For the first time ever, Anita and I decided that it was time for us to make beef advocacy a priority in our lives. Back in February, we were approached with this opportunity by NYBC Executive Director Jean O’Toole andKatherine Brosnan, NYBC Director of Industry Relations and Consumer Promotionsto serve as one of the host stops for the New York Beef Tour. At first, we were very hesitant about having a bunch of non-beef producing people come onto our property and start looking around and asking questions. Just in case you do not know my bride, she is a very quiet and shy person, who simply does not feel comfortable with people she does not know. Opening the doors required a significant paradigm shift for both of us, and I want to thank the entire BIC staff for making our first tour such a great event.
Spring Pond Farm does not have any fancy, big equipment nor do we have miles of wooden fence. What we do have, is pride in our family and in our farm. We also have a strong and dedicated commitment to animal welfare practices, to environmental stewardship, and to establishing meaningful relationships with all of our customers. We also have a passion for this industry and are willing to assume leadership roles within our community and our State and National breed associations.
For the first time ever, the NYBC Director of Nutrition Cindy Chan Phillips brought a group enrolled in the Dietetic Intern Leadership Summit to tour the beef cattle operation owned and managed by my good friend and business partner Dr. Tim Dennis. Tim and his wife, Dawn opened the doors of Glade Haven Herefords and their portion of Finger Lakes Cattle Company in order to create a platform for dialog about the role that lean beef can play in a heart-healthy diet. The direct feedback to both myself and Tim indicates that these experiences were incredibly powerful and meaningful for our invited guests. Just imagine how many people each of our guests will have the ability to influence in their lives as they help people make life-long dietary decisions about what type(s) of meat animal protein they should consider consuming.
For the first time ever, the Beef Check-Off is under direct fire. The reasons why Tim and I were able to have such a great beef advocacy eventsis because the highly-qualified staff of the NYBC are funded by Beef Check-Off funding. As your presiding chair, I wish to inform you that the situation is real, and that there is much uncertainty in our future. Budget implications are very negative and funding has been slashed. When budgets are cut, programming opportunities suffer, and the opportunities to retain highly qualified staff becomes nearly impossible.
By nature, I try not to be an extreme alarmist. However, I personally am very concerned about the outcome of the legal decisions which will determine if there is a future for the American Beef Checkoff Program. I encourage each and every member to seek valid and credible information on this matter so that you can be an informed producer.
For the first time ever, the need to increase the number of Beef Advocates is real. Just imagine how many people you can and do influence in your life. The wise and educational use of social media platforms is immense. If Tim and I can clean up our lifetime of clutter around the farm and open our doors, so can you. With training and practice, beef advocates learn how to unify their voices, present positive and factual information, and learn the skills necessary to answer the questions which are sometimes tough ones.
We do not raise cattle by chance folks, we do this by choice. Why not choose to become an advocate for the beef industry? There are more than 600 members of the NY Beef Producers Association, and there are less than four staff members at the NYBC office. The needs are real. Very real. Have you ever wondered….when will the next national chain restaurant begin featuring lab-grown meat at a cheaper price that meat animal protein? Most importantly, how will you influence the people in your world to simply choose beef?
Opportunities for engagement are available. Sign up. Show up, and Speak up.
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