Business Food Travel

Just Me Stephanie (for you, mom!)

December 7, 2022

We thought it would be fun for you to hear more from the rest of us so we talked Kate into these takeovers! I get to go first because I HAVE to make amends for that terrible photo she shared of us getting those fabulous donuts in Vermont a few weeks ago! For the record, I was trying not to look down at the donuts while looking at the camera and blinking and being tired and having allergies and just drove a long way and … well you get it … so yes, I’m a foodie with Kate. We have been known to take down the lion’s share of a 2.5-pound bag of candy corn without much help from the others in the office. I’m also responsible for heading up our outreach and advertising efforts for the Clips. So when someone from the MAC team was invited to an Ag Trade Media Summit with the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, I was all in!

I flew out of Albany across the country to Denver. That night, I joined a group of other media professionals for a delicious beef dinner at the NCBA office. Chef Alex Reitz prepared the best ribeye I have ever had, accompanied by seasoned asparagus and potatoes and chased with an amazing fruit tart.

The next morning, we returned to the NCBA office for the day-long summit hosted by NCBA, who is a contractor to the Beef Checkoff. NCBA invited media professionals from across the country to their headquarters in Colorado to tell us about the work they continue to do for both beef producers and consumers.

We started the day learning about the Federation of State Beef Councils and how they collaborate and pool resources between beef-heavy states (like Iowa) and beef-poor states (like New York).

Then they walked us through the tools and processes at work through their extensive research arm, which covers beef quality, pre-harvest beef safety, human nutrition, and sustainability. All of that work is available to the public at – a transparent answer to the question of where checkoff dollars go. Next we dove into consumer insights: everything from behaviors to eating experience and nutrition to convenience, versatility, and price to information about where beef is raised and grown. There has been extensive research by another group about product quality, including extensive research into beef freezing and thawing as well as beef’s competition with plant-based alternatives.

Then we shifted gears to learn how the marketing team uses all that research and data as a foundation for the Beef: It’s What’s for Dinner campaign. The marketing work done is impressive, although it reminded me to keep going back to the basics. Remember demand drivers, create compelling content, build brand awareness, create a memorable [eating] experience, talk about all of the [nutritional] benefits, and, importantly, reach consumers everywhere they get their information so you’re always top of mind. There was a compelling discussion about building and protecting beef’s reputation, and then we broke for lunch – beef fajitas!

After lunch there were updates from the Cattlemen’s Beef Board and Beef Quality Assurance Transportation. The afternoon wrapped up with a couple of panel discussions: one on advocacy by brand ambassadors and another showcasing the partnership among states in the Federation.

The day started with a quote, which I’ll paraphrase: Don’t teach people more things – teach people deeper things. NCBA took the time to update me and my media colleagues on the goings-on in their world, giving us just that: a deeper understanding of what’s happening in this segment of ag.

The whole trip was valuable, and I especially appreciated connecting with some partners in ag media from across the country. We’re all busy trying to share the stories of the ag industry, whether it’s via email, in print, on the radio, or some combination of those vehicles. We always appreciate when you offer to TELL your story and SHOW your story for those who aren’t on the farm or the ranch with you everyday. Shameless plug: if your commodity group is planning a similar type of media event, let me know – I’d love to be a part of it!

–Stephanie Kelly