My best friend in the whole entire world is my complete opposite. Her name is Natalie. Where she loves music, I love agriculture. Her favorite pastime is reading a good book and drinking a soy light mocha cappuccino in a downtown café in New York City. Meanwhile, my favorite past time is attending cattle shows or visiting about our bulls with our customers. She is a city girl, and I am not. She avoids meat and dairy products, and I obviously do not! She is a misinformed consumer, and I am her teacher.
Natalie is a dedicated long distance runner and is always looking for new ways to improve her health. She gave up beef for a while because she decided that it just wasn’t a healthy addition to her diet. Obviously, being a friend to a National Beef Ambassador and a cattle rancher, this omission in her diet didn’t last long. I taught her about beef as a complete protein offering all amino acids essential to a healthy diet. I taught her about the 29 lean cuts of beef. I showed her that a 3-ounce serving of lean beef only has 1 more gram of saturated fat than a skinless chicken breast. In other words, she learned to like beef, a lot.
As Natalie learned more about beef, she started enjoying her many beef options. My phone would dial to hear her gushing about the roast beef sub sandwich she had tried or the great burger she had eaten that day. Through Natalie, I realized that it is so important to connect with the consumer and give them the facts about their food choices. In a wave of animal rights activists feeding the media with faulty information about agriculture products, it is more important than ever to tell our side of the story. All it takes is a connection between a producer to a consumer to make a positive difference.
In one of her many moves across the country, Natalie hit up New Jersey to finish her English degree and work as a nanny for an incredibly wealthy family. Her newest adventure has been a great hurdle for this learning advocate for the beef industry. Her family is completely disconnected from agriculture, and they select their foods based on new trends. Their coffee beans are shipped in, all natural, from Hawaii. Their fruit and vegetables are ordered online, directly from the producer. Their breads, cereals, milk, and meat are all certified organic. They don’t consider chicken and turkey meat, just beef. As a result, this family doesn’t eat beef. They will not touch a product that hasn’t been labeled with such a claim. In Natalie’s first months as a nanny, she would call me and describe these food choices that her family was making. Then something striking happened, Natalie became a consumer advocate for the beef industry.
She taught them about how beef cattle are raised. She taught them beef nutrition facts. She even asked me questions about beef to double-check her facts, so she could pass those facts onto her family. Soon, her new family began trying beef. I can’t even describe to you the pride I feel in Natalie for serving as a consumer advocate for beef. From one enthusiast to another, the demand for beef grows as America’s love affair with a sizzling steak spreads across the country. Let us never forget the importance of telling the agriculture production story.