September 01, 2021
When Students Advocate for Beef, the Future Looks Bright
In the cattle industry, everyone is an advocate, not for the popularity or attention gained, but because producers and industry leaders want to engage and educate consumers about production agriculture and their way of life. TBC recognizes the importance of transparently communicating about production practices and strives to give Texas producers the tools, resources and educational opportunities to do so successfully.
TBC works to nurture and encourage Texas' young industry leaders by hosting programs, events and activities for youth. One such event was working with youth involved in Texas Brigades. The Brigades is a nonprofit organization with a mission to educate and empower adolescents with leadership skills and knowledge in wildlife, fisheries and land stewardship to become conservation ambassadors for a sustained natural resource legacy.
During the Texas Brigades’ summer events, student leaders across Texas met to discuss their role in the beef industry, and TBC was able to assist in that conversation. Through Grilling 101 programs, advocacy discussions and Beef Checkoff updates, TBC met with more than 50 Brigades students and adult leaders across Texas in June.
“The Brigades is a unique and impactful experience for students to learn land stewardship and livestock production in a hands-on approach,” explains Chris Farley, Ranch Brigades’ committee coordinator. “These students learn everything from “Gate to Plate” in ranching and take these skills back into their communities. We appreciate the role TBC plays in this event to challenge students to advocate for the beef industry each and every day.”
In addition to the Brigades, TBC collaborates with the Texas 4-H Livestock Ambassador program. This program provides high school-aged 4-H members the opportunity to develop and practice advanced leadership skills and the opportunity to become advocates for animal agriculture.
For Texas 4-H Livestock Ambassador Kade Lawrence, this program is helping him to fulfill his goal of being a beef advocate. “Being a positive and impactful voice for our beef industry is extremely vital,” he said. “Too often, beef production and consumption is the target of negative media attention. My fulfillment comes through researching the issue, learning the facts and telling the true story of our industry.”
Victoria Heller, senior agriculture communications and education manager at TBC, is impressed with these students' dedication to advocating for beef. “I have had the pleasure of working with this program for the past several years. These students are the best of the best and truly have a passion for the livestock industry. They strive to make it better, and they have proven that they can!”
TBC provides livestock ambassadors a hands-on grilling program and advocacy discussion each year to give them the tools to advocate for the beef industry effectively. “These high school students walk away from our workshop with the confidence to grill their own steaks and teach others how to grill,” Heller said. “More importantly, they can tell others why beef belongs on the plate.”
TBC works to grow its youth engagement program by providing multiple professional development and educational opportunities. Brand new this year is a partnership with Healthy Texas Youth Ambassadors. This program trains high-school-age youth who have a passion for health and wellness to motivate others to change their lifestyles and improve their health. These ambassadors assist local county extension agents with program efforts, project activities and much more. TBC engaged ambassadors with beef cooking demonstrations and background information on beef from pasture to plate.