BY CARI RINCKER
Dear YPC Cattlewomen –
The American National Cattlewomen, Inc. (“ANCW”) is currently taking applications for the National Beef Speakers Bureau (“NBSB”) through December 15, 2011. You can find the application here. Last year was the first year for the program. With the help of cattlewomen from coast to coast, volunteers were able to reach both urban and rural consumers educating them about the U.S. beef cattle industry.
I have been on the NBSB for the last year and have enjoyed reaching out to consumers in metropolitan New York City. I’m a big proponent of “agvocacy” via social media, local news outlets, and face-to-face conversations with the people around you — whether you are at the grocery store, in an elevator, on an airplane, or speaking to groups in your community. It’s paramount for the agriculture industry to “put a face on the plate” and help bridge the gap of understanding between consumers and the folks who are involved in food production. When I have conversations with New Yorkers about the livestock industry, I am repeatedly told that they want to hear the stories about the farmer pulling a calf out of a blizzard in the middle of the night or how the livestock producer gets up early, even on Christmas morning, to feed their animals. Consumers yearn for both “hard cold facts” about why beef is safe to eat and feed to our families and “soft warm facts” about how farmers love and care for the animals they raise.
If you are considering applying for the NBSB, I also recommend completing the Master’s of Beef Advocacy (“MBA”) program through the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (“NCBA”) (it makes a great New Year’s Resolution!) and the Beef Quality Assurance (“BQA”) Program through your NCBA State Affiliate. I completed both the MBA and BQA programs and believe that it is well worth it.
Overall, I had a great experience on NBSB — met some lifelong friends, gained invaluable knowledge, and (hopefully) made a difference in how the public views the beef industry. If you are interested in applying, I recommend it. ANCW does a good job running the program and travel expenses are paid through grant monies. It’s a busy holiday season so get that application in before it’s too late!
Contact the NBSB Program Manager at 303-850-3440 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.