By: Kaleigh Moore, 2020-2021 MO Beef Leadership Academy Member
My name is Kaleigh Moore and I am one of the Mo Beef Kids Ambassadors for Missouri. I am a Senior at North Callaway High School which is located in Kingdom City, MO. So far I have learned so much from this amazing opportunity. But before we talk too much about this experience and how it is going I want to start by why I wanted to be a part of this program in the first place. If I’m being truthful with you, I honestly was told about this opportunity by my best friend Schyler Angell. We both thought that since we lived in 2 different counties that we both had a chance for being chosen. Luckily we were both chosen and that led to where we are today.
I love everything about cattle. I have been around cows and lived on a farm ever since I was born. I started showing cattle when I was 8 years old and continued until I was around 15. I started focusing more on my running career, but I still help out wherever I am needed and help assist Starkey Farms during the summers. Although I am not showing as much anymore, I am still involved in the beef community. I joined the Team Beef running club which markets beef by wearing bright red tank tops during races. There are so many ways all of us can put beef in our lifestyle. I am very big on nutrition and exercise. Beef is a key part of my diet and I try to include it somehow in every day. As a runner, I found out during my sophomore year of high school that I was iron deficient. I barely got through districts and thankfully our state competition was pushed back a week so I had more time to get my iron levels to a stable level. Luckily red meat is loaded with lots of iron, protein and many more nutrients. By the time state arrived my iron levels were almost back to their original levels and I finished 6th, receiving All-State honors in the 2 mile event. Beef saved the day once again. I think that this little life lesson has personally taught me how much importance beef has on your body.
Most everyone here knows or has heard about the Mo Beef Kids school lunch program. I think that putting more beef into the school lunches has helped in so many ways. It has given families the opportunity to donate their own beef to benefit school lunches. It has helped make school lunches more filling and added more protein into students’ diets. From being a high-schooler myself, I haven’t heard as many kids talk about being hungry at school, because the meal was more satisfying.
I believe this program has helped high school youth including myself, learn more about the importance of beef and everything it provides. This experience has helped me get out of my comfort zone and has made me have to put myself out there. Especially in moments like this! I really love this program as a whole but what really stands out to me is the opportunity to educate students in my school district as well as others about the importance of cattle and the beef industry. When I went and spoke to one of my elementary schools, I honestly thought it was a great experience. I had a fun time talking to all the kids and answering their many, many questions. I had a variety of answers from the questions that I asked. I assumed that since we live in such a rural area, most kids live on a farm. I was surprisingly wrong. Some kids were very knowledgeable while others had a very limited understanding. For some of the classes I was their very first speaker to come in and present in front of the class due to Covid-19. Although I had some crazy answers about where hamburger comes from, I am now sure that the kindergarten through 5th graders know that it comes from a beef animal rather than just a fast food restaurant. I recently have had some parents come up to me or even text my mom about the impact I had on their kids by presenting that day. They learned a lot from the presentation and enjoyed the handouts as well. The kids had new information to share with their parents. Overall I am so glad that I had the opportunity to have that experience. It is definitely one that will have a lasting impact on me as well as the kids.
While my beef ambassador position will be coming to an end in a few months, I highly recommend this opportunity to anyone! Although I will not officially be a beef ambassador any longer, I am still hoping to continue my role in the beef industry by promoting beefs benefits to your body and the nutrients it brings when consumed. I plan to continue my active lifestyle and hope to set an example to others that beef should be a part of their daily meals.