beef Ambassador.
The Wyoming Beef Ambassador program seeks out young people who are knowledgeable about the beef industry and their community with the ability to express themselves well.
“We look for a person who can portray themself in an interview and someone with good writing skills who can answer articles and letters to the editor. We look for someone that can be a good advocate for agriculture,” explains Leslie Hendry, co-chair of the Wyoming Beef Ambassador Program.
As an ambassador, Noble will be asked to speak to local groups, such as 4-H and FFA, as well as attend local events in her area.
“She will go to the Wyoming Stock Growers Convention in December, and she will promote beef at the Wyoming State Fair,” Hendry comments.
Noble plans on reaching out to the younger generation, getting them involved and excited about beef.
“There are quite a few students involved in agriculture, in my ag classes and through FFA, but about half of students are not,” describes Noble of her Sublette County high school.
Many of the ranches in the area are being run by older generations, and she notes that there are not very many young ranchers in the county.
“There is a big problem with younger generations being involved in agriculture,” she comments.
In the next year, Noble plans on building a blog and possibly some video content to reach out to her peers.
“I am also going to work with the Facebook page and human contact,” she explains.
The most recent ambassador, Rachel Purdy, started a Facebook page for the Wyoming Beef Ambassadors, and Noble will maintain the page with recipes and other beef information.
“I am hoping that in the next week or two it will be fully running and ready to go,” she notes.
As the new beef ambassador, Noble has her work cut out for her, learning about the industry and how to share positive information.
“I will be forming a project and creating speeches, so I can talk to different age groups,” she explains.
She also has to be prepared for the national competition in September.
“I have to research a lot of topics in the beef community, and I am going to have to formulate better public speaking skills because they are a big part of the position,” Noble says.
The national contest includes a public interview in which contestants have to showcase their beef knowledge.
“I was inspired by my advisor in my ag class to become an ambassador, but I am also really interested in beef,” she states.
The Green River Valley CattleWomen’s Association reached out to students in Sublette County to participate in the program.
“Each county sends two people into the state competition, and one finalist is chosen at the state level,” she explained.
Noble, who has been chosen as the Wyoming Beef Ambassador for 2016, is a fifth generation cattle rancher from Cora.
“About two years ago, I started my own beef herd,” she says.
Although her family has traditionally run Black Angus, Noble has red cows.
“My favorite thing is seeing the cows succeed and grow,” she comments.
Especially with the recent high prices in sales last fall, she saw just how valuable good management of her cows could be.
“I am raising heifers right now, but eventually I will look at bulls,” she notes.
Noble looks for good genetics in her herd with an emphasis on small udders, straight legs and good disposition.
“I am super passionate about beef and the beef community,” she adds.
There are a lot of people in the United States who are unaware of how a good product comes to their table, and Noble is looking forward to the upcoming year for the opportunity to share that information.
“I am excited to be an ambassador and someone who gets to teach people about the beef community and how important it really is,” she says.
She also looks forward to sharing all of the ways that beef cattle can be used that consumers may not be aware of.
“We use different parts of the cow for all sorts of things – more than just meat,” she explains.
Noble is thankful for the ambassador program, despite the challenges of inspiring interest in agriculture in younger generations.
“We are trying to come up with some incentives to excite more kids so they participate in the program,” states Hendry.
Many of the potential candidates for this year attended the annual state FFA convention, which conflicted with the event.
“The kids who are really good are really busy, and they are involved in everything, so it’s hard for them to commit the time to being a beef ambassador,” she adds.
Hendry hopes that next year will see more participation, noting that national participants get to be part of tours and events around the country, internship programs and leadership training.
“It’s a great program for youth,” says Hendry. “It makes good leaders and that is what we are trying to do.”
“I would really like to thank the Wyoming Beef Ambassadors and Wyoming CattleWomen’s Association,” states Noble. “I would especially like to thank the Cowbells in Sublette County for continuing the program.”
Natasha Wheeler is editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.