All beefed up: W-M junior selected to Mo Beef Leadership Academy

Theo Tate

Wellsville-Middletown High junior Abbigail Kleinsorge was one of 10 4-H and Future Farmers of America members to join the first Mo Beef Leadership Academy. THEO TATE PHOTO

After being selected to be part of the first-ever Mo Beef Leadership Academy during the spring, Abbigail Kleinsorge was ecstatic to make nine new friends.

The Wellsville-Middletown High junior is part of a 10-member group that will participate in leadership and educational opportunities throughout the year and spread the message about the beef industry.

Kleinsorge is the only Montgomery County resident in the group. The other members are Schyler Angell of Centralia, Kraysen Leonard of El Dorado Springs, Carlee Long of Paris, Kaleigh Moore of Fulton, Owen Oesch of Mooresville, Lexi Plackemeier of Silex, Lydia Reed of Union, Shaye Siegel of California and Kyler Stricklan of Salem.

“It’s good to make those connections across Missouri,” said Kleinsorge, who lives in Middletown. “They’re not people from my local area. They’re not from a town right over. But they’re people from all over and getting to talk to them and making friends is super exciting.”

The group was formed by the Mo Beef Mo Kids Mo Fit (MoBKF) team and the Missouri Beef Industry Council. Kleinsorge was selected in May after sending in an application, resume and cover letter the month before.

“We’re happy to have Abbigail as part of our first Mo Beef Leadership Academy,” MoBKF program director Luella Gregory said. “Our team wanted to identify a way to involve youth and expand our touchpoints in the lunchroom, classroom and community. We are excited that these young leaders will play a role in sharing the important message of beef and Missouri agriculture in their local communities and beyond.”

Kleinsorge was picked as an academy member for her experience in beef production and agricultural education. She’s the president of the W-M FFA chapter and a member of the Meddlers 4-H Club. She has owned a small cow-calf herd since December.

“It was definitely really exciting to be selected,” said Kleinsorge, who helped the W-M FFA group place fifth in state competition over the summer. “Being a farmer and owning my own small cow calf herd meant a lot. Now that we’ve been through our training, it meant a lot that I can advocate for beef on a higher level.”

Students in the academy will be ambassadors for the MoBKF program in their area, attending meetings or kickoff events on behalf of the program and aiding in the implementation of the program in at least one school.

Kleinsorge said she found out about the academy after receiving a flyer from her aunt.

“I thought it would be an exciting opportunity to get out there and try something new and maybe meet some new people,” the junior said. “I decided to fill out the application and I did and I got it. It was super exciting.”

The academy members first met during a one-day training in Columbia on July 31. It focused on the MoBKF program and consumer advocacy.

“We all met and got together and had our first training day together,” Kleinsorge said. “It was super exciting. We got to learn a lot of different things. We learned about what more of our jobs are as of academy members. One of our jobs is implement the Mo Beef program in a school that doesn’t have it. Wellsville-Middletown has had it for a few years now. So I’ll find another school to outreach to. Another thing was how we can implement more beef into our community.”

Kleinsorge and her group will head to St. Louis on Sept. 12 to attend a one-day fall consumer-focused beef tour.

“We’ll get to explain what we have implemented into our communities,” Kleinsorge said. “The community is one of the things they want us to outreach to. So I was looking for different ways to implement it in the schools. Hopefully, I’ll get some ideas and get some new things implemented in Wellsville to get the beef word out there.”


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