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Ellsworth teen represents Rock County cattlemen

ELLSWORTH -- Hannah Kruse has been an ambassador of the beef industry for most of her life, and now she's earned the actual title and leather sash to further her cause.

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Hannah Kruse stands with one of her purebred registered Hereford cows on her family's farm near Ellsworth. (Julie Buntjer / Daily Globe)

ELLSWORTH - Hannah Kruse has been an ambassador of the beef industry for most of her life, and now she’s earned the actual title and leather sash to further her cause.

Kruse, a sophomore at Adrian High School, has grown up in her family’s cow-calf operation northwest of Ellsworth, raising purebred registered Hereford cattle and showing them in both Rock County 4-H and the Minnesota Junior Hereford Association, as well as regional and statewide beef shows.

As a newly crowned co-ambassador for the Rock-Nobles Cattlemen’s Association, Kruse said she’s looking forward to promoting the beef industry and speaking up for the work of area beef producers.

The daughter of Kory and Michele Kruse, and older sister to twins Karly and Leah, age 12, Kruse has taken on an active role in the family’s beef business. Eyeing a possible career in veterinary medicine, she helps her dad choose breeding bulls through the American Hereford Association database, assists with artificial insemination of their heifers and has also dabbled in some embryo transplant work to further advance certain genetic traits in their herd.

The family has approximately 25 cows - calving began last month and will continue until about mid-March - and raises calves primarily for breeding stock, though Kruse and her sisters show several of them as well. Depending on the market, they’ll either finish out the steers or sell them as calves.

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While she enjoys working in cattle genetics, Kruse’s daily tasks on the farm include feeding her show heifers and steers, bedding down the animals and helping wherever she’s needed.

Her favorite chore is showing their beef animals. Exhibiting them at the county fair since the third grade, Kruse also exhibits her show stock at the Minnesota Regional Hereford Show in Pipestone, the Minnesota Junior Livestock Show in Preston, the Minnesota Beef Expo in Falcon Heights and the Minnesota Junior Spring Classic in Austin.

“Since I raised them and then go show them and see what I ended up with, showing is my favorite,” Kruse said. The judges’ comments also give her and her family ideas on how they can improve their breeding stock.

“I know all of the cows out there and I could name all of them,” Kruse said. She can also cite the lineage of the cows and calves, noted her mother.

Kruse is looking forward to serving as beef ambassador.

“I’m very active as a beef producer and I do a lot of things on the farm and I think I promote it really well,” she said. “I’d like to make known what we are doing at the farm level and what we are doing for consumers.”

Through 4-H, Kruse has helped to educate consumers about the beef industry. Her project at the Rock County Fair last year focused on antibiotics in the beef industry. It was a message she took to the Minnesota State Fair in the form of a presentation.

“We, as farmers, give shots to not go directly into the meat - it’s not harming the meat,” she said. “The consumer is being told the incorrect way we’re doing it.”

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Kruse also said because grocery stores and restaurants often promote Angus beef, consumers think Angus is the only type of beef they should eat. Hereford beef is equally as good.

“It’s how they feed the animal, it’s not the breed that makes a difference (in taste),” Kruse said.

What is her favorite cut of beef?

“New York Strip steak,” she said with a grin. The cut is from the beef loin, and is a special treat she likes to order in a restaurant. “If it’s cooked good, you don’t need any sauce.”

Kruse’s activities away from the farm include participation in Knowledge Bowl, volleyball, speech, 4-H, FFA, National Honor Society and band, jazz band, marching band and honor band. She currently serves as president of the Livewires 4-H Club and is treasurer of the Rock County 4-H Federation. She serves on the general livestock judging teams in both 4-H and FFA and is also on the FFA’s dairy judging team.

Related Topics: AGRICULTURE
Julie Buntjer became editor of The Globe in July 2021, after working as a beat reporter at the Worthington newspaper since December 2003. She has a bachelor's degree in agriculture journalism from South Dakota State University.
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