Agriculture advocacy must be catching on, as this week's blog posts have been overflowing with positive stories about ranchers doing great things to share the agriculture story. I'm a firm believer that connecting consumers to producers should be an addition to all of our job descriptions, and each of us has an obligation to step up and do our part. That's why I'm so proud to share the stories of those who are doing what's right and getting the job done. Today's blog post is no exception.
Last week, South Dakota legislators were treated to a day of celebration of America’s favorite protein, beef, for the annual South Dakota Beef Day at the Capitol in Pierre. Several South Dakota organizations took part in the event including Ag in the Classroom, Natural Resources Conservation Service, South Dakota Department of Agriculture, South Dakota Grassland Coalition, South Dakota Stockgrowers Association, South Dakota CattleWomen, South Dakota Beef Industry Council and South Dakota Cattlemen’s Association.
Beef industry information and beef treats were passed out to all of the legislators during their lunch breaks. The event was held in the Capitol Rotunda. Helping to discuss current agriculture issues was Kelli Fulkerson, National Beef Ambassador, and Taylor Geppert, South Dakota Beef Ambassador, who were introduced to the state’s elected officials and even spent time with South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard.
“On BEEF Day, I played the important role of representing the next generation standing up for beef. By just being there and being recognized by the legislators, we hopefully helped them see that we support our industry and want to keep it going for years to come," Geppert says.
The ambassadors teamed up to set up a booth, offering facts and figures about how ranchers are feeding a hungry world. This presented the opportunity to strike up a conversation with the legislators, and Geppert stressed the importance of educating elected officials.
“I think that it’s extremely important to share the beef story with our legislators because they are a major influence on what happens in this state. We want our legislators to know that beef producers care for their animals and want to raise the healthiest beef possible to put on the plates of fellow South Dakotans. They may know that South Dakota has more cattle than people in it, but if they know the story and hard work that go into all of these cattle, hopefully they will stand up for the industry. With our efforts, they now know that you and all your fellow producers will be standing beside them all the way,” Geppert says.
Follow suit and organize a BEEF Day at your state’s capitol. This is a great way to connect with your state’s elected officials. If calving season has got you too tied down, a quick phone call or letter to your representatives are other outlets for sharing the beef production story with your state’s lawmakers. If this is something you’re already doing, share your story with us. What advice do you have for others in getting started? What tips and tricks can you provide?