Western South Dakota's Only Ranch Station

Learn how to advocate for beef through Trailblazers program

Shay Koester Podcast
Shaye Koester of North Dakota is a 'Trailblazer' who now produces her own podcast, "Casual Cattle Conversations."

DENVER, CO- The Beef Checkoff-funded Trailblazers program is seeking applications for its next class of beef advocates. Trailblazers, developed by the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA), a contractor to the Beef Checkoff, takes advocacy to the next level by giving participants the tools and training they need to promote beef to new audiences while addressing and correcting myths.

“Trailblazers develops the next generation of beef advocates through a highly engaging and interactive program,” said Chandler Mulvaney, director of grassroots advocacy & spokesperson development at NCBA. “Our goal is to empower the beef community to share their stories, which ultimately helps safeguard the work of cattle farmers and ranchers across the country.”

Trailblazers is looking for new spokespeople to participate in a year-long hands-on program designed to train, equip and empower beef advocates. Selected candidates receive training to become expert communicators, excel in media interviews and understand how to build confidence in beef related practices when talking to consumers.

Each year, 10 new Trailblazers are selected to create a tight-knit community that works together to find solutions to social and practical issues impacting the beef community. Throughout the year, Trailblazers receive advanced in-person and virtual training from subject matter experts, learning how to effectively engage on various social media platforms, interact with the media, and enhance public speaking skills. Upon completion of the program, Trailblazers serve as industry spokespeople and inform beef advocates at the local and state levels on advocacy, media and spokesperson best practices.

Among Trailblazer participants is Shaye Koester, a fifth-generation rancher on her family’s commercial cow calf and registered operation, Koester Red Angus, near Steele, North Dakota. “The Trailblazers program increased my confidence to share the truth about beef in my own unique way while providing the resources, experiences and network to do so. This professional, yet fun program is like no other.” Koester now hosts “Casual Cattle Conversations,” a podcast that has grown into a growing global rancher education business.

“Through extensive training, professional development, and equipping our Trailblazers with the tools needed, we are actively building a network of grassroots advocates across the country that will work together to find solutions to social and practical issues impacting the beef industry,” said Mulvaney.

Applications will be accepted through December 30 and selected participants will be notified mid-January. Applicants must be 21 years of age, have completed their Masters of Beef Advocacy certification, and provide at least two references with their online application. To apply, visit the website and for more information, contact Chandler Mulvaney at cmulvaney@beef.org.

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Margaret Sumption was recognized by SDFU for her service to rural youth as a volunteer, with the esteemed Minnie Lovinger Award. Sumption is pictured here with Aeriel Eitreim (left) Senior Advisory Council member from Sioux Falls and Cadence Konechne, (right) Jr. Junior Advisory Council member from Kimball.


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