National Junior Board Leadership from Purdue students
Agricultural commodities have large trade organizations to educate, advocate and advance the future of each species. It is common that livestock organizations specifically have youth or junior members help lead the nationwide and state boards. This year the Department of Agricultural Economics had two students participate on junior boards: one with cattle – Haley Fulk on the Indiana Junior Beef Cattle Association; and one with swine – Colton Cooper on the National Team Purebred.
For Haley (Junior; Agribusiness Marketing; Lowell, IN) joining resulted from participating in jackpot shows across the state of Indiana. After going to shows and banquets, she realized she might enjoy a different role. Fulk explained of why she participated, "Throughout the show season I got to interact with IJBCA directors and admired how they carried themselves and how successful they were in the show cattle industry and personally with their career. I had the opportunity to speak to some of the directors who told me about how they attended the National Cattlemen Beef Association Convention, toured feed company facilities, attended the Indiana Beef Cattle Association Conferences, and had the opportunity to travel Washington D.C. to discuss policy. I realized how much the IJBCA had to offer."
For Cooper (Sophomore; Agribusiness Management; Sheridan, IN) it was quite similar adding, "I pursued this experience because the organization Team Purebred had given me so much as a young exhibitor and I wanted to give back and be a role model to younger members in the swine industry."
Colton said the description of his organization (on their website) explains it all: "The purpose of TEAM PUREBRED is educational, scientific, and charitable, including the improvement and development of the capabilities of youth, both individually and through group participation, in breeding and raising Berkshire, Chester White, Poland China, and Spotted swine, and developing leadership abilities by providing educational and career opportunities through competition and fellowship along with participation of youth interested in promoting said swine breeds." He was all about this mission!
Fulk's journey with leadership in the organization started out with being a Director in 2017, then the Sponsorship Chairman in 2018, and now currently the President. She described her experience as, "First starting out I had the opportunity to write articles for the Indiana Beef Magazine, interact one on one with families and juniors, and help plan our annual Indiana's Finest Banquet. After becoming the Sponsorship Chairman, I gathered and took on a hefty list of businesses and companies that had sponsored the IJBCA previously or sponsored organizations like the IJBCA. Once I became President, I have had the opportunity to speak on a monthly video conducted here at Purdue known as the Beef Monthly, collaborate with the board on this year's annual banquet, communicate with show coordinators about the upcoming show season. Cooper held similar responsibilities, but included mentoring is the most important aspect to help and inspire the next generation! They recommend getting involved if you have an interest in educating the youth of Indiana. These organizations encompass a wide variety of opportunities someone can gain experience in policy, communicating with industry leaders, planning events, and understanding the beef industry outside the show ring.
Cooper ended with, "I can reflect back on all the memories and friendships I have made already. Being able to travel to pig shows with some of my best friends is a once and a lifetime opportunity." Fulk concluded, "Reflecting on my years with the IJBCA, I will remember the people I had the opportunity to work with the most. I have had the opportunity to work with great leaders, families, fellow directors and juniors that made dedicating numerous hours to this organization entirely worth it. My top memory will be having the opportunity to be on RFDTV for Cattlemen to Cattlemen with three other directors in Washington, D.C. A memory none of us will forget!"