National Beef Ambassador Program

The new 2010 National Beef Ambassador Team is gearing up for a busy year of “Git ‘er Done” activities. Below is a chance for you to learn a little bit about each of them.

Meet the 2010 National Beef Ambassador Team

Ellen Hoffschneider, NE

Hi, I am Ellen Hoffschneider, a proud Nebraska Cornhusker. I am thrilled to be serving as a 2010 National Beef Ambassador. My parents, brothers, and I raise a small herd of Angus cattle. Beef has always been one of my passions. My first heifer “Pinky” was given to me by my parents at the age of 3. Since that time my herd and my love for this way of life has grown. My next favorite thing, speaking, has always involved beef topics. From my first 4-H speech about my bucket calf, to the most recent one involving beef quality grades, I have enjoyed being a voice for what I do every day. As a freshman at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, I am studying Agricultural journalism, a major that combines what I love. I have been involved in a variety of organizations, whose members are also passionate about beef. I am an active member of the Nebraska Jr. Angus Association, and National Jr. Angus Association, where I have learned leadership and made many friends. I first became involved with the Beef Ambassador Program in Nebraska by participating in the Jr. Speech Contest. Now, I am proud to be representing the people and way of life that are so close to my heart. I look forward to meeting cattlemen, cattlewomen, and consumers. I am always willing to share a conversation about the industry that works every day to feed the world.

Mandy-Jo Laurent, TX

Howdy from Texas! I’m Mandy-Jo Laurent and I am both proud and honored to be serving as a 2010 National Beef Ambassador. While I grew up in the beautiful Pinewoods of East Texas, I am now attending Texas Tech University in Lubbock on the vast plains of West Texas just a short 450 miles from our farm. My parents, Jim & Melissa Laurent instilled a love of agriculture in me from a very early age. Some of my earliest memories are of feeding cattle on our place with my Dad. Through 4-H and FFA this love grew into a passion and I became a fierce competitor in numerous agricultural related endeavors including raising and showing cattle, dairy and livestock judging and public speaking. I also have an interest in food and nutrition and debate. All these experiences should help me to be the effective advocate I want to be for the beef industry.

At Texas Tech I am majoring in Agricultural Communications with a minor in Animal Science and Political Science. I plan to eventually attend law school. I am a member of the Texas Tech Judging Team, Collegiate 4-H, FFA, Ag Communicators of Tomorrow, the American Meat Science Association, the Block and Bridle and serve as an Ag Ambassador.

Becky Vraspir, WY

Howdy from Wyoming! My name is Becky Vraspir and I am honored to be named one of the five national beef ambassadors. I grew up in Emerson, Nebraska, where my roots run deep in agriculture. I am currently living in Laramie, Wyoming, where I am studying Animal Science with emphasis in business and production at the University of Wyoming. On campus, I am an active member of Sigma Alpha Professional Agriculture Sorority. I am passionate not only about the beef industry but all aspects of agriculture. I am looking forward to an exciting year advocating for beef across the United States!

Malorie Bankhead, CA

Greetings from the Golden State of California! My name is Malorie Bankhead, and I am proud and excited to represent the beef industry as a member of the 2010 National Beef Ambassador Team. As a fourth generation rancher born and raised in Livermore, CA, my passion for the agricultural industry began when my teeny tiny feet first hit the soil on the earth below me. Growing up on a small cattle operation with my mother and father, Maureen and Malcolm Bankhead, I learned to appreciate the values that agriculture has to offer. My spare time often includes wandering on cow-trails and spending quality time with the livestock that makes my life so enjoyable.

I am currently a freshman at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo majoring in Agricultural Science/Communications. I’d like to pursue a career that allows me to positively advocate for the agriculture industry as a whole. I am pleased to be a representative for the beef industry, because it is a passion of mine and part of a much larger picture. I began raising steers for my local county fair during my sophomore year in high school, and I found it an amazing experience. I find that agriculture needs people who can share their ideas and at the same time learn from others in our industry.

I have gained the necessary skills to positively promote the agriculture industry by serving as secretary and president of my local 4-H club and FFA chapter. In addition, I’ve served as the North Coast Region FFA Vice President, attended multiple leadership conferences, and competed in the National FA Prepared Public Speaking CDE contest. Teaching others that beef is a safe, nutritious, and wholesome product is only one part of advocating the beef industry. Sharing, learning, and experiencing new things are what I am excited to do as a member of the 2010 National Beef Ambassador Team. I’d like to thank the Alameda County Cattlewomen, my friends and family, as well as the wonderful members of cattle industry that I have had a chance to meet for their support, knowledge, and positive attitudes about the agricultural industry! I hope to continue meeting new people and I am pleased to share the story of beef!

Jackson Alexander, OK

Muriel Strode once said, “Go not where the path may lead. Go instead, where there is no path to follow and leave a trail.” Howdy y’all, I’m Jackson Alexander from the great state of Oklahoma, and I’m so excited to be serving as a 2010 National Beef Ambassador. I’ve grown up in Anadarko, a rural town in southwest Oklahoma. Around here, we’re known for rich Native American heritage, but more importantly, we have deep roots in agriculture and the beef industry. I’ve been raised on a Hereford farm, with my mom and dad. Some of my earliest memories are out on the farm, feeding cattle with my parents, riding horses, and showing at the county fairs. When I was seven, I began showing Hereford cattle, and got involved with 4-H and FFA where I not only showed, but started competing in speech competitions. During middle school and high school I got involved with our state’s Beef Ambassador program, the Oklahoma Club Calf Association, Junior Hereford Association of Oklahoma, and the Oklahoma Junior Cattlemen’s Association. Within these organizations, I held many local, district and state offices. I’ve loved every minute of my time in the cattle industry, and from my first Beef Ambassador completion I knew I wanted to someday compete for a national title. During high school, the beef cattle and showing industry has taken me to so many places and allowed me to have so many opportunities. Through showing cattle, I’ve exhibited champion Hereford heifers at the National Western in Denver, the Oklahoma State Fair, Kansas State Fair, Tulsa State Fair, Oklahoma State University’s Winter Bonanza, the Oklahoma Youth Expo, and the Oklahoma Beef Expo, along with division winners at the American Royal. During my freshman/sophomore year, I was named the Oklahoma Junior Cattlemen’s Association All-Around Cattleman of the Year. I am now a senior at Anadarko High School where I serve as our 2010 Class President. Since June, I’ve had the opportunity to serve as Oklahoma’s Beef Ambassador, and now I am thrilled to be serving America’s beef industry on the national level. When I am not helping my parents on the farm, I also spend a lot of time in other areas and activities. In addition to going to high school and being a beef ambassador, I am extremely active in the Family, Career and Community Leaders of America in which I have served as Oklahoma’s State Vice-President and President. I also serve as our high school’s National Honor Society President. After high school, I plan to attend Oklahoma State University and major in Agribusiness with a minor in Political Science. Over the next year, I would like to keep Muriel Strode’s quote close in mind and blaze new trails for America’s beef industry. I know that it is important to take the lead and stand up for what we believe in and also work hard for. I am very, very excited to have the opportunity to travel across the country this year, share new ideas while learning new ones, and also to speak with each and every one of you about the importance of this industry which helps our nation prosper.


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