Guts, Steel and Beef

(Photo courtesy of North Dakota Farm Bureau)

Carrie Underwood is a pretty powerful icon in today’s society. She’s a multi-platinum recording artist, a fashionista, she’s gorgeous and she’s a PETA spokesperson. It takes guts to stand up to someone of her caliber – it takes nerves of steel to organize a walk out on one of her concerts. Amanda (Nolz) Radke organized one such walk out in 2006 at the National FFA contest because of Underwood’s proud association with PETA and blatant disregard for agriculture. Officials at the event were advised that if Amanda was seen, she was to be escorted off the premises. However, knowing that, she went through with the walk out and 1000 FFA members and guests left the auditorium when Carrie came on stage. Nerves of steel? I think so.

Amanda’s walk out is a prime example of how one person can have a gigantic impact. Recently, Amanda spoke at Kansas State University as the Alpha Zeta George Stephens Distinguished Guest Lecturer in Agriculture. As a recent college graduate, Amanda doesn’t have thirty years of industry experience to aid her in being an exceptional agvocate. But she has a good head on her shoulders, a passion for agriculture and she ain’t giving up. Even though agriculture has made monumental progress in the fight to save our industry (YellowFail, the OLCSB) Amanda says, “We have a lot of work left to do”, and she’s right. As agvocates, we can never go on vacation, because you can bet the suits at HSUS and PETA aren’t taking a break from their lobbying efforts.

Amanda provided students with ideas on how they can get involved in agvocacy while still in school. She encouraged students to construct an ‘elevator speech’ – the 2 minute speech you can give people to convey where you’re from, what you do and why you’re proud to provide safe and healthy food to a hungry world. She advised, when angered by the actions of an activist group, to “use your head and heart to fight back, not your hands,” and to never be caught in a negative light. “You should strive to make your industry and family proud and never let anyone else tell your story.” Well put, Amanda.

As the online editor of BEEF Magazine, author of the BEEF Daily blog and a passionate agvocate who has had her own radio program on Trent Loos’ “Faces of Ag,” one thing’s for certain: Amanda has made her husband, Tyler, and the Nolz family of South Dakota undoubtedly proud. Many thanks go out to Amanda for traveling to K-State to inspire the next generation of agvocates to fight for our industry.

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Until next time,