Relationships are one of the best things about the livestock industry. Friendships are formed. Business deals are forged, and trust is built. All of that can be said between the American Hereford Association and BioZyme and the long-standing partnership these entities have in building the next generation of young leaders.
Recently, Amy Cowan, Director of Youth Activities and Foundation for the American Hereford Association, shared with us some exciting information about the 2022 VitaFerm® National Junior Hereford Exposition that is slated for July 16-22 in Louisville, Kentucky. She is her team is excited to have 2,020 entries headed to “Banners in the Bluegrass.” There are 775 National Junior Hereford Association members from 36 states entered.
Sure Champ: Why is it important for young people and their families to participate in the JNHE?
Amy: Participating in the VitaFerm Junior National Hereford Expo provides so many valuable life lessons in and out of the showring and contest rooms. I think one of the biggest things is that no matter if you win or lose, or don’t experience the results you were hoping for, that at the end of the day these life lessons teach you how to be a humble winner or a gracious loser and kind to all of your fellow competitors. The families that are participating in events like the JNHE are making memories that will last a lifetime and because of their involvement the networks that these young people are developing will open many doors for future success in the agriculture industry and beyond.
Sure Champ: Do you have anything new or special planned for this year’s Junior National?
Amy: We are very excited about our new Sales Academy Contest for the intermediates and seniors and invite everyone to join us in New Market Hall as the young people show off their real world marketing skills. The state tailgate is back as the Banners in the Bluegrass Food and Fun Night and highlights will be our National Queen’s Cornhole for a Cause tournament as well as lot of fun food and activities for the whole family. The evening will top off with a dance featuring our favorite DJ from our BOLD Leadership Conference this spring. We have also put a new spin on our Bridging the Gap College and Career Fair and invite all the older junior members to RSVP for that event by July 1 and join us for this outstanding networking opportunity and a chance to shake hands and meet face to face with college recruiters and our corporate partners who are looking for their next interns and employees. The National Junior Hereford Association Board of Directors has a really fun Pen to Pen Program planned this year with some awesome activities that will match mentors up with the younger junior members giving them the chance to experience all that the JNHE has to offer with a friend for the week that will become their pen pal throughout the year.
Our corporate partners add a lot of special moments to the JNHE. Everyone looks forward to the VitaFerm T-Shirt Day and Sure Champ’s Prep to Win Workshop. Sullivan Supply is planning a Showmanship Showdown during their annual Stock Show University, and Neogen will be offering a complimentary DNA collection station for all of the animals exhibited at the JNHE.
Sure Champ: What is your best piece of advice for exhibitors and participants who are preparing to attend?
Amy: Have fun and enjoy every moment with your family and friends! Your years as a junior exhibitor go by so fast, so seize the day and take advantage of every opportunity along the way at the JNHE. Don’t get so caught up in the competition that you don’t take time to enjoy the little things that make the VitaFerm Junior National Hereford Expo so special.
Sure Champ: How does JNHE set itself apart from other youth events?
Amy: All of the different junior national breed events around the country are top notch, and we all work very hard to make each year memorable for the families and junior exhibitors. We take a lot of pride in the family aspect of the JNHE and couldn’t provide all of the opportunities that we do for the Hereford families and exhibitors without all of our corporate partners stepping up to make the JNHE an experience like no other. It is our hope that when you step on those green chips in Broadbent Arena that you know you are part of something special and this feeling of pride and accomplishment motivates you to continue to work hard and dream big.
Sure Champ: What is your best Junior National Memory?
Amy: I think some of my favorite Junior National memories happen during the maroon jacket ceremony when the retiring NJHA Directors hand off their maroon jackets to the newest members of the NJHA Board. This represents so much passion for the breed and dedication to the membership and is the pinnacle of leadership success in our organization. And then to watch it all come full circle as these young people continue to shine as leaders in this industry after their service on the board is complete, makes for some great memories for sure.