Wednesday, December 08, 2010

New 'MBA' spreads a positive beef image

Some agriculture college students across the country are earning their MBA's, but it's not a Masters of Business Administration. Those students are completing a Masters of Beef Advocacy. The industry-funded online program is designed to train college students and others in the agriculture industry to fight back against critics of big agri-business, Wes Enzinna reports for Mother Jones. The MBA's "focus has really become young people on the big land-grant campuses," from which more than one-fifth of future farmers and industry leaders will emerge, Daren Williams, the communications director for the National Cattlemen's Beef Association, said.

"Since its launch in March 2009, the MBA has trained nearly 3,000 students and farmers to spread the 'positive beef message,' offering online lessons on how to combat PETA and organizing a Twitter and Facebook 'Food Fight' against its 'campus critics,'" Enzinna writes. Among the biggest targets of the MBA program is journalist and author Michael Pollan, whose books about the food industry were assigned to over 35,000 college students last year, Enzinna reports. "Some of what you are hearing is organic, grassroots debate — they have different opinions about agriculture and beef production — and that's good for a democracy," Pollan told Enzinna before noting he was wary of the interests behind the campaign.

Carrin Flores, a graduate student in veterinary medicine at Washington State University-Pullman, told Enzinna that the MBA program was not just a public relations campaign for big-agriculture. "We're not Astroturf," she said. "We're just worried about our futures in agriculture." Crystal Young, a recent graduate of Kansas State University, where she received degrees in animal science and journalism, added, "We know the environment is in crisis and we don't want to contribute to that, but we're also farmers, so the hard thing for us is to take into account all the criticisms of conventional agriculture, and to also continue to feed the world on the scale we are doing now." (Read more)

1 comment:

mba abroad said...

Very interesting progress of the agriculture industry.

Thanks for sharing!