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Cultivating the Future: Ellie Staggs

Cultivating the future

From to interning for the Indiana Beef Cattle Association 

Growing up showing livestock, Ellie Staggs always loved beef cattle, but her summer internship with the Indiana Beef Cattle Association (IBCA) is allowing her to show the rest of Indiana why they should, too. As a communications intern, Staggs, a junior studying animal sciences, has found ways to get creative in her storytelling that led her to her final promotional project: the Indiana State Fair. 

Starting her summer internship, Staggs said she was tasked with writing five farm spotlights for the IBCA’s bi-monthly magazine, visiting member farmers’ operations to ask interview questions, getting to know the farmers, and taking their responses back to her office to write stories for future publications. But Staggs said she wanted to take her story telling a step further. 

“We decided to create videos to accompany our written stories, so we bought little lapel microphones online, uploaded all the clips into iMovie and created videos to post on the IBCA’s YouTube channel,” she said. “It was fun for me and my fellow intern because no one had ever done that for the organization before.” 

Building on her video skills, Staggs said tackling the IBCA’s social media pages became another task and included creating a TikTok account to engage with a new generation of followers. Staggs co-hosted a weekly segment called “Beef Bits,” offering viewers fun facts about cattle biology and information about the beef industry. One of their most viewed videos highlighted various products that utilize unexpected parts of a cow, including make-up, leather and pharmaceuticals. 

“Being an agribusiness major in Animal Sciences, I didn’t have a lot of experience in communications, so this has been a different side of things for me,” Staggs said. “I grew up showing beef cattle and pigs, and I loved it. This has taken that love for livestock a step further for me.” 

After hearing great things about the IBCA from previous interns, applying for the summer internship was an easy decision for Staggs to make. Staggs recalled advice both of the fellow interns gave her. 

“Both of them said to me separately, without the other knowing, that this internship would be what I made out of it,” she said. “It was kind of like a ‘the world is your oyster’ moment, and I ran with that. It really pushed me out of my comfort zone with being more creative in my work.” 

Staggs will work the IBCA’s booth at the Indiana State Fair this season to close out her internship. With a gameshow-style wheel filled with different questions related to the beef industry, fairgoers will have the chance to guess the correct answer for a small prize. 

Assisting Staggs as a visual comparison at the fair will be “Chuck,” a nearly life-sized, but not lively, beef cow figurine covered in diagrams drawn on the body to illustrate the locations of beef cuts. 

I’m excited to take what I have learned this summer from visiting different producers around the state and bring it all back home to the Indiana State Fair to share with residents."

- Ellie Staggs

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