Welcome to uncharted waters

Well here it is. My very first blog post. Something new, something different. It still amazes me all the different ways we have to communicate and disseminate information.

We will use this blog to send out information about new opportunities for NJSA members. Right now we are busy planning the summer activities at the World Pork Expo and the National Junior Summer Spectacular.

So stay tuned for more info as the NJSA explores the wonderful world of BLOGS!

Hamp Sow at AJ DeOrnellas

NJSA National Youth Leadership Conference a thundering success

Despite raging storms and rising floods throughout the Tennessee and Arkansas region, the National Junior Swine Association’s Youth Leadership Conference went off with a bang this past weekend, April 30-May 2, in Memphis, Tenn.

An annual event, the National Youth Leadership Conference this year hosted 67 NJSA members from 19 states, according to National Swine Registry’s director of junior activities, Alan Duttlinger.
Following registration and introductions Friday morning, Beau Williamson, Purdue University agribusiness student and former National FFA Organization president from Clovis, Calif., led a dynamic session teaching NJSA members how to step forward and lead through networking and skill development. Bryn Poliska, outreach specialist for the National Pork Board in Ames, Iowa, presented a spokesperson-media training session designed to make NJSA members comfortable with public speaking, one-on-one discussion of swine industry issues, and reporter-led interviews. Kelli Reiff, NSR’s junior activities coordinator, led a workshop on the NJSA’s “Most Valuable Person” mentoring program. NJSA directors Jordan Brockhaus of Tuttle, Okla., and Bailey Albright of Coldwater, Mich., taught the basics of general etiquette before the group went to dinner. An open gaming lounge and group social wrapped up the day.

Saturday got started with breakfast speaker Pamela Bartholomew, agritourism marketing specialist for the Tennessee Department of Agriculture in Nashville, Tenn., who talked about the use of social media in promoting agriculture. The group then boarded a bus for to Lake City, Ark., where they spent the day touring Cobb Farms. The Cobb family hosted lunch, provided tours of their showpig operation, and also hosted dinner.

“The kids really enjoyed the entire Cobb experience – from the tours of the farm, to the tremendous hospitality from the entire family,” said Duttlinger. “We really appreciate all they did for the NJSA.”

Other workshops Saturday afternoon included a second session from Williamson, as well as a discussion of swine disease from Dr. Steve Copeland of Paragould, Ark., and a seminar on the exporting U.S. purebred swine genetics to foreign countries from exporter Tony Clayton of Jefferson City, Mo.

“Tony’s presentation was very interesting and well-received,” said Duttlinger. “He shared a lot of intriguing stories about his experiences transporting swine internationally, which was interesting, but I think the kids were also inspired by the international market potential for our purebred genetics.”

Sunday started with breakfast and an inspirational message from Ray Perryman of Shallowater, Texas, followed by a panel discussion on securing an internship. Moderated by NSR CEO Darrell Anderson, the panel featured Poliska; Bartholomew; Rachel Stine, NSR assistant editor; and Alicia Keller, NJSA director of Corfu, New York. Williamson presented a concluding leadership workshop to wrap up the successful conference.

The 2010 NJSA National Youth Leadership Conference was sponsored by the National Pork Board, ADM Alliance Nutrition, Inc., Cobb Farms, Honor Show Chow Show Feeds, Indiana Yorkshire Breeders, Intervet-A Division of Schering-Plough, Kent Feeds, Small Town Genetics, Darrell and Merlene Anderson, Golden State Genetics, Pork Power Farm, Jim Hamilton, Tempel Genetics, Tom Farrer and Family, and Zehr Farms.

For photos from the 2010 NJSA National Youth Leadership Conference, click here.