BEEF Daily

Be An Advocate Not An Activist


Promote agriculture with positive messaging instead of engaging in petty arguments with activists.

“The sustainability of the beef industry in the future is going to be intrinsically tied to reaching out to the consumer. I think that when you have a society that’s blessed with resources, you don’t worry as much about how you’re going to put food on the table – it’s more where it comes from. We need to start engaging in the conversation to explain how food is produced,” Anne Burkholder told BEEF editors in a recent conference call.

Burkholder is a Nebraska cattle feeder who has developed an ongoing conversation – and an impressive following – with consumers via her blog, “Feedyard Foodie.” She upholds a high standard on her blog and doesn’t allow any negative or derogatory comments. She hopes to avoid the sometimes inevitable bickering with activists on the Internet and focuses instead on reaching consumers who genuinely want to know where their food comes from.

“Folks who want to be advocates sometimes end up being activists instead. We need to figure out how to have a conversation, not a rant. I see a lot of ranting in different places. Those of us who are motivated to reach out to the consumer need to continue to work to have a responsible, respectful conversation. We need to find some common ground to discuss with our consumers,” adds Burkholder.

So, what makes a good advocate? Burkholder says beef producers who can build a commonality with consumers – mom to mom or athlete to athlete, for instance – have great success in developing relationships and ultimately earning their trust.

A great example of advocacy in action is the Missouri Junior Cattlemen’s Association, whose members put together this video to help put a face to the people who raise food. The video showcases young people who are the future of the beef industry and are proud to raise cattle and feed the world.

For more information about this group, visit

What do you think of Burkholder’s perspective on reaching out to consumers? How are you involved in building more consumer awareness of the job that beef producers do? What are your thoughts on the video effort by Missouri youth? Leave your comments in the section below.

Discuss this Blog Entry 4

Just Farmers (not verified)
on Jul 19, 2012

We at agree that there is a fine line between Advocacy and Activism for more read: Agvocate or Agtivist at

Anthony Pannone (not verified)
on Jul 19, 2012

Good post.

However, the word is "agvocate." Advocate + Agriculture.

We agriculturalists need to get on the same page. Some call it advocate. Some call it advocate for agriculture. Others call it agvocate.

Branding is huge for all business. Agriculture should be together, not using different terms for the same thing.

Next time say agvocate, and help us agvocates.

Plus, an agvocate has already blogged about the difference between an agvocate and an agvitist.

on Jul 19, 2012

We have been selling beef at our local Farmers Market for 10 yrs in NE Maryland (a lot more consumers than cows!) and freezer beef for 50 yrs. We are very carefull to differentiate our traditional, dry aged beef based on quality, nutrition and enjoyment, not food safety or any mystical health benefits. Our customers know that supermarket beef is 99.99% safe, but come to us for the personal connection. They know we are a business first, but take great pride in our product and our land and cattle. A positive message and attitude is the best sales pitch out there.

Andy Meadows, DVM (not verified)
on Jul 19, 2012

Well-stated Ned!

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What's BEEF Daily?

BEEF Daily Blog is produced by rancher Amanda Radke, one of the U.S. beef industry’s top social media “agvocates.”


Amanda Radke

Amanda Radke is a fifth generation rancher from Mitchell, S.D., who has dedicated her career to serving as a voice for the nation’s beef producers. A 2009 graduate of South Dakota State...

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