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A New View, A Fresh Perspective

March 3, 2022

by Lauren Jones, NJHA Director

Though it seems a little early to be talking about Spring if you’re like my family in Wisconsin, the season is well underway here in Oklahoma where I go to school. The few days of “southern” winter brought a little snow, a little ice but mostly just the slight inconvenience of cold weather. This is hardly the bitter cold and crippling snow that I’ve come to expect from a Wisconsin winter.

Spring is always so full of new life and a time of great expectations and hope. There are so many new things popping from the ground and new babies being born. Most years we don’t calve very many in January or February due to the cold and time spent traveling for either the National Western Stock Show (NWSS) or Cattlemen’s Congress. But usually as the calendar turns to March, we start preparing for new calves, both at home and at the IVF cooperator herds.

This year is a little different, or maybe a lot different. Though I love the college experience here at Oklahoma State University, – my Mom always told me that these will be some of the best years of my life – it is a little bittersweet. I miss welcoming new babies that could become the next show heifer. I’m missing the melting snow turning into green pastures, and I’m missing the great expectations of shearing off the winter coat and preparing for those jackpot shows.

The view is now different. The expectations are different. But the potential is all there.

As we know, it’s all about perspective. Turn the lens just a little and the beauty is there. The excitement is there. The newness is there. The possibilities are all there! The new growth is about watching my group of friends expand and all of us cultivate a better understanding of the world. We are uncovering new opportunities and looking toward the future, a future full of making our mark and serving agriculture.

So how do we get there. It’s hard to leave the familiar and comfortable and embrace the unknown. It’s hard to say goodbye the comfortable when the new is scary and a positive outcome is not promised.

For me, it was about gathering strength from my support system. So many people have helped prepare me to branch out and take this step. They helped get me here and I know they are always available to pick me up when I fall or offer advice when I’m not sure which path to choose.

The National Junior Hereford Association (NJHA) has been a huge part of that preparation. My membership in this organization has pushed me to meet people that are taking the same journey right now. I may not be in familiar surroundings but there are many familiar faces. The leadership programs through our state organization and the NJHA have helped me develop confidence to take on these challenges and remain strong in my convictions.

Nothing can replace the cattle – my past, my present and my future will always come back to those beautiful white-faced cows. I may not be with them right now, but they have always had my heart and will play a huge role in shaping my future, while I currently chase the new beauty of my education and personal growth.