Beef Buzz News
Beef Checkoff's MBA Program Reaches Out to Younger, Tech Savvy Generation
Thu, 10 May 2012 09:50:55 CDT
Ron Hays Beef Buzzes with Daren Williams about NCBA's MBA program.
With the potential for misinformation about the beef industry to be circulated far and wide by uninformed or intentionally malicious media members, the need for knowledgeable beef advocates is greater than ever.
Daren Williams of the National Cattlemen's Beef Association has been working with the Beef Checkoff's Masters of Beef Advocacy program for some time. The program was originally created as a self-paced online training program to equip beef producers with the tools necessary to speak effectively to the media and to the public about "hot topic" issues of importance to the industry.
Ron Hays recently spoke to Williams at the Oklahoma State FFA convention about the program that is finding another willing and enthusiastic audience.
"We've been able to get a number of FFA students across the state to engage their students in this program. I had an opportunity to talk to these young folks about their future and what's at stake in terms of their livelihoods in the beef industry and why getting involved in the Masters of Beef Advocacy program is an important part of securing that future."
Williams conducted a beef advocacy workshop that drew 125 FFA members at the convention. Prior to the convention, the Oklahoma Beef Council and the FFA participated in a pilot program in which 165 FFA members in five chapters received their MBAs. Oklahoma now has the largest number of MBA graduates in the country. The Oklahoma Beef Council plans to expand its program to all state FFA chapters next year.
External threats to the future of the beef cattle industry have never been greater and Williams says who better to become advocates for the industry than those who will live out that future?
"There's people out there actively working to end animal agriculture in the United States and I frankly think we need to let people know that's really what's at stake here. If we get to a certain point where we are overregulated or where we have consumers so far disconnected from how farm animals are raised and processed for food, then we really could be seeing the end of livestock agriculture in the United States. Now that sounds like a dire prediction, but I want these young folks to know that their future is at stake."
The program consists of six on-line courses including modern beef production, animal care, beef safety, beef nutrition, environmental stewardship and the Beef Checkoff. Students who complete the program have access to the latest talking points, fact sheets and presentations. Graduates have used their MBA knowledge as advocates in settings as simple as talking to family and friends and giving presentations to schools and civic organizations. Others have found their training useful in the online environment and in giving interviews to the media.
Williams says the program has received broad support and has taken on a life of its own among some up-and-coming young advocates who bring a lot to the table.
"I didn't envision colleges and universities incorporating this program into curriculum for animal science classes, beef production classes. And now FFA's just another step even further back down the chain to see if we can get some highly-engaged younger students who want to be involved in agriculture back on the farm to be engaged in advocacy because these are the folks who are not only on Facebook and Twitter and blogging already, but they're also the ones who are going to be the early adopters of whatever the next technology is."
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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