Since the Cattle Industry Convention the last week in January more than 300 new students have enrolled in the beef checkoff Masters of Beef Advocacy (MBA) program, pushing current students to more than 1,300. More than 100 students graduated in the first three weeks of February (788 total since March 2009) and it is anticipated that more than 150 will complete the courses by the end of the month.

With MBA commencements planned in Texas, Ohio, New York, Pennsylvania and Kentucky in the next six weeks, the number of graduates should exceed 1,000 by the end of March, the one-year anniversary of program’s launch. The single largest commencement to date will be held at Western Kentucky Universityon Feb. 26, where more than 100 MBA grads are expected to attend.

“We are very encouraged by the response to the program,” says Daren Williams, MBA “Dean of Students” and executive director of communications at the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, contractor to the Beef Checkoff Program. “What this tells me that more and more people are preparing themselves to be informed advocates for farmers and ranchers and many of them are already engaged in grassroots efforts to sustain the future of our industry.”

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