Keep Moving Forward

Written by: Zane Gavette, Treasurer

As the days go on with some states having no end in sight, all we can do is keep pushing forward.

Some of you may know more and some may, not so let me reintroduce myself. I am Zane Gavette from Everson, Washington and I am currently serving as your NALJA Board Treasurer. During this pandemic, we are ordered to stay home and stay in doors. I don’t know about you but that’s hard for me. I’m sure we all feel that sadness of not having spring shows and for some of us no summer shows. For me this took a hard toll, not being able to show this spring and possibly the whole year. I’m sure I am not the only with these feelings and the thoughts of doubt in mind. However, I’m sure many of you were taught to not give up. That’s what we need to do. We need to keep moving forward and push through.

This has truly been a test of mental strength and motivation for me. With having all of the shows being most likely cancelled, you feel like this year is just a waste. No matter if we have a show next month or next year we keep rinsing, we keep workin hair, we get those coolers going, we have hope.

Sometimes in life we’ll have our backs held against the wall and the only thing to do is walk forward. In these times it seems like that’s the only thing you can do. For some people it’s harder as some families are suffering from no jobs and no income, and we will continue to pray for those families.

So as I conclude, if you’re feeling like your back is against that wall and you’re glued and not knowing what to do, I hope you can find that will power to take that step forward and take advantage of the days. Move forward and fight on! I hope to see y’all soon in Louisiana for another great year of memories. I hope everyone is staying safe and healthy, God bless!

“When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command locusts to devour the land or send a plague among my people, if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” – 2 Chronicles 7:13-14

Looking for the Bright Spots

Written By: Colt Schrader, NALJA Vice President

Over the past month, our nation has endured challenges that nobody could have ever foreseen. We’ve added new words to our vocabulary, like social distancing. Changed the way we interact with our friends and family by using video conferencing tools like Zoom and Google meetings. We traded in crowded classrooms for online classes. Which meant teachers like me said bye to our students before spring break, not knowing we might not see them again until August or maybe later. This pandemic has changed a lot of the ways we do many everyday tasks, but it also has some bright spots. Health care workers are finally receiving the appreciation that I feel they should receive daily. These doctors, nurses, first responders, and EMTs are putting their lives on the line for people they have never met. They deserve these many thanks in good times. The second is that a lot of families are eating out less and spending more time together. I know mine is so I can only assume that those that started this quarantine together have stuck together through it. Now, this can also be a drawback because once you’re around somebody for too long, they may start to become a little irritating. That said find out who you need in life. They may be annoying, but you need to enjoy them while you can because you never know what the next day may bring.

During this pandemic, just like we’ve added words to our dictionaries, we’ve also amended some of the words already wrote down. The most critical word being “essential.” Everybody from a banker handing out small business loans, to the doctors and nurses saving lives, even grocery store clerks have been told that they are “essential.” Another industry that has been brought to light in all this chaos as essential is agriculture. Now for all of us in agriculture, we already knew this to be true. Even my class of eighth graders could have told you that agriculture was and is essential.  That said, look at it from the perspective of somebody living in the concrete jungle. The closest they get to agriculture is at the supermarket. Even then, they couldn’t tell you where exactly their food might come from or even the real difference between organic and non-organic. The disconnect our country has seen from farm to fork is real, and it’s a real problem. For many people, the agricultural industry being labeled as essential may have come as a shock. Just look at the impact the agricultural sector has on America and what would happen if we made farmers and ranchers quarantine in their homes.

Let’s start by looking into cattle producers like myself. What happens when we run out of feed and need to get more. If the state or the local government shuts down feed stores because they’re not “essential,” we are in big trouble. Not to mention how that would affect companies like ADM, VitaFerm, Purina and many others. The results would be catastrophic, and that’s just one phase of the industry. Look at row crop operations, it’s starting to warm up, and they’re looking to start putting summer crops in the ground. What if they couldn’t get and seed or fertilizer because every place, they could get it was closed. We may not see any effects right now but down the road when ethanol prices skyrocket, and soybean futures are in the tank. That’s when we’ll finally understand how important agriculture is. Agriculture does a lot of things it feeds us, clothes us, fuels our vehicles, pays our bills, makes up half of our job title. It’s easy for people in the industry, especially an agricultural education teacher like myself, to see how important agriculture is to our country. That’s not the same for people that reap the benefits without understanding the process. Sometimes it takes being called essential by the government for people to look into the things they may take for granted. I think that’s the best thing that’s come from the pandemic. It shined a light on industries that, for the most part, stay in the shadows. It has the general public asking hard questions. One of the biggest things that may come out of this pandemic is Country of Origin Labeling (COOL). With more and more people asking tough questions about the industries that have come to light by being labeled “essential.” The meat industry, specifically the packer side of things, has come under some significant scrutiny. We will have to wait and see what happens, but it is incredible what people see once you start shining a little light on specific industries.

I would like to say thank you to all the doctors, nurses, EMTs, and all essential workers who continue to put their health on the line so that we may have a little normalcy. Thank you to all the teachers who are having to learn how to put their classes online so that students can get back to something normal. Thank you to the leadership not only in my state of Oklahoma but the nation as a whole.

I look forward to getting through this and celebrating together again at the Party of the Century this summer. Stay healthy and safe!

Passionate and Persistent

Written By: Shelby Hubbard, NALJA Secretary

Hi! For those of you that don’t know me, I am Shelby Hubbard from Miami, Oklahoma. I am currently a freshman at NEO A&M College, and I am loving every minute of it.

Growing up, my mom cooked all the time; breakfast, lunch, dinner and sometimes dessert were always on the table, and let me tell you Mother Hubbard can cook some good food. Some of my favorites are her lasagna, biscuits and gravy and I can’t forget her apple pie. With her being such a good cook there has never been a time where I felt the need to go into the kitchen to “help” her. I can remember a specific instance where she called me and asked to get dinner started because her and my dad were checking cows. She told me to get out the boxed rice and just follow the simple directions. I am thinking to myself, surely a fifteen-year-old girl can fix boxed rice. Well, I get all the ingredients out, and when the water finally started boiling, I poured the rice noodles in. This is where everything went haywire. Who knew that cooking boxed rice on high heat the whole time would result in a big mess? That night my family decided that I do not belong in the kitchen quite yet.

Throughout high school my mom kept hinting at the fact that I needed to learn how to cook. It wasn’t until the fall of my senior year during thanksgiving break that I made my debut in the kitchen. However, it wasn’t regular meals that I decided to start off making. With the holiday nearing, I decided to start with making pies (why? I have no idea). A pumpkin pie was first up, so I went to Walmart with my mom to buy the ingredients. I found the canned pumpkin, then I went to the frozen section to find a frozen pie crust (easy way), but my mom quickly insisted that I was going to do it the right way and make a homemade pie crust. So, I did. My mom assisted me in making it and wow did I learn a lot. So, I continued making pies. I was almost to the point where when I had a free Saturday or Sunday afternoon, I would make one. Soon I got creative and made designs in them and I was finally confident enough to make them without my mom’s assistance.

Fast forward to Christmas break of my freshman year of college. My mom asked me to make an apple pie for a family get together. I got all the ingredients out and started by making the crust, but for some reason I struggled. A lot. I threw away the first crust because it was terrible. I went to my mom and told her that it would be best if she just made it herself because I couldn’t figure it out. I wanted to give up, but my mom made me go to the kitchen and help her. I tell you all this humorous story that is now a joke in the Hubbard house, because in life it is so easy to just give up. That day I wanted to give up over making an apple pie.

I challenge all of you young people to never give up. Whether it be in school, the show ring, and most importantly, in this beautiful life. Parents, push your kids and teach them to never give up because life is all too short to give up when times become hard.

You will never achieve your dreams by giving up or taking the easy way out. Be passionate and persistent in all you do and pursue your dreams with a dedicated attitude.

Just a Class

Written By: Clayton Schowe, NALJA Director

Hello all! For those that are not familiar with me, my name is Clayton Schowe. I’ve been involved with Limousin cattle since 2012. Currently, my family and I reside in the southwest Missouri town of Cassville. Where Dad likes to say, “It takes people here and hour and a half to watch sixty minutes.” I am starting my second semester at Iowa State University where I am majoring in animal science. I plan to continue with a masters and potentially PhD related to cattle. Prior to Iowa State, I attended Lincoln Land Community College in Springfield, Illinois. At both schools I was a member of the livestock judging team, one of my passions. Aside from judging and being around livestock I am an avid sports enthusiast, so if you ever want to talk sports or make a bet just get in touch!

In my twenty years of life I have been put in many situations. All to often they have been a class. From school, to showing, and even judging. Growing up school is something we all get to enjoy. In middle school the students tend to gain the ability of choosing some of the class they get to partake in, electives. The older we get, the more say we have in what we take. This is where things became more fun for me because I was able to take classes I wanted to be in once I got to high school. Such as animal science, college algebra, and of course some gym classes. Choosing classes is certainly a fun thing, but you must choose wisely. And remember it’s just a class. Often, we know what we want, but occasionally there will be classes we are required to take or even maybe some we think we might enjoy but we end up disliking the class. At the end of the day though it is imperative to get the most out of those closes. Whether its our favorite class of the day or the one we dread going to, all the classes we encounter will impact us as students and people in general. So instead of just giving up or throwing the towel in, get as much as you can from the subject. Never know when something may come from it in the future.

Showing cattle and judging livestock are two things I thoroughly enjoy. Both places I can be thrown in too tough classes. And, neither event do I get a say in where I fall or what I have to judge. It’s always nice to luck out and get a class where your chances of succeeding are high. And those judging classes when you turn around to a gift are the best. But often it’s those tough classes where you stand somewhere in the middle you learn the most. Or it’s that class or two in a judging contest that really makes you scratch your head and stand for something that allows the most growth as a contestant. Regardless, we all get our chance during reasons to explain what we were thinking and hope the guy or woman listening agrees with what we saw. But still, we must remember it’s just a class.

In school, showing, judging and sports, I was taught many characteristics. The ability to be resilient always came in handy. Or, being able to persevere and move past a challenging task. As we grow older, the decisions we make tend to have more consequences, so being able to confident stand behind a choice makes thing a little bit easier. Yet, when we make the wrong choice sometimes, we must own up and admit that was the case. Even still, no matter the setting it’s just a class, so learn from it, grow from it, and be ready to succeed when a similar situation arises in the future.

“It’s what you learn after you know it all that counts.” -John Wooden

“Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6

Celebrating 50 Years in North America

Written By: Wiley Fanta, NALJA Director

Congratulations to the Limousin breed for celebrating their 50th year in North America. The year was 1968 when the first Limousin Genetics were imported to Canada, who would have predicted this fresh continental breed would have such a huge impact in the upcoming fifty years of American beef production, influencing millions of pounds of marketed beef. Limousin cattle quickly became favored by cattlemen and packers. In the past fifty years countless Limousin and Limousin influence calves have consistently been recorded as having added growth and performance for producers, efficiently converting feed to red meat naturally for feeders, and for hanging a high yielding quality carcass that packers prefer to harvest.

Wiley exhibited the Canadian National Champion Female at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair
Wiley fitting his animal during Senior Showmanship Finals at NJLSC

Progressive adaptation from Limousin breeders can be appreciated and realized when studying Limousin archives. This necessary progression included targeting black hides, selectively breeding for polled genetics, and adjusting the breed phenotype, from when the first imported genetics were introduced to North America, to better fit our development practices and preferences. Current highlighted genetics on the market today are evidence of meticulous mating decisions that are designed for current North America beef production.

So what can we predict the next fifty years of the breed to look like?

I believe, with the introduction of genomic testing and more avid data collection, we are positioned to make greater strides when targeting specific traits to fit future markets.

Wiley participating with fellow juniors in the NJLSC Tenderfoot Program

With Increased pressure for efficient, sustainable beef production, our cattle could assume a lead role in the next fifty years of the cattle industry. In the next fifty years many operations that take advantage of Limousin benefits will be introducing the next generation of leadership that are currently members of the North American Limousin Junior Association.

New Beginnings

Written By: Tristan Gulotta, NALJA Director

Tristan assisting juniors in the ring at NJLSC

I hope everyone is just as excited for the upcoming fall weather as I am, but this also means school has started back again. I have started school at Southeastern Louisiana University where I am majoring in Physics. After my first year, I will be transferring to Louisiana State University where I will then major in Environmental Engineering. After four years in this study, I will then continue my education in hopes to receive my master’s.

Transitioning from high school to college may seem like a daunting task, but with the right tools, you can help yourself be successful. Making sure everything is complete is a top priority that will have to be strictly enforced by yourself so you do not fall behind. Responsibility plays a big part in knowing when to stop all the fun you are having and get into the books and do your job as a student. Put your best foot forward to get the job done, even when it may seem intimidating.

College will bring new changes and challenges, but it is an important part of growing as a person.  Just like this will be a big change for me, everyone has to overcome new situations and circumstances that are scary at first, but will ultimately help them in one aspect of life or another. Remembering the “big picture” during times like these helps deal with tribulations.

Colt Schrader and Tristan running the Carcass contest at NJLSC

New beginnings are always tough to overcome, but by doing your job to do the absolute best, anything is possible. Taking responsibility and ownership of mistakes will help you see what can be improved about yourself, and find ways to tweak the problem and find a solution. Do not be scared of starting something new, but embrace it and try your absolute best to show everyone you can and will do it!

Faith, Hope, and More Faith

Written by: Lindsey Gulotta, NALJA President

Randa Taylor, Keaton Shultz, Lindsey, and Josie Ozburn enjoying NJLSC activities

Hey ya’ll! I hope everyone’s summer was one to remember, and a lot of fun times and memories were made. As school time comes back around, I always think about how fast (too fast) the summer went by, and what’s to come up next. If you know me, you know I am a planner. I hate not knowing what’s going to happen – or not happen. This feature of mine has definitely had its pros and cons, but I can say it has taught me a lot these past few months.

One big pill I have had to swallow, especially in my college career, is that there is absolutely no way of knowing what’s to come next. Although I like to guess or try to plan it, we can only control so much. For instance, I thought undoubtedly, I had my career path planned out. One summer changed that whole “plan” I made for myself, when I realized a large aspect of my chosen career isn’t what I would wake up excited for every day. Learning to do what you can and let God deal with the rest can be hard, but it sure does give a lot of comfort.

Zane Gavette and Lindsey concentrating on the “here and now”

Along with learning to not plan so much, I’ve been able to slow down and really try to concentrate on the “here and now”. I think in the fast paced and ever-changing world we live in, this often gets passed by. I still struggle with this, but the older I get, the more I realize how bad I just want time to slow down. Since I can’t force that, trying to soak up the little moments and really concentrate on what’s important has helped me slow time down in my own way. My dad really wasn’t kidding when he asked me to stay little forever, and I sure do wish I would have taken him up on that!

Lastly, I want to talk about how these last few summer months will be more important than anything I will ever learn in school. Don’t get me wrong, school and an education are something everyone should strive to achieve. But the memories I have made, people I have met, and life lessons I have learned is something I will never be able to be taught in a college auditorium. People skills, growing as a young adult, respect, discipline and so much more are real-world experiences that have been taught to me over and over again within this breed and the agriculture industry.

I urge you to realize the importance and cherish the extra family and barn time you get to spend at home during the summer. Take notice of what’s happening right in front of you and know that it’s okay to not know!

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding.” – Proverbs 3:5

Lindsey’s sister Lauren and brother Tristan are two of her biggest fans

The First Step

Written By: Riley Smith, NALJA Director

Hey everyone! My name is Riley Smith, and I am from Macomb, Illinois. I hope you all have had a wonderful first semester of school, have stayed plenty busy as I, and have handled all the crazy tasks life throws our way with courage. I cannot wait to see what the next fiscal year brings for all of us as Limousin producers and agriculturalists as a whole. 

Riley showing at the 2019 NJLSC

            Life can be stressful. We all know that we have deadlines to meet, people to please, and still have enough time set aside to have a normal life. A few months ago, I experienced a stressful time in my life, as I changed my decision of where I would be attending college. Keep in mind this was in the middle of July, just after Junior Nationals. Due to faint of heart, I originally planned on attending Lake Land College in Mattoon, Illinois, even though I knew deep in my heart that I wanted to travel south-west to get away from home for college. After many long talks with my parents (and Dr. Mary Booth), I decided to change my then future school to Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College (NEO) in Miami, Oklahoma. That’s right, the home of the Norsemen (no I did not know what a Norseman was at first, either)! Although I was excited to be going to school where my heart desired, I was quite nervous as well. I only knew a select few people who were enrolled at NEO in the fall, I wasn’t sure who my roommate would be, and I was going to be living seven hours from home instead of a mere two. All of this coupled with having only two short weeks to prepare for move-in day made me more nervous than I’ve ever been. I felt as though I might regret my change in decision, or that something would fall through and end poorly.

Riley participating in the team fitting contest

Fast forward a couple weeks, and I was in Miami, Oklahoma walking to my first ever college-level class. The short time I have been here has no-doubt allowed me to make many lifelong friends and gain new experiences that I will cherish and utilize in my future. After so much worry, I can say without hesitation that I am happy with the choice I made. I love it here in red-dirt country.

            While pursuing any of your goals or passions, I challenge you to always remember that the most important step in the process, is the first step. A person can accomplish all things if they are willing to initiate something and follow through with dedication and perseverance. When feeling hesitant about pursuing something that your heart desires, I wish you courage, and hope you think of this quote by Martin Luther King Jr., “Faith is taking the first step, even when you don’t see the whole staircase.” 

During your schooling this year, while playing a sport, or working with your livestock, I encourage you to never be afraid to pursue what your heart tells you to follow. Always remember to remain strong in faith, work harder than your competition, and stay humble and kind. 

            “Those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles.” – Isaiah 40:31