An Interview with Whitney Olson By Cara Smith AJSA President
When and why did you get involved with the AJSA and Simmental Cattle? My first introduction to showing Simmental cattle was through a local family that allowed me to lease a heifer from them when I was 12 years old. Shortly after, I became an active member of the Minnesota Junior Simmental Association (MJSA). Through the support of my family, mentors, and MJSA I started my own herd of Simmental cattle in the spring of 2016. I have always been fond of animal husbandry, but the Simmental breed allowed for a sense of unity between people who had similar interests as myself. In addition, the Minnesota Junior Simmental Association does a great job at getting youth involved through various events which greatly contributed to my overall success as an AJSA member. What is your favorite memory showing Simmental cattle? I’ve been extremely fortunate to experience many memories through showing Simmental cattle that have contributed in making me the person I am today. Of these, there is one that surely tops them all. This past 2020 National Classic, held in Brookings, South Dakota, has been by far the most rewarding. Outside of banners and awards, the most enriching portion was being able to experience my last AJSA event while my younger sister, Paisley, experienced her first. I couldn’t think of a better way to cap off my show career as a junior, and for that I am extremely thankful! What is your favorite show and why? This is a hard question as I truthfully enjoy the atmosphere of being at a show no matter the location. Although, if I had to narrow it down I would say my two favorite shows include the National Western Stock Show and the Minnesota Beef Expo. The history that surrounds you in the buildings creates an unmatched ambience at these high-caliber shows. Most importantly the reason I love these shows is the ability to be with family and connect with close friends from around the nation who I would not otherwise see. The cooler temperatures are always a plus, too! Are you in school? If so where, and what is your major? My educational pathway is a little bit different than the traditional scenario. Coming out of high school I was able to transfer a large sum of credits to North Dakota State University which ultimately put me into a junior standing. This allowed me to complete my Bachelor’s degree in 2018 where I majored in Agriculture Communication with minors in Ag Business and Strategic Communication. Knowing I wanted to continue my education, I decided to get a jump start on it right away. I was accepted into the Master’s of Business Administration program at NDSU in the fall of 2018, and graduated from the program in the winter of 2019. During this same time I started my career with Hurley and Associates, a commodity brokerage firm, as a marketing associate in their swine division. I focus my career goals on the professional standards that are held in the marketing sector – I find excitement in learning about risk management and the ways in which I can help farmers and producers utilize business models to help grow their operation and our economy. What do you plan to do after aging out of the AJSA? As mentioned earlier my sister is just beginning her journey as a AJSA member. I plan to continue to work with my family to progress our herd and aid in my sister's experiences along the way. I want to continue to engage those who didn’t grow up on a farm to pursue their passion! Looking back, there are many people who have helped me along the way and I recognize the tremendous impact this has had on my life – I just hope one day I can influence, encourage, and mentor my peers and youth the same way. Does your family have cattle? If so, what type of operation do you have? Our family runs a small registered Simmental operation where we focus on specializing through both phenotype and genotype pedigrees. Our cornerstone is to provide sound, functional, structurally-correct cattle that can be competitive in the show ring while still ensuring a strong EPD profile. As the years progress, our goal is to continue to increase our herd by not only by quantity but with quality to fit the needs of both commercial producers and show enthusiasts alike. What does being selected as the 2020 Herdsman of the Year means to you? Simply humbling. It’s a true honor to be recognized on a national level for such a distinguished award and stand among such great company of past Herdsman recipients and those nominated alongside me. Although my name is the one tied to the award, I am surrounded by numerous individuals that have made it possible to achieve my dreams. A firm reminder my family has instilled in my sister and me is that with great opportunities come great responsibilities. I'd like to thank the AJSA, ASA, and various other sponsors for making this award possible for our youth. I’m very grateful and humbled to have received the 2020 AJSA Herdsman of the Year Award!
Former AJSA President Kaylie Huizenga By Martha Moenning North Central Trustee
By Lauren Trauernicht North Central Trustee
Kaylie Huizenga, Morrison, Illinois, was a member of the versity of Illinois as a graduate student in Beef Nutrition focusAJSA Board of Trustees for four years. During her terms, she ing on feedlot cattle. After graduating with her Master’s in served as the Vice President of Leadership and as the 2017- May, Huizenga’s goal is to find a career in the agriculture 2018 AJSA President. Her journey to the AJSA actually started industry where she can help beef producers through the nutrition or educational realm. Beyond that, she hopes with a bucket calf and an Angus heifer. Soon after, to give back to youth in agriculture by becoming a her family gained connections with a local Simleader in the Illinois Junior Simmental Associamental breeder. However, it wasn't until they tion or serving county 4-Hers. attended an AJSA event that she would call the AJSA home. Without an FFA chapter or strong 4-H Eventually, she would like to grow her own program, Huizenga shared, “We were hooked on herd of Simmental cattle. Huizenga was overthe friendly and educational environment of the whelmed when asked how the AJSA prepared her AJSA.” for the future. She emphasized that because of the AJSA she gained confidence and communicaHer sister quickly became involved by particition skills specifically through the public speaking pating in AJSA Regional and National Classics. and sales talk contests. She further indicated that Huizenga followed in her footsteps and expanded the quizzes improved her knowledge of the beef her involvement onto the Illinois Junior Simmenindustry. She concluded by saying “The contests tal Board and, later, the American Junior SimmenKaylie Huizenga and skills I learned sparked my interest to stay in tal Board. When asked what her favorite experiences were, she said confidently “I was a huge fan of the the beef industry.” leadership conferences.” She spoke fondly of the opportunity As Huizenga’s time as a junior is now over, she encouraged to travel to places like Stillwater, Oklahoma, and Bozeman, members to “Always take up opportunities. Even the worst of Montana. This allowed her to step away from the barn, make things can teach you something meaningful or be an educaconnections with others, visit diverse agricultural businesses, tional experience. Despite what you may think, you can learn and learn valuable information about the industry. so much just by networking with others.” The AJSA is grateful Since her time in the grey jacket, Huizenga graduated from for Huizenga’s impact on the association. We look forward to the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign with a degree in seeing her continue to make the same impact on the agriculAnimal Science. She has continued her education at the Uni- ture industry in the future.
What’s Up AJSA
If you have been to an AJSA National Classic in recent years, you would recognize the name Priddy. The reason this name would sound familiar is because of the tremendous success this family has had. I had the pleasure of interviewing this wonderful family and learned about their start with Simmentals and how they became so successful. Neil, Lauren, Kiersten, Gatlin, Wade, Blair, and Cora Mae got started in the Simmental breed purely by chance. Here is their amazing story that goes to show how dedication and passion can bring about great success in any endeavor one chooses to pursue. Trauernicht: When and how did you get started in the Simmental Breed? Lauren says, “The Sweat family has been a really influential part of getting us involved. When we moved to Arkansas, in 2018, we met with the Sweat family, and they’ve been in AJSA for generations. We were in the same 4-H club, and bought our first Simmental cattle from their herd. I used to compete in lots of judging and public speaking very competitively and we had a common interest in these competitive events. So that summer, we decided right after we met them, that we should go to the South Central Regional Classic that was being hosted in our state. We went up there, and even though I didn’t have a cow to show, Gatlin and I competed. We did well and had a lot of fun. We’ve been attending the National Classics and Regional Classics ever since.” Lauren went on to describe the coincidental way that they attained their first Simmental-influenced show heifer. “Right before we moved from Houston to Arkansas, Kiersten had won a certificate for a show heifer at the Houston Livestock Show. It was kind of coincidental that it was a Simbraunvieh. So she went to Simbrah Roundup and things like that. We hadn’t really gotten into showing cattle yet, we were mainly just showing sheep. I had registered Simmentals when I was in high school. Even though they were registered, they were kind of more my commercial cattle. I didn’t show them. I showed other breeds, but we still ended up back here. Now Gatlin and Wade have quite a few and they’ve got their own herd out there that they bought with their own money.” Trauernicht: What’s your favorite thing about the AJSA? “I really like how it pushes us to put in effort into the educational events, and then when we arrive, I say we get to meet people and people that come from various cattle backgrounds. And it’s nice to meet people with a common interest. Then when you're competing in the AJSA events, it’s really nice to learn skills that will stick with you for the rest of your life.”
By Clay Sundberg North Central Trustee
As summer comes to a close and school is back in session, the junior Board of Trustees looks to continue to stay active throughout the year with everyone. Last spring we were excited to launch our “What’s Up AJSA” segments on Facebook as our way to let you know a little more about each of us and what we had been up to throughout quarantine. Although we hope to push towards more normality in the next year, we plan to bring even more videos that not only let you know what we are up to, but what is going on at the shows throughout this fall and spring as well. As we brainstormed for ideas on how to connect more with junior members, we thought what better way than to highlight some of our members at shows throughout the year! Along with highlighting members at the shows, we also plan to use these videos as educational opportunities this spring with tips and tricks for how we prepare for Regional and National Classics. As we prepare to put these videos together, please send us ideas on what subjects or contests you would like us to cover! All though you heard us say this numerous times throughout the week of nationals, a huge thank you goes out once again to every volunteer and staff member that helped to make
A Priddy Unique Family
it such a success. If you didn’t get a chance to be at the National Classic, six trustees retired from their years of service towards the AJSA, and we would like to thank them for the leadership and guidance they showed during their time on the board. The new board would like to wish them the best of luck as they each continue on their journeys of school and in the livestock industry. With that, we are extremely excited to welcome the new members onto the board of trustees. From the Western Region we welcome Jonna McCullough of Fort Benton, Montana. The North Central Region welcomes back Grace Greiman from Iowa as well as newly elected trustee Lauren Trauernicht of Wymore, Nebraska. In the Eastern Region we welcome back Rachel Dickson of Ohio and new board member Matthew Koverman of Minford, Ohio. Finally, from the South Central Region we welcome two new trustees Kaitlyn Cloud of Carthage, Missouri, and Sara Sweat of McCaskill, Arkansas. Over the next couple months make sure to watch the AJSA Facebook page to learn more about the new trustees! And like always, don’t hesitate to reach out to any of your trustees with questions or suggestions and we can’t wait to see you all soon!
Trauernicht: How do you prepare for the educational events at AJSA Classics? “All year we stay prepared. We go to contests and we travel everywhere competing with these events. We travel with the Sweats because we push each other. We have friendly competitions and it changes every time. It really depends on which contests we do. We go to public speaking and livestock judging events out-of-state all the time. We go to a lot of competitions, but nobody puts it on like Darla and Chance can!” The family has an unconventional way of preparing. Actually, it’s more playing than studying, but the kids get more good out of it than they know! In their freetime, the kids cut out pictures, pedigrees, and EPDs of cattle and glue them to cardstock to create flashcards that are more like toys from their point of view. They have created at least 700 of the “flashcards”, but they lost track a long time ago and keep creating more!
I love the story of this family which exemplifies everything that is great about the AJSA! Next time you hear their name announced at the Awards Banquet, know that a lot of hard work and year-round dedication went into that accomplishment! Also, if you find paper cows laying around, you know where they came from!
National Classic Recap An Interview with Whitney Olson Former AJSA President Kaylie Hulzenga What's Up AJSA? A Priddy Unique Family
Published on Nov 12, 2020
National Classic Recap An Interview with Whitney Olson Former AJSA President Kaylie Hulzenga What's Up AJSA? A Priddy Unique Family