Many of you know that I served as a National Beef Ambassador in 2006. For those of you that aren't familiar with this program, the NBAP is a youth organization that works to promote beef to our nation's consumers, working with the media and traveling to fairs across the country. I truly believe this program makes a difference for producers, increasing the demand for beef and keeping cattlemen in business. Who better to tell our story than enthusiastic young people? It's no secret that I'm deeply disappointed in the Beef Initiatives Operating Committee for cancelling funding of the NBAP. The ambassadors need your help, and I know just the way to do it. Read this column by Kelli Loos, a Nebraska cattlewoman and proud supporter of the NBAP. She will challenge you to step up and make a difference for the beef industry in a huge way.
As producers we may lay awake at night worrying about the markets or the weather or maybe even whether or not the neighbor’s peaked-rumped bull will jump the fence and get in with our heifers. But perhaps what we should be worrying about is what we will do if consumers decide to listen to the well-funded vocal minority and cut meat out of their diets. Now that is something worth considering and even more importantly something worth taking action on.
For the past nineteen years, representatives of the National Beef Ambassador Program (NBAP) have worked in urban areas and convinced literally millions of soccer moms and college coeds that beef is a vital and important part of a healthy diet. The teams have gone to places we would just as soon steer clear of, where traffic jams don’t mean a herd of cattle plodding down a gravel road, just to get out the good word about beef and to help us sell our product. For whether you believe that you raise beef or you raise cattle, without a market for beef we would all be in trouble.
In the past, the NBAP has been funded by check-off dollars and run by the American National Cattlewomen (ANCW). In 2007 alone, working on a bare-bones budget of just over $100,000, this program made over 115,000 direct consumer contacts, 24,000 student interactions and over 20 million media impressions using print, television and web-based communications. Despite the success and longevity of the program, ANCW was denied the use of check-off funds for the 2009 fiscal year.
In light of this new development, ANCW is reaching out to the beef producers of the United States that benefit most from the work of this energetic and enthusiastic bunch of beef lovers. If every beef producer in this country were to donate just $1, the program would be adequately funded for the next five years. You already send your dollars, one per head, to the Cattlemen’s Beef Board every time you sell an animal. We are requesting just one dollar be sent to the ANCW Foundation, PO Box 3881 Englewood, CO 80155 or soon you can donate on the web at www.ancw.org(we are in the process of getting this set up). Of course, larger (tax-deductible) donations will not be turned away!
After seeing these passionate young leaders in action, I personally guarantee that this donation will be a wise investment for the future of our industry and you will certainly get the most bang for your buck that you have ever gotten in regard to the promotion of beef!