Young Ranchers Bring Fresh Ideas to Five Nations Beef Alliance Meeting
By Travis Hoffman and Ben Neale, NCBA Young Producers Council Members
As members of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association’s (NCBA) Young Producers Council (YPC), we recently traveled to Canada to represent NCBA during the Five Nations Beef Alliance (FNBA) meeting as part of the Young Ranchers Program. We were nominated by YPC to share our knowledge and develop relationships with other young ranchers from Canada, Mexico, Australia and New Zealand. Also in attendance were NCBA President J.D. Alexander and NCBA President-Elect Scott George, along with NCBA staff.
The FNBA is represented by the Cattle Council of Australia, Canadian Cattlemen’s Association, Confederación Nacional de Organizaciones Ganaderas, Beef + Lamb New Zealand and NCBA. Together, these organizations represent producers from countries that account for one-third of global beef production and approximately half of global beef exports. In addition to regularly scheduled meetings, FNBA holds a yearly “in person” meeting to discuss global issues facing the beef industry and to develop solutions that allow the five nations to continue competing for global beef demand. Established in 2010, the Young Ranchers Program is part of FNBA. This program attracts participation from young leaders selected from each of the five nations. These young leaders are passionate about the future direction of the beef industry.
The 2012 meeting of FNBA began in Vancouver, British Columbia, and concluded with meetings in Banff, Alberta. Throughout the week we were able to visit diversified Canadian beef operations and were quizzed on different aspects of beef production as part of a week-long competition. FNBA participants were able to network with each other and discuss similar and different viewpoints on beef production such as sustainability, trade, animal identification and food safety. Each of the five nations agreed to a series of action items including a support letter outlining beef industry interests in the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
The most important issues addressed during the meeting were sustainability, and trade and market access for cattle and beef in our global marketplace. FNBA fosters collaboration among trade partners with a shared vision and allows us to develop future strategies to advance science-based and market-driven global beef trade.
It was clear that this meeting viewed by all participants as a success and an important step forward for the global beef industry. From a business perspective the trade issues are integral to our demographic and national industry position in the future. Sustainability discussions covered the environmental, economic and social aspects of sustainability and how it will impact the industry in those areas over the next decades.
We thoroughly enjoyed our active participation in the FNBA meetings, and worked with the other young ranchers to develop their own action items. As young ranchers, the 15 delegates decided to define and outline our viewpoints of global beef sustainability relative to economic, societal and environmental considerations. We also agreed to use various social media venues to continue to promote our beef story to global consumers.
We returned from Canada energized and eager to build on this experience by becoming more involved in the beef industry. We look forward to working with NCBA and state affiliates to utilize the information and relationships gathered and built at FNBA to further improve the industry for those that are entering in the next few decades.
For those interested in FNBA’s Young Ranchers Program, we urge you to get involved through NCBA's YPC. One of the established goals of YPC as an organization is to facilitiate participation of the younger demographic in industry meetings such as the FNBA to hear their ideas and opinions. There is no better time to get involved in our industry organizations than now. The Young Rancher’s Program provides young producers with the chance to be at the table at international policy discussions to gain a strong understanding of the business climate. America’s young ranchers need to be included in the dialogue about decisions that will affect our future.
Also, NCBA’s YPC is an important tool in fostering development of future beef industry leaders who will determine the course of our industry for future generations. For more information on how to get involved please visit NCBA’s website