Like many other cattle enthusiasts, Jessica Smith of Picayune, Mississippi, has been showing her entire life and says that the National Western Stock Show (NWSS) is one of her favorite shows to attend.
“Cattle shows, especially the NWSS, improve and make new connections between breeders and the youth involved in the breed," Smith said. "The NWSS is one of those events that bring both together with the open show and the junior show. More communication between the two helps everyone – the youth can learn the wisdom of the breeders and more about that aspect of the industry while the older generation can learn from the youth and support them, as they are the future of our industry.”
As past president of the American Junior Simmental Association (AJSA) Board of Directors, Smith was recently elected by other junior members to serve a second term. Smith attributes many of the lessons she has learned to her involvement in the NJSA.
“An important part of leadership in the cattle industry and the agriculture industry is the importance of networking,” Smith said. “Whether it is a breeder at ringside, a showman in the ring or an official judge at the NWSS, each person you meet you have an opportunity to improve personally and professionally. I know these relationships I have made will carry on the rest of my life.”
Many breed associations and their junior counterparts assist with various shows throughout the NWSS. Smith knows how important these roles can be when making an impact in a junior’s life.
“Any leadership position where we get to guide junior members it is important to remember that you’re looked up to and in the spotlight," Smith said. "It is an honor to be a positive example as well as a resource to help promote the Simmental breed and help support other youth that are as passionate about the breed as I am.”
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