by Rebecca Long Chaney
NASHVILLE, TN — CattleWomen from coast to coast gathered recently for the National Cattle Industry Convention and National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) Trade Show. Members of the American National CattleWomen’s Association (ANCW) met to discuss ways to empower their members to make continued contributions to the beef community.
Volunteer CattleWomen are a vital part of the programs managed by ANCW. The country is divided into seven regions and each region works hard to carry out ANCW’s mission to promote beef programs and activities.
Ann Nogan of Lackawanna County, PA, has served as the Region One ANCW director for nearly two years. According to Nogan, region one represents all states north of Kentucky, all the Mid-Atlantic states, the Northeast, as well as Ohio, Indiana and Michigan.
Nogan, her husband, and two sons operate Applewood Farm, a cow/calf farm and feed-yard. “We are fortunate to have two sons recently return from college with an interest to continue the family operation,” she said.
That is why ANCW and its mission to promote and preserve the beef industry is so important to Nogan. She wants to help make sure there is a future for her sons who are committed to ensuring the success of the operation and the cattle industry.
The Pennsylvania beef producer has a strong passion for the beef community and was ready to step up when nominated as ANCW vice president. “In my role as vice president I want to engage CattleWomen throughout the nation in our Beef Promotional Programs,” she said. “Today’s ANCW are known for three things — youth development, beef promotion and legislative work.”
Nogan believes ANCW members have the innate ability to positively influence meal-time makers to choose beef more often for their family meals. “ANCW members share a passion and enthusiasm and volunteer countless hours toward a variety of activities which connect Americans of all ages with modern beef production and cooking with beef.”
According to Nogan, ANCW’s new “Moms, Millennials and More” program leverages these unique CattleWomen talents to support the cattle industry’s strategic priorities, including activities that will strengthen the image of beef and the beef industry and improve domestic consumer preference for beef. “The program also supports the improvement of industry trust, openness, and relationships,” Nogan said. “Events and tools included in this program will provide moms and Millennials a variety of opportunities for learning about best ways to cook with ground beef, steak, roasts and ready-made beef products,” the newly elected ANCW vice president explained. “Increased confidence in our beef products, coupled with basic cooking knowledge and exciting meal inspirations will ultimately lead to increased beef demand.”
Growing our industry continues to be a challenge in the beef community, according to Nogan. “National beef producers represent two percent of the population,” she added. “Our next generation will only be able to operate if we share our production story and educate others on the importance of beef in maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Educating consumers, legislators and our community on the production measures we need to have in place in order to ensure our sons and daughters will be able to continue to farm and ranch is important.”
Forrest Roberts, NCBA chief executive officer, believes the work of both NCBA and the ANCW is critical to the success and future of the beef community. “We are very proud of the momentum NCBA and the beef industry have right now,” Roberts said. “We have faced a great deal of adversity, created by Mother Nature and other events outside of our control. However, we have come through those challenges of the past few years and learned some important lessons along the way. We are now positioned to put those lessons to work and position our industry for a very bright future. I am very pleased with the direction we are heading and I think we have the opportunity of a lifetime, for perhaps the next five-plus years, to maximize our potential and make this a better industry for every member of the beef community.”
Like the ANCW, Roberts also believes that NCBA must target Millennials. “We face a changing consumer landscape which will require a shift in how we position beef in order to position it as the protein of choice for Millennial consumers,” Roberts explained. “To achieve that goal, we are implementing new digital strategies and other methods to reach Millennials, a generation bigger than the Baby Boomers. They’re shaping their eating and buying habits now and the success of this work will determine the success of the future for beef and beef producers.
“Our ability to position beef in the hearts and minds of consumers at home is only part of the opportunity for the beef community,” Roberts continued. “Consumers overseas are increasingly important and we are focused on continuing to protect and expand market access for U.S. beef in overseas markets. Beef exports have adding $250-plus per head to fed cattle prices and by increasing access in important markets and opening trade in markets which are now closed to U.S. beef, I expect we could see significant growth in that value.”
Other areas of concern facing the cattle industry is increased regulatory challenges in Washington, D.C., and the increasing influence of the activist community trying to put beef producers out of business. With more than 28,000 members, the NCBA and the nearly 2,000 ANCW members will continue to work for the promotion and preservation of the beef community.
“Supplying high quality beef products to consumers, while educating them on the benefits beef offers as the best protein source is what CattleWomen do best,” said Nogan. “We need to be open and honest in explaining our practices and show consumers where they can find the information to make sound decisions when they are making their beef purchases.”
Roberts said NCBA is and always has been, a grassroots membership organization. “We are the strongest national cattle industry and uniquely positioned to represent our members and the beef industry on issues at the local, state and national levels,” he concluded.
CattleWomen meet at National Cattle Convention
by Rebecca Long Chaney