Just 10 years after its inception, the beef checkoff-funded Masters of Beef Advocacy (MBA) program celebrated its 15,000th graduate in August. The program was created to equip and engage beef industry advocates to communicate about beef and beef production. It is one of the strongest beef advocacy efforts in the industry.
A self-directed online training program managed by the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, a contractor to the Beef Checkoff, MBA requires students to complete five lessons in beef advocacy, including The Beef Community; Raising Cattle on Grass; Life in the Feedyard; From Cattle to Beef; and Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner. MBA has also been made available via digital download to allow agriculture educators, state beef organization representatives and other beef industry and youth leaders to incorporate the modules into their curriculums.
Once the MBA course has been completed, graduates gain access to resources on the MBA Classroom site, as well as tools to advance their advocacy efforts, including talking points, fact sheets and continuing education opportunities. Graduates are also invited to join the Masters of Beef Advocacy Alumni Facebook group, a virtual community for MBA graduates to share success stories and to receive the latest research and information on the beef industry.
MBA graduates interested in taking their advocacy skills to the next level can participate in state training workshops. These workshops offer more in-depth training on tactical communication skills and provide greater confidence to successfully engage with consumers, both in person and online. More than 70 such workshops and presentations, reaching more than 3,000 beef advocates, were completed in 2018. In addition, a “Top of the Class” program provides more in-depth instruction and training to leading advocates each year who express an interest in advancing their advocacy efforts. Started in 2014, there are now 50 Top of the Class national advocates. Each year, advocates reach tens of millions of consumers as a result of their advocacy efforts.
“As the percentage of consumers with interest in beef production continues to increase, our engagement with them, as well as with food professionals, dietitians, nutritionists and other thought leaders, has become increasingly important,” says Ryan Goodman, director of grassroots advocacy and spokesperson development for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, a contractor to the Beef Checkoff. “MBA has evolved during the last decade to become a key tool and support system for those who want to advocate for beef and beef producers.”
“We all benefit when consumers better understand our product and how we produce it,” says Laurie Munns, a cattle producer from Hansel Valley, Utah, and chairman of the Federation of State Beef Councils, a division of NCBA. “The MBA program from NCBA is a great Beef Checkoff-funded initiative for increasing beef demand by enhancing what is known about beef and how it comes to market.”
The MBA program is open to everyone, and there is no cost to participate. To enroll or find out more about this checkoff-funded program, go to MastersOfBeefAdvocacy.com.