2010 South Dakota Beef Ambassador selected

Pierre (July 27, 2010) – Taylor Geppert of Kimball, SD was selected as the 2010 South Dakota Beef Ambassador at the state-wide competition July 23 in Huron, SD. Geppert, 19, is the daughter of Kent and Pam Geppert and is a sophomore at South Dakota State University majoring in animal science and microbiology. She is active in 4-H and FFA, giving special emphasis to livestock and meats evaluation as well as public speaking.

The Beef Ambassador program encourages youth to become advocates for the beef industry, educating consumers and youth about beef nutrition, food safety and stewardship practices. “The role Ambassadors play in communicating and educating people about the entire beef production chain from farm to fork is invaluable,” says Merrill Karlen, President of the South Dakota Beef Industry Council (SDBIC), the program’s primary sponsor. “Now more than ever we need young, enthusiastic spokespeople to combat the misinformation about our industry.”

Geppert will focus part of her duties on working with youth, helping them gain a better understanding of the beef production cycle. During in-school presentations with elementary students, Geppert plans to utilize hats to demonstrate the many phases from pasture to plate. “The kids will be able to try on different hats that represent the numerous stages of the beef cycle, matching them with jobs. For example the seed stock and cow/calf producer wears a different hat than the trucker, auctioneer or processor. I even plan to use a chef’s hat to represent food service and retail,” explained Geppert.

Geppert was chosen as the winner of the senior division (ages 17-20) and will represent South Dakota at the National Beef Ambassador Competition October 1-3, 2010 in Rapid City, SD. She receives an expense-paid trip to the national contest along with numerous cash prizes and awards.

Rebecca Naasz, Platte and Shawna Reuer, Bowdle, placed second and third respectively in the state senior division. Other contestants included Amber Connor, Winfred and Elizabeth Dahl, Beresford.

Kelsey Repenning, Mitchell, won the Beef Ambassador junior division (ages 13-16). Her parents are Steve and Lorie Repenning. Erin Mairose of Kimball placed second in the junior category with third going to Hailey Hanson, Bath. Calah Covey, Hamill and Kiera Leddy, Stockholm also took part in the junior competition.

Placing first in the beginner Beef Ambassador division (ages 10-12) was Kadon Leddy, Stockholm, son of Donnie and Krecia Leddy. Alexa Montagne, Elk Point won second and Maggie Connor, Winfred, received third.

Contestants at the state competition were judged in four areas of performance; personal interview, media interview, consumer promotion and issues response. The top contestants in each area were recognized for their outstanding excellence. They include: overall personal interview, Kiera Leddy; overall media interview, Taylor Geppert; overall consumer promotion, Kadon Leddy; and overall issues response, Rebecca Naasz.

Each contestant in the SD Beef Ambassador Contest received cash awards from the SDBIC along with prizes from the SD Cattlemen’s Auxiliary and SD CattleWomen.

For details and interview requests contact Holly Swee at 605-957-5283 or e-mail hswee@sdbeef.org.

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