Macey Hurst: Harnessing the Power of Advocacy

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Twenty-five-year-old cattlewoman and beef advocate, Macey Hurst, lives in #Agri-Ready Designated Cole County but she loves to get out of town to work on her family’s cattle ranch in #Agri-Ready Designated Miller County. One of Macey’s life dreams is to purchase her own farm someday, but her goal for 2024 is to be more intentional as an advocate. “Everyone in agriculture has a story. And every story makes a difference. Each story is a piece of the puzzle. And we need all the pieces to tell agriculture’s story,” Macey said. Harnessing the power of advocacy and building her effectiveness as a passionate advocate of the beef industry, Macey is a member of the 2023 National Cattlemen’s Beef Association Trailblazer cohort.

Macey discovered her passion for writing as a member of the Fatima FFA chapter. She participated in public speaking events and developed a great professional network at a young age when she served as the Missouri Beef Queen and an FFA State Vice-President in 2016-2017. She earned a double major at Missouri State University. Today, Macey uses her degree in Agribusiness Marketing and Sales as an account executive for Modern Litho, a commercial printing company. She guides her clients as they order postcards, catalogs and other publications for print, some of them related to agriculture. “I love my job more than I ever thought I would. I work with a lot of people who are not engaged in agriculture which gives me the opportunity to represent our industry not just at home but across the country when I travel to Denver, Co. or Washington D.C.,” Macey said, “I appreciate that my employer is supportive of my free-lance writing and beef operation.” 

Out of the ashes of adversity, Macey, her mom Staci Hurst, and her sister Emma Hurst Kipphut, built Lady Livestock Company (Instagram @ladylivestockco). After learning that their first cattle operation and life as they knew it was gone, self-evaluation and soul searching helped the Hurst ladies to decide that raising cattle was something they were passionate about. The search for their own cattle led them to a herd of 40 registered black angus cows and a pair of bulls which they purchased to begin building their business in 2017. “It was very liberating to start fresh with just my mom and my sister in an industry often run by men. For the first time, we were able to make decisions and lead our business where we wanted it to go. It has been a great experience for the three of us together,” Macey said.

“Our focus is on raising cow/calf pairs and producing replacement heifers. By trial, we have found the market that we can and want to serve. We have a great support network of repeat customers and neighboring cattle ranchers – men and women – to help us along the way,” Macey said. “Due to the lack of grass during 2023 we downsized most of our herd, but it was good timing. We are in a refresh phase and a good place to rebuild with our own replacement heifers in 2024.”

Macey is one of only 10 members chosen from across the nation to be part of the 2023 National Cattlemen’s Beef Association Trailblazer cohort. The Trailblazer program develops mastery-level advocacy skills in engaged beef producers and is funded by the National Beef Checkoff. Macey’s year-long participation in the program will wrap up in January 2024. “The Trailblazers program has poured into me as an advocate so I can be the best representative of our industry that I can be. The program teaches participants to speak articulately and promote beef. It has been a phenomenal experience for me as I continue to participate on panels, deliver keynote speeches, and write,” Macey said. “As a Trailblazer, I got to visit a large-scale feed lot, and now I can share with any consumer what it is like because I have been there. I have built a network of beef colleagues that specialize in different industry issues that I can turn to when I have questions of my own. The Trailblazers program magnifies producers that are advocating for beef. I am going to put the skills I have learned to work, and I am excited to see how each member of my cohort utilizes the program moving forward.” 

“The best part about advocacy training is that you can turn it into whatever you are passionate about: social media, research, or public speaking. I think an important part of advocacy is to create a judgement free zone where consumers feel like they can come to us and ask questions they might feel silly asking,” Macey said.

Macey recently enjoyed a capstone experience as a Trailblazer during Cattle Con 2024 which was held in Orlando, Fl. She participated in six different speaking engagements that included radio interviews, live panel discussions, and recorded content for future TV broadcasts. Each of these gave Macey a chance to share and practice the advocacy skills she has been honing and served as opportunities to realize her next goals and plot her course forward as a beef advocate. “My word of the year for 2024 is ‘intentional.’ I have the experience and exposure to beef production that allows me to share about the beef industry adequately and consistently. I have a lot left to learn, but I won’t let the ‘what ifs’ keep me from becoming a trusted voice in agriculture,” Macey said.

Macey utilizes her agriculture communications degree as a free-lance writer and speaker. She welcomes any opportunity to visit about agriculture through writing articles, as a podcast guest, or member of a discussion panel. Connect with Macey or follow along on her advocacy journey on social media (Facebook Macey Hurst), (Instagram @macey.hurst), LinkedIn, and Twitter.