Transparency Not a One-Way Street - Ranchers Learn from Guests as Much as They Teach ThemTue, 22 Nov 2016 12:39:31 CST
When a producer truly loves, and enjoys the work they do, that love carries over to the people, the land and the environment they interact with every day. The Nelson family, owners and operators of Five Star Land & Livestock in Wilton, California, is a prime example of this type of producer. Highly regarded for their hospitality, the Nelsons frequently welcome guests to the ranch, fostering education and understanding of their role in agriculture. Their proactive approach to running their operation with transparency led them to receive the 2016 Ambassador Award at the C-A-B Annual Conference in September.
“Well we have hosted a wide variety of groups from state legislatures to Rotary. We’ve had several international groups,” said Abbie Nelson, matriarch of the Nelson family. “We’ve had Polish, Chinese, Japanese…”
That list goes on for Abbie Nelson and her husband Mark. Work on their registered Angus herd rarely comes to a halt, so they invite those less familiar with cattle ranching to stop by while the work goes on, and to learn a bit.
“Once we get them here, they are like ‘I didn’t know that, I didn’t understand this,’” Nelson imitates, “and they can completely do a 180 from what they thought.”
The Nelsons’ youngest son, Ryan, who runs a commercial herd nearby, says the education is back and forth. A producer can learn just as much as they teach.
“We’ve always had an open gate policy here at the ranch and my mom has always been the first one to invite people out here,” Ryan points out. “She has been a tremendous ambassador for not only Certified Angus Beef but the whole industry. And that was pretty cool to grow up around from being a kid meeting not always somebody in a cowboy hat. You get to see somebody in tennis shoes trying to learn about beef.”
Journalists, lobbyists, eighth graders and even politicians take the dusty drive to Nelson’s Five Star Land & Livestock, each learning about the beef industry and a family that embodies it.
“Well we have a big job to do to gain the trust of the end consumer,” Nelson asserts. “We’ve got to make sure they know we have a safe product…. I know it’s a high-end product and I know it’s consumer-accepted but they’ve also got to know it’s safe for their family.”
Transparency is all it takes, and Nelson says the reward is far greater than the effort.
“I don’t remember ever having any other business except school functions and school events because we just did cattle,” Nelson reflects. “We showed cattle, we sold cattle, we raised them, we bred them, we put up hay and it’s just in your blood and you either love it or resent it and I happen to love it.”
That love carries over to people, the land and the environment. Five Star Land & Livestock received the 2016 Ambassador Award at the C-A-B Annual Conference in September.
To watch a video featuring Abbie Nelson and son, Ryan, Five Star Land & Livestock, Wilton, Calif., share their perspective on being transparent while learning from the consumer as well, click the PLAY BOX below.
Source - Certified Angus Beef
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