Angus juniors have the opportunity to travel the country with the National Junior Angus Association (NJAA) and learn from knowledgeable experts in the beef cattle business. Most recently, NJAA members met April 6-9 in Des Moines, Iowa, to participate in a Raising the Bar conference.
“Not only is Iowa the host of the 2017 National Junior Angus Show, but it also played host to a Raising the Bar conference this spring,” says Caitlyn Brandt, American Angus Association events and education department. “Raising the Bar conferences give NJAA members a chance to become more involved in the Angus breed, build on leadership skills, and learn more about agriculture, while meeting other junior members from across the country.”
The conference hosted 29 Angus junior leaders from 12 state junior Angus associations and New Zealand. Participants toured the Iowa State University (ISU) campus, heard from industry experts, took part in leadership-training workshops and spent an evening playing laser tag.
The group also made stops at Hawkeye Breeders, Blood Dairy and two Angus operations, Nichols Farms and Glenn Rowe’s.
While at ISU, juniors were able to tour the Iowa State Meat Lab, Hansen Ag Center, and the Iowa State Beef Teaching Farm. Participants also heard from former NJAA members Michael Cropp, a graduate student at ISU, and Chris Cassady, ISU professor and livestock judging team coach. Mike Anderson, 4-H Youth Development, talked about the use of retinal scanning in Iowa. Patrick Gunn, cow/calf specialist, also spoke.
“A special thanks to those who make this event possible and helped put together a quality educational experience for our junior members,” Brandt says.
Now in its 10th year, Raising the Bar conferences continue to foster the development of Angus youth by hosting events in two regions across the country. The NJAA, with sponsorship from the Angus Foundation, has conducted Raising the Bar conferences in cities such as Champaign-Urbana, Ill.; Athens, Ga.; Fayetteville, Ark.; and Sioux Falls, S.D. To learn more about how to participate in an upcoming Raising the Bar conference, visit njaa.info.