Every once in a while there comes along a young professional who particularly impresses you with their talent, enthusiasm and promise. Amanda Nolz fits that description and it's my pleasure this month to introduce this fresh college graduate as the newest addition to the BEEF editorial team.

If you're a regular reader of the BEEF printed product or its electronic spinoffs, you likely know Amanda is the person behind the BEEF Daily news and blog posts we initiated last fall. As a South Dakota State University senior, this fifth-generation rancher has blogged since then on topics ranging from life on her family's beef operation, to campus life and beef industry issues. In just a few short months, she's built a nationwide following, with many of those electronic visitors joining an ongoing online discussion.

Amanda graduated from SDSU last month. Graduation can be an agonizing time for many kids with backgrounds in production agriculture. If you're among the lucky ones with the opportunity to do so, do you stay home or venture out into the world?

It was a particularly tough decision for Amanda. We wanted her to join us here in our Minnesota offices, where she served as a BEEF editorial intern last summer. But, if she could swing it, her heart was on the family farm.

Amanda alluded to her dilemma in a BEEF Daily blog post prior to her graduation: “For me, I had to choose between what I have always known and loved to new adventures in cities unknown. Like many young people, I thought that I had to move away to have a successful career, yet I was deeply saddened at the idea of abandoning my roots in beef production.”

In the end, we both got what we wanted. Effective May 11, Amanda joined BEEF as BEEF Daily editor with responsibilities for preparing the news and commentary disseminated each morning from Monday through Thursday. She'll also be heading up our new efforts in social media — BEEF Facebook and BEEF Twitter — as well as adding podcasts and other digital offerings to the repertoire of BEEF online coverage.

She'll be doing this from her base near Mitchell, SD, where she's taken on new duties in the family Limousin seedstock operation.

Thus, Amanda's career path is a dual one — working with BEEF in helping to inform, educate and provoke thoughts among America's beef producers while staying directly involved in production agriculture.

Part of Amanda's professional plan is also to do public speaking. As a former National Beef Ambassador, she obviously is well suited to that task, as well. Keep her in mind if your organization needs a bright and articulate speaker for an upcoming meeting.

Welcome aboard, Amanda.