Masters of Beef Advocacy program reaches 20,000 graduates

OKLAHOMA CITY —­ The Masters of Beef Advocacy (MBA) program hit 20,000 graduates this week with Oklahoma represented as the leading state in the nation for graduates. Created in 2009, the MBA program is a free, self-guided online course that provides members of the beef community ­ from farmers and ranchers to students, supply chain members and consumers with the tools and resources needed to become a strong advocate for the beef community.

"We have championed the MBA program in Oklahoma since it launched and we are grateful to all the Oklahoma MBA graduates," said Heather Buckmaster, OBC executive director. "The MBA program empowers cattle producers to share their stories in a way that resonates with consumers."

One of the biggest partnerships for MBA here in Oklahoma is the FFA program. This partnership provides an incentive for FFA educators for incorporating MBA into their classroom instruction.

"Helping FFA students learn how to talk about beef production through the MBA program is important as it sets them up for a lifetime of potential beef advocacy," Buckmaster said.

Last year was a big year for the MBA program, and the launch of MBA NextGen brought forth much of the success and continued growth of the program.

NextGen, which was launched in January, updated training modules, splitting the course into five online lessons:

• The beef community. ­Context of raising beef from pasture to plate with a focus on the community of people involved throughout the beef lifecycle.

• Raising cattle on grass. ­An introduction to the first step in the beef lifecycle and the many benefits of raising cattle on our country's vast grass pasture resources.

• Life in the feed yard.­ A discussion on the role of feed yards, including animal care, nutrition and environmental stewardship, at this important step in the beef lifecycle.

• From cattle to beef.­ An in-depth look at the slaughter process and the humane handling and safety measures in place at today's beef processing facilities.

• Beef. It's what's for dinner. ­A primer on choosing and cooking the right cuts of beef and the important role of beef in a healthful diet.

The updated training modules make it easy for a new generation of farmers and ranchers to learn about the beef industry and answer tough questions about beef and raising cattle.

After completing the course, MBA graduates can remain involved in the growing community with monthly newsletters and access to a variety of resources and additional lessons of beef's nutrition, sustainability, and animal welfare. Graduates can also join the program's Facebook community where updates are given on the latest consumer trends.

Anyone interested in learning about beef's journey from pasture to plate is invited to enroll today.

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