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Master's student researching ranchers. Help me help ranchers

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Young Buck

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Hi everyone, I hope everyone is having a great weekend and a happy new year:). I was wondering you all could help me with some research that would help California Rangelands and an organization dedicated to making them better.

I want to help the Central Coast Rangeland Coalition (CCRC). The CCRC helps ranchers in Central and Northern California by holding meetings twice a year to bring together diverse stakeholders within the ranching community to talk and learn about important issues. The CCRC is led by a small group of volunteers on the Steering Committee, which meets twice a month to organize the events by finding venues, speakers, and research topics. The CCRC meetings are a place for diverse stakeholders to learn about useful ranching topics, network with ranchers, meet agency personnel and provide a space for ranchers to bring up relevant topics they want the CCRC to discuss. Sounds great, doesn't it?!?!

However, the CCRC's main issue is that they noticed:
1) There are not many new faces coming to their meetings
2) There is a lack of rancher engagement at normal meetings and the steering committee
3) Because ranchers are not as engaged and present, agency interests may be unintentionally overrepresented by the CCRC (Not really their fault, they just listen to who shows up and the ranchers aren't showing up)

This is where I hope the forum can help me help the CCRC and the ranchers they are trying to help. I know ranchers are extremely busy, work long and hard hours, are doing everything they can to make their operation economically viable, and trying to spend time with their families as well, so if a meeting is not of importance to them they simply will not attend. So, I ask you this:

What is the best way to motivate an extremely busy rancher to use a workday to come to a meeting twice a year?
What topics would have to be covered at this meeting to make you go "Damn, that is a really good topic I am interested in attending?
In your personal experience, what is the best way to reach a rancher in a meaningful way? Social media promoting the CCRC meetings? A friend asking you to come? A phone call?
Would talking more about ranching economics personally motivate you to come to the meetings?
Do you have any creative ways to tell ranchers about these meetings and motivate them to come?
 

leanin' H

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My two cents is build some relationships of trust with the people you want at your meetings. No one wants to spend a day in a meeting with people they know little or nothing about. Reach out to county cattlemen groups, stock growers associations, university extension agents, etc. and if I were you I’d make some trips to ranches and introduce yourself in person. Stop by the coffee shop or diner about 6 am and get to know folks. It’s going to be a challenge but you will find them if you’ll make relationships
 

Evans

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I tend not to go to things in my area because it feels like they only want input from big shots or if its the government or utility companies putting something on then they definitely dont want any input because everything is already decided before the meeting.
 

Young Buck

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Thank you to everyone who responded! I appreciate it very much. I really want to help the CCRC the best I can because they are great people and rangelands are important. If there are any other ideas that you all have I will always be grateful to hear them!
 

Dwilliams35

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I'd look into doing it in conjunction with some regional cattlemen's associations: they're already having conventions from time to time, and if you could squeeze a meeting room out of them for it, you've already got a captive audience. "Meeting time" is at a premium for ranchers: we simply don't have time to travel long distances and sit in a meeting room talking about stuff for fun. I'm already making 2-3 of the cattlemen's association conventions for one reason or another, being on a committee and such, and I'm about tapped out on the time I can spend doing such things. An hour or two meeting in the middle of that would have been perfectly do-able, but a stand-alone meeting of that sort? Not a chance.

Online meetings have made it a little easier to clear that hurdle over the last couple of years, too..
 

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