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BEEF Daily Summer Photography Contest Winners!

It's the day you have all been waiting for. The judges have weighed in, and the winners have been selected for the first BEEF Daily Summer Contest. Winners will receive a signed, limited-edition western art print, and these prints are absolutely beautiful. There were many fantastic entries submitted by BEEF readers across the nation, and I enjoyed getting to meet the participants through their photos and bios. Next week, I will kick off another BEEF Daily Summer Contest, with great prize offerings for the winners. Don't miss out on these exciting contests to celebrate summer! Now, onto the winners...

Reserve Champion Photograph: Rachel Spencer of Limon, Colo.

rachel-spencer.JPG About this prize-winning entry, Rachel writes, This is a photo of my seven-year old son, Caden, and his show pig, Jenny. When she was still small, Jenny was the cheese to Caden's macaroni, and now that she's growing into a showpig, they are learning to work together. He's still too young to show Jenny in 4-H, but she will be weighed in at the Lincoln County (Colorado) Fair by another family member. Caden hopes to show her in the open class. He plans to farrow a litter out of Jenny to select a pig to show his first year in "real" 4-H. He's hoping his sales will garner him enough to pay the feed bill to the farm, allow him a trip to the carnival and maybe enough to purchase a Pokemon game.

rachel-spencer-bio.jpgAlong with taking great photos, Rachel Spencer is a teacher, farmer, 4-H livestock coach and ag blogger. She is actively involved in Lincoln County Farm Bureau. Rachel graduated from Fort Hays State University with a degree in Animal Science, and she is currently working to complete the Master Beef Advocacy (MBA) program training through the National Cattlemens Beef Association. Congratulations, Rachel. It was a pleasure getting to know you through this contest, and I hope you will be able to find a nice place to hang your new western art print at the ranch in Colorado!

Grand Champion Photograph: Erin Holker of Lazy H Ranch, Ramsey, Minn.

erin-holker.JPG This incredible bull photo takes the top honors in this photography contest. Of this shot, Erin writes, "This is one of my favorite farm photos, taken last spring after a storm went through. It got foggy, and the sun was setting. This is our old bull, Norman, enjoying the last rays of sunshine!"

erin-holker-bio.JPGOf the champion photographer, Erin Holker is an assistant horse trainer and ranch manager, along with her husband on a miniature Hereford ranch. Erin has a passion for photography, and it shows in this photograph of Norman, who won the hearts of the judges! Born and raised in rural western Minnesota on a grain and hog farm, Erin has since moved to just north of the Twin Cities. Congratulations, Erin! I hope you enjoy your western art print as much as I enjoyed hosting this contest!

Of course, there were many amazing photos to consider in this contest. Thanks again to all participants and congratulations on your outstanding entries. Honorable mentions go to:

McPhee Red Angus of Lodi, Calif.

Bar JZ Ranches of Holabird, S.D.

Mann Farms of Yuma County, Colo.

Quick BEEF Daily Fact: Beef cattle production represents the largest single segment of American agriculture. In fact, the U.S. beef industry is made up of more than 1 million businesses, farms and ranches. There are more than 800,000 ranchers and cattle producers in the United States. In 2005, producers of meat animals were responsible for more than $64 billion in added value to the U.S. economy. (Source: Beef from Pasture to Plate)