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My experience with Cattlemen’s Young Leaders

April 17, 2012 1 comment

Sigh. A great road trip has just come to an end. Bummer eh?

Oh no, I don’t think so!  Like hell this is the end! BOOYAH!

That about sums up my current thoughts on being a graduate from the Cattlemen’s Younger Leaders mentorship program. We had a graduation event on Friday in Saskatoon (more on a bridge there later), and the new crop of candidates was there for selecting the next  gen of participants on Saturday.

I think all us grads were bemused at how much we had in common with the newbies. We all share a love for the industry and at some level are all AgNerds. What was more surprising, was how it was like a window into the past, right back to the selection event we were all at last year. The nerves, the excitement, the fact that none of us could stop, not even for a minute, talking about cattle (yes, it really was heaven).

I was paired with Owen Roberts, the Urban Cowboy and a general aggie-awesome media guru. A little bit of hometown for me as I went to Guelph for my BSc and did a LOT LOT LOT of growing up there (but somehow still manage to get told that I’ve never grown up…fancy that.) Owen is in Guelph, I’m in southern Alberta, so yes there were some challenges for communicating and it’s not all rosey-posy. But, we really exploited us of social media and e-mailing to connect, which I think is totally intriguing as we’re both game-on for communications and use of such things. I have no problem calling him up or shooting off an e-mail, something that I think we’ll be doing long into the future.

But the mentorship is more than my mentor. I made connections with other participants and their mentors. I learned so much from grabbing a coffee or just saying hello to someone else in the program. There’s also all the connections that were made from people in the program connecting me with people they knew (there’s going to be an upcoming video on the need for grazing in maintaining our natural grasslands that spun off some connections). Although I started with my focus on communications in the beef industry, I ended up learning a lot about things like foreign trade and international law, marketing beef, business accounting and planning, land issues, environment….and oh so much more. So for this year’s crop, don’t get too caught up in who specifically is going to be your mentor.  You functionally get more than one.

I’ve had a few people in the past couple days tell me that it’s intimidating to talk to me about the industry some times because I know so much (usually follow by a guffaw from me, there’s SO FRIKEN much I don’t know and so many other people who know so much more). Aside from the blow to the communicator in me, I can say that it directly relates to this mentorship program. Kudos to all that got CYL going.

I’ll end up posting more about the program throughout the upcoming months, there’s so much that I took from it. I encourage all participants, and people interested in participating, not to be shy and to see out the previous participants and mentors. I mean, isn’t that the role of the program, to advise/train?

I do want to get this outta my head though before I leave for the day. After talking with many of the candidates and hearing a lot of people ask the panel speakers at the grad event and the participants from my year for advice, I kept thinking “what would I tell other young leaders?”. Well here you go (and yes, it is terrifying releasing such a silly little rhyme onto the web) :Chew hot uranium, evil-doer!

You need to reset your objective, if you’re going to be effective,

and get used to the fact that you’ll fail.

But always remember, that small burning ember,

and let passion put wind in your sail.

You may get confused, and some will abuse,

your youth and lack of experience.

But that too shall pass, you’ll hit greener grass,

let nothing create your indifference.

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Categories: beef, cattle industry, CYL

A story to share: Cattle Industry Convention 2012 in Nashville

February 5, 2012 1 comment

So I arrived a touch sleepy in Nashville after having left home at 2pm the day before to head through Calgary, L.A. and Houston. I thought I would sleep enroute, in a plane or a layover, but no luck. But I was very glad to be on the ground and outta the airport by 10:30am.

I grabbed the shuttle to the hotel and chat with some folks from a co-op farm store, one of NCBA’s board members and a lovely rancher’s wife. Got to the hotel, praying like heck that my room would be ready because I had 20 min to get my travel weary tooshie showered and to a meeting that I really wanted to attend. Thankfully it was, and off I went to navigate the 2,881 rooms to find mine. Seriously, this place is enormous. And gorgeous. Very hard not to get distracted or lost, but more on that later.

Talk about a fish outta water. I’ve lived in million people cities, been to very large conferences and I had yet to encounter anything like walking into the USA’s national Cattle Industry Conference. I have never seen so many people involved in one interest, so excited and engaged.

So I naturally started thinking of home and all the folks with whom I wished I could share my trip with. Oh wait, I have a blog now. I intended to blog daily about what was happening. Then I decided that since I’m so good at finding entertaining things, I’d rather get out there and take full advantage of being in Nashville with so many cattle-lovers, and return to the notes later. So I’m going to go over my notes and re-visit my experiences, distilling my excitement into a series of posts. Likely the more coherent choice for those of you that read this.

The next few posts on here will cover the activities at the conference. Some might be on a specific meeting or topic. There was a lot of intense things ranging from profitability of cow-calf operations, to navy seal ordeals, carcass evaluations and predictions for the near future of the beef industry. But all in all, I am so thankful that I had the opportunity to attend and hope this enriches your life at least a fraction of what it did for mine.

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