How did you become involved in the industry? I grew up around beef cattle. Dad had been building a beef herd since the 1980s, prior to selling the dairy cows in 1995. On a family farm, you get started at a pretty young age – I remember driving a tractor down the road at age 11 and having a sheriff deputy pull up behind me, and being scared I would get pulled over because I didn’t have my tractor safety card yet. After high school, I attended Iowa State University, majoring in Animal Science. I have held an off-farm job since graduation, working for both Elanco and Diamond V.
What does the WBC mission mean to you – ‘To Build Demand for Beef that is Sustainable for Future Generations’? The work of the WBC helps build consumer trust and confidence in our product. Without the trust of consumers and their willingness to purchase beef, there is no reason for me to raise cattle. Consumers vote with their purchasing dollars, and the council works to build confidence in those dollars going to beef. We are focused on the long haul so that someday my children will be raising beef and selling to those same consumers I currently do.
Favorite thing about being a WBC board member: I enjoy the comradery of the board – we have great meetings, and everyone is willing to speak up and share their opinion. I am fully confident we get the most out of every Checkoff dollar that is paid in by producers. We have a great staff, and I enjoy seeing the hard work they put in every day pay off.
What WBC program area do you feel is important to growing demand for beef and why: The social media marketing efforts of WBC are critical. As cattle producers, we are not always super savvy on social media. I am sure glad we have the talented staff of WBC representing WI beef.
If you could tell your friends one key thing about the Beef Checkoff, what would it be? Every dollar is accounted for and well managed financially. From the auditing process, through program approval, and staff management – your dollars are stretched as far as we can to get the most value. Having served on the WBC Board, I clearly see how the $1 investment is turned into a nearly $13 return each time we meet.
Favorite thing about the agricultural industry: The connections with others across the industry are extremely valuable to me. I have had the opportunity to meet cattle producers and industry people from across the nation, and always enjoy catching up with them at events throughout the year.
Favorite piece of advice you’ve ever received: “Get on top of the pile, and don’t you ever let anyone knock you off” – Great Grandpa Art Zuck