Within the livestock industry, there are a myriad of trade associations you could be a part of; however, you may be on the fence as to whether or not the investment will pay off. Regardless of whether they are national associations or breed/state specific, trade associations work hard to serve their members and keep them in business. Being that they offer a variety of member benefits that are both tangible and non-tangible, it can be difficult to evaluate what you’re actually receiving or gaining access to from your membership fees.
Each association offers unique member benefits; however, the general benefits each type of association offers are summarized below.
The main objective of any breed association is to promote the breed’s unique traits to the industry and, in turn, increase the breed’s marketing potential. Breed associations may develop specific certified programs and incentives to further promote interest in the breed or generate campaigns that highlight defining breed traits. This is great news for breeders as they have a larger voice advocating for their cattle and driving demand for the breed among fellow breeders and beyond.
Breed associations also provide educational services, keeping members up-to-date with breed and industry-specific news, as well as aiding in recordkeeping, breeding selection and other operation-related decisions. As a member of a breed association, you have the opportunity to network with other breeders to share experiences and build contacts that can serve as great resources and even provide you with new buyers. There’s also the opportunity for further increasing your brand awareness by taking part in breed-specific shows and advertising in the breed publication.
State and National Trade Associations
State and national associations are also interested in keeping their members in business and providing them the resources they need to thrive. This is most often done by their ability to serve as a regulatory voice for the industry. From animal welfare to trucking laws, these associations are the producer’s voice in both regulatory and legislative affairs.
Some associations offer unique services such as access to cattle-specific, members-only insurance products, animal and agricultural theft protection, legal consultation, Beef Quality Assurance training and market reporting services. These groups are great educational resources, keeping producers informed on industry-wide current events and news, as well as promoting and supporting the industry as a whole, regardless of breed.
Membership fees may be an additional cost, but the benefits can far outweigh the initial investment. If your budget is tight, like most of us, and the operation can only afford limited yearly memberships, taking the time to weigh out the benefits offered by each type of association can best help you determine which association(s) to support.
A producer whose primary income is from their commercial operation, for example, may not benefit as much from joining a breed association as they would from a state or national association. However, some specific breeds have great resources for their commercial producers, in addition to breed registrations and recordkeeping, so it’s always worth further investigation to weigh your options.
Regardless of which association you join or how many, being an active, supporting member is important to both the association and industry survival.
Since trade associations rely on voluntary involvement, membership fees are obviously of great importance an association’s operation, but your support matters beyond this initial monetary contribution. Advertising in the association’s publication is a great way to further support the association’s efforts, ensuring the publication is able to continue to serve as a means of communicating with members while simultaneously promoting your operation.
Supporting the association by donating your time is also a great step. Volunteering to serve on committees for events such as junior shows, socials, trade shows or even going a step further to serve on the association’s board of directors can make a great difference in the association’s success.
Regularly attending meetings is another way to show support and directly benefits you, as well. Attending meetings allows your voice to be heard and ensures you are best represented by the association on those matters that are important to you.
Regardless of breed, state or national affiliation, trade associations want to see their members and the industry prosper, now and for future generations. Supporting your trade association not only provides you with a plethora of member benefits but also enables the association to continue working for the betterment of the industry.
Blueprint Media is proud to work with many great associations and provide them with the support they need to best serve their members and beyond.
Emily grew up in rural Connecticut with a passion for agriculture. She attended Texas A&M University where she earned a bachelor’s degree in animal science and a master’s degree in ruminant nutrition. Emily has joined the BluePrint team as a designer and feature writer after previously working in feed sales and as the marketing manager for a large ranching operation in central Texas. Emily and her husband look forward to raising their family in the agricultural community they both love.