Appreciate the little things.      

You get to grow up in God’s country, with wide open spaces as far as the eye can see.

Where else would you get to spend as much time outdoors? Even better – where else do you get to ride around for hours on end in tractors, rangers, pickups and horses while hanging out with your family. You always hear people say, “take time to stop and smell the roses”, sometimes you have to stop and look at the view. It’s something that words can’t even describe.

Once it hits December of every year it is safe to say that Nebraska is in full swing of the holiday season. With Christmas Eve, Christmas, New Year’s Eve and many other national holidays that people can celebrate, it is clear that everybody is in the mood to spread the joy and cheer of the holiday season.

When I was in eighth grade, I chose to join the FFA chapter at my school. At the time, it seemed like the right thing to do because everyone else was doing it, but over time FFA proved to be an organization that would teach me far beyond what I ever imagined to learn.

Whether it is to “make the best better” or “living to serve,” youth livestock organizations in Nebraska have filled their members with lifelong lessons. I have been a member of 4-H and FFA for the past ten years and let’s just say that I have learned A LOT. So, here are ten things that I have learned in my ten years of participation—I’m sure you can relate.

This is the moment of a lifetime! The judge is taking his final glances at the showmen and their hogs before selecting the Grand Champion Senior Swine Showman.

I began showing livestock my sophomore year of high school. I am now a freshman in college, and I have recently purchased pigs for another show season. When I was eight years old, I joined 4-H and began showing horses.

Consumers are looking for healthier, more sustainable food options and rumors have been said for years, that eating tons of red meat is not a good idea. Even celebrities are trying to get people to stop eating meat one day at a time.

None of you? Yeah, me neither, until my sophomore year biology teacher would preach about how cedar trees were destroying the natural prairies of Nebraska. This made me think, “Could such a common tree that I had grown up around cause harm to Nebraskan ecosystems, where it seems as though it is native?” Well, people, the answer is yes. Cedar trees take space and water from the native grasses and it can displace the native bird and mammal species of the Plains.

This past fall I attended the Nebraska Youth Beef Leadership Symposium. I spent the weekend learning about the beef industry and how to share facts and knowledge with the consumer. We talked to Industry leaders and learned from the professors at the university.

It’s fall in Nebraska, and that means a lot of fun for Nebraskans! Between Halloween, Vala’s Pumpkin Patch, leaves changing, and cool nights by a campfire, Nebraska is a pretty great place to be! But even more exciting is, you guessed it, Husker football games! It is quite a site to see Memorial Stadium packed to the brim with Nebraskans decked out in red shouting “Go Cornhuskers!”. Wait a second, what is a cornhusker? A cornhusker is a person or device that removes the husks from corn. Why are we called the Cornhuskers? Nebraska is one of the top corn producing states ranking third under Illinois and Iowa.

  1. Appreciation:
    In high school, everyone one says that they are ready to leave this town; however, I can’t wait to come back to my family farm. I want to give back to my family farm. It grew me so much as a person. I learned respect, responsibility, and hard work at a young age. Once you leave the farm you see how different the world is, but you will always have your work ethic to fall back on.

Nebraska Farm Bureau has identified sixteen social media savvy student members to join our Crew. The Crew is a group of Nebraska Farm Bureau student members who share their love of agriculture through social media. Each member is selected in the spring and participates for one year.

My passion for agriculture started when I was a very young. I was barely able to walk (still in diapers) but I would be riding in the tractor with my dad to check cows. By the time I was seven or eight, I knew the numbers and family history behind almost every single cow in our herd. From the age of 9 to 18, I showed cattle, chickens and sheep. I grew up in an area that was very agriculture oriented.  My community promoted agriculture, and everybody understood what I was doing with my livestock and what I was talking about when I said that I was going to move cows, work calves, or haul corn.

It is finally spring time in Nebraska!  After a crazy winter, farmers and ranchers are ready to begin their spring work.  Our cattle have all been at our house since early February as we calved.  For ranchers around the state, it is time to get the cattle out to summer pasture.  Before cattle are ready to go to grass, there are a few things that must happen.  One major thing that happens on most ranches in the spring is branding.

Family farms are the perfect example of roots. Many of us may have memories of riding in the tractor with grandpa or going out to feed the cows with dad. Those memories create roots, and we grow from our roots. Establishing a positive beginning is key to a positive experience. Without family farming, we essentially wouldn’t have anything. People who work in most ag fields today got their taste of agriculture through family farms.

By Jacque Johnson

There have been a few times recently that I have asked one of my peers what their parents do. A question that is very standard that I would expect most people to know the answer to. My peers have proceeded to tell me that they aren’t really sure what their parents do or even what their job title is. I am shocked by this because growing up on a ranch, I know exactly what my parents do because I am doing it right alongside of them.

I have been a part of the show industry for about ten years now and I still get asked the simple question “Why do you show cattle?”. As I grew older and became more knowledgeable about the show industry, this was one of the best questions anyone could ask me. Being able to talk about something I love and learned so much from is beyond the best. I have grown up on our family farm and cow/calf operation all my life and there is nothing I am more proud to be a part of. Showing allowed me to fall in love with the cattle industry and gave me the chance to be successful in something that isn’t easy and takes a lot of hard work, but why do I show?

Agriculture is the driving force for the Nebraskan economy. With one fourth of our great state’s jobs being involved in agriculture, youth involvement has become crucial in keeping this industry thriving. In July, over 200 Nebraska students were able to network and meet with countless industry professionals at the 47th annual Nebraska Agricultural Youth Institute. The institute is free of charge thanks to many generous donations, allowing young ag minded people to network and gain friendships with like-minded people across the state. “The opportunity to network and share idea with people from all over the state that have the same passion for agriculture as me.” Emily Zimmer, a Pleasanton senior said about her experience. 

As farm kids, I think there are some things that we can all relate to that not everyone else can. We’re a pretty cool group of people, so can you relate to these ten things?

Growing up I was never the person who wanted anything to do with livestock. I was more of the type who didn’t know anything about agriculture. In fact the only tie that I had to the agriculture community was my uncle’s farrowing farm.