LEAD Conference: Leaders rise up in Phoenix

Farm Forum

The Leaders Engaged in Angus Development (LEAD) conference is set to take place Aug. 4-7 in Phoenix, Ariz. The 2016 event is themed “Rising Up in Phoenix” and is designed for National Junior Angus Association (NJAA) members 14 to 21 years of age.

Junior Angus members will travel across the nation to experience local agriculture and will partake in leadership workshops put on by the National Junior Angus Board (NJAB). According to NJAB Leadership Director Lauren Grimes, LEAD is an opportunity to leave the cattle at home, grow as a leader and build relationships with peers.

“Attending LEAD is a great opportunity to wrap up the summer show season and spend time with your friends from all parts of the United States, while learning how to become a better leader, communicator and advocate of agriculture,” Grimes says. “For the first time in LEAD history, we are traveling to the southwest to see forms of agriculture we have never seen before, listen to speakers discuss prominent issues in our industry and participate in teambuilding activities.”

Angus juniors will have the opportunity to hear from professionals Robin Kleine from Focus Marketing Group, Certified Angus Beef Chef Ashley Pado and Kelli Retallick from Angus Genetics Inc. (AGI).

Tours during this year’s LEAD conference will give attendees a look at agriculture in the southwest. Tour stops include Arid Zone Trees, a local landscape nursery; Pinal Feeding Co. Inc., one of the largest cattle feeding operations in the southwest; and Danzeisen Dairy, a local dairy focusing on providing fresh farm milk to local grocers.

In addition, junior members will participate in numerous breakout sessions regarding agricultural careers and also visit the western-style tourist town of Rawhide in Chandler, Ariz.

“This conference is a great way to kick back and relax away from home for a few days, all while advancing our knowledge of the beef industry, and networking with juniors and adults from all walks of life from all over the country,” Grimes says.

Conference space is limited and early registration is encouraged by the June 15 deadline. The early registration fee for NJAA members is $250. After June 15, registration will be $275 and accepted based on space availability. Registration for adults, state advisors and chaperones is $300; no early registration deadline applies. Sign up online at www.angus.org/njaa.

LEAD scholarship opportunities

First or second-time LEAD attendees may consider applying for the Gary M. Stoller Jump Start Your LEADership Award, which helps provide financial assistance with LEAD travel expenses. Interested applicants must submit a one-page typed essay expressing why the LEAD conference is important, what they hope to gain by participating, and the extent of their financial needs. For more information, visit www.angus.org.

In honor of his dedication to the Angus breed, family of the late Stan Prox, Macomb, Ill., have created the Stan Prox Memorial LEADers Engaged in Angus Development (LEAD) Award. Contributions from friends and family in his honor will award one NJAA member with funds necessary to defray registration costs to attend the LEAD conference.

The recipient will be selected by random drawing from those Illinois youth who registered for the LEAD conference by the early registration deadline. If individual is already receiving funding through the Angus Foundation for this purpose, another name will be drawn.

For more information, contact the events and education department at 816-383-5100. LEAD is funded by the Angus Foundation and is a program of the NJAA, which provides programs for nearly 7,000 members across the nation. A tentative schedule follows.