I am excited. The passion and commitment of our young cattlemen and cattlewomen is catching, encouraging, and fills me with great pride.
An active follower of social media, I watch with delight the posts that range from personal to professional. The topics and stories are amazing and the beef industry most certainly has been fortified with these vignettes on the benefits of beef, the challenges and science in raising it, and the pure joy of being part of a dynamic industry.
Often funny, always truthful — our Canadians are showcasing the industry they love and respect. Not a day goes by in which I am not amazed at the breadth and scope of the knowledge that these young men and women share and the reach they have into the public domain. Technically savvy and armed with resources, the videos are engaging and shine a positive light on what we do and the importance of growing food.
Most impressive is the men and women themselves. Those that I have had the privilege in meeting astound me with their understanding, commitment and passion. Not everyone thinks the same way and that is the beauty of the conversation. It is this diversity of thought that sparks the imagination.
As these men and women take leadership roles, the industry itself will be challenged and it is important to listen for these persons are closer to the consumer: the singles, the families, the millennials and the new Canadians that we hope to be in food partnerships with. Many men and women of agriculture today have a global perspective and may share a first-hand experience while others are looking at law, science, soil, medicine, nutrition, animal welfare, food processing, marketing or genetics. Whatever their passion, they are needed as the industry continues to grow. There is room for us all.
Setting the stage so they may have an impact is the responsibility of those of us who have been here for the decades of change — who embrace these persons — our talented human capacity.
- More ‘Straight from the hip’ with Brenda Schoepp: Thank you k.d. lang
To the young men and women of the beef cattle industry I humbly share these thoughts. Not from the perspective of a person who always got it right, but from my humble beginnings in the cattle pen to my thirst for lifelong learning.
Never give up on your dream whether that is a new ranch horse or international trade representation, raising children to follow in your footsteps or an advocate for human rights in meat processing. Whatever your passion — follow it with courage and conviction.
Set boundaries for your time for the sake of your family and your personal health. Use your down time to think, pray and imagine. The greatest ideas are often “discovered” on a road trip or spending some quiet time on horseback, on the golf course or during coffee with an urban friend. Do not be enslaved to what you do. Learn something new every day.
Be open to those outside of the industry for they will challenge you and bring a diverse perspective to the conversation. It is these perspectives that are needed in any business.
Seek a mentor. I fully appreciate the value of the Cattlemen’s Young Leaders program and as an international mentor, I am also witness to the growth of persons when they are encouraged to be all that they were born to be. This confidential relationship is good for business and even better for the soul. Mentorship is meant to liberate, encourage, inspire and empower you and that is critical in success and happiness.
Strong enough to bend, I too need the same encouragement and seek out the solid footing of a mentorship team that keeps me grounded, laughs with me at my ridiculous mistakes and pushes me on. Some of my advisers are half my age.
They say money can’t buy happiness and that may have been written by someone who has never been without it. Money is more than important — it is why you are in the business. Financial literacy is your friend. Understand tax. You can’t afford not to be financially literate.
Think critically. Change was never brought about by group think — it has historically been sparked by independent thought that challenged the status quo. Be okay in your unique self and your unique approach to business. There is no play book — only possibility.
Believe in yourself. You were born perfect and totally capable. Trust yourself and that amazing internal compass. Trust also the opinion of your family members who are on your team.
For the women of the beef industry you do not need someone to tell you at a conference or meeting what you can do. With your investment, intelligence, grace, dedication and conviction — you already are doing it! Be confident, seek out higher levels of business acumen, set boundaries and support other women. Live your purpose. Go where you are respected.
I have every confidence in the boys and girls and the young men and women who are woven into the fabric of the beef cattle industry. Their willingness and ability to reach the public both personally and through social media, their confidence in bringing forward transformative solutions and their depth of knowledge is mirrored in their constant participation. It is this presence that sets them apart as world-class persons, be that from the back forty or the boardroom, science lab or marketing team.
Yes, I am excited, but more so I am proud of the people in this industry, as we fill the boots from one generation to the next with young talented men and women.