Bridging the Gap: Ellen hasn't called but the message is getting out
If you have been on social media lately, you might have seen my open letter to Ellen DeGeneres that I penned for BEEF Magazine after her Instagram video encouraging people to #BeNeatEatLessMeat.
In just a few short weeks, the letter has been read hundreds of thousands and times and garnered millions of impressions on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
I wasn't anticipating such a huge response when I clicked, "publish," on my blog spot, but the resulting fire storm of media requests, kind messages from the agricultural community and vegan activists threatening to kill me in the name of compassion for animals made for a wild and crazy couple of weeks.
You see, in my letter, I tried to share the facts with Ellen about meat production. I don't mind that the talk show host eats differently than I do; In fact, I believe in freedom of food choices. We don't live in a nanny state, so sin taxes and government directives on our diets are of no interest to me.
What frustrated me about Ellen's video was that it was full of misinformation. It was my intent, that if she would allow me to be on her show, I would share the true story about animal welfare, the environment and beef nutrition — which are values that both myself and Ellen care about.
I pictured me dancing on her stage, passing out copies of my children's books, "Levi's Lost Calf" and "Can-Do Cowkids" to the audience and settling in her cushy white chair to talk about my passions — ranch life and eating beef!
Yet, I fully realize it was a long shot. Reality came crashing down upon me when I saw a sponsored segment on her show featuring a plant-based "burger" company.
So, no, I doubt Ellen will call me, but that's OK! I'm at peace with it, and here's why.
Through more than 20 media interviews (with more coming in every day), I've been able to share our agricultural story with a wide audience across the nation and even around the world.
In these interviews, I've been able to share facts about beef nutrition. I've been able to spread the truth about the erroneous cattle and climate link. I've talked about the circle of life and how we respectfully harvest these animals to nourish people and the planet!
I've shared stories about the challenges facing the ranching community right now, ranging from low commodity prices to volatile market extremes to ongoing trade wars and an uncertain future.
And I've highlighted the great organizations in agriculture who are doing good things to help mankind (shoutout to the All-American Beef Battalion, South Dakota Cattlemen's Foundation and Cowboys Who Care Foundation, just to name a few).
It's been my intention that through these interviews, people would not only be more informed about beef, but they would also know the heart of who we truly are in rural America.
And through it all, the agricultural community has rallied around me, and for that, I'm incredibly grateful! In my next column, I will share some lessons learned and strategies for how we can be the best advocates possible. In the meantime, I'll rework the words of Ellen and say, "Be neat. Let's eat meat!"