Members of the Kansas beef community recently attended the ninth National Top of the Class training held in Denver, Colorado, with other advocates from California, Florida, Idaho, Nebraska, North Carolina and Wisconsin.
Participants took a deep dive into beef industry hot topics, including nutrition, sustainability and animal care, during the three-day, checkoff-funded workshop. Additional sessions included advanced social media and communication strategies where participants honed their ability to connect with consumers and generate strategic, pro-beef messages.
Three of the nine participants selected for training were from Kansas: Jessalyn Strahm, Sabetha, Wrenn Pacheco, Alma, and Anna Curry from Madison. Pacheco and Curry are also alumni of the Kansas Top of the Class Advanced Beef Advocacy program, a collaborative effort of the Kansas Beef Council and the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, a sub-contractor to the Beef Checkoff.
The training “did an outstanding job giving beef advocates a well-rounded view of the industry, discussing topics such as beef sustainability, beef nutrition, and animal welfare,” said Strahm. The workshop also equipped producers with essential strategies and tactics required to engage in public dialogue. Pacheco said the class “has given me more tools to share the reasons why we do things the way we do in our operation.”
“Advocating for our industry can be a daunting task,” said Curry. “It … rarely, if ever, pays the bills … It is our hope, however, that these collective advocating efforts will pay dividends in the long run and allow our lifestyle and traditions to continue for future generations.”
TOTC alumni are utilized as both national and state advocates and spokespeople throughout the year. Since its inception, over 49 advocates have become part of the TOTC program, representing many sectors of the beef community.