Youth Leadership in the Beef Industry by Kallie Mattison

The American Gelbvieh Junior Association (AGJA) provides opportunities for youth to grow as leaders. Through participation in contests and providing an environment in which the kids are
encouraged to develop relationships with other members, many skills are developed that will help them in positions of leadership. The demand for youth involvement is high, and the
future of the beef industry relies on those willing to take the lead. Youth organizations such as AGJA do just that by offering different contests for juniors to participate in, allowing
them to choose ones that will highlight their strengths and improve their weaknesses. For example, participation in quiz bowl allows juniors to educate themselves on various topics pertaining to
the beef industry, providing them with the knowledge to educate those who may not know much about livestock. Team fitting also helps juniors by giving them the opportunity to take charge, to do what they are good at, and to highlight the strengths of other teammates, ultimately creating a strong team that works together to be successful. These contests further assist in developing skills that will shape good leaders and advocates of the beef industry.

It is important to participate in youth organizations to build relationships and to gain experiences that allow kids to learn and thrive. It is members of these organizations that are responsible
for maintaining the integrity of the livestock industry. Association conventions and junior shows provide a forum where breed members can come together to bring up issues and to improve the organization as a whole, allowing for each voice to be heard.

Every leader begins as a follower. It is entirely up to an individual as to whether or not they choose to reach their full potential as a leader. The AGJA strives to build a network of future leaders that will make good decisions and to be the voice for the beef industry. You do not have to have a fancy title to be able to call yourself a leader. The AGJA encourages you to take every chance to develop your skills and to grow as a young person in agriculture. Participating in the National Western Stock Show in Denver, Colorado, is a great place to start, and I hope to see you there!