Since its launch in March 2009, the MBA has trained nearly 3,000 students and farmers to spread the "positive beef message," offering online lessons on how to combat PETA and organizing a Twitter and Facebook "Food Fight" against its "campus critics." Daren Williams, the communications director for the National Cattlemen's Beef Association, helped start the MBA with $240,000 from the Beef Checkoff program, the beef industry's PR wing. He says the MBA's "focus has really become young people on the big land-grant campuses," from which more than one-fifth of future farmers and industry leaders will emerge.
The MBA is just one part of a pro-beef backlash on campus. In May 2009, Washington State's president canceled a lecture by [Michael] Pollan, citing budget cuts, and pulled The Omnivore's Dilemma from the freshman reading list. (The talk was rescheduled when a wealthy supporter stepped in to pay Pollan's way.) That September, when Pollan was asked to speak at California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, the owner of Harris Ranch—a stockyard critics have dubbed "Cowschwitz"—threatened to withhold (PDF) a $500,000 donation to the school. Campus officials turned the speech into a panel featuring a proponent of conventional beef.
Read the full story at Mother Jones.