CattleCon Orlando, FL 2024
Back from CattleCon!
Bryce and I just recently returned home from our very first National Cattle and Beef Association CattleCon in Orlando, FL.
I have been to California Cattlemen's and CattleWomen's conferences, but not to a national conference until about two weeks ago!
I was very surprised to find out I won two awards this year that is recognized nationally within the Unites States cattle world.
Backstory: Two years ago, we were invited to GRAZE to showcase a beefy bite for attendees to enjoy and talk to them about our business and cattle ranching in the San Diego area. We gave the talented chefs at Viewpoint Brewing Company our ground beef to do a collaborative beef recipe and beer pairing for this farm to table style event. They decided to create a Cuban Picadillo recipe (you can find that exact recipe here) and paired it with Viewpoint's Amber Ale.
Viewpoint and Flying F Ranch have worked together for years in picking up spent beer grain from their brewery and supplementing some feed for our feeder steers (future beef shares) and even to our mother cows to maintain their body condition.
Additionally, we did our very first ranch to table dinner on Flying F Ranch with Viewpoint heading the menu and pairing our beef with their beer. It is a wonderful relationship and we each benefit from each other for our businesses.
I submitted the Picadillo Recipe on a whim and was shocked to be notified that I had won the recipe contest for CattleCon.
When being interviewed and asked about the recipe, I gave full credit to the chefs of Viewpoint Brewing Company. This Picadillo Recipe will be featured on BEEF. It's What's For Dinner in the near future! It is no historic family recipe! However, it is very tasty and a fun twist on ground beef! Give it a try!
Beef Advocate of the Year
The second award I received was the Beef Advocate of the Year for 2023.
This came to me again out of surprise when I received a phone call from two of my good friends, Kenzie and Kori at California Beef Council. They had the chance to tell me that I was selected Advocate of the Year and I honestly was lost for words.
Each year, an advocate in the beef industry is selected as someone who engages with the public sharing their story and developing trust and connections to the beef and cattle industry.
This year has been a big year for me in our beef business. From quitting my corporate veterinary technician job and going full force into being a beef rancher.... I have gone 100% into the cattle business and I have so many people to thank for this decision to follow my passion and what lights my heart on fire.
A huge force that has gotten me to where I am today for beef advocacy would be the Trailblazer Program of NCBA (National Cattlemen's Beef Association). Without the great people that went through this program and my mentor, Chandler Mulvaney, I would not have received this very honorable award.
This year with the Trailblazer Program, I was fortunate to travel around the United States along with 9 other "Trailblazers" learning about all sectors of the beef industry so I can create a better understanding for those who are removed from agriculture, especially in cattle.
We got to visit the NCBA office for media training for a few days, we cooked burgers in the BEEF. It's What's For Dinner Kitchen, got to travel to Five Rivers Feed Lot, Colorado State University Meat and Animal Science programs, Leachman Cattle to learn about genetics, we even got to do a cooking class to show off our kitchen skills!
I have made the best friends through this program who are now like family to me. Additionally, I have created and grown great connections with people all across the beef world.
I cannot thank everyone enough for the support within and outside of the industry. When people ask me about the Advocate of the Year Award, I just have found myself saying, "I am just spreading to good word about Beef." I am glad many people can connect with my experiences as a cattle producer in California.
As I mentioned above, my time with the Trailblazer Team of 2023 allowed me to get experience in media interviews and how to communicate my story to build connection to beef.
Constantly, I hear: "Tell your story." and "If we don't tell our story, someone else will." within the agricultural space because we always feel villainized for the work we do to put food on not only our own tables, but on your table, neighbor Kathy's table, your child's school lunch program... and so on.
I can respect that. I understand the value behind telling our stories as agricultural producers. However, I also don't think the general public wants to hear how your great grandpa started the ranch and give an entire history lesson of your life. Hate to break it to you, but your story is boring.
I think, if we can tell our story in the shoes of someone from the outside, we have the ability to develop a deeper connection that actually sticks.
Why? Because humans are humans and they LOVE to see themselves in a story. people LOVE talking about themselves and their experiences. It is human nature.
Example I use to share my story: I am a mom. I have a connection with all sorts of moms just because of the fact that I have children. I tell stories about the values my kids have learned by being a part of the ranch and our business. All the fun we have as a family creating memories. This helps outsiders who don't really have a connection to cattle/agriculture appreciate my story because they have a connection to me, they can see themselves in my story.
Anyway, through out our time spent in Florida, I had the opportunity to speak with several Ag media reporters, podcasters (you can check out some of the interviews here) , and even did a live Cattle Chats panel with attendees on the trade show floor. I was able to utilize the skills I have developed through out this year with training I got from the Trailblazer Program. It was a complete blast!
I was excited to speak with RFDTV twice. Once speaking to a reporter about the Beef Advocate of the Year Award and once with the ladies of FarmHER and RanchHER sharing about me experience as a female rancher of San Diego.
Other Trip Highlights
BeeFit 5k! I haven't ran in a WHILE. Not like I used to anyway. Somehow, I convinced part of our Trailblazer group and Bryce to run the 5k with my at 6:30am just outside one of the nearby hotels.
That was a lot of fun and I love a good morning run! Bryce and I are doing 75Hard as I write this, so we were able to get an outside workout in first thing in the morning which was a bonus to a busy couple days!
Universal Studios, Orlando turned into "Cowboys and Coasters" where they rented out part of the part at night just for CattleCon members. That was super fun! We got to ride a bunch of rides multiple times, dance to some good country music and enjoy each other's company.
Overall, great week! Bryce enjoyed talking with other cattlemen across the states and he attended several cattlemen's college classes learning all about beef and cattle.
It feels good to be home. We have been playing a lot of catch up and our calving season is in full swing (babies everywhere!). We literally hit the ground running ever since we got back home. So, this little update has taken me about two weeks to get onto the blog. Life on the ranch is always a hustle!