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Agricultural News

NCBA's Masters of Beef Advocacy Program Proving its Value to Beef Industry

Tue, 05 Nov 2013 16:18:08 CST

NCBA's Masters of Beef Advocacy Program Proving its Value to Beef Industry

Daren Williams of the National Cattlemen's Beef Association spent last week at the National FFA Convention in Louisville, Kentucky, signing up FFA members for the Masters in Beef Advocacy program. Radio Oklahoma Network Farm Director Ron Hays caught up with Williams and talked with him about the success of the MBA program, how he believes the beef industry has handled the Zilmax situation and how beef sustainability is in the eye of the beholder.

Williams said he had a lot of success signing up FFA members at the convention and that Oklahoma played a key role in getting him to attend this year's convention.

"Oklahoma has been a leader in getting the FFA involved in the Masters of Beef Advocacy program. They started a pilot program two years ago to get FFA chapters in Oklahoma to go through the program. That's actually what prompted us to be here this week. We see a lot of opportunity here to get FFA chapters involved. There have been a lot of advisors here who have been interested in having their classes go through the program."

Already, Williams said, the MBA program has more than 4,500 graduates. One of the things graduates are asked to do is to participate in periodic calls to action addressing issues of importance to the beef industry.

"Any time we have an issue, a big issue in the news, or with consumers' questions about beef, we send out an action alert to our graduates. That's the reason we started this program in the first place. With the click of a button we can send a quick email and activate that nationwide network of advocates to do blog posts, tweets, Facebook posts."

He said one of the issues they've been tackling of late is the issue of beta agonists being used to promote cattle growth.

"We've used our advocates to talk about that, about how that product is used, why they're used and the importance of them-to produce more beef with less inputs-and how we as an industry are proactively addressing that issue to make sure we're not creating an animal welfare concern."

Zilmax is still off the market and Williams said he has been very pleased with the way the product's maker has handled its review of the product to make certain it is used safely and responsibly.

Williams said the sustainability of beef production and animal care are issues that are of concern to consumers and the MBA program has been helpful in moving information from researchers to consumers to address their desire for greater knowledge.

"Most importantly, the word 'responsible' comes up with consumers. They just want to make sure we're doing a responsible job of raising beef so they can feel good supporting us."

Click on the LISTEN BAR below for Ron Hays's full interview with Daren Williams.

The Beef Buzz is a regular feature heard on radio stations around the region on the Radio Oklahoma Network- but is also a regular audio feature found on this website as well. Click on the LISTEN BAR below for today's show- and check out our archives for older Beef Buzz shows covering the gamut of the beef cattle industry today.


Ron Hays talks with Daren Williams about the growing MBA program.
right-click to download mp3


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