Sept. 19, 2008 -- Providing an opportunity for young people to be more involved in the future of the beef industry, the National Cattlemen's Beef Association (NCBA) has created the Young Producers' Council (YPC). The YPC encourages NCBA members from ages 18 to 35 to be involved on policy committees, interact with other young producers, enhance their leadership abilities, further their professional development and take advantage of regular NCBA benefits. Membership in the YPC is free to NCBA members.
The YPC was authorized through interim policy passed in July by NCBA Policy Division board members at the Cattle Industry Summer Conference. Surveys conducted earlier in the year showed strong enthusiasm for such a council, and suggested that young people wanted more involvement in the workings of the organization, including a strong voice in policy decisions.
“We need to create opportunities to develop leadership skills in our young people,” says Andy Groseta, a beef producer from Cottonwood, Ariz., and NCBA president. “They are the future of the cattle industry, and they are definitely the future of the National Cattlemen's Beef Association.”
Groseta says it's critical that young people understand and have input in beef industry decisions so they can direct the future of the industry. This new council will help engage these individuals and create an investment in their NCBA futures.
Specific structure and leadership of the YPC will be driven by those who join the council, with officers, activities and actions voted on by its members. The council will be allowed to select an individual to represent them on each NCBA policy committee. Every YPC member will also be an NCBA member, and enjoy all the benefits of membership.
More than 200 young people were surveyed online about possible involvement in this kind of program. About 90 percent of them said they had an opinion about current NCBA policy, but of those about a third didn't feel they had an outlet for that opinion. The YPC will be allowed to bring policy resolutions and other ideas to the appropriate committees or subcommittees. YPC members will be seated, voting members of Policy Division committees.
Members will meet during or in conjunction with the Annual Cattle Industry Convention and the Summer Conference. Activities of the YPC will be funded through corporate sponsorships or by fee-for-service.
According to NCBA member Trent Fredenburg, a beef producer from Greenfield, Ind., the YPC presents a true value for young producers, the NCBA and the beef industry.
“The Council is giving young producers more of a sense of belonging and a greater voice within the industry,” Fredenburg says. “That's a benefit not only to that producer and to our generation of producers, but to the industry.”
Fredenburg, who is a member of the YPC, points out young producers sometimes use communications techniques that are different than those used by generations in the past, including the Internet and other electronic technology. In fact, a group has been created on the social networking site Facebook for young beef producers, and more than 675 producers have already become members of that group.
NCBA President Groseta believes creating the YPC is the right step for the NCBA. “These young people are passionate about this industry, but don't always have an outlet for that passion,” says Groseta. “The YPC gives them this outlet. It also helps provides a platform for their point of view, and prepares them to lead our organization and our industry.”
For more information about involvement in the Young Producers' Council, visit www.BeefUSA.org/ypc.