While I was learning about agvocating on the job, there’s a generation of folks just a wee bit (or at least in my world view!) younger than myself who have practically grown up knowing what that term means. So we asked those enthusiatic K-State beef gals if they’d share their view on the topic. Katie stepped foward, so Katie…take it from here…. –Miranda

The beef industry: One of the most powerful in the world. That’s what I like to tell people!

Katie (left) likes to spend her time advocating to consumers.

The beef industry is often under attack by well-funded animal extremist groups, and the wellbeing of our reputation is at stake. We have to fight daily to keep the negative opinions and cynical media out of our business.

That is where beef advocacy comes into play. Those of us who value this industry, and its role in the U.S. food system, need to take a stand and share our own personal stories with the public. We need to take our knowledge of the industry, the effect it has had on us, what we have experienced in our lives, and the positives that have helped us along the way, and pass these on.

The reason I think so highly of advocating for the beef industry, is that I was raised on a purebred Limousin cattle ranch. I love the day-to-day farm life and every aspect that comes with it. Waking up early to check for new babies, feed, fill water tanks, and anything else that might need to be done, makes life fun for me. Being a student at Kansas State University, I’ve had the opportunity to be a member of Collegiate Cattlewomen, where our main purpose is to advocate and get our voices heard. I enjoy going to different beef promotion events, conventions, schools, and anywhere that will allow me to put my views of the beef industry into perspective.

When targeting the public and most often consumers, I like to reach out to people who don’t really know much about the industry. These are the people that will actually listen and take the time to think about what is being said. That leaves plenty of room to push the positives like beef is a major protein provider and is very good for you. We can also answer any questions that might be brought up. We all know about the myths that every farmer or cattle producer is abusive and that the animals we raise for consumption are mistreated. This is where we step in, tell our stories, and share our firsthand experiences that prove these myths are false.

There are many beef advocates or “agvocates” in this world. We spend a large amount of time getting the positives in the beef industry recognized, and trying to dispel the negative comments. Many don’t realize how much work this really is and how much time goes into it, and what’s even sadder is that not many people care. The reason everybody–farmers and ranchers and city-slickers alike–should care is because this industry sustains not only the small cattle farmer down the road, but also the companies and corporations that deal with everything from production to international trade.

I hope reading my example leaves a positive impact and gives you some lingering thoughts about how to improve and get our positive messages out to the public—after all, that’s the whole reason for agvocating!

Eat Beef and Go State!

~Katie Valentine