Angus juniors ‘Raise the Bar’ at KSU

Farm Forum

When it comes to leadership development, it’s more than just showing up. It’s about gaining industry knowledge, strengthening communication skills and learning the value of teamwork. That is exactly what Angus youth learned while attending the 2013 Raising the Bar conference at Kansas State University in Manhattan, Kan.

National Junior Angus Association (NJAA) members met April 11- 14 to participate in the premier leadership-training event.

“The Raising the Bar conferences give our junior members the opportunity to expand their horizons and truly ‘raise the bar’ on what they can accomplish,” says Robin Ruff, American Angus Association director of junior activities.

Throughout the weekend, 45 Angus junior leaders, officers and advisors from 11 state junior Angus associations participated in activities geared toward building stronger leaders, and developing friendships.

They toured Kansas State University and area Angus operations, heard from motivational speakers, participated in industry-related workshops – and made time for fun activities, including bowling at the University campus.

“One of the best things a junior can gain from this experience is new friendships,” Ruff says. “Together, they can learn, grow and prepare for a promising future in the Angus industry.”

Lindsay Upperman, 20, of Chambersburg, Pa., attended Raising the Bar to meet new people and have fun. She encourages other Angus juniors to consider attending a Raising the Bar Conference.

“I started (the NJAA) in 2007, and it was a life-changer for me,” Upperman says. “In the years I’ve been involved, I’ve met so many people, have so many new connections and know that where I’m going in the future will be helped by what I have done in the past through the Angus Association.”

At the Kansas State University campus, participants toured the Kansas Artificial Breeding Service Unit, and visited with Sharon Tucker about semen collection; explored Call Hall, the University’s dairy processing plant, which includes the infamous ice cream parlor; and learned about the meat science facility that gives meat processors, students and entrepreneurs an opportunity to use various aspects of a state-of-the art meat science research and teaching complex.

Angus juniors also met with Larry Corah, Certified Angus Beef LLC (CAB) vice-president, about the brand; and Galen and Lori Fink about their success with CAB in their restaurant, Little Apple Brewery.

Raising the Bar participants also toured Lyons Ranch, known for their conservation tactics for the tall-grass prairie in the Flint Hills.

Keynote speakers, Kerry Priest, Kansas State Leadership Studies assistant professor, and Emily Lehning, assistant vice president for Student Life and director of New Student Services, encouraged juniors to focus on personal goals while still behaving with a team attitude.

Eighteen-year-old Reid Shipman of Manhattan, Kan., has been involved in the NJAA for five years, and he participated in Raising the Bar to learn more about leadership and get more involved in the Angus Association.

“I think it’s important for juniors who are younger to get involved,” Shipman says. “The beef industry and livestock industry are such a major part of our world today. It’s going to take all of us to be able to provide a good, wholesome product for the dinner table.”

About Raising the Bar

Now in its sixth year, the Raising the Bar conference continues to foster the development of Angus youth by hosting events in four regions across the country. The NJAA, with sponsorship from the Angus Foundation, has conducted Raising the Bar conferences in cities such as Nashville, Tenn.; Ames, Iowa; Columbus, Ohio; and Stillwater, Okla.