Proud to be Essential

May 5, 2020

by Bailey Morrell, NJHA Director

What a strange world we currently live in. After the COVID-19 outbreak in the United States, my life changed quite a bit. One day I was studying for midterms at Colorado State University, getting ready for a short spring break because I was assistant chairman for the Green & Gold Jackpot Show at CSU. I was looking forward to the YBIC conference for junior boards of the various breeds, my state show in California and being able to witness the graduation of some close friends. Oh, times how they have changed. I drove home with three pairs of jeans and one interview outfit and now have been home in California for over six weeks. Unfortunately, at that time my summer internship had been called off like many of my peers’, leaving me with little alternatives for this summer. However, I would like to note that thank goodness for online shopping, because I now have plenty of jeans to wear.

Now, like many of us my classes did not end when I left Colorado. I am currently doing classes three days a week while my parents use the “free labor” card on me the rest of the time. (Apparently, tuition must still get paid even if you aren’t going to class) Now, its springtime in Northern California which means branding, breeding and planting seasons. At the beginning of this quarantine, I saw a post saying to pick up a new hobby or learn a new skill. Well, I decided I was going to learn how to rope and wow has it been fun. My dad and I have truly been able to spend more time together going to fellow rancher’s brandings on the weekends and time spent in that setting has been invaluable. On our own ranch, my family and I have already worked up four sets of AIs and ETs for next year’s calves. In addition, our almond and walnut orchards are full speed ahead with irrigation and pruning.

Like many of y’all, my family has put me to work while I am home and I am pretty sure they are enjoying having some extra help around the ranch. Now, I understand that this is a challenging time for us all in the world and my thoughts and prayers go out to anyone affected personally by this pandemic. Nevertheless, this is a time to come together (while maintaining social distancing) as a community of Hereford breeders and supporters, coming together as part of the Hereford family. There is so much uncertainty in the world we currently live in regarding future events and opportunities, but I assure you we will come out of this as strong as ever.

The NJHA junior board will work to give our junior members the best experiences we can provide. We will improvise, we will adapt and we will overcome the challenges associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. I believe that our community and way of life was “essential” well before this pandemic, but it is even more prevalent now. Our lives have all been changed by the Coronavirus but, I hope we take this opportunity to work with our kids who are home from school to ensure our “essential” legacy lives on. I know the world is hurting, but I encourage you to take the time to look at your cows, spend time with your kids, and be grateful for both your family and your Hereford family who will be there for you when this is all over. Hang in there y’all.