Shelli Mader: Road to Ranching 4-16-12 |

Shelli Mader: Road to Ranching 4-16-12

For the last few months I’ve been working on my Master’s of Beef Advocacy (MBA) – a “degree” program from the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association. The MBA course is a free online class designed to equip beef producers and others interested in beef with information about industry so that they can answer consumer’s questions.

The course is broken up into six parts. Each session is self-directed includes an informative narrated slide presentation, a few easy essay questions and a short multiple-choice quiz. Sessions include information about: modern beef production, animal care, beef safety, beef nutrition, environmental stewardship and the Beef Checkoff.

You can take as long as you want to complete the course. You do it in short segments over a period of months, or be like me, the procrastinator and complete it all in about six hours in one day-long session right before a local commencement ceremony (I do not recommend this). Most beef producers will know a lot of the information presented (and the course even tells participants that they may know a lot of it already) but it was still filled with statistics and research that was valuable to hear about.

After participants complete the course (passing the multiple choice questions with at least a 70 percent) they are invited to a local commencement ceremony where they learn more about the beef community. The commencement isn’t required, but it’s another great learning opportunity. Course graduates also get to be part of the Masters of Beef Advocacy Alumni Association – a website devoted to helping graduates share the story of beef. The site is a place to “meet” other graduates, see the latest research about beef, find opportunities to share beef information and get beef information fact sheets. 

Any beef producers or others with a genuine interest in promoting the beef industry can enroll. The program is funded by the beef check off (the $1 per head fee from every head of cattle sold) and is absolutely free to take.

I highly recommend the course. The slideshow was professionally done and enjoyable. I especially like learning about the differences between grass-fed, organic and conventionally raised beef. I seem to hang out with a lot of “all natural” friends and it was great to get more info about how to talk with them about modern beef production. I hope to be a part of the beef industry someday and the course made me realize just how important it is to promote this industry I care about. I will definitely be sharing more about beef in my blog!

For more information to about how to earn your MBA call the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association at (303) 694-0305 or visit

You can follow Shelli on her blog at

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