Kentucky is home to the more cattle east of the Mississippi River than any other state. Now the Bluegrass State is also home to more Masters of Beef Advocacy (MBA) Graduates than any state.
On February 26, nearly 100 Kentucky beef enthusiasts gathered at the Western Kentucky University L.D. Brown Expo Center for the largest commencement yet of the MBA program.
The Bowling Green ceremony was more than twice the size of the National Commencement held January in San Antonio.
It consists of 6 hour long courses over different aspects of the beef industry: beef safety, beef nutrition, animal care, environmental stewardship, modern beef production and the beef checkoff.
Students can complete the courses at their own pace. Each lesson concludes with a quiz and short answer questions that create an opportunity for the student to prepare for advocating.
Kentucky now boasts 105 graduates, most of whom are WKU students though several producers have completed the program as well.
The commencement consisted of workshops focused on implementing the facts discussed throughout the MBA coursework.
Daren Williams, NCBA Executive Director of Communication, conducted workshops over the role of beef advocates.
Williams discussed methods for interacting with consumers face to face, sharing the nutritional value of beef in diet, and using social media to connect with consumers.
“My challenge to you is to step up to the plate and tell people that the foundation of the beef cattle industry is family farmers,” Williams said.
Williams went on to say,
“Consumers love beef but they have questions. They need someone to answer their questions. That’s you.”
During one of the workshops, graduates practiced how to interact with opinionated consumers. Participants paired off and took turns role playing the consumer and the advocate. When the students had questions or didn’t know what to say next, Williams was available to help out.
Since it was introduced in early 2009, the MBA Program boasts over 800 graduates.
Today, over 2,200 students are currently in the process of completing the program.
Graduates are from every possible aspect of the beef industry: producers, processors, college students, extension specialists, and everyone in between.
As the program grows, however, so does the worries that come along with it.
“I sometimes worry that extremists will infiltrate our program. Then I think, if they go through the 6 sessions they’ll probably learn something.”
If you’re interested in earning your Masters of Beef Advocacy simply email MBA@beef.org
Once you complete the program be sure you join the online MBA Alumni Association. Its a great resource for help and support as we stick up for the beef industry and animal agriculture as a whole.