Thursday, March 31, 2016

Top of the Class Training, Part 2

Despite the blizzard that shut down Denver for the first time in a decade, the Top of the Class training was also a once in a life time experience. So, as promised, here are the details from my Top of the Class training last week in Denver at the National Cattlemen's Beef Association headquarters:

Last winter I completed the Masters of Beef Advocacy classes, and soon after found out about Top of the Class. Masters of Beef Advocacy and Top of the Class are all programs for advocates to help them to better communicate about the beef industry to consumers. They are farmer and rancher funded through the Beef check-off, and are a great way to be a part of this industry. I am always looking to learn more both about advocacy and anything agriculture. My husband and I are starting a cow/calf beef operation this summer, and I love to advocating and connecting with consumers, so I thought this would be a great place for me to learn more about it.

Advocating is such a huge part of the agricultural industry now, and I am proud to be a part of this. Farming isn't just about planting crops and raising animals anymore, we as farmers need to reach out there and share our stories. Agriculture is so important to our world, and consumers need to be reconnected with where their food comes from and how it is raised and produced.

Myself, Alison, Brooke, Adam and Caleigh infront of the NCBA headquarters in a blizzard.

Here I am doing a beef food demonstration with Daren.
My class included 4 other beef advocates from all areas of the industry and myself and we spent two days learning how to better communicate and connect with consumers about the beef industry. Those communication areas included Media and Interview training, Blogging, Finding our personal story and how to best share it, Social Media, and Farm and food photography. Our training was very direct and one-on-one with those who do this best for the NCBA, and much of it was a swift kick to get motivated and do a better job with my advocating skills.

My practice of food photography.
(This was lunch the first day!)
We were trained by the likes of Brandi Frobose (Buzzard's Beat) and Daren Williams (The Beefman Bloggeth) who both work in communications for the NCBA, and also Debbie Lyons- Blythe, a fellow Top of the Class graduate who blogs about her ranch life at Kids, Cows and Grass, and many more amazing people at NCBA. One my favorite things about the Top of the Class training was that we got to work directly with the NCBA staff, and those who participate in the industry every day. Other organizations that I work with use a communications company to train and represent us, and I appreciated that we were given direct connection to the industry leaders.

More photography practice.

The other members of the Top of the Class were such a great group of people that I really enjoyed spending my time with and made the trip much more fun. We were from all different areas of the country and all different backgrounds, but all have a unique and important role within the industry, and we were able to learn so much from each other.

So here is a shout out the my Top of the Class-mates and their advocacy efforts: Caleigh Payne works on a cattle and bison ranch in Colorado, and shares about it here at Ask Me About Agriculture, Brooke from Meet Your Beef works for a veterinary supply company and her family has one of the largest cattle ranches in central California, Alison McGrew is a fellow Ask The Farmers contributor, and has a cattle operation in Illinois. And last but not least was the only guy in our class: Adam, a James Beard nominated chef from Spokane, Washington. He owns 5 restaurants and a catering company in the Spokane area, including the Gilded Unicorn.

The NCBA Vision: "To be the trusted leaser and
definitive voice of the beef industry."
I feel honored to be a Top of the class graduate, to be a part of the NCBA and all of the great things that it stands for. Overall this was by far the best advocacy training that I have experienced, and would highly recommend any advocate to take the MBA 2.0 courses. It was very intense, and a bit overwhelming at times, but well worth every minute of it, even with the chaos of a blizzard. Thank you to the NCBA staff for all of your hospitality and for making this opportunity possible to me. I look forward to working with you and representing the NCBA as a Top of the Class advocate.

This training has given me a lot of motivation to move forward in my advocacy efforts, and I promise, you will be seeing A LOT of changes around here, so stay tuned!!
The mountains from Denver, after the blizzard.
For more pictures and info about my Top of the Class training opportunity, check out my Facebook page, and in case you missed read all about the blizzard in part one of my Top of the Class Training.

In case you missed it, you can read Part 1 of my Denver travels HERE, and as always you can head on over to my Facebook page to see more pictures from my adventures