Mathew Peebles, Silver Springs, FL, won the title of 2007 National Beef Ambassador at the annual competition, held in Minneapolis, MN. The competition was established on behalf of the Cattlemen's Beef Board and state beef councils by the American National CattleWomen, Inc. (ANCW).

Twenty contestants vied for the title and $5,000 in cash prizes sponsored exclusively by Tyson Foods, Inc. Additionally three educational scholarships totaling $2,250 were given by the American National CattleWomen Foundation, Inc.

Peebles received $2,500 cash and a $1,000 college scholarship. Second place went to Amanda Rankin, Caliente, CA, who received $1,200 and a $750 scholarship. Third-place winner JoAnna Strom, Beresford, SD, received $800 and a $500 scholarship. Christie Molinaro, PA, and Londa Johnson, MN, received $250 each as honorable-mention awards.

Peebles is a member of FFA, and the Junior Florida Cattlemen's Association. He enjoys promoting the beef industry, raising cattle and team roping. His career plans are to become a veterinarian.

While preparing for this national speaking competition, youth learn about the importance of the beef industry and beef as an ag product, says Beef Ambassador program director, Carol Abrahamzon, Caledonia, MN.

"The program highlights the positive impact the cattle industry has on our economy and families," she says. "Trained youth ambassadors address industry issues and misconceptions, while they help educate peers, consumers and producers about food safety, nutrition and the beef checkoff program."

Contestants presented a speech about the promotional aspects of beef, completed interviews with media and beef-industry representatives, and attended a checkoff-funded educational workshop titled "Telling the Production Story." The workshop was sponsored by the Beef Checkoff Program.
-- Clint Peck