The next generation
As Angus breeders, our efforts, our hopes and our dreams often rely on the promise of the next generation. We plan, measure and evaluate where we are currently, the direction we want to go and how to get to where we are going with the next generation. The promise of the next generation fills us with hope and optimism as we wait for our plans to be born, grow and mature.
Talent apparent at NJAS
Associations are not unlike successful animal breeders. Like breeders, associations rely on the strength of the next generation to grow and prosper. It is the leaders developed within the next generation who will lead us forward.
This past week at the National Junior Angus Show (NJAS), I had the opportunity and the pleasure to meet many of our next generation. The youth of the National Junior Angus Association (NJAA) competing at the NJAS inspired me with the opportunity they represent and the poised leadership that many among their ranks possess.
This fact was made very apparent to me early in the week at the candidate-delegate dinner. During this evening, 14 candidates for the NJAA Board presented speeches to the delegates, who at the end of the week would choose six new NJAA Board members. The speeches presented by these 14 young leaders were extremely good — well-planned and well-executed.
As a spectator in the room, you could not keep from being moved by the talent, intelligence, poise and leadership exhibited by the candidates. There is no doubt in my mind that our breed is overflowing with potential as we look down the road and think of this future generation that will one day take the reins of leadership of the Angus breed and the American Angus Association.
This is our future
Toward the end of the NJAS, when everyone was readying for the awards ceremony, I was standing in the front of the gathering crowd with Regional Manager Jerry Cassady. Jerry looked out on the crowd and remarked, “There is our future,” to which I quickly agreed.
As the evening progressed with recognition for the accomplishments of the week, naming of scholarship winners and announcement of the junior Board elections, I thought about Jerry's remark and the awesome display of young leaders that our breed has and is in the process of developing.
As I have thought about the events of the week since my drive home from the NJAS, my thoughts have turned from the promise, talent and leadership that the participants displayed to the challenge that lies before us. It is not just the challenge for our breed and our association, but also the challenge for the future of production agriculture.
Will they come?
There is no question we have in our midst young men and women who will accomplish great things and positively impact society, but how many of our youth will remain involved in agriculture, the beef industry or in the Angus breed?
Our charge is slightly different than the popular movie “Field of Dreams.” Our question is: “If we build it, will they come?” The answer to this question will be given by the next generation.