Remember when you asked your parents why you had to go to bed so early? Or why you had to eat your vegetables? Or why you couldn’t have a drumset? Didn’t you hate that answer ‘because I said so’? That answer happened a lot at my house around animals too – why do I have to fasten the front cinch first? Why do the dogs have to stay outside at night? Why can’t I ride my pig around the barn with my pony saddle? To these questions (and countless more) my father’s reply was always “Because I said so.”
Today, farmers are still being questioned – why should I eat meat and eggs? Why are sows housed in gestation crates? Why are cattle fed grain instead of raised on grass full time? The correct answer to these questions is not “Because I, the producer, say so.” With consumer awareness on the rise, producers now must have qualitative answers for these difficult questions. It’s not enough to say “meat is good for you”, you must tell the consumer WHY it is good to eat beef, pork, chicken etc. Producers need to know how to effectively communicate to consumers the advantages of a protein rich diet and also why certain production practices are in place. That’s where the Master’s of Beef Advocacy comes in.
The Master’s of Beef Advocacy (MBA) program was set up by the Beef Checkoff to educate producers and advocates on how to spread what I like to call the “good word of beef” to consumers. With the large gap between consumers and producers, it’s vital that producers be able to stand up for their yields and their way of life. The MBA is two parts: first, participants complete 6 online modules at their own pace (each one takes about 30 minutes). There is a short quiz at the end of each module and also a homework assignment. The second part, a commencement, takes place in the form of an all day advocacy training event. Participants who have completed the online portion of the MBA gather with Daren Williams, NCBA Executive Director of Communications and MBA Dean of Students, who leads them through workshops, interactive activities and social media training. The skills learned in the commencement workshop are great for not only beef advocacy but agriculture advocacy in general. I plan to participate in the next MBA commencement which is taking place TOMORROW April 8th right here in Manhattan on KSU campus. The next class of MBA’ers is sure to make the beef industry proud. Look for my post later on how the commencement went.
Until next time,