Two new "Wranglers" hired to travel to beef sites with checkoff information

A unique and respected beef checkoff-funded program that reaches both producers and consumers with fact-based information is gearing up for its third year on the road.

The Beefmobile launched in 2004 to carry the word about beef and the beef checkoff to producers and consumers. Its dual-audience approach helped provide producers with important facts about what their $1-per-head checkoff was doing on their behalf and information about beef safety and nutrition to consumers at the retail level.

The Beefmobile program is coordinated on behalf of the Cattlemen's Beef Board by the National Livestock Producers Association (NLPA). NLPA serves as one of the Beef Board's contractors for checkoff-funded programs.

During the last two years, the Beefmobile's "Wranglers" visited with producers and consumers in 38 states, making more than 100 producer stops in 2005 alone. The effort not only met its goals but earned the prestigious National Agri-Marketing Association (NAMA) award for the best producer-funded public relations program to agricultural audiences in the nation last year.

The Beefmobile program also was evaluated for the beef checkoff evaluation program by independent authorities. These evaluation professionals concluded that the program provided value to producers paying into the $1-per-head checkoff. Cattlemen also have said that the program has helped them learn more about their checkoff.

"Until I saw the Beefmobile and spoke with the Wrangler, I really haven't seen much about where my checkoff dollars are going or had much opportunity to speak with a representative about it," said Ross Hunter, a cattle producer from Ardmore, S.D. "The Beefmobile Wrangler was able to answer all of my questions about the beef checkoff during our visit." The Beefmobile gives beef producers the opportunity to speak with someone about their checkoff dollars and is going to places many farmers and ranchers gather.

Building on its accomplishments to date, the Beefmobile program will double its capacity in 2006, with two eye-catching vans traveling the country to spread the word.

"It's important for producers to see where their dollars are going and how they and the industry are benefiting from programs the beef checkoff funds," says Beefmobile Wrangler Tracey Orsburn, who drove the van around the country in 2005. "There are many misconceptions out there, and the Beefmobile is a great tool to clear those up--or at least find out what the questions and concerns are so that we as an industry can address them."

Joining Orsburn as Wranglers in 2006 will be Holly Branecky and Stacy Loutzenhiser.

Branecky grew up in rural Texas, the daughter of a vocational agricultural educator. She attended Clarendon College where she was on the 2001 National Junior Collegiate Champion Meats Judging Team and was honored as the 2002 Female Agricultural Student of the Year. Branecky is a December 2005 graduate of Texas Tech University with a bachelor's degree in agricultural communications.

Loutzenhiser grew up on his family's cow-calf operation near Flagler, Colo., with responsibilities that included animal husbandry, range management and dryland farming. He served in various officer positions in FFA including Colorado State FFA president. Loutzenhiser is a December 2005 graduate of Colorado State University (CSU) as an honors scholar with a bachelor's degree in animal science and ag business.

Branecky and Loutzenhiser have been undergoing Wrangler training since Oct. 1, and will officially begin their duties after the first of the year. Packets explaining the Beefmobile program and its benefits are being distributed to state beef councils and others who may wish to use the service.

"The Beefmobile program is building a reputation throughout the country as a good source of factual information about what's going on in the checkoff program," according to Al Svajgr, a Nebraska beef producer and chairman of the Cattlemen's Beef Board. "We're excited about the potential in 2006 for increasing its visibility and enhancing its ability to reach out to those who need and want this information."

For more information about the Beefmobile, visit www.beefmobile.com.

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