Developing future beef advocates and leaders for the beef industry is the goal of the Collegiate Beef Advocacy Program. This is the first year for this program, which is managed by the American National Cattlewomen organization.
“This program matches the vision and purpose of ANCW to ensure they have the advocacy knowledge and leadership to carry forth in their careers,” said Evelyn Brown, Collegiate Beef Advocacy Program manager. Brown said the niche program is designed for college students.
The program connects the collegiate advocates to the beef industry where they can have unlimited access to leadership, their peers, cattlemen, cattlewomen and beef industry professionals. McKinzie Smith, Snowville, Utah; Haley Goodall, northwest North Dakota; and Elisabeth Loseke, Columbus, Nebraska, were selected to be part of the program this year.
Smith is attending Utah State University and majoring in agribusiness. In 2015, she was selected to be in the Utah Beef Ambassador Program. Last year she joined the Utah Cattlewomen’s board as the historian and is a member of the Utah Beef ambassador Ccommittee.
Goodall is a student at Oklahoma State University where she is majoring in agribusiness. Goodall grew up on a small cow-calf operation but said working with larger operations in the area sparked her interest in learning more about the agricultural industry.
“It was because of my desire to learn and be as involved as I could that I applied for the CBAP contest,” Goodall said.
This fall that involvement will include buying her first set of stocker calves.
Loseke is from Columbus, Nebraska, and grew up on her family’s feedlot operation. Loseke recently completed her degree in animal science at the University of Nebraska and will begin veterinary school this fall.
“After graduation, I plan to serve beef producers as a veterinarian and utilize my education as a tool to be a liaison between producers and legislators to ensure that our voice is heard,” Loseke said.
All three Collegiate Beef Advocates have been working on their campuses to promote beef. Even at their universities where agriculture majors are common they have encountered a number of misconceptions about beef production and the beef industry.
“They don’t understand that we really do care about our cattle,” Smith said. “We really do care and make them our first priority.”
Goodall said one of the biggest misconceptions she sees on campus is about labeling of beef products. People have a negative reaction when they hear terms such as antibiotics and hormones. Her Collegiate Beef Advocacy club on campus has been proactive to educate its members on how to talk to people about food labels and what they really mean.
Health concerns associated with beef consumption is another issue on campus, according to Elisabeth Loseke.
“It is easy to get mad about these misconceptions but if we don’t have a concrete answer I don’t think we are very effective in our advocacy for beef,” Loseke said.
Not all of the issues they encounter when speaking out for the beef industry are serious, some are just plain funny. Loseke was working at a kindergarten fun day when she asked what the kids thought steers were made into after they were harvested. One youngster thought the meat from steers was made into chicken.
“This really opened my eyes to how far most people are removed from agriculture,” Loseke said.
Applications for the 2018 Collegiate Beef Advocacy program are being accepted now and are due by Oct. 31. One of the unique requirements is a four minute video where each applicant tells why they want to be part of the program. Brown said these videos have been an eye opening experience.
“It tells me everything I need to know about that individual,” Brown said. “I can see the passion in their eyes.”
Brown said it has been inspiring to see the next generation of beef advocates and leaders come forward.
For more information about the program and the application process, go to ANCW.org.
Doug Rich can be reached at 785-749-5304 or firstname.lastname@example.org.