Leadership is Not About the Next Election, It’s About the Next Generation by Emily Griffiths


It is hard to deny that we are in an extremelydynamic presidential election year. And while I believe in refraining from talk of politics at the dinner table (or in magazine columns) I think there are important takeaways from how we as  Americans support a candidate of our choosing during an election. As socially responsible voting citizens, we invest a great deal of time supporting and campaigning for our preferred candidate. As agriculturists, and more broadly entrepreneurs, we are invested and active in the political process because often times our  business climate and livelihoods depend on the outcome. We believe in investing our most valuable resource of time in a candidate that we want to lead us into the future. We volunteer, attend rallies, tune-in for debates, buy tables at fundraisers, immerse ourselves in the issues and celebrate every victory. We do all of this for that one candidate that we believe will protect our livelihood, promote our product and preserve our heritage. While there may be some debate on the most qualified candidate in the November election, in July there is a candidate that we all can agree on…the American Gelbvieh Junior Association.

After all, as the culminating event for the junior membership of our breed, the AGJA Classic has all of the enthusiasm and opportunity of a party’s national convention. However, do not let the typical fanfare fool you; the AGJA Classic is about far more important successes than results of the cattle show. The annual AGJA Classic is a compilation of satellite event opportunities, leadership activities, and mentorship for both juniors and adults. As a junior and adult who has participated and attended similar
“junior national” events in seven breeds, I speak from experience when I say that our junior national is simply unmatched by our purebred counterparts. As you look at a crosssection of our exhibitors, they come from generations of good cattlemen and women and more importantly
good people whose “vacation” is a week spent at an AGJA Classic. The most sought after award is not a purple banner but the quiz bowl bull statue; not the slap of Supreme Female but the title of All-Around Champion.

If this type of atmosphere intrigues you, keep in mind, being a parent of a junior participant is not a prerequisite for adult involvement at the AGJA Classic. The simplest way to support these “candidates” is by attending the junior event to become a part of the excitement and enthusiasm. Your presence is recognized and valued by the juniors because it speaks volumes to the importance that our adult membership places on this event for leadership and breeder development. Recent graduates of the junior program should remember, “you are never done but your roles just change” and attendance at Classics provide an excellent example for transitioning into adult membership. The host committee(s) and AGJA Board welcomes adult participation and expertise in judging contests, evaluating scholarships, planning events, assisting in Fun Day or providing your culinary prowess in preparing meals. If you are interested in helping in any capacity do not hesitate to reach out to the coordinating entities. In addition to your attendance, sponsorship of AGJA events and activities are greatly appreciated. Our AGJA regional shows, junior classics, and biennial POWER Conference
always require financial support to optimize the experience.

Regardless of how you choose to contribute to the 2016 campaign, I encourage every member and any Gelbvieh enthusiast to make plans to “vote” in support the AGJA Dirt Road Classic. I realize that everyone leads busy lives; however, it is important to know how to prioritize the  compass and the clock. The investment of support in our junior program now will pay dividends in the future direction of the breed. As we go about the business of better beef we must not lose sight of the opportunity to continue to cultivate our most important cash crop—the next generation of Gelbvieh producers.