Hydesville's Jillian Casacca selected as Beef Ambassador

Humboldt County has selected a 19-year-old Hydesville resident as its "Beef Ambassador." Jillian Casacca will strive to educate consumers and students about beef nutrition, food safety, and stewardship practices of the beef community. She will also compete at the State Beef Ambassador contest next month in Milpitas.

The other contestants in the program were Chelsea Alto of Loleta and Maria Brightman of Blocksburg. Local program coordinator Sarah Mora said all three contestants are excellent spokeswomen for the beef industry.

"I congratulate Jillian on winning the contest, and look forward to her success at the state contest," Mora said. "Humboldt County Cattlewomen are very proud of all three of these young ladies."

Casacca owns a small herd of registered and commercial Black Angus cattle, which she plans on expanding in the future. She said she is currently combining her love of learning and agriculture while attending California State University Chico. She is majoring in Agriculture Business and minoring in Animal Science. She is also a member of the Young Cattlemen's Conference. She hopes to complete her degree by the fall of 2016 and upon graduating, hopes to return to Humboldt County and begin working in the agriculture business loan and appraisal sector.

The Beef Ambassador program includes three components: the media interview, a mock consumer promotion, and an issue response exercise, where contestants read a recently published article about the beef industry and compose a response to it.

For more than 10 years, Chelsea Alto of Loleta has raised registered Hereford cattle with her family of Alto Herefords in Arcata. She has been in FFA from 2008-2012. Her efforts have been recognized with a regional award of the Diversified Livestock Proficiency and Star Farmer. Alto hopes to buy her cattle from her grandparents in the future and better the genetics of her herd. "I hope to one day be as well known in the Hereford and beef industry as my family," Alto said.

Maria Brightman was born in Columbia but has grown up on the Brightman Ranch and is currently raising a steer for the Redwood Acres Fair, through the Fortuna FFA chapter. She has helped gather, feed, rope, vaccinate, and ship cattle on the Brightman ranch She hopes to major in environmental studies and sustainability in college and eventually become an environmental lawyer.

Photo by Mary Bullwinkel/Beacon

Jillian Casacca, far left, of Hydesville was selected as the winner of the Humboldt County Beef Ambassador contest. She and Chelsea Alto, second from left, of Loleta and Maria Brightman, second from right, of Blocksburg were contestants in the 2014 program. Also pictured, far right, is Sarah Mora, Beef Ambassador program coordinator.