When it comes to leadership, it's important to keep raising the bar. That expectation is what Angus youth learned while attending the 2012 Raising the Bar conference in Columbus, Ohio. National Junior Angus Association members met March 30 - April 1 to participate in the premier leadership-training event.
"The Raising the Bar conferences give our junior members the opportunity to expand their horizons and truly 'raise the bar' on what they can accomplish," says Robin Ruff, American Angus Association director of junior activities.
Throughout the weekend, 23 Angus junior leaders, officers and advisors from eight state junior Angus associations participated in activities geared toward building stronger leaders, and developing friendships. They toured the Ohio State University and area Angus operations, heard from motivational speakers, participated in industry-related workshops – and made time for fun activities, including an evening at the Sky Zone indoor trampoline park.
"One of the best things a junior can gain from this experience is new friendships," Ruff says. "Together, they can learn, grow and prepare for a promising future in the Angus industry."
At the Ohio State University campus, participants toured the meat lab and animal science building, and visited with animal science professor Dr. Henry Zerby. He gave an overview of meat science and led a hands-on activity for juniors to create their own ground beef, then add spices and cook the beef.
The Angus juniors also visited Select Sires in Plain City, Ohio, where they were given a behind-the-scenes look at the operation, its history and the opportunities Select Sires brings to the Angus industry. Juniors also viewed eight elite Select Sires bulls, including G A R Predestined.
Raising the Bar participants toured Maplecrest Farms of Hillsboro, Ohio, as well. There, juniors learned about production and donor practices, return on investments, showmanship and how to remain involved in the industry.
Keynote speakers encouraged juniors to be aware of challenges in the industry and prepared to make a difference. Steve Moeller, Ohio State University, spoke on the issue of animal rights versus animal welfare. He discussed the current struggles agriculture organizations are facing, and how junior members can inform and educate the public about what goes on in America's farms and ranches.
Marlene Eick, a leadership facilitator, explained the importance of leaving a legacy and what it means to have a positive leadership influence. And the NJAA Board of Directors presented workshops on the role of the American Angus Association, Certified Angus Beef LLC and selecting for expected progeny differences.
About Raising the Bar
Now in its fifth year, the Raising the Bar conference continues to foster the development of Angus youth by hosting events in four regions across the country. The NJAA, with sponsorship from the Angus Foundation, has conducted Raising the Bar conferences in cities such as Nashville, Tenn.; Ames, Iowa; and Stillwater, Okla.
The next Raising the Bar conference will begin Saturday, April 21 at the Grand Sierra Resort in Reno, Nev., in conjunction with the Western Regional Junior Angus Show. To register for the conference or for more information, contact Ruff at 816-383-5100 or firstname.lastname@example.org; or visit www.angus.org/njaa.
The NJAA promotes the involvement of young people in raising Angus cattle, while also providing leadership and self-development opportunities for more than 6,000 active members nationwide. For more information about NJAA, visit www.angus.org/njaa.