My next interview is with Nate Jaeger, the Director of Beef, Hay & Forage Crops and Equine Divisions for the Alabama Farmers Federation. You can follow Nate on Twitter @NateJaeger, find him on facebook at Nathan.Jaeger, or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you will be in Denver in a few weeks for NCBA Convention, you can meet him in person there! I'm very thankful for everything that Nate did to help get YPC off the ground. He's greatly missed. Nate answered my questions as follows:
Describe your involvement in the cattle industry.
I am the Director of the Beef division in the Alabama Farmers Federation, an affiliate of the American Farm Bureau.
Why did you become a member of YPC? Why do you think it is important for other cattle producers to become a member of YPC?
I became a member of YPC so that I could learn how to help advocate more effectively for the beef business. I also was interested in connecting young farmers with older established farmers in a mentor and reverse mentor program.
What do you hope YPC will accomplish in the next year? Next 5 years?
Increase the number of young farmers entering the beef business. Essentially, lower the average age of cattle ranchers!
If you could have coffee with your elected representative in Washington and talk about anything you wanted, what would you say?
Besides college football, I would reassure my representative that farmers in Alabama and beyond are continuing to raise more beef with fewer resources than ever before and that environmental, financial and food safety regulations must be minimized if they are to continue being successful.
If you could spend a day with Michael Pollan what would do with him? What would you say?
If I had a day with Mr. Pollan I probably wouldn’t say much of anything. I would ask as many questions as I could so I could learn why he says what he says. I think there is more to learn from him on a marketing and psychological level than we realize. The man is a brilliant author and an excellent communicator, regardless of what you think of his philosophies on agriculture, we could all take a lesson not about what he says but how he says it.
In your opinion, what is the best way to connect cattle producers to consumers – both in rural and urban areas?
Children. Consumers are not just people they are families and if you can do something meaningful and impactful for their child you will have a “consumer” for life. Farm visits and school field trips are great ways to reach children and their parents.
Do you consider yourself an “agriculture activist?” If so, what type of activities do you partake in?
Yes, I am an activist. I lobby state and federal legislators, I help educate farmers and sometimes consumers but most importantly, I try to AgVocate through my everyday activity and interactions with friends, family and people I meet.
What do you think are the top three issues that affect young cattle producers?
Access to capital and credit
Lack of a business succession plan (estate planning)