Today I completed the Master’s of Beef Advocacy (“MBA”) Program from the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (“NCBA”) funded by Beef Checkoff Dollars. I heard about the program through my activity in NCBA’s Young Producer’s Council (“YPC”). This blog isn’t necessarily about law or policy, but it is about advocacy.
As we all know, the livestock industry is currently under attack from animal activist groups such as the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (“PETA”) and the Humane Society of the United States (“HSUS”) and books such as Omnivore’s Dilemma, Mad Cowboy, Fast Food Nation, and Beyond Beef: The Rise and Fall of the Cattle Culture. I have many friends that are vegetarians or vegans because they are against “industrialized agriculture.” It is readily apparent to me that there is so much misinformation out there about modern agriculture practices and the nutritional value of beef in a healthy diet. I think that it is great that the beef industry is taking a proactive step to help bridge the gap in understanding between beef producers and consumer through the MBA program.
The program consists of the following six courses, which are completed online:
Each of the online courses include a 15-25 minute power point lecture, a small homework assignment encouraging beef producers to talk to their communities and local media, and a straightforward ten question quiz about the subject matter. Overall, I think that I learned some helpful information and statistics to counter the anti-food animal production arguments. The material is not overly complicated and I think the entire program can be completed in a day or in six one-hour segments.
After the coursework is complete, all MBA candidates have to complete some live classes where candidates will have to give a mock on-camera interview, practice speeches, and learn about how they can become active online and with social media. I completed this portion today at NCBA Summer Conference but they are also available in various states. During this live class, there is instruction on giving media interviews, keynote speeches, and being an advocate in social media.
The MBA program is a great way to help train NCBA members to be a spokesperson in their communities. I think that all beef producers should take the time to complete NCBA’s MBA program. Though we can all be frustrated when false information is spread about animal agriculture, at the end of the day it is our responsibility to help educate the public about how American cattle producers love their cattle, are stewards of the land, and how beef is a safe and nutritious part of a healthy diet.
For more information on the MBA program, please email email@example.com or call NCBA at 303/ 694-0305.