Chair Joan Ruskamp Excited to Unveil Beef Board's Latest Endeavors in Producer CommunicationsTue, 29 Jan 2019 11:07:23 CST
Joan Ruskamp is a cattle rancher from southern Nebraska and currently serves as Chairwoman of the Cattlemen’s Beef Board. She arrived this week in New Orleans for the 2019 Cattle Industry Convention and NCBA Trade Show, where this year she will rotate out of that leadership role and into an advisory capacity as the board’s Immediate Past Chair. Before she does that, though, there are still several CBB meetings she will facilitate this week. She took a moment to briefly speak with Radio Oklahoma Ag Network Farm Director Ron Hays upon her arrival to talk about all the CBB will be doing this week at the convention and why that work is so significant for the beef industry. You can listen to their complete conversation by clicking or tapping the LISTEN BAR below at the bottom of the page.
“First of all, we’ll gather to work with our contractors and hear what’s happening,” she explained. “Contractors were awarded funds last September for new project requests and now we’re going to hear the ‘Ah-has’ and the ‘woo-hoos.’”
Among the other meetings that will take place, Ruskamp reiterated that before the convention adjourns, the CBB will come together to elect their next slate of officers for 2019. Transitioning to Immediate Past Chair will allow Ruskamp the chance to serve on the board for another year, which she confides is an exciting opportunity for her to continue her involvement and passion from within the organization.
“I love that because I really feel like I’m in-step now as chair,” she said. “You know, after that first year as chair, you really have that under your belt to move forward. So, that advisory role for the officer team - it’s been invaluable to me - having Brett Morris as our past chairman. The expertise doesn’t just leave. We keep building it and sharing it.”
What’s been most exciting for Ruskamp though in terms of the CBB’s activities, has been all the change that has taken place over the past year or so. Not only in personnel, but the innovative work that contractors have brought to life. For her, the effort and resources that have been invested in producer communications recently has been truly significant for the industry.
“We as producers don’t like telling ourselves what we’re doing… and that’s kind of a problem when producers don’t really know what the Checkoff is doing. They don’t know if they want to support it,” Ruskamp said, disclaiming that the CBB will unveil some of its new programs to address this issue during the convention this week. “You know, it takes a while to build and have platforms and the ability to reach out to our producers, because it’s not just telling them a story. It’s also listening. We really want to know what producers’ concerns are.”
Ruskamp says she has come to understand why people might be skeptical, admitting that she has had the advantage of being so closely involved with the Checkoff as a board member for the last six years - an opportunity that many producers don’t ever get. Knowing this has helped her realize the importance of sharing the Checkoff’s story of continued success in driving consumer demand on behalf of the American beef producer.
“We have a story now that we need to sell to consumers. The Checkoff is our way to do that and keep that demand for beef strong,” she remarked. “Just like we are on our farms and ranches, (the CBB and its staff) are doing the same thing with those Checkoff dollars - keeping cattle on the land and beef on the plate.”
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