Get Your MBA and Promote Beef Today

The Missouri Cattlemen’s Convention kicked off the morning with the popular Cattlemen’s College. NCBA’s Executive Director of Communications, Daren Williams, presented to the group on defending animal agriculture.

We seem to always be fighting an up hill battle in the agriculture industry, so defending our passion and livelihood is vitally important. Beef has recently been under the spotlight and it was interesting to hear what Daren had to say about what the Kansas City Star.

What can everyone in the beef community do to promote their passion? Complete the Master’s of Beef Advocacy program and help share your story. Give presentations in your local community. Get online, comment and share. Maybe even participate in media interviews.

Listen to Daren’s compete presentation here: Daren Williams - NCBA

I also took the opportunity to talk with Kaity Holtman, Director of Communications for the Missouri Beef Industry Council, about what Missouri is doing to promote the Master’s of Beef Advocacy program. I can’t wait to get my MBA and join the other 3,600 graduates from across the country advocating for the beef community.

Listen to my interview with Kaity here: Kaity Holtman - Missouri Beef Industry Council

Check out all the photos from the Missouri Cattlemen’s Association here: 2012 Missouri Cattlemen’s Convention Photo Album

Missouri Rancher New Farm Bureau YF&R Chair

afbf annual hawaiiThe new chairman of the American Farm Bureau Federation Young Farmers & Ranchers (YF&R) committee is a 4th generation cattle producer from Southwest Missouri who is enthusiastic and optimistic about the future of agriculture for his generation and those to come.

“I want nothing more than for my children to be the fifth generation on the same property that my great-grandparents started back in the early 1900s,” says Glen Cope of Aurora, Missouri about his young son and daughter. “The traditions of farming and ranching are something that I think Americans should appreciate – certainly I do.”

Glen hopes to tap into the motivated and dedicated leadership of state Farm Bureau YF&R committees across the nation. “I think more and more young farmers are returning back to the farm,” he said. “They see the potential that there is and I think there’s renewed excitement in people who have grown up on the farm.”

Glen was elected to the national YF&R chairmanship this week at the 93rd AFBF annual meeting and will officially take over as chairman in February at the end of the committee’s leadership conference to serve for one year. Glen has also served on the state level as chairman of the Missouri Farm Bureau YF&R and currently serves on the Missouri Beef Industry Council board of directors as well. The YF&R program includes men and women between the ages of 18 and 35. The program’s goals are to help younger Farm Bureau members learn more about agriculture, network with other farmers and become future leaders in agriculture and Farm Bureau.

Listen to or download my interview with Glen Cope here: New AFBF YF&R Chairman Glen Cope

AFBF 93rd Annual Meeting Photos

Missouri Ag Helps Tornado Victims

Like so many others in this state, Missouri farmers, ranchers and agribusinesses are doing what they can to help the victims of the tornado in Joplin.

In less than 24 hours yesterday, the Missouri Department of Agriculture collected more than $19,000 in donations for relief efforts.

Staff members from the Missouri Department of Agriculture spearheaded a donation drive for the Food Bank of Central Missouri that included a challenge to other state agencies, community organizations and agriculture industry groups.

“Our hearts and prayers certainly go out to all of those affected by the tornadoes and severe storms in Joplin and to those trying to get back on their feet following flooding throughout the southern portion of our state,” said Director of Agriculture Dr. Jon Hagler. “The response to these events is just one example of the power of Missourians helping Missourians in times of crisis. This is certainly a case when the worst of Mother Nature brings out the best of human nature.”

Donations included a $10,000 commitment from Monsanto and $1,000 from the Missouri Corn Growers Association, Missouri Soybean Association, Missouri Renewable Fuels Association and FCS Financial. Missouri Department of Agriculture employees came together to donate more than $1,500 and the Missouri Egg Council donated $500.

The beef cattle industry, as part of the Missouri Farmers Care coalition, has stepped up to provide food for the volunteers. “They did not have any way to feed those folks, and we learned about this need and so in coordination with the Missouri Cattlemen’s Association we’re getting that job done,” said John Kleiboeker, executive director of the Missouri Beef Industry Council.

John says that the area around Joplin in the southwest part of Missouri is one of the state’s largest beef cattle producing areas, but he has not heard of any major losses to agriculture there. “It sounds like the city of Joplin and its surrounding community is what was hit the hardest,” he said.

Listen to this week’s Missouri Beef Checkoff Chat where John talks about how people can get involved to help: Missouri Beef Checkoff Chat

Money is always what is needed most in these disaster situations and the Red Cross has made it very easy to donate. Just visit or, even easier, text the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.

Missouri Beef Industry Council Board Meets

It’s hard to believe that we’ve been doing work for the Missouri Beef Industry Council for over 6 years. MBIC was the first ZimmComm client and we’re proud to still be working with them and can’t say how much we appreciate their confidence and support.

Today the MBIC was doing what all state Checkoff organizations are doing and that’s working on the budget for the next fiscal year. So they’ve been sitting through presentations and I was just happy to get them all up and in a group photo so they could work a few kinks out.

One of the projects we do for the MBIC is produce their weekly podcast which was a first for the industry. It’s now called Checkoff Chat. I also had the opportunity today to record several episodes which will be used in upcoming weeks. We did some statistics checking on Checkoff Chat downloads for this year only and there are episodes that have been downloaded as many as 2,800 times!

Many of these folks will be in Denver the week after next for the Cattle Industry Summer Conference where I’ll be Beef Board Blogging once again.

MO Commodity Groups Step Up To Plate

Actually St. Louis Cardinals left-fielder, Matt Holliday, is “Stepping Up To The Plate.”

A coalition of Missouri agriculture organizations has launched a summer education campaign with the St. Louis Cardinals. Themed “Stepping Up to the Plate,” the goal of this initiative is to increase consumer understanding of how today’s farmers are using the latest technology to provide safe, affordable, nutritious food. And the agriculture coalition is bringing in a heavy hitter.

St. Louis Cardinals left-fielder Matt Holliday is teaming up with Missouri corn, soybean, beef, pork, poultry and dairy producers to highlight the great strides farmers are making in meeting the nation’s growing nutritional needs while improving the environment. A native of Oklahoma, the nation’s number two producer of beef cattle, Holliday is partnering with Missouri farmers on an advertising campaign featuring radio ads, grocery store promotions and print advertising.

(Pictured from left): Kevin Hurst, corn farmer from Tarkio; Archie “Rusty” Mulford, poultry farmer from Aurora.; Donna Telle, dairy farmer from Uniontown; Matt Holliday, left fielder for the St. Louis Cardinals; John Ridder, beef farmer from Marthasville; Rick Rehmeier, hog farmer from Augusta; Warren Stemme, soybean farmer from Chesterfield.

Cindy interviewed the Missouri Beef Industry Council’s (MBIC) representative on the MO Ag Team, John Ridder, who is now going by the name “Mr. Baseball” in the Missouri beef community. John kind of likes the name and is really excited about the promotion and working with all the state commodity groups. “We all kind of got together and shared some advertising dollars to help put a positive spin on agriculture with all the negative reports that are in the media,” John says. “We just want to have a good image in the public.”

The radio spots are already airing during the Cardinals games and they are also doing a tie-in promotion with Schnuck’s grocery stores and John says they are even getting their own baseball cards. During Friday night home games they will also be having a tailgate party to get out and actually meet the public.

Listen to or download Cindy’s interview with John here that will be featured as an upcoming MBIC weekly radio report:

A Tour of “Hard Work U”

missouri beefThere is a rare treasure nestled in the heart of the Ozarks in Southern Missouri – a college that offers students a degree in hard work.

I’ve lived in Missouri for 18 years but never knew about the College of the Ozarks until this week when I joined the Missouri Beef Industry Council (MBIC) for a luncheon and tour at the school located just south of Branson in a picturesque spot called Point Lookout. It was originally founded as a Presbyterian high school in 1906 and today is a Christian-based four year liberal arts college with 1500 students who pay their tuition by working 15 hours a week on campus and two 40 hour work weeks at the end of each semester. Students are chosen on the basis of financial need as well as academics and only about 1 in 7 who apply each year actually get the opportunity to attend.

college ozarkThe college offers 48 different degrees, including culinary arts, hotel and restaurant management, agribusiness, animal science, and ag education. There are about 125 students majoring in some area of agriculture there, but the school offers amazing hands-on experience for them, including hog, dairy and beef operations, a meat processing facility and a feed mill. They also have a beautiful center that is open to the public which features fine dining, historic lodging, meeting rooms, and more. During the 2008 presidential campaign, candidate Sarah Palin chose to visit the college as one of her stops in Missouri.

You can find out more about the college by listening to the MBIC podcast here or in the player below the video. And you can see all the photos from the tour online in this Flickr photo album.

One of the highlights of the tour was a culinary demonstration and gourmet lunch prepared by college Chef Robert Stricklin. The menu included Cranberry Cinnamon Biscuits, Pear and Feta Cheese salad with Baby Greens, Braised Short Rib Shank with roasted vegetables and rosemary jus, Black Walnut Coffee Toffee Ice Cream made by the students – and everything was fabulous! Chef Stricklin made his five star gourmet entree look amazingly easy to prepare in his short demonstration, which you can view below:

Missouri Thanks Farmers and Ranchers

Today is officially Thank a Farmer day in Missouri.

mbicMissouri Director of Agriculture Dr. Jon Hagler (right) visited Forck Farms near Jefferson City to present the official proclamation to Kelly Forck, a diversified crop and livestock producer who is president of the Missouri Soybean Association.

“It’s an appropriate tribute to the farmers and ranchers across Missouri and across this country who put a reliable, safe food supply on our families’ tables at Thanksgiving,” Hagler said. “In America, we have the highest quality, most affordable food in the world because of the hard work of farm families across this nation.”

Dr. Hagler says his favorite statistic at the Department of Agriculture is that “four out of four people eat” which is why we should all be grateful on Thanksgiving and every other day of the year that we enjoy affordable and abundant food.

Kelly pointed out that farmers are consumers too and are thankful for other farmers who produce the food they eat. “As farmers we have a lot of things to be thankful for – we even have the consumers to be thankful for,” he added.

Check out some photos from the event here.

The Missouri Beef Industry Council and other state commodity groups were involved in the proclamation made this morning. Listen here to our weekly Missouri Beef Checkoff Chat that includes comments from Kelly and Dr. Hagler.

Ag Students Key to Correcting Food Critics on Campus

College students with agriculture backgrounds are finding the need to defend modern agriculture and correct misinformation about food production that is being worked into class curriculums.

mbic sarahSome classes are now requiring students to read books like “Omnivore’s Dilemma,” watch movies like “Food, Inc.” and see presentations by critics of modern agriculture like Michael Pollan. Sarah Downing, a junior at the University of Missouri and education chairman of the Mizzou Collegiate Cattlewomen, says she has to read Omnivore’s Dilemma for her Agriculture Marketing Systems class this semester. “The class is about 90 students,” Sarah says. “We haven’t started discussing it yet, I’m kind of looking forward to it.”

Sarah was happy to be able to get information on how to deal with questions raised by her fellow students about food production from a webinar that was given last week by the beef industry. They discussed ways that ag students and the industry can be pro-active on college campuses, especially when activists like Michael Pollan come to call – as he did last week at Cal-Poly.

“The best thing we can do is just tell our story,” she says. She suggests that other students and anyone in the beef industry get their “MBA” – Masters in Beef Advocacy. “It’s a great program to get the good word about agriculture and the beef industry out to consumers who may have misconceptions.”

Find out more about the MBA program from the Cattlemen’s Beef Board here. You can also check out the Mizzou Collegiate Cattlewomen – Cowgirls With Class – on Facebook. And – it would be a good idea for everyone in the beef industry or agriculture in general to read Omnivore’s Dilemma, at least to know your enemy!

Listen to my interview with Sarah here.

New Media Opportunities for Beef Industry

Kendal FrazierKendal Frazier with the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association is on the road this year meeting with beef cattle organizations around the country to help them take an objective look at the challenges and opportunities facing their industry. Last week, Kendal spent a day with the board members and staff of the Missouri Beef Industry Council (MBIC).

Not surprisingly, the top threat identified by the beef producers was animal activism, specifically HSUS. To fight that threat, they decided that the number one opportunity for the industry to tell its story is NEW MEDIA.

MBICKendal says there are two ways the industry can use new media tools such as blogging, podcasting, Twitter, YouTube and Facebook. “Number one is to deliver a proactive message through a different channel. The other way is to correct misinformation that is out there. We have to be participating on the Internet and we can do that on both a proactive and a reactive basis,” Kendal said.

The Missouri Beef Industry Council was the first state agricultural organization to use new media, because they were one of ZimmComm’s very first clients five years ago. We helped them build a blog,, which is in the process of now getting a facelift and some new direction because they discovered that a significant segment of their visitors are consumers, not producers. They were also the first to have a podcast, which grew out of their weekly farm broadcaster interviews that ZimmComm began conducting and distributing five years ago. MBIC Executive Director John Kleiboeker told me this week that other state beef councils are now looking to them to move forward in the new media world. As of today, MBIC now has its own Twitter feed as well!

Here is this week’s Missouri Beef Checkoff Chat podcast, which features an interview with Kendal:

Listen to

Lunching and Learning About Beef

Circle A RanchYesterday I had lunch with 5000 head of cattle – and about 60 people.

It was the season kick-off of Missouri’s Lunch and Learn program, a summer series sponsored by all the ag groups in the state where they invite local community leaders to visit agricultural operations. The first event for this summer was held at Circle A Ranch in Huntsville, MO. The main hosts for this event were one of our very best and first clients, the Missouri Beef Industry Council. (Check out their blog here.)

Circle A RanchWhat was especially unique about this event was that it was held in the middle of a covered feedlot – one of only three feedlots in the state of Missouri. You’d think it would be a little, well – smelly – to say the least. But, it was not at all. And there were NO FLIES! It was just as pleasant as having lunch in a park pavilion – just a really huge one with a bunch of cattle in it.

The secret? Sawdust, according to Dave Gust, who owns the operation. “The sawdust acts sort of like kitty litter and it absorbs the ammonia, which is the smell,” he said. “We change it every two weeks and then we compost it and make it into fertilizer – turns into black dirt.”

The guys in the picture are Dave on the left and ranch manager Mark Akin.
Listen to an interview with Dave here:

Listen to

Talking Beef With The MBIC

ZimmCast-149 - Speaking of BeefI am not ashamed to publicly pronounce my belief that beef is good. That’s why I was so happy to get to work with the Missouri Beef Industry Council on their new “Speaking of Beef” program. Basically we helped the staff at the MBIC prepare materials for a group of initial volunteers to help them conduct public speaking engagements about Missouri’s beef industry to local civic groups. Additionally, we’re going to assist with scheduling them to speak to these groups. We hope to have the first ones set up soon after the first of the year.

In this week’s program you get to hear a couple of Cindy’s interviews on this subject. The first one is with MBIC Executive Director, John Kleiboeker, who talks about the program and why the organization has launched it. Then she interviews Chris Derks, a cattle producer from Northwest Missouri who is one of the first program volunteers. Chris is passionate about his industry. That’s why he’s involved.

At the end of the program I’ve got some music from the Podsafe Music Network that fits right in with this week’s theme. It’s called “Cattle Swagger” by the Thee Phantom 5ive. I hope you enjoy it and thank you for listening.

You can download and listen to the ZimmCast here: Listen To ZimmCastZimmCast 149 (16 min MP3)

Or listen to this week’s ZimmCast right now:

Listen to

The ZimmCast is the official weekly podcast of AgWired which you can subscribe to using the link in our sidebar. You can also subscribe in iTunes

Speaking of Beef Kicks Off

Speaking of BeefThe Missouri Beef Industry Council has just kicked off a new program as I mentioned late last night called, “Speaking of Beef.” This program includes preparing volunteer producers for public speaking on key issues important to their industry and then helping schedule them to speak to local civic groups statewide. It’s just another way for beef producers to connect with people who are far removed from the farm.

As we talked about in our first training session yesterday, there are so many people today who have never been on a farm, touched an animal like a cow, or seen how they’re cared for that it’s not surprising they have so many misconceptions and ideas about rural life. There’s a big need for public education and a personal approach from someone who’s part of their community is one of the best ways to foster understanding.

Speaking of Beef Training SessionTo help the program participants we worked with the MBIC staff to develop a resource notebook which includes: pre-written speeches on 6 key issues (printed and saved electronically on CD), notecards for each speech, basic information about public speaking and media interviewing, a list of potential questions they will be asked and suggested answers. The volunteers will personalize each talk with anecdotes about their life and farm. They will also receive a supply of handout materials for their presentation as well as items to be used for a drawing after their talk. We’re contacting Rotary, Optimist and Kiwanis clubs as well as local Chambers of Commerce to see if they’d like to schedule in one of our speakers.

It’s a great program and we’ve already got more volunteers on a list for the next training session after we get this first group going. I’ll tell you what. These are some of my favorite people and I know they’ll be a big hit with whatever crowd they get to speak in front of!

Speaking of Missouri Beef

Cindy Speaking of BeefCindy and I had a nice trip to Springfield today to conduct the first training session for the Missouri Beef Industry Council’s new “Speaking of Beef” program. I’ll post more on this tomorrow.

Here you can see Cindy going over the basics when it comes to public speaking. That’s what these cattle producers will be doing over the next year as we help schedule them in to speak to local community groups.

During our session we had each of them give a “practice” speech which we recorded and then played back to critique. It was fun and I promised I wouldn’t put any of them on YouTube (although it’s tempting).

If you’d like to learn more about the program now you can listen to this week’s MBIC Report podcast with MBIC Executive Director John Kleiboeker:

Listen to

Missouri Cattle Industry Convention

Missouri Cattlemen's AssociationIt’s time for the Missouri Cattle Industry Convention. Cindy and I will attending tomorrow afternoon to do a little public speaking workshop for the Missouri Beef Council which meets at the same time. I’ll try to have some pictures for you. Not to make them nervous or anything.

The 2007 Missouri Cattle Industry Convention & Trade Show is just around the corner. The Convention will be held December 6-8, 2007 at the University Plaza Hotel and Springfield Expo Center in Springfield, Missouri.

For cattle producers, regardless of the size or scope of their farm or ranch, this is an excellent opportunity to help shape the policy of the Missouri Cattlemen’s Association for the upcoming year, to take part in a wide range of educational programs, to visit hundreds of trade show exhibits, and to enjoy the food, fun, and fellowship of the Convention. The convention & trade show is open to the public.

Missouri Beef Industry Council Video PSA

Tour of MissouriThe Missouri Beef Industry Council has been a client of ours since we started ZimmComm New Media going on four years ago. They called last week needing a video psa to use in the upcoming stage 4 event of the Tour of Missouri, a professional bicycle race across the state.

So with a little help from iMovie and iDVD it was easy to create some photos with the Beef Checkoff logo, use a Sam Elliott audio spot, add a tag and there you have it. Fast, easy and it works. The event in Columbia, MO will feature the video running on as a loop on a screen that’s managed by the Columbia Convention and Visitor’s Bureau. So whenever you make a video what do you do with it? That’s right class. Put in on YouTube.

If I were competing in the race I’d sure want a nice steak to give me power and energy. MBIC will be serving beef samples at the event.

Working Breakfast With MBIC

Andrew McCrea and John KleiboekerThe Missouri Beef Industry Council leaders are on the job here in Springfield, MO. Here’s chairman Andrew McCrea (left) and executive director, John Kleiboeker listening to a report from Missouri Cattle Association executive vice president, Brent Bryant. Andrew is also an award winning farm broadcaster for Brownfield.

I came down just for breakfast and am heading back to the office. We produce the weekly MBIC Report, which is a weekly interview program started long ago by the MBIC. It became a podcast last year. (Subscription link)

I interviewed new board members Pat Wood and Gerald Campbell as well as MBIC Director of Marketing, Dawn Thurnau. Those interviews will be used as weekly reports in coming weeks which will be posted on the MBIC blog.

I wish I could stay but until later . . .

Alane Blogs Chamberlain

Alane & Chef ChamberlainAs you may know we built a blog for the Missouri Beef Industry Council. I am happy to see the staff starting to use it to write about the activities they’re involved in. Like today when Alane Lidolph did a post about Chef Richard Chamberlain’s visit to St. Louis. And right before her Dawn Thurnau did a post about a Chef’s Chili Challenge they helped sponsor in Columbia, MO. Good stuff!

From Alane’s post that used this picture:

Nationally renowned chef and co-author of the Healthy Beef Cookbook, Richard Chamberlain, recently traveled the St. Louis area, teaching consumers how to prepare healthy and delicious lean beef recipes. Cooking schools were held at area Dierberg’s grocery store School of Cooking locations, where four recipes from the Healthy Beef Cookbook were featured. All of the recipes utilized one of the 29 cuts of beef that meet government guidelines for lean and showcased how great flavor and nutrition come together to create tender, moist, and flavorful beef dishes. Each participant received a copy of the Healthy Beef Cookbook, Chef Chamberlain’s famous steak seasoning, and of course tasting was part of the fun!

From Dawn’s post:

We were pleased with the turn out to the Chef’s Chili Challenge. 14 teams competed with their favorite chili recipes- all to raise money for the Central Missouri Food Bank.

Here’s the winners; People’s Choice Winner was tied between Carrie Bremer and Stephen’s College. Best Professional Chili went to Boone Tavern. Steve Henderson, representing the Downtown Optimist Club, won best beef chili, while the Forge in downtown won the best pork chili award. The Spiciest- with Style honors went to Johnny’s Beanery and the best chili side dish went to Ramona Anderson with her smore’s brownies.

This is a very nice personal way to communicate with beef producers who support the checkoff funded organization.

New MBIC Chairman

Andrew McCreaAndrew McCrea is the new Chairman of the Missouri Beef Industry Council. This will be his 6th and last year on the board too. He’s a cattleman from northwest Missouri and an award winning farm broadcaster to boot.

I think the MBIC has some great new leadership.

I interviewed Andrew for an upcoming MBIC Report podcast and asked him about what he thinks the priorities are for the MBIC in the coming year. Download his answer: Listen To MP3Andrew McCrea (1 min MP3)

Or listen right now:

Listen to

MBIC Board Is Meeting

Missouri Beef Industry Council Board MeetingToday I’m attending the board meeting of the Missouri Beef Industry Council. We’re meeting in Kansas City. Pictured here on the left is outgoing MBIC Chairman, David Dick who’s making a point to new Executive Director, John Kleiboeker.

I’ll be taking some pictures for them and doing some interviews for their weekly podcast. John’s the subject of my ZimmCast this week in case you haven’t had a chance to listen.

I’ll have an interview with the incoming MBIC Chairman coming up in a follow up post shortly. You’ll find out who he is then.

Missouri Beef Blogging

ZimmCast89 - Beef Blogging With John KleiboekerI know you’re familiar with the Missouri Beef Industry Council because they’ve been a new media pioneer in the agricultural community. Earlier today I spent some time with their new Executive Director, John Kleiboeker, who I believe is going to be a great agriblogger. He’ll be getting started after his first board meeting as a staff member later this week. In fact, he’s been to many board meetings because he used to be a board member!

In this week’s ZimmCast John talks about why MBIC is blogging in addition to having a well-developed consumer targeted website. He describes what he plans to use the blog site for.

Download this week’s program: Listen To ZimmCastZimmCast 89 (12 min MP3)

Or listen to this week’s ZimmCast right now:

Listen to

The ZimmCast is the official weekly podcast of AgWired which you can subscribe to using the link in our sidebar. You can also subscribe in iTunes.