From the Ground Up - Youth in Agriculture

Last week the Junior Beefmaster Breeders Association had their national convention in Bryan at the Brazos County Expo.

Kids came from all over the United States to show animals and attend clinics. Steve Emmons is president of Beefmaster Breeders United.

“They have an ultrasound man come in on Wednesday and ultrasound these cattle for rib eye and back fat, then you have the visual appraisal. The kids that own these steers are interviewed by a panel early on and asked industry questions about feed conversion and things like that, and the interview and the actual judging of the cow and the ultrasound all go in to create the champion.”

Projects like raising and showing steers teach kids many things they can’t learn in a classroom, and when we asked show participants what they had learned, they all pointed to life skills that will help them as they become adults. Michael Buckley is president of the Junior Beefmaster Breeders Association and lives in Collins, Mississippi.

“What I’ve really learned that’s unique to this position is just how to talk to people. I’ve had to collect a lot of donations for this organization, so I’ve had to call people on the phone that were complete strangers, and just strike up a conversation with those people, and that can be really difficult to do.”

Laramie Naumann is from Brenham.

“When I began showing Beefmaster cattle I was the shyest person that you could ever meet. I had a real problem with going up and talking to people because I was afraid that people would make fun of me for who I was, but through JBBA I was able to meet a lot of really cool people who are very outgoing, and so through JBBA I’ve had the experience of not only being able to raise and show Beefmaster cattle, but I’ve been able to grow as a person, and become a more outgoing person.”

Cody Morgan is from Lexington.

“Honestly, whenever I first started out I didn’t really consider myself as a leader. I was more of a person that, you know, followed what the older kids would do, I always looked up to them and wanted to be like them, so that’s how it helped me become a leader, because now that I’m on the board, going to be president next year, I feel like I’ve accomplished what I wanted to do and become a leader in this organization.”