The beef industry is under attack. Its adversaries are well-funded animal rights groups that seek to end animal agriculture as we know it in the United States. These groups are using the popular press and the Internet to reach and widely tell their messages, whether it's the myth that cattle are responsible for global climate change or that all beef producers abuse their animals. Their proposed changes are not based on sound science, or realistic or economic considerations, and one potential consequence of their actions is the creation of a network of regulations that make it cost-prohibitive to raise animals for food production in the U.S.
Providing industry members with the tools to respond to these positions, the National Cattlemen's Beef Association has developed a free, self-directed educational program called the Master of Beef Advocacy (MBA) to equip cattlemen and women to be the voice of the cattle industry. The checkoff-funded MBA program is an Internet-based course developed to assist producers across the country in becoming effective spokespersons by providing beef producers with factual information about their industry.
Producers who participate in the MBA program will be able to communicate facts to other producers, consumers and policymakers who are often hungry for accurate and reliable information, and are charged with making important regulatory decisions that affect the beef industry. The more people who can effectively and accurately tell the story and the scientific facts about the beef industry, the better chance the industry has to be able to stop the progression of flawed initiatives and regulations that jeopardize the ability of the industry to continue. The beef industry needs to be able to relay its story in an effective manner to provide accurate information to the public.
As an individual who participates in this industry, it seems that livestock producers have been distracted with fighting over internal issues for too long. Animal rights groups have taken advantage of this distraction and have positioned themselves as the authoritative voice of animal welfare for the livestock industry.
Those of us who value this industry and its role in the U.S. food system need to take advantage of programs like the Master of Beef Advocacy and take a leadership position in seeking science-based, practical solutions to industry challenges. The ones with the most knowledge - livestock producers - need to get the message out that they were the original stewards of the land and livestock. Our livelihoods and way of life depend on how effectively we convey our message. Programs like MBA provide us a set of tools and a level of confidence to tell this message.
For more information on this program or becoming involved in outreach programs, contact Daren Williams, Executive Director NCBA Communications, at firstname.lastname@example.org, or contact your state beef council. To enroll in the MBA program, send an e-mail to email@example.com.