My comments of last week regarding women taking over leadership of the Cattlemen's Beef Board ("Should We Kick All Men Off The Beef Board?" June 30 BEEF Cow-Calf Weekly) generated much feedback. I was surprised by the outcry from folks who interpreted my comments about women in beef-industry leadership as being, well, anti-man. The following is an attempt to clarify the issue:
- Tom Field and I aren't advocating men retire from the industry and positions of leadership. Nor are we making anti-male waves, which obviously would be against our self-interests. We just think the women of our business (producers and consumers) have a voice that needs to be heard.
- The power of women in the retail marketplace is so strong we have no choice but ensure our message is phrased in language and images friendly to that segment of the consumer base. Men, in general, may not be the best ones to design that message.
- The industry can't afford to not utilize all the human talent in our business. There aren't enough of us in production ag to wad a shotgun, so we have to count on every man, woman and child in our culture to join in reaching out to the rest of our society.
Given the strength of the reaction to the comments, I have to believe this industry is under-utilizing one of its greatest assets -- its women. And, no, my wife didn't pay me, or tell me, to write this. She, like the countless of other female industry leaders I know, however, are proof positive of Tom Field's point.
-- Troy Marshall and Tom Field