Beef Advocacy Program Recruits FFA Members to Engage with ConsumersMon, 03 Nov 2014 14:45:18 CST
Consumers have a lot of questions about where their food comes from, meat in particular and beef especially. One program is targeting FFA members to take a larger role in agricultural advocacy. At this year's National FFA Convention and Expo in Louisville, Kentucky, National Cattlemen's Beef Association spokesperson Daren Williams was recruiting FFA members to go through the Masters of Beef Advocacy (MBA) program.
NCBA is ready to launch MBA 2.0, the next generation of the beef industry spokesperson program. This includes a whole series of five new courses on the sustainabilty of beef production, how beef is raised from pasture to plate, and how to talk to consumers about those issues. As the manager of the beef checkoff funded MBA program, Williams said when FFA members are out in public like at livestock shows they need to be ready to answer questions from consumers about the resources needed to produce beef and the concerns about the treatment of animals.
"The MBA program, Masters of Beef Advocacy (MBA) program, will help them, prepare them to answer those questions with facts and figures but also talks about the need to just listen and listen to their concerns and acknowledge concerns and do the best job they can to answer their question," Williams said.
The effort to engage FFA youth started a few years ago with a pilot program in Oklahoma in working with the Oklahoma Beef Council. Williams said the program went overall well with FFA members as well as their advisors.
"The FFA advisors loved the program because it gives them five teaching modules that they can use in the classroom," Williams said. "Each one of the modules is designed to last about the time of about one class period."
Williams talked with Farm Director Ron Hays at the National FFA Convention. You can hear that conversation by clicking on the LISTEN BAR below
Looking ahead to 2015 one of the big goals of the MBA program is making sure the 55 hundred plus graduates are getting out and engaging in their community, getting engaged in social media to answer consumer questions. Williams said getting individuals to go through the program is great, but they want to make sure graduates are taking that information and putting it to good use.
While some folks want to subdivide agriculture in pinning different sizes of operations against one another or organic versus conventional, Williams said it's important to bring agriculture together.
"It doesn't do us any good in this conversation with consumers for us to be fighting with each other - farmers fighting with other farmers about what is the right and wrong way to produce food," Williams said. "What we try to preach, what I preach personally is that there is not a right and wrong way, it really depends on the resources you have and what part of the country you are in and the land that was passed down to you from the previous generation and your ability to make the best use of those resources."
All FFA members are able to go through the MBA program at no charge. Also, the more than 55 hundred MBA graduates across the country will be able to update their information by going through MBA 2.0. For more information about the Masters of Beef Advocacy (MBA) program, click here.
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.
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