Beef enthusiasts ages 14 to 20 are invited to attend the North Dakota Stockmen’s Association’s (NDSA) Tomorrow’s Top Hands Beef Leadership Summit Oct. 20-22 — Teacher’s Convention break — at the DoubleTree by Hilton in West Fargo, N.D. The Summit is a high-energy leadership development and career exploration event for students interested in agriculture, leadership and making connections to propel them on their educational and career journeys.
“The NDSA recognizes the importance of educational youth activities and is excited to offer the Summit for a fifth time to students with an interest in the beef industry,” explained NDSA Special Projects Intern Jade Koski. “With an impressive array of speakers, career specialists and industry-related tours, there will be something of interest to every participant.”
Thursday, Oct. 20
National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) President Don Schiefelbein will kick off the event on Oct. 20 by sharing highlights from and answering questions about the organization’s Policy and Federation Divisions. Schiefelbein, alongside his family, owns and operates Schiefelbein Farms, a diversified farming operation in Kimball, Minn.
After a brief break, Chelsey Erdmann will empower participants to do exactly what fulfills them and encourage them to advocate for the agriculture industry in their everyday life. Erdmann is a sixth-generation farmer and rancher who is raising crops, cows and three kids as part of her family’s multi-generational operation near New Rockford, N.D. She will share her story as a woman working in modern-day agriculture and how special the agriculture industry really is.
Next, NDSA student member and past Tomorrow’s Top Hands participant Stetson Urlacher of Regent, N.D., will moderate an entrepreneur panel featuring Shaye Koester of Steele, N.D., Addison Magill of Forbes, N.D., and Jenny Sheets of Fargo, N.D. The trio will offer insight into their entrepreneurship journeys and give advice to students to guide their own goals and operations.
Koester grew up on a ranch near Steele, where her family raises commercial and registered Red Angus cattle, hosting an annual bull sale in March held in conjunction with Leland Red Angus near Sidney, Mont. Koester is a recent graduate of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Since 2019, Koester has hosted her own podcast, “Casual Cattle Conversations,” which utilizes rancher-to-rancher education to share experiences, stories and information about ranchers and other individuals in the beef industry.
Magill is a South Dakota State University graduate, where she obtained bachelors’ degrees in agricultural communications and animal science. After working in various marketing roles, she started her own marketing and design business, Addison K. Creative Company, and offers print, photography, videography, logo and social media services.
Sheets will be representing Emerging Prairie, which serves community members interested in being a part of the entrepreneurial community focused on start-ups, technology and innovation. Emerging Prairie is located in Fargo, N.D., and provides a platform to share knowledge, success, experiences and a network of passionate individuals shaping the region’s future.
The day will conclude with interactive leadership games and agricultural breakout boxes brought to participants by North Dakota Farm Bureau Food, Land and People Coordinator Jill Vigesaa and staff.
Friday, Oct. 21
On Oct. 21, Kathryn Vigness of East Grand Forks, Minn., will begin the day delivering her keynote address, “Leveraging Your Leadership.” Vigness is a speaker, author and life coach who is living proof that life gives us what we always need, not always what we’ve envisioned. She offers a unique experience of uncovering truths and blessings along the journey of life.
Then, Mott, N.D., native and 2022 Miss Agriculture USA Maci Wehri will share her story and platform, which is based on farm safety and its importance, following the tragic loss of her brother in a farm-related accident.
After Wehri’s address, North Dakota State University (NDSU) Farm and Ranch Safety Coordinator Angie Johnson will provide a hands-on activity for attendees on farm and ranch safety.
Next, the group will embark on an afternoon full of industry-related tours to learn about various beef-related careers. First, participants will visit 701x, a livestock management software company. Next, the group will tour RDO Equipment Company, an agricultural equipment company, and the NDSU campus, with stops at the Animal Nutrition and Physiology Center and NDSU Meat Lab. NDSU Professor Dr. Eric Berg will address the group and share details of the Peltier Complex, the new agricultural products development center under construction on NDSU’s campus. The day will end with supper provided by Carnivore Catering and a fun night at Skyzone in Fargo.
Saturday, Oct. 22
On Oct. 22, Nicole Wardner, consumer marketing and industry relations specialist for the North Dakota Beef Commission (NDBC), will begin the final session. The NDBC oversees producers’ checkoff investment works to strengthen beef demand. Wardner will explain way how the checkoff works and offer a hands-on activity.
Next, incoming NDSA President Jason Leiseth of Arnegard, N.D., will introduce himself and discuss ways youth can get involved within the 93-year-old industry organization.
Lastly, Braxten Nielsen will give his keynote address, “Born to Succeed,” a message of setting goals, being resilient and keeping a positive attitude while overcoming setbacks and challenges. The successful bareback rider will tell his story about recovering from a traumatic rodeo accident in 2017.
Registrations are now being accepted. Downloadable forms are available at www.ndstockmen.org or by calling (701) 223-2522. The cost to attend is $150 for NDSA student members and $170 for non-members. The registration fee includes lodging, meals, programming and transportation during the duration of the conference.
The registration deadline is Sept. 30. On-site registrations will not be accepted.