Hi all! My name is Ali Harwell and I am the NJSA Intern this summer. I am so excited to have the opportunity to be involved in another side of this awesome organization. We are already busy getting ready for WPX and NJSS and cannot wait for everyone to see what we have planned for this summer!
A little more about me… I am a senior Spartan from Michigan State University (MSU) majoring in environmental studies and agriscience with a specialization in secondary education. With this degree, I will have the opportunity to teach kids about the many aspects of agriculture. I hope to inspire future generations to be good representatives of agriculture and share the good news our industry has to offer. Activities that keep me busy at MSU include the livestock judging team, Sigma Alpha Agriculture Sorority and Block & Bridle.
A native of Coldwater, Mich., I grew up in an agricultural community – but not on an actual farm. So, I had to make my own path showing livestock. I developed a strong passion for pigs that started with a 4-H project and has not subsided since. I have been showing pigs at the local, state and national levels for eight years. During this time, I have also been able to raise my own Yorkshire (my favorite), Chester White and crossbred showpigs.
Being part of NJSA has given me numerous experiences that have taught me valuable life lessons and skills, contributing to most of my successes in life. These accomplishments include being Reserve Senior Showman at NAILE, fourth Overall Senior Showman at NJSS and being able to sell hogs I have raised at national events. Showing livestock allows my whole family to work hard together in producing something we can be completely proud of at the end of the day.
Showing hogs helped me develop feelings of determination, competitiveness and accomplishment that cannot be replaced by anything else. Many of you know the feeling of getting up at the crack of dawn, walking your pigs with eyes half open, and then later in the day having to tell your friends you will meet them another night for a movie because you have to walk pigs again when it cools down. Although sometimes I may have asked myself – “Why?!” it was worth it in the long run. Some of the best memories I have go back to those moments in the pens with my pigs. Those times taught me to be patient, to be responsible and to always follow through.
I hope you are all excited about this summer, because we sure are! I can’t wait to meet many of you at our summer events – good luck to everyone in the show ring!