Preparing for Junior Nationals

Hey everyone, it’s the interns again! Less than a week until we see everyone at Junior Nationals, and we could not be more excited here in the office. This week, in honor of Junior Nationals coming up, we thought we would tell you a little bit about our favorite livestock show activities, and maybe help you to remember some items that we have a habit of forgetting when packing!

Michelle:

            Hey everyone! I hope you are all excited for next week, we have been working hard in the office to get everything prepared! When it comes to shows, one of my absolute favorite pastimes is spending time with friends that I don’t get to see very often. Showing livestock opens doors to friends across the country that you may not have known otherwise, and I am always excited to spend time with my show family (oh, and also eating some very good food). I like to think that I am a strategic packer, however, there is always one thing that I manage to forget and that is my belt! Something else that I have learned over the years is that you can never pack too many socks, I always manage to soak my feet when I wash my livestock. The countdown to Junior Nationals is almost over and I cannot wait to see everyone there!

Amelia:

Hey there! Only a few more days in the office, until we head out to Louisville for the event we all have been waiting for! My favorite part of being at a show is honestly just spending forced family fun with my parents and siblings. It is what we all work for and even though we may bicker like cats and dogs at times, we tend to get along (for the most part), while at a show. It is where we come together and work as a team and not against one another. A show day setting gets very stressful for everyone; each one of us has a mindset of what needs to be done, when it needs to be done, before arriving that day. We all get things done when they are needing to be done (sometimes with a friendly reminder ;-)). Another thing that excites me is being around other livestock enthusiasts. I have been gifted many friendships through showing livestock and I would not trade any of them for the world. 

            With packing for junior nationals, don’t forget your soap for those sudsy, early wash rack mornings. That seems to always be the one thing that I forget in terms of equipment. Otherwise, I always seem to forget my belt or boots for show day (only the necessities apparently). With everything else going on and being a little stressed for packing, think about this blog, and don’t forget these little things that might slip your mind! 

            Safe travels to all of you attending the NJSS, and I am so very excited to see everyone’s smiling faces come Monday at check-in!

Bella:

            Hi guys! As junior national is quickly approaching, I should probably start to think about what I’m going to pack. I always remember the crucial things (pants, shirts, etc.); but there are a few things I can never seem to remember: boot socks, my belt, and hairspray! Hopefully reading this week’s blog will help you remember the little things while packing 😉.  My favorite part of shows is definitely the time I get to spend with some of my best friends. I have created a large network of friends in the livestock industry, and they have become some of my favorite people. Any chance to see them and create memories is time well spent! I hope everyone is excited to get to junior nationals and create those memories in less than a week!! Catch ya’ll in Louisville 😊

L-R: Bella, Amelia, Michelle

How did we get here?

Hello! It’s the interns again! Today we thought that we would give you a little background on ourselves, what lead us to be where we are today, and why we want to be involved in the agricultural industry today and in our futures. We hope you enjoy learning a little more about our backgrounds today!

Michelle:

I grew up in a farming community in a rural Illinois town, in a family that raises cattle and farms corn and soybean crop. I have a passion for the agriculture industry that is never going to burn out, and it is because of the people around me who used their passion to ignite mine. This is an industry that is a huge, nationwide family, and advocating for the industry is important now more than it has been. I want to be an advocate for this industry and help young people like myself to find their passion and grow future generations of agricultural advocates.

Agriculture has played a huge role in my life. I owe everything I have accomplished to the agriculture industry because, without it, I do not think that I would be where I am today. I wasn’t born into agriculture, but when my mom re-married, I was thrown into it headfirst. As soon as I was old enough to participate in 4-H, my stepdad, Donnie Brandenburg bought my first set of pigs to show at the county fair, and from then on, I was hooked. I got to grow up showing cattle, swine, and goats at local, state, and national levels.

From day one, he has been my number one supporter and has given me everything I needed to succeed and more. He did not have to do the things he did for me, but he chose to anyway and I will forever be grateful to him for staring me on the path I am on. I truly owe where I am today to him. He taught me responsibility, leadership, and respect by giving me the opportunity to do what I spent 14 years loving. If I had to give any advice to a young showman in the industry it would be don’t blink, because the summers of showing truly do go by faster than you think.

Bella:

I grew up raising and showing sheep on my family’s acreage. My dad grew up raising and showing just about every species possible and wanted his kids to be able to have that experience as well. Raising sheep is what began my interest in the livestock industry, as well as the agriculture industry as a whole. I give so much credit to my parents for giving me the opportunity to be involved in this industry at a young age and for always helping me throughout the last 21 years.

 I was exposed to agriculture on both sides of my family and was always eager to learn more about the different segments. My paternal grandparents raise donkeys and feed out cattle, while my mom’s sister and her family raise Angus cattle. Being from Nebraska, the cattle industry is something that I continue to learn about and peak interest in.

After joining FFA my freshman year of high school, I was intrigued by the disconnect between consumers and producers. As I went through my four years of high school, I knew that I wanted to be involved in helping educate people about agriculture and bridge that gap. FFA is truly when I found my passion in the agriculture industry and the reason I went into agricultural communications. My FFA advisor, Kris Spath, helped push me to better myself professionally, personally, and as an agriculturist. I learned a lot from her throughout my time in FFA, and still am today.

Agriculture has been in my life since I was young, and it will be my future as well. I am so thankful to have grown up in this industry and can’t wait to see how it grows and adapts in the upcoming years. 

Amelia:

How did I get involved in agriculture? Both of my parents grew up showing livestock, but I feel my passion came from their parents’ love for it. My dad’s parents raised commercial sheep and goats, while my mom’s parents raised registered Limousin cattle. It was not until I was in kindergarten when I started showing lambs at the county fair, and third grade when I showed my first string of cattle. I owe Val Wasinger, a Shorthorn and Simmental breeder of Winnebago, Minn. the credit for my passion for the livestock industry. I grew up showing cattle for her, as she grew up showing cattle for my grandfather. She has mentored me since I was 11 years old, and I still go to her for everything and anything. Additionally, I owe my passion for the agriculture industry to the National FFA Organization. I have gained many friendships and networking opportunities through that great organization. Between going to different camps to state and national convention, I have gained different qualities I never thought I could.

As I have grown into the person I am today, I have been able to know right from wrong through my parents raising me, however as I have moved far away from home first for college, and now for my internship, I have taken all that they have taught me about livestock, life, and perspective with me. I have been able to continue to grow even when they are not watching my every move. You may not choose your family, but I would pick them a million times over. Every part of your life happens for a reason, good or bad. You need to learn from your success and failure to grow.

This may be a lot, but that is how I have grown a passion for agriculture, and I would not change it for anything. In today’s world, each agriculturist needs to be an advocate. With the bridge between rural and urban becoming larger, we need to continue to show the rest of the world what agriculture and livestock industries are truly like and not what the outsiders view them as. One day there will be no outsiders and we will all be educated.

Get to Know the Interns

L-R: Michelle, Amelia, Bella.

Hey guys, it’s Amelia, Bella and Michelle, your 2021 ASA interns. It is week three in the office, and we are getting closer to the National Junior Shorthorn Show! This week, we thought it would be fun to do a little “get to know the interns” with some fun questions.

What is your favorite movie snack?

A: Peanut M&M’s and popcorn

B & M: Regular M&M’s and popcorn

What is your favorite safari animal?

A: Quokka

B: Giraffe

M: Monkeys

Any hobbies?

A: Tennis

B: Golf

M: Painting and Crocheting

Three bucket list items:

A: To live in Australia for a year, to travel across Europe, and to show in Canada.

B: To go on a mission trip, to visit every state, and to own my own business of some kind.

M: Travel to Amsterdam and across Germany visiting historical sights, travel across the United States, and have a career in the livestock industry.

What is your favorite Podcast?

A: Beyond the Ring

B: The Keeper Pen

M: Crime Junkies

What is your favorite color?

A: white

B: light pink

M: purple

If you were a food, would you be sweet or spicy?

A: sweet

B: spicy

M: sweet

What is the best concert you’ve ever been to?

A: George Strait in Kansas City

B: Garth Brooks in Louisville

M: Parker McCollum at Calf Fry in Stillwater

What show are you currently binge-watching?

A, B, & M: Reba

Do you have any phobias?

A: chickens

B: Dachshunds

M: snakes

We are staying busy finalizing all the plans for NJSS. There is a record number of entries and exhibitors this year which is exciting for the Shorthorn breed. We are looking forward to meeting everyone in just a couple of short weeks!

Interns First Week

L-R: Bella, Amelia, Michelle

Hey everyone! We are Amelia, Bella and Michelle and we are serving as your interns for the summer of 2021. We have been working hard in the office to get everything prepped for junior nationals, and we hope you are as pumped as we are! Amelia is serving as the youth activities intern, Michelle is serving as the communications intern, and Bella is serving as the registrations intern for the summer 2021. We are pumped for the summer ahead and cannot wait to see everyone!

Amelia:

  • Hey y’all! Week one in the office was busy, but very exciting as we get ready to see everyone. As we start our second week in the office, we have been working on getting everything ready for the contests and activities the junior board have planned. Us three interns have grown close in the past week and are excited to see what the rest of the summer entails. I cannot express how excited I am to see what this summer brings. I can’t wait to see everyone’s excited faces in Louisville in less than three short weeks!

Bella:

  • Hey everyone! Week one in the office was full of tasks but was so much fun. As we start our second week in the office, we have been working on getting all registrations corrected and put into shows. We have gotten to know each other very quickly throughout this past week and I’m more than excited to see how the rest of this summer goes. I can’t wait to continue to build relationships throughout the office and this industry.

Michelle:

  • Hey guys! I hope everyone is excited to head to Louisville soon! Week one has kept all of us very busy working on preparations for junior nationals. In week one, and throughout the next week my focus has been on the exhibitor folders. I have also spent the last week getting to know my fellow interns and we are all excited for what the summer ahead holds for us, and we cannot wait to see everyone in Louisville soon!