June 29, 2021
From left to right: Faye Smith, Walton Kan., Audra Graves, Cleveland, Ala., Murray Perkins, Buchanan,Tenn., Alexa Montagne, Elk Point, S.D., and Shelby Kirton, Okeechobee, Fla.
The National Junior Hereford Association (NJHA) is excited to announce the 2021 VitaFerm Junior National Hereford Expo (JNHE) Ambassador Team who will be serving as interns and helping with preparation and execution for the show, July 3-9 in Kansas City. The five college students that were chosen to assist all have livestock show, event planning or junior board experience and will be the feet on the ground helping to host junior Hereford exhibitors and their families who will travel from 41 states to participate in the JNHE. Audra Graves, Cleveland, Ala., Shelby Kirton, Okeechobee, Fla., Alexa Montagne, Elk Point, S.D., Murray Perkins, Buchanan, Tenn., and Faye Smith, Walton, Kan., will make up the ambassador team and will be instrumental in making sure the event runs smoothly.
“I am excited about the team we have assembled for this year’s event. The five young people are all leaders in their respective associations and on their college campuses,” says Amy Cowan, American Hereford Association Director of Youth Activities and Foundation. “Combine their leadership experience with their showring knowledge and accomplishments and I am confident the team will be a huge asset as we work to orchestrate a Hereford Spectacular event here in Kansas City.”
To learn more about the 2021 ambassador team, please see their bios below:
Audra Graves, Cleveland, Ala., is a freshman at Auburn University, majoring in agricultural communications. Graves grew up on her family’s farm where they raise Angus and Sim-Angus cattle, specializing in the production of show heifers for junior exhibitors. She began her show career at age 9 and exhibited Angus, Hereford, Simmental, Maine Anjou, Chianina and commercial heifers, along with market steers. Graves not only exhibited cattle at her local and state level but at the regional and national level as well, showing at the National Junior Angus Show, North American International Livestock Exposition, Simmental Sweepstakes and the Dixie National. She served in many leadership capacities including: chapter FFA president, county 4-H youth council, and was a member of the livestock evaluation team for 4-H and FFA. She continues to be active in the Alabama Junior Angus Association serving as secretary, president and the 2019 Alabama Junior Angus Queen.
Shelby Kirton from Okeechobee, Fla., will be entering her second year of graduate school at Oklahoma State University (OSU) with a master’s degree in agriculture communications. Prior to OSU, Shelby attended the University of Florida (UF) where she received her bachelor’s degree in animal science. While at the UF she was a member of the Gator Collegiate Cattlewomen as well as Block and Bridle. Growing up, Kirton was actively involved in FFA, Junior Brahman Association and Junior Florida Cattlemen’s Association. She showed Brahman cattle across the state and at the national level.Shelby is eager to share her passion for the industry with others and has utilized her crown as the 2020 National Miss United States Agriculture as a way to highlight it.
Alexa Montagne is from Elk Point, S.D., and grew up showing Limousin cattle on the local, state and national level. She also enjoyed competing in livestock judging and other events through 4-H and FFA. From there, she attended Northeastern Oklahoma A&M and continued to judge livestock on the collegiate level. Montagne is currently a senior at Texas Tech University where she is majoring in applied agriculture economics and minoring in animal science.
Murray Perkins is from Buchanan, Tenn., and is a junior at South Dakota State University (SDSU) where he is studying animal science along with being a member of the livestock judging team. Prior to SDSU, Murray attended Lake Land Community College where he was a member of the livestock judging team and actively involved on campus. Murray grew up on his family’s multi-generational farm in Tennessee raising Shorthorn cattle in addition to their commercial cow-calf operation, as well as showing Shorthorn cattle at the state and national level.
Faye Smith is from Walton, Kan., where she and her family own and operate MBAR Shorthorns, a purebred & appendix Shorthorn Cow-Calf operation. In addition to being a breeder, she serves as a director on the American Junior Shorthorn board of directors. Faye is currently a junior at Kansas State University (K-State) studying agricultural communications and journalism, with a minor in mass communications. She plans on utilizing her degree to pursue a job with a print publication, or advertising agency that has a primary focus on the livestock industry. Faye has been able to work as a communications student employee in the K-State College of Agriculture Office of Recruitment. In this role, she created promotional materials for prospective students, as well as helped create social media content. She has gained experience in event planning and promotion by holding a position with the Alpha Gamma Royal spring show committee as their social media and promotion coordinator.