Daren Williams, Exec VP of Communications at NCBA, was on hand to lead over 25 new MBA grads in a training session that encompassed food safety, the healthy aspects of beef, how to address consumers about eating beef and how to advocate for agriculture and beef through social media.
I won't share everything Daren taught us - you'll need to take the MBA courses and go through a commencement yourself for all of it! But, I will list some main bullet points that we can all apply in our daily agvocacy practices.
- Be cordial not confrontational -- nonmeat eaters will not listen to what you have to say if you come across as accusatory or uppity. Be open to conversation and make an effort to be on the same level
- Stand up for your industry -- comment on news articles and press releases if they have a high readership and you can soundly refute their opinion. Open a facebook, twitter or blog. Again, be polite and DON'T respond to a name caller.
- Tell the truth - i.e. the Hallmark incident. Admit that it was wrong and that it's horrible for animals to be treated that way and express your disagreement with that behavior. Then inform the person how 99% of the animal population is treated - humanely, safely and with a healthy food product as the end goal
- Speak towards the undecided majority - obviously, we're not going to convert Wayne Pacelle and the likes to meat eating or change their opinion of our industry. What we can do is speak to the people who are undecided; the people who want to eat meat but need somebody to answer their questions. Be there to answer those questions with succinct, sound information.
- Get actively engaged - it's very easy to take 10 minutes a day and advocate for the agriculture industry.
SHARE YOUR STORY - share how you get up every morning at 5 am to check cattle, even on Christmas. Explain how cattle are great for the environment because they graze on unusable land and help conserve the topsoil. Whatever your agriculture experiences are, share them.
The 8 hour session was jam packed full of laughs, tips, information and insight into MBA'ers personal experiences. Those personal experiences are what allow the consumer to connect to the producer and agvocacy crowd - in short, make a connection. Again, if you have any questions about the MBA program, feel free to ask me or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Until next time,
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