Ambassador Progam

The National Junior Angus Association (NJAA) is fortunate to involve hundreds of outstanding youth leaders in the Angus industry. In 2012, the NJAA selected its first-ever Angus Ambassador. This individual is tasked with representing the organization at cattle events and meetings throughout the United States and Canada. The Angus Ambassador is sponsored by the Angus Foundation.

Click here for more information on how to apply for the Angus Ambassador program.

Previous Ambassador Posts

Sydni Lienemann

Angus Ambassador 2017-2018

August 10, 2018

50th Annual Beef Improvement Federation (BIF)

The Ambassador position provides a unique opportunity for junior members to travel and gain knowledge, experience and connections in a wide range of industry areas of focus. Within the area of science and research, I had the opportunity to attend the 50th annual Beef Improvement Federation (BIF) convention in Loveland, CO. BIF was founded in 1968 and is dedicated to advancing all segments of the beef industry. The overall goal of the BIF is to connect science and industry to improve beef cattle genetics. The annual convention is held at a different university every year and brings together industry professionals, producers and researchers to discuss current issues facing the beef industry. This was an awesome opportunity for me to meet some of the brightest minds in our industry

Speakers at the convention presented on a wide variety of topics. I chose to attend presentations that interested me including discussions on meat quality, efficiency and sustainability, the use of genomics for better management, research on embryology and more. This event is one that allows you the ability to tailor the experience to your interests.

One interesting fact I learned about the BIF was that one of the first projects was to develop a way of standardizing all performance records across beef cattle breeds. This resulted in modern day Expected Progeny Differences (EPDs).

One member noted, "Many of the issues covered lead to new research and research projects to benefit the beef industry as a whole, and attendees look forward to the following BIF Conventions to see the progress of these research projects." After attending this year, I found this to be true. I look forward to next year’s BIF convention to see what exciting new topics are being researched and discovered! The 2018-19 Angus Ambassador will attend this convention next year in Brookings, South Dakota.

April 4, 2018

Blazing a trail to Phoenix with NCBA

There’s not many things I love more than good people and Angus cattle. Fortunately, in my position as the American Angus Ambassador, I’ve been able to travel the country and combine these two passions! I recently had the privilege of attended the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) annual convention in sunny Phoenix, Arizona. I’ll say this, if not for the great people and learning opportunities, go to NCBA convention for the food! (These pictures are not mine but the food there was equally as beautiful and delicious)

The NCBA convention is unique in that it brings cattlemen together from all across the country, representing all breeds and types of operations--all with a common goal of improving the beef industry as a whole. The Cattle Industry Convention is the oldest and largest national convention for the cattle business. The convention and trade show create a unique, fun environment for cattle industry members to come together to network, create policy for the industry and to have some fun! This 3-day event is packed with informative and inspirational speakers, policy meetings and updates, receptions, concerts, rodeos and more. The trade show consists of over 350 booths and exhibitors promoting some of the most cutting-edge products and technologies the industry has to offer. There’s so much that goes on and so many different options of events to attend. This really gives you the opportunity to tailor the experience to your interests.

Next year’s American Angus Ambassador will have the privilege of attending the NCBA convention and trade show which will be held in New Orleans, Louisiana!

Guiding Outstanding Angus Leaders Conference

The American Angus Ambassador has the great opportunity of traveling both nationally and internationally. Most recently, my travels took me to Winnipeg in Manitoba, Canada for the Guiding Outstanding Angus Leaders (GOAL) Conference. This is a 3-day conference is hosted by the Canadian Junior Angus Association and aims to help develop youth involved with the Angus breed. Speakers presented on various topics including finances, succession planning, marketing, embryonic technologies, customer generation and more. There were also several inspirational speakers that presented on the many opportunities available in the beef industry and beyond! This was a unique opportunity to experience some of the similarities and differences between our respective country’s Angus associations. While I did notice some cultural and organizational differences, at the end of the day it was clear that the Canadian Jr. Angus Association has the same goals as our National Jr. Angus Association. Both exist to serve Angus youth and develop tomorrow’s beef industry leaders!

Youth Beef Leaders Seminar at Certified Angus Beef

The 2018 Youth Beef Leaders Seminar was held January 3rd-4th at the Certified Angus Beef Headquarters in Wooster, Ohio. As the American Angus Ambassador, I had the opportunity to attend along with about 25 individuals, primarily college students, from all over the country. There were young representatives from the American Angus Association, National Junior Angus Association, American National Cattlewomen, Certified Angus Beef and the Canadian Junior Angus Association. The 2-day event included a tour of the facilities, informative speakers, a hands-on experience in the meat lab, a quiz bowl and more! We spent the majority of our time in the new Education & Culinary Center.

Speakers presented on a wide variety of topics including an overview of the brand, supply development, added carcass value, brand sales, marketing, and beef advocacy. We learned about the history of the CAB Brand and how far it’s come since its start in 1978. The CAB brand was established to ensure the highest quality eating experience for consumers. There are 10 strict guidelines that must be met for a carcass to qualify as CAB.

  1. Modest or higher marbling
  2. Medium or fine marbling texture
  3. "A" maturity for each, lean and skeletal characteristics
  4. 10 to 16 square inch ribeye area
  5. 1,050 pound hot carcass weight or less
  6. Less than 1 inch fat thickness
  7. Superior muscling (restricts dairy influence)
  8. Practically free of capillary rupture
  9. No dark cutters
  10. No neck hump exceeding 2 inches

In addition to the educational value of the seminar, it was also a great networking opportunity. I had the pleasure of meeting young, passionate beef industry members and the CAB staff that are working to shape the brand.

One major takeaway for me was how prominent the Certified Angus Beef mission statement was throughout the experience. “To increase demand for registered Angus cattle through a specification-based, branded-beef program to identify consistent, high quality beef with superior taste.” With this mission in mind, I’m confident that the Angus breed will continue to lead the way in ensuring the highest quality eating experience for consumers.

Thank you,
Sydni Lienemann

December 15, 2017

Fellow Angus Producers!

Fellow Angus producers, it is my great honor and privilege to serve each and every one of you as the 2018 American Angus Ambassador. My name is Sydni Lienemann and I'm from Princeton, Nebraska—"The Beef State." I am currently a sophomore at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln studying Agricultural Economics and Animal Science with minors in Entrepreneurship and Beef Industry Scholars. In the future, I plan to continue growing and improving my Angus herd alongside my family's and work in the field of Economics while also pursuing entrepreneurial endeavors.

I am a first-generation Angus producer. My family's registered Angus seedstock operation began about 20 years ago with the purchase of 4 cows from the local sale barn. Our herd began as more of a hobby but has since grown to a successful, sustainable operation. I've been involved with the Nebraska and National Junior Angus Associations all my life. I'm so incredibly grateful for the opportunities I've been presented with through these organizations. Most notably, the opportunity to participate in the American Angus Ambassador contest. I decided to apply for a number of reasons. I wanted to serve and give back to the Association that has given me so much throughout the years. I also love to travel and meet people who share my same passion for Angus cattle as well as people with differing backgrounds, perspectives and opinions. That being said, I saw the ambassador position as a perfect fit!

The contest was held in conjunction with the National Angus Convention in Fort Worth, TX. Each of the 5 finalists went through an interview process and gave a 5-8 minute presentation on a relevant topic in the industry followed by 5 minutes of questions from a panel of judges. I presented on the new AngusGS test and Single Step Genetic Evaluation.

In the upcoming year as Ambassador, I look forward to representing the nation's largest beef cattle breed interacting with people from all sectors of the industry. I hope you will enjoy this blog, where I will document my travels throughout this exciting year!

Thank you,
Sydni Lienemann

Previous Ambassador

Cassandra Garcia

Angus Ambassador 2016-2017

November 22, 2016

Angus Convention Don't Count Yourself Out!

From the Indiana Angus Tour all the way to the crowning of 2017 Miss American Angus, this year's Angus Convention held in Indianapolis, Indiana had a little something for everyone. Although it's an event aimed for the over 25,000 adult members of our association, NJAA members shouldn't count themselves out! There were a lot of experiences at the convention that could help members at any level gain more knowledge about the industry. For example, I attended a portion of the Angus 101 seminar at the Angus Booth in the trade show. The seminar went over information such as how to register animals and acceptable forms of permanent identification. The seminar would be beneficial to young or new association members, it was also a good refresher for long-time members of the Business Breed.

New to this year’s convention was the cattle judging contest, although it was a smaller-scale contest compared to the NJAS cattle judging contest there were two age groups that NJAA members could have participated in, with potential to win great prizes. It was a lot of fun and would be right up the alley of anyone interested in livestock judging. Throughout the trade show there were also many companies that offer internships for college students. It was a great place to stop and talk with the representatives of the companies about the opportunities they have for you and the career you are pursuing. As an NJAA member you already have the opportunity to stand out to potential employers in the agricultural industry because of the reputation NJAA has established for itself as being a program that produces strong leaders.

Angus Convention 2016

Most importantly, I think the Angus Convention also provided NJAA members the opportunity to see the Angus industry beyond the show-ring. Something I notice every now and then is that sometimes we as NJAA members get tunnel vision as we seem to get caught up in the competition that Angus shows provide. I'm not saying that exhibiting cattle isn't important to the development of us as young leaders in the agriculture industry, what I'm stressing is the importance of our NJAA members being diverse in what we experience in the Angus industry.

On the first day of convention I participated in the Indiana Angus Tour where I and other attendees had the chance to see many different cattle operations, all of which were unique in how they were set up and operated. The tour allowed me to widen my perspective a bit, just like attending the convention would do for my fellow NJAA members. The tour was also a reminder that no two cattle operations are the same and everyone adapts to the conditions they are working with, capitalizing within their niche. In addition to the tour I felt that all Association members, juniors and adults, could benefit greatly from the cattle handling demonstrations. Since most of us as juniors are just starting out in the cattle industry it gives us the chance to start handling your cattle in a way that is safer and less stressful on the animal while accomplishing our purpose.

During the convention five fellow NJAA members competed for the coveted title of Miss American Angus. The public audience is invited to watch their prepared speeches on one evening of the convention. Attendees get a chance to listen in on speeches by each of the contestants as part of the competition. If you have interest in being a future Miss American Angus listening to their speeches at convention would be a great learning experience and give you an idea of how to prepare yourself for the competition.

This year was the second year I attended the Angus convention. Each time there is something new to learn, someone new to meet. In fact I had the opportunity to meet my mentor from the Angus Auxiliary’s new mentoring program that began this year, which wouldn’t have happened elsewhere as we live states away from each other. The first time I attended the convention was as a contestant for the Miss American Angus competition. Although the competition is a once in a lifetime opportunity, at the time I also assumed that attending the convention was something I might not get the chance to do again. I’m glad I was wrong about that, but it served as a reminder to not take things for granted. I’m thankful that the first time I experienced the convention I treated it like it was something I’d never get to do again because it pushed me to want to get even more out of the experience. Although the second time around I had amazing time learning more about the industry and engaging with producers, I noticed that I didn’t have the awestruck feeling I had the first time I attended. I had to remind myself not to take the experience for granted and to make the most out of it. I’m not alone in feeling this way, for instance it’s something we’ve probably experienced when attending NJAS and LEAD for several years in a row. Although we are grateful and thankful for those experiences, sometimes we just can’t help taking things for granted, it’s human nature. What helped me is reminding myself to treat those experiences as once in a lifetime opportunities, even if we already know there is a high likelihood of attending the event year after year. During the convention I needed to actively remind myself to treat it like a once in a lifetime experience so that I pushed myself to get the most out of it. A quote came across my social media the other day by Dr. Seuss that might help explain more of what I’m talking about, “Sometimes you will never know the value of something, until it becomes a memory.” I think the quote just points out that it’s hard to realize the value of an experience as you're as it’s happening, and if you know it will happen again. Especially with the holiday season coming up, don’t take anything for granted. Treat Thanksgiving dinner or gathering around the Christmas tree with your family like a once in a lifetime opportunity. Be thankful, be humble, and make the most out of every moment. Next year's convention is in Fort Worth, Texas and I hope to see more NJAA members and youth make plans to attend the event!

I wish you all the best this holiday season,

Cassandra Garcia

August 28, 2016

Greetings from your Angus Ambassador

Greetings Angus friends and family! I'm excited to introduce myself as the 2016 Angus Ambassador! My name is Cassandra Garcia, I am a student at the University of Washington Tacoma currently earning a BA in Business Administration: Marketing. It is my hope that one day my education in the area of business will allow me to contribute to the “Business Breed” in a meaningful way. Knowing that I’ll be involved with the Angus breed far into the future is what has helped keep me grounded while I find my place in the world. The most important pillars of my life consist of my faith, my family, and Angus cattle. I believe that all three come together naturally when I’m involved with the Angus Association.

When I was eleven years old my great grandparents, Jim and Elsie Covey, gave me an opportunity to be involved with their registered Angus operation. Being from the suburbs it was an opportunity that allowed me to be a part of a world I would otherwise have known nothing about. Through an active involvement with the NJAA I learned leadership skills, have made lifelong friends, and developed as a cattleman. Looking forward to what I'll experience in the next year I am filled with excitement. What I know is that there will be constant reminders of the strong influence the Angus breed has in the agricultural industry, and to consumers.

My sense of amazement at the strength of this breed is something that will be constantly renewed. Recently, on my trip back from headquarters where the Ambassador contest was held I had one of these moments of renewal. It was almost midnight at PHX, I was on a layover and decided to have a late dinner. Walking around the airport at that time of night doesn't necessarily give you a lot of options as far as hot meals go, but there in all it non-authentic Asian food glory was Panda Express, still serving the hungry passenger. Looking at the menu one thing stood out to me, the Angus Shanghai Steak. Though this is certainly not Certified Angus Beef, having not met the 10 stringent qualifications, Angus is still our breed's namesake. With that there is a certain level of quality that consumers perceive whenever the name “Angus” is used. The steak was running out fast, even though the option had an additional charge with it. Luckily, I was far enough up in the line to get my order in before they ran out!

Watching the high demand for an option that cost an additional fare at a low cost eatery really brought home the fact that the demand for beef, and beef that is considered higher quality, is strong. It makes me want to do what I can to continue to grow consumer interest in the Angus product. It makes me confident in the future of the Angus industry and the beef industry's ability to reach the goals outlined in the long-range plan.

As Angus Ambassador I look forward to connecting with fellow Angus producers at events throughout the year. I am blessed to have this opportunity to serve the association. Over the years many people have given me guidance that I have been grateful for. I’d like to - in turn - be a resource for NJAA members. Know that I am just another resource offered to you by your association! Don’t hesitate to contact me about anything. Make sure to check back often for new blog posts! I’d like to end this first post by saying that thank you for the opportunity to serve as the 2016 Angus Ambassador.

  • @JrAngusAssoc The first follower is just as important as the leader. Don't be afraid to join the movement. #Leadership #Angus

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