The beef checkoff’s Masters of Beef Advocacy (MBA) program has launched MBA 2.0, an opportunity for beef and dairy producers to step up and be true leaders – 'Agvocates', if you will – for the industry and all of agriculture. Building on the success of the original MBA courses, with nearly 6,000 graduates to date, the program hinges on the importance for consumers to hear directly from those growing and delivering their food to them.

Each course, which has all new content based on consumer research about questions regarding the beef industry and end product, takes about an hour to complete and follows the beef lifecycle:

1. The Beef Community – all about the people involved in producing beef, from pasture to plate.

2. Raising Cattle on Grass – covering the cow/calf and stocker/backgrounder stages of production.

3. Life in the Feedyard – what goes into ensuring cattle receive proper care and a healthy diet in the finishing phase.

4. From Cattle to Beef – how cattle are humanely slaughtered and processed into beef products.

5. Beef. It’s What’s for Dinner. – consumer information about how to properly store, handle and cook beef to ensure a safe and enjoyable eating experience.

“When I started to get asked questions from consumers and groups about how we farm and feed cattle, I was struggling to find answers that I could back up with hard facts, and it felt like I also needed to learn more about other sectors of the industry with which I had little experience,” says Joan Ruskamp, Cattlemen’s Beef Board (CBB) member from Dodge, Neb.

“When I found out about the MBA program, I jumped at the chance to complete the courses. For me, it turned out to be a great teaching tool to help me become an informed advocate – not just for my own family’s benefit, but for the good of the entire industry.

“Since then, I have had the opportunity to talk about beef and the beef industry to everyone from neighbors and friends to large groups of activists. Remember, though, getting your MBA doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to start booking appearances as a traveling speaker,” says Ruskamp. “It also prepares you well for daily conversations that you have or hear, and it gives you the ability to share hard facts and figures that help increase confidence in our end product and our industry. While our personal stories are important in putting a face on our industry, the ability to build trust in farming and ranching – and beef – is greatly enhanced by facts versus opinions and emotions.”

Those individuals who completed the original MBA courses will remain enrolled in the program and can take the 2.0 classes to update their certificate. MBA grads then have the opportunity to join the private Facebook group where they can have interaction and dialogue about emerging industry issues.

Ruskamp and fellow Cattlemen’s Beef Board member Brenda Black of Missouri have challenged every CBB member to join them in completing MBA 2.0.

“I earned my MBA during the initial run of the program and am working on completion of the updated program with all of you who accept this challenge,” says Black. “From my experience, I can tell you that the courses are truly interesting, engaging and informative, which make the quizzes at the end of each section a breeze. And you come away with a clear and useful understanding of issues that are so important to consumers and, as a result, important for us to share with them.”

The MBA program is funded by the beef checkoff and there is no cost to participate. Sign up to start your MBA 2.0 coursework today!

For more information about your beef checkoff investment, visit