August 4, 2020
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Facing a venue cancellation and new healthy initiatives, Team Hereford pushed through COVID-19 trials which led the 2020 VitaFerm® Junior National Hereford Expo (JNHE) to “Come Home to Hereford” in Kansas City, Mo. The JNHE changed to a five-day event held July 10-15 and was hosted by the National Junior Hereford Association (NJHA) and the Hereford Youth Foundation of America (HYFA).
“The road leading to Kansas City did take some twists and turns, but the smiles and fist bumps after an awesome week made coming home to Hereford worth all of the extra efforts it took to get there,” says Amy Cowan, AHA director of youth activities and foundation.
This year’s JNHE showcased the talents of NJHA members in the showring and through online virtual contests. The event also debuted the future professionals contest, where juniors connected with collegiate and industry professionals by applying and interviewing for a career in agriculture. The livestock show included bred-and-owned females, cow-calf pairs, steers, bred-and-owned bulls and owned females. A total of 1,082 entries from juniors across the U.S. and Canada were exhibited at this year’s exposition.
“I think Judge Shike said it best — seeing our Hereford youth and families back home in Kansas City allowed all of us to return to some type of our normal,” says Bailey Clanton, national shows coordinator and youth activities assistant. “The late-night Zoom meetings and sleepless nights were worth every moment spent in Kansas City doing what we love. This show brought hope to the current uncertainties and proved the Hereford family is stronger than ever.” In accordance with social distancing guidelines established with the Kansas City Health Department and American Royal Complex, the opening and awards ceremonies were broadcasted virtually to limit major gatherings. Graduating seniors were also given a special recognition to celebrate their milestone achievement.
“I couldn’t be more excited with how it all came together amidst a lot of unknowns and scary times facing our nation,” Cowan says. “What these kids and their families needed was some normalcy and I am so glad we could provide that for them through the Junior National Hereford Expo.”
Cowan expresses her appreciation for everyone’s willingness to participate despite changing venues, wearing masks and social distancing.
“Even with nationwide mandates in place, we have never felt more like a Hereford family than we did this year,” she says. “Congratulations, Team Hereford, I am proud of everyone that played a part in coming home to Kansas City.”