Promote beef, thank a soldier
By: Amanda Nolz
Farmers and ranchers share many core values: hard work, honesty, integrity, dedication, determination and a love for the land that they call home. These same values are shared by the service men and women who make great sacrifices to protect American citizens and the freedoms they enjoy. In fact, many of those who grew up as farm kids down the gravel road are also the same ones who stand up proudly to serve this country.
That’s why the All-American Beef Battalion (AABB) makes such a harmonious charity, working as a combination of beef promoters and military supporters. The group works to thank soldiers by serving them with a steak feed either at their deployment or upon their return from duty. With thousands of steaks served already, the AABB is finally catching the attention of commodity groups in the agriculture industry, who are recognizing what a great service the AABB is providing to both agriculture and the military.
Two commodity groups in Colorado, the Colorado Corn Growers and the Colorado Livestock Association, are among those who have recognized this charity as a worthy cause and in 2009 donated $5,000 each to the AABB. This year, they have doubled their donation to $10,000. Mark Sponsler, staff member for the Colorado Corn Growers, and Bill Hammerich, Chief Executive Officer for the Colorado Livestock Association, shared why they support this group and extend their invitation for other agriculture groups across the country to join them.
“The AABB gives us a way to give back on two levels,” explained Sponsler, who represents corn farmers. “The first is we want to show our appreciation to the men and women who serve our country, as they give us the opportunity to continue to enjoy our freedoms and do our business here. The second reason is because we hope to help promote beef consumption through these events. We recognize that the livestock industry is so critically important to corn growers. They will always be our primary customers. By helping promote beef, we help the industry as a whole.”
“As an organization, we are always looking to be part of something a little bit bigger, and the AABB is it,” said Hammerich, who represents livestock producers. “We have had a great relationship with the corn growers over the years, and we were happy to match their generous donation for this cause. This is something our members have whole heartedly supported. It’s both a patriotic statement and a promotion of our beef products. It’s great!”
Hammerich and Sponsler agreed that the AABB is a great tribute to the men and women in the armed forces. Because agriculture is such a patriotic group, it seems only appropriate to express thanks and gratitude for the sacrifices the troops have made, they agreed.
“The merits of the AABB are very tangible,” explained Sponsler. “This is a face-to-face way to say thank you to the troops. It’s truly an awarding experience to serve those who serve us. It’s an experience most people would never forget. I invite other agriculture groups and families to join us in our support of this charity.”
“Every organization has different financial abilities,” said Hammerich. “No matter how big or small, the support can be monetary, or volunteers at the event, or simply helping to spread the word. The opportunity to support this effort is wide open. Whether it’s a $10 gift or a $10,000 one, that money can help give a steak to a soldier. It’s a great cause; words just can’t describe it.”
Both Hammerich and Sponsler urged other producer groups to take note of the great work the AABB has already done to help promote beef and thank the troops.
The AABB is the vision of Bill Broadie of Ashland, KS. Bill is a fourth generation cattle man who also served with the 3rd Marine division in Vietnam in 1967.
“It’s a privilege for me to be able to show our gratitude for the great service our troops do for this country through steak feeds,” said Broadie. “However, despite our many donors, the demand from the troops is outrunning the donations coming in. We need all the support we can get. Commodity groups across the country can make a huge difference to help this cause.”
For more information on the AABB, check out www.steaksfortroops.com. It’s time for agriculture to unite, said Broadie. As always, the values of the troops and those of the American rancher stay the same. Now it’s time to combine the two to create a truly remarkable campaign for agriculture and America.