Too often we let our jobs define us. It is easy to do since we spend at least eight hours a day at our workplace. Many of us are guilty of introducing ourselves in an adult setting with our name, title and the place where we work. But you are more than just a worker. You are more than a salesperson, marketer, truck driver or person who works in a feed store. You are involved in agriculture, the occupation that ultimately feeds the world, and believe it or not, you are serving as a role model for others in our industry.
Young people naturally are attracted to people in their respective field. And those who are growing up on a farm or ranch or who show livestock undoubtedly interact with you on a somewhat regular basis. Believe it or not, there is somebody out there who is watching you, listening to you and maybe evening dreaming of the day they can be in your position. It is important to remember these things to set the best example possible.
You, yes you, are making an impact as a mentor and role model. Think about that. Your role and identity are much greater than just your occupation, but because of your occupation and your role in agriculture, you can impact someone else’s life. And because you are involved in the animal health and nutrition business, you have likely helped a young person or his or her parent get on the right track with a nutrition program.
Sure Champ® Ring Leader Whitney Walker from Prairie Grove, Ark., shared her positive experience with leadership opportunities on the Sure Champ blog in November.
“It’s been a really fun experience so far. I’ve had a lot more kids interact on my social media more curious than I expected about the Sure Champ line and the Sure Champ products. You’d think a lot of the times the parents make feeding decisions and what to buy, but these kids are actually invested and want to know about what their animals are eating. I’ve had a lot of them ask me what Amaferm is, and now I can actually explain to them what it is and back up how Sure Champ products work,” said the Ring Leader who is a freshman at Oklahoma State University.
No doubt that those young people got their first feeding information from those of you that this newsletter is targeted to.
And even when it doesn’t encompass livestock health and nutrition, you are still making a difference. You encourage young people to get involved with youth programs like 4-H, FFA or other junior breed associations. You support the youth by being a sports booster, buying their project animal at the fair or sponsoring awards. Sometimes it is even as simple as listening to reasons for a livestock judging team or a presentation for a national competition.
Catherine Stangl, a member of the Kingfisher FFA Chapter recalls how local businesses in her community help support the local chapter, on a regular basis, in addition to when they are preparing for big competitions.
“Our FFA chapter is very well-known, and we come from a really good community that is there for us,” Stangl said. “When we were preparing for nationals, we would go to several companies and organizations whether it was an oil company or Rotary, and we presented our skit, and they helped us make it better.”
Stangl was a member of the seven-person Ag Issues Forum team that won in Oklahoma and claimed the 2018 National Championship last October that presented a skit set to resemble a courtroom. The issue they presented was over the temporary water lines and the oil industry, an ongoing controversial topic in their home county. Stangl said she and her peers spent countless hours practicing and had wonderful community support.
“This industry is a really good industry to grow up in, and I think we all become better people toward other people, whether it’s being nice or just being there for them,” Stangl said.
Never forget your role is more than your job title. You are a role model, a supporter, a voice in the industry. You are an advocate, educator and a hero. Someone is watching you. Your job doesn’t define you, but how you treat others and serve your community does. Remember people want to know about you, your story and what you do on a daily basis, and not just your title.