March 12, 2008 -- The National Beef Ambassador Program (NBAP) has received a $9,000 grant from an anonymous donor through the American National CattleWomen Foundation, Inc. This generous support from the granting foundation allows Beef Ambassadors to travel to a spring legislative conference in Washington, D.C., every year to participate personally in the democratic process. This experience broadens their understanding of government and the critical role individuals play in influencing legislation.
According to 2007 Beef Ambassador Londa Johnson of Minnesota, “It was an honor and privilege to discuss important issues that my family and I are facing on our farm with my elected officials.”
The foundation and the NBAP strive to promote youth leadership in agriculture. The NBAP supports a team of five individuals, ages 17 to 20, from across the United States. During their one-year tenure as an ambassador, students learn about the beef industry and help educate consumers and other students about beef's safety, nutrition and enjoyment. The NBAP is funded in part by the Beef Checkoff Program.
Prior to the conference, every ambassador spends time reviewing the stance of their state's members of Congress on beef industry issues. While in Washington, ambassadors sit down face-to-face with their representatives to ask questions and discuss issues.
“I will never forget the exhilaration I felt in Washington, D.C.,” said past Beef Ambassador JoAnna Strom of South Dakota. “I actually felt as though I was making a difference. I was making a statement to our government officials that the beef industry plays a crucial role in our economy. I was personally able to express concerns that were impacting my home state.”
“Attending the Spring Legislative Conference was the highlight of my year as a Beef Ambassador,” said Amanda Rankin of California, a senior at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. “As an Ag Business major with a concentration in Ag Policy, I have a strong interest in becoming involved with agriculture on a political level. This trip offers an excellent opportunity to see the political process first hand.”
Ambassadors will also meet with U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Ed Schafer and other officials at USDA. Cattle industry leaders from each ambassador's state will act as mentors who, in turn, rely on these students as future beef industry leaders.
For more information on the NBAP visit www.nationalbeef ambassador.org