North Dakota Stockmen's Association Executive Vice President Julie Ellingson was recently named agriculturalist of the year at the North Dakota State University’s 95th Little International.
“Rarely am I at a loss for words, but I still continue to be as I think about it. To me it is an incredible humbling honor,” Ellingson said.
Ellingson grew up on a registered Angus cattle ranch in St. Anthony, N.D., Schaff Angus Valley. It is here where her deep appreciation and passion for agriculture was planted.
“The ranch is really where I got my first taste of agriculture, and my experiences on the ranch fostered my appreciation for ag,” Ellingson said.
Growing up, Ellingson was part of both 4-H and FFA. As she approached her college years, she knew she wanted to do something in the field of agriculture.
“I love cattle, I love cattle people and people in the ag industry. As well as writing and speaking, so I thought it was a good fit for all my interests,” Ellingson said.
Ellingson received her degree in mass communication and general agriculture. She attended both Bismarck State and North Dakota State University. She then worked for a county newspaper for a short amount of time until she joined the North Dakota Stockmen's Association, where she has worked for over two decades.
Outside of her role at North Dakota Stockmen’s Association, Ellingson and her husband raise registered Angus cattle at Ellingson Angus.
“My husband and I merged our herds when we were married in 1995. Since then, we have grown our own cattle operation and we now raise registered Angus cattle on the site where I grew up,” Ellingson said.
“Julie Ellingson is a superb choice for the year’s Agriculturist of the Year,” said Kadey Holm, Little I manager and an NDSU senior in animal sciences from Ashley, N.D. “Her core values of dedication, hard work ethic, passion for agriculture, and strong faith base is exactly what we look for."
Though Ellingson was a member of the Saddle and Sirloin club during her time at NDSU, she was never able to attend Little International, though she had a good reason.
“Interestingly enough, I never competed in the Little International showmanship contest. That was the same weekend as my family’s production sale. So with those dates overlapping for all those years, I was not able to compete in the Little I. I did serve on some of the planning committees for the event. This past weekend was actually the first time I was able to attend the show, and they did a fantastic job. They really put on a showcased production,” Ellingson said.
As for receiving the honor, it was somewhat of a full circle moment for Ellingson.
“As a little girl I remember walking into Shepherd Arena where they have the portraits of the agriculturalists of the year recipients hung up and being inspired by these people and curious about their stories. I hope I can live up to what it means to be an agriculturalist of the year for those young people,” Ellingson said.