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5 things to know for #BeefMonth

May is the month to celebrate everything BEEF! Here are five things to know for beef month (and every other month!):twitter-beef

What is a rancher???

Before we get too far, let’s discuss the difference between a farmer and a rancher. Typically, farmers are those who grow crops but chicken, turkey, egg, pig and dairy producers are also commonly called farmers. Those who raise sheep and cattle are often called ranchers. Make sense?

More than 97 percent of beef cattle ranches are family owned!

According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and their National Agricultural Statistics Service, 97 percent of all beef cattle ranches in the United States are family owned. Some ranches may be big and others may be small, but they all share the same passion in raising cattle and commitment to animal care.

Cattle ranchers care for their cattle by providing a nutritious diet, good medical care and healthy living conditions. Here are a three ways cattle ranchers care for their cattle:

  1. Cattle ranchers work closely with veterinarians to keep their cattle healthy.
  2. Professional animal nutritionists help ranchers develop a balanced and nutritious diet for their cattle.
  3. The Beef Quality Assurance program assists ranchers by providing information about science-based husbandry techniques to help ranchers care for their cattle.

Untitled-designCattle ranchers live on or near the land that they ranch – they care about the environment too!

Beef cattle ranchers are committed to continuous improvement and strive to take care of the land on which they raise their cattle. In fact, the ranchers often live and raise their families on the land as well and work hard to ensure they are providing for the future generation of cattle ranchers. Between 1997 and 2007, the beef community produced each pound of beef using 19 percent less feed, 33 percent less land, 12 percent less water and 9 percent less fossil fuels.

In a recent report released by the USDA, all of agriculture was reported to be responsible for only 10 percent of total green house gas emissions in 2014 while transportation accounted for 26 percent.

It’s not just beef!

Although most Americans love a grilled steak at a summer cookout or a big bowl of spicy chili when it’s cold outside, beef cattle yield more than just beef! Did you know baseball gloves, lipstick, tires, soap, asphalt, piano keys, photo film and much more also come from cattle!

Now you know a little bit more about beef cattle – Happy Beef Month!

About the author:

I didn’t grow up on farm, but as soon as I met a farmer I knew I wanted to help tell their story. I am the communications coordinator at the Animal Agriculture Alliance responsible for social media, website management and member resources, bridging the communication gap between farm and fork and telling farmers’ stories every day. 


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Action, Please!: My pledge to take action for animal agriculture

Imagine you’re at the grocery store needing to pick up a carton of eggs to make one of your favorite recipes and when you get to the dairy aisle where the eggs are usually kept, the eggs are gone. You ask an employee stocking shelves nearby where the eggs are and he responds “we don’t sell eggs anymore” and points you in the direction of the vegan substitutes.

This was a dream I had a few nights ago. As a consumer myself who values food choices, I couldn’t help but think…what if this becomes reality one day?

Although I wish the dream was about something more joyful, it has only strengthened my passion for animal agriculture and my commitment to take action for the farmers and ranchers who work hard every day caring for their animals so we can have food choices in the grocery stores.

I am not the only one with a renewed drive to stand up for animal agriculture. Our 2016 Stakeholders Summit concluded on May 6, but the action is just beginning. With the theme of “Action, Please!”, attendees committed to taking action to better share the truth about agriculture.

Action, Please! Idea Board

Action, Please! Idea Board

Action pledges from our attendees included:

  • Being active on social media and incorporate video
  • Ensuring crisis management plans are in place and continuously updated
  • Engaging with the younger generation about agriculture
  • Engaging with the mainstream media about animal agriculture
  • Starting more in-person conversations about agriculture
  • And the list goes on!

With several attendees already creating social media accounts, I am excited to see more people passionate about animal agriculture sharing their passion with others.

My personal action pledges are: be more active on my personal social media, take advantage of any opportunity to become a better communicator and improve Alliance social media to reach and engage with more people.

Speakers discussed how to better engage with consumers, retailers and the media and how the agriculture community can enlist allies to help tell agriculture’s story and find solutions to pressing issues facing animal agriculture today.

One of my favorite quotes from Summit came from a Canadian dairy farmer who shared a photo on social media every day of 2015. He said, “to the consumer our side of the story doesn’t exist, unless we tell it.”

Andrew Campbell sharing his story at Summit.

Andrew Campbell sharing his story at Summit.

Soon after Andrew Campbell began sharing agriculture’s story, he experienced backlash from the animal rights community. He credited the support from the agriculture industry as the reason he was able to fight through the activist noise and continue sharing agriculture’s story.

“When you see the advocates out there – think how you can support them. It doesn’t have to be publicly,” said Campbell. “I was able to take that picture every day because the industry had my back.”

If you are interested in securing a bright future for animal agriculture, think about how you can support farmers, ranchers and fellow agvocates. Join the action and share your “Action, Please!” pledge in the comment section!

To follow the action on social media, search the hashtag #ActionPlease.aciton-please

If you were not able to attend the Stakeholders Summit, recorded speaker presentations will be posted here as they are available.

About the author:

I didn’t grow up on farm, but as soon as I met a farmer I knew I wanted to help tell their story. I am the communications coordinator at the Animal Agriculture Alliance responsible for social media, website management and member resources, bridging the communication gap between farm and fork and telling farmers’ stories every day.