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NJSA Junior Board Feature :: Adrian Austin

NJSA Junior Board Feature :: Adrian Austin

What is your favorite aspect of being on the Junior Board?

For me, the National Junior Swine Association is not just about who can win a hog show. Ultimately, the banners may fade and we might forget who won a certain show, but the examples we set and how we behaved as leaders will remain.  I have a desire to be that type of positive example for young NJSA members, just as past board members were for me. There comes a point in everyone’s life where they discover what their passion is, or what they are meant to do, and watching the younger members discover their purpose in the show ring is truly the rewarding part of serving on the junior board. To me, these young people are a constant reminder that competitive livestock events are meant to serve as an outlet for youth to discover their true calling and to do something they love.  I know that being involved at hog shows helped mold me into the person I am today. My favorite part of being on the board is knowing that this organization will become an inspiration and a passion for fellow young people, just as it did for me.

What is a fun fact about yourself?

For a fun fact about me, I was once extremely competitive on the basketball court. In middle school, I had the privilege of receiving the most votes for the end of the year “All Star Game” and was also on the cover of the Southern Illinois Junior High School Athletic Association state tournament magazine. I played point guard for my high school’s junior varsity and varsity teams my freshman year; however, it really conflicted with livestock judging events, pig shows, and FFA competitions. While it was a tough decision to make, I eventually decided to forego playing basketball and focused more on various agricultural related activities. Yet, to this day, athletics are still something I am passionate about and on occasion you can catch me shooting hoops or enjoying a quick pick-up game!

What is your favorite stock show memory?

I have been fortunate to have success while showing, but the wins and losses are never what stick out to me when I consider my time as a showman. A favorite memory of mine is actually time spent with my family at the Illinois State Fair while I was growing up. While I can’t exactly put my finger on it, there’s just something special about a state fair, and it certainly takes place in that bittersweet time of the summer where shows are winding down and school is starting back up soon. The Illinois State Fair has always been a sort of last hoorah for my family to get together before summer ends. On the last day of State Fair week, my aunts and uncles, grandparents, and cousins come to the fairgrounds, and before the show starts that morning we all get a true ISF necessity- Tom Thumb Mini Donuts. For anyone from Illinois- you know what I’m talking about. This might seem like such a simple memory for some, but these small acts will always stick with me- my family members gathering, eating some good food, and watching livestock shows together certainly holds a special place in my heart!

How do you hope to impact the agriculture industry?

In 2018, modern day agriculture is extremely varied from its olden age legacy. Where it was once the ideal for the average person to own a horse, plow, plot of land and some farm animals, we now live in a time period where nearly 98 percent of the population is removed from the agricultural industry. In fact, only about 2 percent of society is involved in agriculture, and not even everyone included in that 2 percent actually farms! When considering the fact that we are working with the LEAST amount of land, combined with the MOST amount of people removed from the industry in history, the task that lies ahead of us as agriculturalists can become quite daunting. The population is expected to be more than 9 billion by the year 2050… and agriculture’s small portion of society is expected to feed the rest of the world! The question then arises- HOW? To answer in the simplest form, our constant evolution of technology utilized in the agricultural field, combined with our efforts to promote that technology and improve public perception will ultimately be what helps us progress into the future. As someone who has grown up in the industry and witnessed firsthand the positive impact it can have on a person’s life, I look forward to utilizing my degree in agriculture communications to promote what we do in agriculture and why we do it. Keeping the public informed and the future of our industry secure will always be my main priority.

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