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Calif. Beef Ambassador wants to educate consumers, ranchers

Tim Hearden

Capital Press

California's new senior Beef Ambassador wants to improve communication between ranchers and consumers. The California State University-Chico student has her own small herd and has encountered the public through working at her mother's accounting firm.

Capital Press

CHICO, Calif.— Like other students in the Beef Ambassador program, Jillian Casacca strives to educate consumers about the beef industry’s good side.

But the 19-year-old California State University-Chico agricultural business major also wants to enlighten ranchers and others in the beef industry on how to engage the public.

“I think it’s important because I feel like producers and members of the beef industry know a lot and really care about the product they produce, but sometimes there’s a little bit of miscommunication,” said Casacca, a Hydesville, Calif., native who has her own small herd of black Angus cattle.

“I’d just like to help people in the industry communicate better to the consumer and answer questions in a better way,” she said.

Casacca will get the opportunity as the state’s Beef Ambassador, having won a competition against 10 other students in the senior division (ages 17-20) in late April in San Jose. The new junior ambassador, high school sophomore Shane Stubblefield of Kern County, prevailed against 14 other students ages 12-16.

Casacca and Stubblefield will advance to the National Beef Ambassador competition on Sept. 26-27 in Denver. Last year’s senior California ambassador, rancher and Chico State student Katie Stroud of Adin, Calif., was one of five students chosen as national ambassadors at a competition in Sacramento.

In the Beef Checkoff-funded ambassador program, students are judged on consumer promotion, classroom presentation, media interview technique and issues response. Beef Ambassadors serve for a year and speak to various groups about industry issues and misconceptions, educating consumers about beef nutrition, cattle care, safety and other topics.

Casacca has experience interacting with both ranchers and the public. She worked on family friends’ ranches as a child and was active in 4-H and FFA, from which she started her own herd. She also helped out at her mother’s accounting firm, which gave her a sense for the business side of the industry, she said.

“I’m very excited for the upcoming year,” she said. “I think this is a great opportunity to expand my knowledge of the industry as well as hopefully answer some consumers’ questions and answer any of my fellow producers’ questions. i want to help connect everyone and promote the beef industry.”

Online

National Beef Ambassador Program: http://www.nationalbeefambassador.org



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