Website debunks criticism of beef
Proponents take to social media to spread word on nutrition, safety
By CAROL RYAN DUMAS
The National Cattlemen's Beef Association is developing a website to combat what it says are myths surrounding beef and beef production.
Alethea Prewett, NCBA's manager of issues information and response, said FactsAboutBeef.com addresses such concerns as beef production's effects on the environment, food safety, nutrition and animal welfare.
"We started the Facts About Beef website to debunk common myths about beef and beef production and how we raise beef," she said.
The website debuted in July with a soft launch aimed at beef producers, NCBA's internal leadership and state beef councils, she said.
NCBA is still developing the site. It's now being used to train its membership to respond to misinformation and concerns, but eventually the goal is for the site to become a consumer resource, Prewett said.
"We're still trying to build following in our community ... giving them the resources to share with consumers," she said.
Prewett and her staff use social media such as Twitter and Facebook to follow trends and news stories regarding beef and address the issues being discussed in a timely manner, she said.
"We can get down to what people are talking about and the context. It's helpful in crafting responses," she said.
In tracking issues and news reports, NCBA's social response and monitoring team decides whether it would be beneficial to address current topics on the site. The criteria for responding are whether a response would have a positive effect, correct misinformation, open minds, engage people, or direct them to additional information.
The website does not respond to extremists, activists or beef viewpoints NCBA does not agree with, she said.
Prewett encouraged Idaho Cattle Association members to become familiar with the site and find ways to get involved in social media to tell their story and promote beef.
"You are the most reputable people to speak about beef," she said.
She also encouraged producers to participate in NCBA's Masters of Beef Advocacy program. It is a self-directed online training program designed to equip beef producers and industry allies with the information they need to be advocates for the beef industry.
Facts About Beef: www.FactsAboutBeef.com
Masters of Beef Advocacy: www.beef.org