City, Mo. — Eighty-five National Junior Hereford Association (NJHA) members from 18 states visited our nation's capital, July 31-Aug. 2, during the annual PRIDE Convention. PRIDE (Program for Reaching Individuals Determined to Excel) was hosted in Washington, D.C., where Hereford youth learned about our country's history and got an up-close look at the White House, the U.S. Capitol, historic national monuments and Arlington Cemetery.
“Visiting D.C. was an eye-opening experience for the Hereford youth, exposing them to America's rich history and giving them a chance to remember and honor our nation's forefathers and fallen soldiers who have defended the United States of America,” says Chris Stephens, American Hereford Association (AHA) director of youth activities.
“It was especially memorable for them with this being a presidential election year,” Stephens adds. “Walking in the footsteps of our nation's leaders in the White House and on Capitol Hill brought the election close to home for our future Hereford leaders.”
The young leaders stayed at the National 4-H Center and enjoyed a leadership seminar and keynote address from Matt and Andrea Lohr, Broadway, Va. The couple used knowledge from their FFA leadership roles and Matt's experiences serving in the Virginia State Legislature to deliver a powerful message to the PRIDE delegation. The Lohrs challenged youth to look for every opportunity to tell the agriculture story, while embracing life with tremendous determination and overcoming whatever obstacles get in the way.
After a tour of Washington, D.C., the group visited local Hereford operations. Mullinix Bros., Woodbine, Md., was the first stop. Gene Mullinix addressed the group, telling them that agriculture is changing, especially on the East coast, and encouraged the young leaders to embrace the changing industry by producing genetics that are efficient in all facets of the beef chain. Mullinix introduced attendees to Kosher Beef, a marketing practice they use on their farm to capture a niche market.
Katelyn Howes, retired NJHA board member, and her family hosted an evening meal and dance for the youth at their Foggy Bottom Farm, Taneytown, Md.
On the final morning of the four-day conference, the NJHA board led a leadership driven vespers ceremony encouraging the juniors to set goals for their future and to work hard to achieve them. The week concluded with many new friendships and a deep pride in America that will help to shape the future leaders of the Hereford breed.
The NJHA is one of the most active junior programs in the country with approximately 3,000 members. The NJHA's mission is to create and promote enthusiasm for the breed while providing opportunities through leadership, education and teamwork. For more information about the NJHA, visit www.jrhereford.org.