LEXINGTON, Ky. — National Junior Angus Association (NJAA) members gathered from all corners of the country for the Leaders Engaged in Angus Development (LEAD) conference July 28 – 31 in Lexington, Kentucky. Juniors experienced a weekend full of farm tours and leadership workshops while making lifelong connections within and beyond the Angus community.
The LEAD conference is designed to expose NJAA members to different parts of the industry by visiting new regions of the country every year. This year, juniors learned about the agriculture industry in Kentucky and related career opportunities. Additionally, juniors grew their leadership skills through workshops and engaged in networking activities.
The weekend kicked off with break out sessions led by the National Junior Angus Board that challenged attendees to be bold leaders through interactive games and workshops. Juniors also visited Boyd Beef Cattle and Branch View Angus where members learned about different cattle operations, freeze branding and how to use electronic identification in cattle. James Coffey, of Branch View Angus, emphasized the advantage juniors have by being raised in the cattle industry.
“Whether you stay in the industry or you go into something different, you will always have an agriculture background that will serve you the rest of your life,” Coffey said. “I encourage every NJAA member to leverage that agriculture upbringing to future success.”
Attendees were also introduced to a variety of industries in the state covering careers within and beyond the cattle sector. The group visited the Keeneland racetrack, Blue Grass Stockyards, Hallway Feeds and Tarter Industries. Tours provided valuable learning opportunities that showed juniors different facets of the agriculture industry.
The LEAD conference wrapped up with speaker A’ric Jackson who spoke about different leadership styles and the importance of using individual strengths to make an impact. As attendees reflected on the eventful week, former NJAB Chairman Alex Cozzitorto reminded the group of the value of attending the LEAD conference.
“By attending the LEAD conference, you are investing in learning the leadership skills that are going to put you ahead in life and help you become future industry leaders,” Cozzitorto said.
The LEAD conference provides priceless educational and leadership experiences to young cattlemen and women thanks to the support of the Angus Foundation and generous Angus donors.
–Sierra Walter, Angus Communications Intern