Wow! These past couple of months have been filled with a lot of firsts for me! I am so thankful to have recently joined the California Cattlemen’s Association staff as associate director of communications in December. This has led me to Sacramento, CA where my list of ‘firsts’ has infinitely increased in just a couple of short months!

Last week I traveled to San Luis Obispo to participate in the first ever FFA Link program panel. I joined a few of my fellow agriculture advocates in a panel discussion on agvocacy in front of Cal Poly students, local FFA chapters, and hundreds of other viewers of the internet broadcast! To view the panel discussion, click on the link above! I look forward to watching and helping this program grow!

When it is all said and done, I believe it is the greatest pleasure to serve as an agvocate for American agriculture, because it allows me to do what I love on a daily basis and help celebrate those who mean the most to me- American farmers and ranchers! There are a lot of us who have joined together in this front, and I am proud to be a member of the agricultural advocate community!

As for an additional first, yesterday, I was humbled and excited to receive the very first I Love Farmers They Feed My Soul Female Agricultural Advocate of the Year award, in honor of the late Mr. Gus Settrini, a cattle rancher from Salinas, CA, alongside the Male Agricultural Advocate of the Year, Ryan Goodman, who is the manager of communications for the Montana Stockgrowers Association, and three others who received honorable mentions.

This brand new program aims to recognize young advocates for agriculture who spend their time celebrating American farmers and ranchers through their advocacy efforts with goals to educate others about American agriculture. As it is the first year of the program, there was no formal awards ceremony, but rather a social media celebration in honor of the recipients of this year’s awards.

I am very thankful to be recognized by I Love Farmers, They Feed My Soul, but is important to note that as agvocates, we are a team! The thirst for the knowledge of agriculture that we possess is vast, and in order to quench it we must work together! I am honored to be a part of a great team of agricultural advocates, which grows every day just like the food that American farmers and ranchers raise for the world! Congratulations to Ryan, Jade, Taylor, and Sam and the countless other young people who advocate for agriculture every day!

ILF belt buckleRyan and I will each receive a belt buckle that looks like this in order to continue to spark the conversations about agriculture that are our main vehicle in agvocating. Nothing says “Ask ME about agriculture!” like a big, shiny belt buckle! Thanks ILF and the Settrini family! Your commitment to American agriculture, the people in it, and even those outside of it, is admirable and inspirational to us all!

Are you interested in helping this program grow? Visit the ILF website today!

Nipomo, Calif. Jan. 24, 2014‐ I Love Farmers…They Feed My Soul (ILF), a non-profit agricultural advocacy group, has selected Ryan Goodman of Montana and Malorie Bankhead of California as the 2013 Agricultural Advocates of the Year.

Those receiving HonorabILFle Mentions include Taylor Short of Missouri, Sam Wildman of Ohio and L. Jade Halliburton of Arkansas.

In an effort to recognize and reward young people who volunteer their time advocating for American family farmers and rancher ILF established the Agriculture Advocate of the Year Award in honor of the late Gus Settrini, a cattle rancher from Salinas, Calif. who enjoyed helping young people in agriculture. Winners were selected based on their advocacy efforts online in social media channels and at various public events in 2013. Goodman and Bankhead will receive custom silver buckles and a cash award.

Megan Silcott, ILF President said, “We are excited to identify and reward a strong group of young advocates for our inaugural Agricultural Advocate of the Year program. Each winner is an outstanding model for others to follow in advocating for agriculture.”

Goodman, 25, maintains an active blog called Agriculture Proud, has more than 13,000 followers on his Twitter and Facebook profiles and is a guest writer for the CNN Eatocracy food page. He is a graduate of Oklahoma State University and has a graduate degree from University of Tennessee. He is the manage of communications for the Montana Stockgrowers Association.

Bankhead, 22, maintains a blog called Mal The Beef Gal and is active on Facebook and Twitter. She has traveled the country as a member of the National Beef Ambassador Team and with the HungerU educational campaign. She is a graduate of California Polytechnic State University – San Luis Obispo. She is the associate director of communications for the California Cattlemen’s Association.

Short, 22, is a student at Missouri State University. Wildman, 23, is a student at The Ohio State University. Halliburton, 20, is a student Southern Arkansas University. These students are active in social media and have conducted a variety of public agricultural advocacy events on their campus, community and states. Honorable mention winners receive an engraved glass trophy and a cash award.