Springs, Colo., Dec. 2006 -- As the Beefmobiles roll out for a fourth year on the road, two new "Wranglers" are at the helm to help beef and dairy producers to better understand how their beef checkoff dollars are being spent.
Stephanie Ausfahl and Craig Hamilton, both well-versed in the livestock industry with firsthand experience as beef producers, are taking their industry involvement to new levels as they marshal the Beefmobiles - mini-vans emblazoned with mouth-watering images of sizzling beef, across the United States. They join veteran Wrangler Tracey Orsburn, who is starting her third year with the Beefmobile program, now serving as project coordinator.
The three undertake the lofty task of visiting more than 250 livestock marketing facilities and beef events and 10 consumer venues. At each location, the checkoff-funded Beefmobiles and their Wranglers reach out to producers throughout the country to provide information - and solicit input - about the Beef Checkoff Program.
Ausfahl is a third-generation Colorado rancher who owns and operates the Ausfahl Angus Ranch and R & S Fencing Company, both in Simla, Colorado. She also spent several years working at the National Western Stock Show, managing various livestock shows and aspects of the event, and previously worked at Centennial Livestock Auction in Fort Collins, Colorado. Stephanie graduated from Colorado State University (CSU) in 1994 with a bachelor's degree in Equine Sciences, Industry Concentration.
Ausfahl's friend and business partner, Renee Kallio, is watching over the herd so Ausfahl can work with the Beefmobile and the hectic travel schedule that goes with it.
"I was attracted to the position of Beefmobile Wrangler because I thought it would be an opportunity to travel and to visit with producers all across the country," she said. "I want to hear what their concerns are with the beef industry, especially those that might be different than the concerns of producers in Colorado."
Craig Hamilton has more than 20 years of experience managing large ranches from Texas to Kansas. His jobs ranged from managing employees, handling sales and purchasing livestock and livestock products. After graduating from Kansas State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture, Hamilton built up his own cow herd and regularly attended livestock auctions and production sales. He spent time as director for the Kansas Livestock Association and was charged with increasing membership and keeping local members informed about legislative and economic changes in the livestock industry.
Hamilton said he is excited to have the chance to represent the Beef Board and the checkoff program.
"The Beefmobile Wrangler position caught my attention because of the chance to meet and visit with beef producers from across the country about their checkoff investment. This opportunity of traveling and visiting with beef producers about the beef industry is a great opportunity," Hamilton said.
Created to provide information about beef and the checkoff's $1-per-head assessment to producers and consumers, the Beefmobile program has made more than 450 stops in 43 states since attending its first event in January 2004 - mostly at livestock auctions, but also at conventions, meetings, tours, and stock shows. In its first year out, the Beefmobile attended 100 events with one "Wrangler;" last year, two Beefmobiles attended 250 events with three wranglers - a task the program will repeat in Fiscal 2007.
During the current year, the Beefmobile is funded with a total of $350,000 in checkoff revenue - $280,000 from the Cattlemen's Beef Board and $70,000 from the Federation of State Beef Councils. The Federation also funded $15,000 to conduct 10 consumer events, where requested by state beef councils.
In addition to new Wranglers, the Beefmobile project is changing its routine a bit by honing its educational focus, Orsburn said. The Beefmobile project has always addressed the six areas where beef checkoff dollars can be used according to the Beef Act and Order: promotion, research, consumer information, industry information, foreign marketing and producer communications. This year, however, the Wranglers will more specifically address four checkoff-funded program areas that provide solid examples of producers' checkoff investments.
"In FY2007, we have created checkoff information displays that are project-specific and more eye-catching," Orsburn said. "The Beefmobile Wrangler presentation from the auction block will correlate with the displays featured at the Beefmobile event. State beef councils will have the opportunity to select from four different topics to cater to the needs of producers in their respective states. The four project areas being highlighted are Beef Quality Assurance, Dairy Beef Quality Assurance, promotions, and new product Development. There will also be a display that features general checkoff information to explain the structure and the types of areas that checkoff dollars can be used."
The Beefmobile program is coordinated on behalf of the Cattlemen's Beef Board by the National Livestock Producers Association (NLPA), which is one of the Beef Board's contractors for beef checkoff-funded programs. For more information about the Beefmobile visit www.Beefmobile.com. To schedule an event, please contact Tracey Orsburn or Scharee Atchison in the NLPA office at 1-800-237-7193.