Young Producers' Council wants to energize the emerging generation

By TIM HEARDEN

Capital Press

The emerging generation of cattle producers is bringing the beef industry into the digital age.

The National Cattlemen's Beef Association's Young Producers' Council has launched a blog and Facebook page to get people from college to their mid-30s more involved in industry issues.

Cari Rincker, 29 and a Shelbyville, Ill., cattle producer and agriculture attorney who leads the council's public relations committee, said there are already more than 1,000 people linked to the Facebook page and a dozen contributors have signed up to blog.

"NCBA has more than 30,000 members and the average NCBA member is about 60 years old," Rincker said. "The goal of YPC is ultimately to get more young people involved with NCBA so they can help shape NCBA policies.

"Young people are certainly a big part of the beef industry, yet they seem to not have a lot of a voice right now," she said. "We're quickly becoming a social media world. The blogosphere is a great way for young beef producers to get their stories out to the public."

The more than 110-year-old NCBA, which is funded by member contributions and checkoff dollars, promotes beef and advocates for the industry. Its Young Producers' Council has about 150 members, although more young people are involved in their state organizations.

"A lot of state affiliations are jumping on this YPC perspective to try to get more young people involved," Rincker said. "You're seeing state affiliations develop their own young producers' councils."

The new NCBA blog, titled Cattle Call, was launched on Sept. 22 and has featured producers' introductions of how they got into the industry and why they wanted to participate in the blog. Future posts could range from observations about the bloggers' daily lives to specific policy concerns, said Rincker, who is the blog's editor.

"The blog is going to touch upon issues that are relevant to young producers," she said.

Among the writers is Blair Hunewill, a sixth-generation rancher from California who authored the blog's first post.

"The purpose of this blog is to discuss current issues that we feel are important to the cattle industry and of particular importance to America's young producers," Hunewill wrote.

Hunewill and Washington state's Jenna Feusener join other writers from across the country in contributing to the blog, which was the result of idea-sharing discussions during the NCBA's summer conference in July.

The young producers' group is open to NCBA members between the ages of 18 and 35. The group takes part in policy committees, professional development and leadership training, networking, continuing education and other activities.

Staff writer Tim Hearden is based in Shasta Lake. E-mail: thearden@capitalpress.com.

Online

To read the new Cattle Call blog, visit http://ypcblog.beefusa.org.

For more information about the NCBA's Young Producers' Council, visit www.beefusa.org/ypc.

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