Benefits of Beef: The Youth Perspective

image_galleryColleagues and I recently hosted the 11th annual Nebraska Youth Beef Leadership Symposium (NYBLS), where the freshman/sophomore students were tasked with making a short “benefits of beef” iMovie video. They nailed it! I wanted to share a proud educator moment with you!

There are a total of five videos, but I am just sharing two here. If you are interested in viewing the others, you can find them here.


* Note: Youth from all over the country are welcome to attend, if you have a high school student who would enjoy this, please let me know!


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10 Life Tips from Future Ag Leaders

I spent three days this week with at the AgriFutures Conference, held in Kearney, Nebraska. Myself, along with persons from the Wyoming Department of Ag and the Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture (NCTA) had been planning this event for several months. In attendance were college students, producers, and industry representatives from Nebraska, Wyoming, Colorado, Utah, New Mexico, Kansas, and Canada! We had some great speakers and networking opportunities.

Before we adjourned on the last day we went around the room and shared “take away messages” from our time together. I think that many of the take away messages from the conference apply not only to agriculture, but to life in general.

The list I am sharing with you today is one generated by these agriculture enthusiasts and leaders – the people who grow and raise the food we all eat. And boy let me tell you, they are excited about the future of agriculture (hence AgriFuture)!

10 Life Tips

I know there are a few things on this list I could be better at, and I will continue to work on those things. Are there things on the list you are working on? What is missing from the list?


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Camaraderie in agriculture

The Saunders County Livestock Association’s Board of Directors recently went on a tour to each other’s farming operations. We were able to share joy through stories of family, generational friendships, centennial farms (farms that have been in one family for at least 100 years), and plans to pass the farm to the next generation. Stories of loss and tragedy reinforced the importance of selfless friendships. The day built strong camaraderie between this agricultural leadership team. IMG_4807.JPG

Leadership Advice from Washington DC

As previously mentioned (here and here), I am fortunate to be part of the National Extension Leadership Development (NELD) NorthCentral 2014 cohort. This is a year-long professional development training for my colleagues and I from land-grant Universities from the Mid-West.

In front of the Capital!

We just wrapped up our third session in Washington DC where we focused on the effects of power, influence, ethics, and environmental situations on leadership. We had the opportunity to meet with the leaders of various corporations, institutions, non-profit organizations, as well as our respective elected state officials, their staffers, and many others.

Nebraska NELD members with Senator Deb Fischer

Over the course of the past five days our group asked the various leaders we met to share their journey to get where they are today, as well as their leadership skills and attributes with us. They also shared what leadership looks like in others. This list has made me evaluate myself and consider which characteristics I think I possess and which characteristics are still a work in progress for me.

Leadership Advice from Washington DC (in no special order)
1. Listen and process what you hear.
2. Be inquisitive – don’t accept the status quo.
3. Establish a healthy work/life balance.
4. Understand yourself (What drives you? What are you passionate about? etc.).
5. Be a mentor.
6. Be aware of the world around you – watch trends, behaviors, and research.
7. Engage and empower people.
8. Be a workhorse, not a show horse.
9. Collaboration, partnerships, and teamwork can be powerful.
10. Be creative and innovative.
11. Take calculated risks.
12. Do what you say you will do.
13. Everyone is valuable.
14. Make a difference.
15. Good communication skills.
16. Have fun and laugh.

Are there other skills or attributes that an effective leader should have? What ones do you think you excel at?


The Washington Monument