National Junior Swine Association > Junior Board of Directors
NJSA Junior Board of Directors
2016-2017 Junior Board of Directors
Front (l to r): Morgan Mench, Ind.; Jessica Page, Ga.; Angie Ruffoni, Calif.; Haley Stark, Fla.; Hannah Lauffenburger, Ariz.; Lexi Delaney, Iowa; Lindsey Robinson, Mo.; Caleb Grohmann, Ill.
Back (l to r): Kaley Bontrager, director of junior activities; Brenna Beard, Ind.; Cody Smith, Calif.;Cannon Brown, Ariz.; Danika Miller, Ind.
Assuming a national leadership role of an organization of nearly 12,000 youth from across the country is a big responsibility. It also provides a wonderful opportunity to sharpen your leadership skills, improve your communication skills, and develop decision-making skills that will help you the rest of your life. You’ll also work closely with a team of eight other talented individuals that may become some of your best friends for life. Serving on the NJSA Board is an awesome experience it’s also an experience that we want you to take seriously so the members of our organization are served by the best leaders possible.
Meet the Board
Danika Miller, 22, from Terre Haute, Indiana, is the daughter of Lindy and Marilyn Miller. She is a recent graduate from Purdue University, where she earned her bachelor’s degree in food science. Currently, Danika is pursuing her master’s degree in meat science at Iowa State University. Her career goals include traveling the world while exploring new cultures. She wants to make an impact on food sustainability both in local communities and abroad.
While attending Purdue University, Danika was involved as a College of Agriculture Ambassador, an envoy for the Food Science department, member of Block & Bridle, member of Food Science club, a College of Agriculture Issues 360 Founding Fellow and a student research assistant in Dr. Brad Kim’s meat science laboratory. At Iowa State University, Danika is continuing her education under Dr. Rodrigo Tarte. Her master’s program will focus on processed meats and ingredient technology. While staying busy in college, she has also been involved in NJSA events for the last 16 years.
As a junior board member, Danika would like to see the NJSA develop spokesmen and women for the production agriculture industry, specifically the swine industry, as well as encourage NJSA members to look for careers and opportunities in both the swine production and food industries. The NJSA has the unique ability to connect youth from all over the country, and therefore a network for communication flow to the general public from coast to coast. The NJSA is filled with wonderful values the agricultural industry possesses. Sharing these deeply-rooted values with the general public will add value to the NJSA program and its members to future employers, parents, production swine breeders, voters and legislators.
Brenna Beard, 22, from Attica, Indiana, is the daughter of Marceita and Brad Martin and Marty Beard. She is a senior at Purdue University majoring in agriculture sales and marketing.
Brenna will be putting her degree to use starting in June of 2017, as a full time commercial sales emerging leader with DuPont Pioneer. Upon graduation of the program, she plans to hold an account manager role within the company.
At Purdue University, she is an active member of Zeta Tau Alpha Women's Fraternity where she serves on the Big Man On Campus Executive Council. She has also been an active member of Purdue Block & Bridle, Collegiate Farm Bureau, Pork Interest Group, Agribusiness Club and a Team Facilitator for the Animal Science department in her time at Purdue.
As a member of the NJSA, Brenna enjoyed showing at the National Junior Summer Spectacular (NJSS) and World Pork Expo, where she was able to improve as a competitor and learn more about the industry while meeting lifelong friends.
In her first year on the NJSA Junior Board of Directors, she traveled to the National FFA Convention in Louisville, Kentucky; Eastern Regional in Hamburg, New York; Southeast Regional in Perry, Georgia; as well as Bootcamp at Iowa State University, and National Youth Leadership Conference in Lexington, Kentucky. Along with the exciting travel opportunities, she has also served as an active member of the MVP program, this past year.
She has since been appointed Vice President where she hopes to put her short term and long term goals to action in the coming months. Brenna is also currently a member of the Shows and Events Committee on the Junior Board. Some of her duties include collaborating with teammates to create educational workshops and presentations, decide locations, themes and speakers for events, as well as offering new fundraising ideas for the NJSA. With a team effort, Brenna plans to provide a deliverable that details all of the events that the NJSA has to offer.
With this being her second term, Brenna hopes to leave the NJSA Junior Board with lifelong friends, experiences and an everlasting impression on the NJSA youth.
Cody Smith, 21, from Lakeport, California, is the son of Cindy and Kevin Smith. He grew up in a small town in northern California where he helped start his family-owned swine farm. He is a sophmore at Linn-Benton Community College majoring in animal science in applied nutrition to hopefully become a feed representative one day. Cody also works for Boshart Trucking which he enjoys very much.
In college, Cody is part of the Linn-Benton Community College livestock judging team. His hobbies include duck hunting, fishing and raising hogs. He also just bought his first bred gilt to start his own seed stock business. He has a future career goal of judging livestock shows and becoming a feed salesman along with running his own showpig and club calf operation. He also enjoys spending time with his family, which includes his younger brother, Wyatt.
Cody enjoyed working at the Western Regional, National Junior Summer Spectacular (NJSS) and World Pork Expo, this past year. After participating in his local 4-H club in high school, he has enjoyed becoming more involved with the NJSA.
Haley Stark, 19, from Ormond Beach, Florida, is the daughter to Melissa Fecher and David Stark. She is a sophomore at Butler Community College majoring in agriculture with an emphasis in animal science. There she is a competitive member of the livestock judging team and officer of the Ag Ambassadors. Stark plans to transfer to a university to obtain a degree in animal science, then attend graduate school for agricultural communications. She also plans to earn her Ph.D. Her career goals include making a difference within the swine industry, advocating for the agricultural industry through journalism, raising her own herd of competitive showpigs and traveling the world.
Stark’s experience within the NJSA started during her early years of high school. She was an active member of the National FFA Organization where she served in numerous leadership positions and found her passion for the hog industry. Over the course of five years, Stark’s Supervised Agricultural Experience (SAE) stayed focused within the National Swine Registry (NSR), revolving around a small, high-quality herd of Yorkshire hogs. Her Swine Entrepreneurship project was later recognized as a National Finalist in the fall of 2015. She spent a majority of her time exhibiting at shows across the Southeast region. Along with the regional shows, she’s also attended National Youth Leadership Conference (NYLC), World Pork Expo Junior National, National Junior Summer Spectacular (NJSS) and the North American International Livestock Exposition (NAILE).
Stark looks forward to her first year as a Junior Board Director. She hopes to serve as a role model to her protégé and build connections with industry professionals and NJSA members, as well as continue to advocate for the industry that shaped her into the strong individual she is today. Her goals as a Junior Board Director are to continue to raise awareness in her region and nationwide for not only the swine and agricultural industry, but also for the dedicated youth that invest everything into their hogs. She would love nothing more than to see more promotional materials published on all forms of social media by the NJSA to promote the organization. She is extremely passionate about the importance and necessity of excellent purebred hogs to serve as a foundation to any breeding program, either commercially or with a showpig focus. Her goal for the NJSA is to educate individuals both inside and outside of the industry about this importance, all while increasing participation in the youth membership and NSR/NJSA shows. Furthermore, she hopes to see the NSR and NJSA launch a mobile app for members to optimize access to NJSA material as well as improve the convenience of purebred litter processing and registration for operations across the country. She also hopes to see a judging contest included in the sweepstakes at the NJSA Southeast Regional show in Perry, Georgia.
Morgan Mench, 20, is the daughter of Thomas and Jessica Mench from Shirley, Indiana. She is a student at Purdue University studying agricultural economics with a minor in crop science.
Morgan has been an NJSA member since 2005, and she has created many memories and opportunities along the way. Livestock in general is in her family’s blood, and showing pigs is a hobby she enjoys with them throughout the year. She has been involved in the NJSA for 12 years and has participated at World Pork Expo, National Junior Summer Spectacular (NJSS), National Barrow Show®, NJSA Southwest Regional and the American Royal. Morgan has been blessed to be in such a profound industry that has given her many opportunities and has allowed her to grow into the person she am today. For younger members, she would tell them to take hold of all the opportunities the NJSA has to offer. Get out there and explore, because this organization is where your accomplishments are endless. At the same time this is where you’ll find your lifetime friends and create long lasting memories!
Morgan believes she can contribute to this industry and make a positive impact on the future. Her experiences throughout the swine industry have taught her responsibility, time management and hard work. In addition, she has built lifelong friendships. Showing pigs has also challenged her to step out of her comfort zone and establish effective communication skills. The Mench family lives on a small hog farm, and they strive to raise most of their showpigs throughout the years. This has shown Morgan that in order to be successful in something, you have to put in a lot of hard work and perseverance. When it comes to raising showpigs, there is never a day off. Many of the not-so-fun jobs such as cleaning hog pens, power washing barns and pulling pigs at odd times of the day or night are just the stepping stones of “building character,” as her dad would say.
Morgan is very excited to be on the NJSA Jr. Board of Directors to work with a quickly-growing program and build leaders of tomorrow. She is very honored to serve on such a prestigious board filled with outstanding teammates and leaders.
Cannon Brown, 19, from Queen Creek, Arizona, is the son of JeriAnn Laudenslager and Michael Brown. He is a junior at Texas Tech University majoring in agriculture economics. At college, Cannon is involved in the Texas Tech livestock judging team, and he also spends his time looking at livestock, fishing, hunting and showing hogs.
Cannon’s career goals include involvement in the agriculture industry where he could give back to the youth getting involved with showing hogs and traveling to different shows. He would like to work for a feed company as a feed representative and work with youth because he believes without them, there is no one to continue our traditions.
His involvement with the NJSA skyrocketed his sophomore year in high school, when he attended his first National Youth Leadership Conference (NYLC) and World Pork Expo.
Cannon’s goals for the NJSA include increasing involvement with outreach or mentoring programs. He would also like to work toward recruiting NJSA members from places the association is not necessarily prevalent in such as Arizona, Wyoming, Idaho and Utah. He wants to get as many people as possible involved in the NJSA.
Lindsey Robinson, 20, of Wellsville, Missouri, is the daughter of Eddie and Tammy Robinson and is a junior at the University of Missouri (Mizzou) where she is majoring in agricultural journalism. After graduation, she is interested in working for a livestock magazine or advertising agency helping market livestock in the industry. As a kid she loved getting the Seedstock EDGE in the mail and often raced her dad to see who got to read it first. Regardless of where she ends up after college, Lindsey plans to stay involved in the swine industry and one day return to the family purebred Yorkshire operation.
Lindsey has been a member of the NJSA since it started in 2000, and has participated in the World Pork Expo Junior National, the National Junior Summer Spectacular (NJSS), the NJSA Southwest Regional and the NJSA Southeast Regional. She has also attended NJSA affiliate shows such as the North American International Livestock Exposition (NAILE) and the American Royal, as well as participating in NSR shows and type conferences with her family.
At Mizzou, Lindsey is involved in a variety of organizations. She is part of the Mizzou Block & Bridle and currently serves as Swine Committee Chair, where she is in charge of hosting the club’s annual Black & Gold Jackpot Show. She also serves as the secretary for the Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow club, which focuses on communicating agriculture’s story on campus. She is also a member of the College of Agriculture’s Student Development Board and the Mizzou Alumni Association Student Board.
Lindsey says that because she had the opportunity to grow up in the NJSA, it has been a huge factor in shaping the person she is today. One of her favorite parts of NJSA is the Mentoring Values People (MVP) program where she has been both a protégé and is now serving as a mentor. She believes it is important to build connections with other junior members and serve as a role model in their life.
Caleb Grohmann, 20, a junior at the University Missouri-Columbia studying animal science, grew up in a town of 3,500 people in southwestern Illinois called Red Bud. Caleb’s interests growing up included everything from fishing to participating in various sports such as basketball and track. Additionally, he was very involved in NJSA and 4-H at an early age. His drive to succeed in classes allowed him to obtain a 4.0 GPA throughout high school and attend a well-known school to further his studies.
Caleb’s experience with swine started very early on in his life. As the son of Freddie Grohmann, a part owner of Cedar Ridge Farms (a 2,100 sow purebred breeding stock operation), he was out in the barns at a young age handling pigs, learning production practices and developing an interest that still is strong today. As he grew older, he worked mainly in the new sow house processing litters, helping sows farrow, handling piglets and practicing artificial insemination. Two summers ago, he shadowed his uncle Mike Grohmann, the farm’s genetics coordinator, gaining valuable skills in phenotype evaluation and selection of keeper animals. This past summer, Caleb had the opportunity to be the Genetics Team Intern for The Maschhoff’s Inc., where he gained a new perspective on pork production and networked with many industry leaders. Ultimately, his background has allowed him to develop career goals that lie within the commercial swine genetics industry.
Caleb’s goals for his term on the NJSA Junior Board include bringing the show industry and commercial industry closer together, as well as give NJSA memners opportunities for experiences within the commercial swine industry that allow them to understand the amount of diverse job opportunities. Caleb sees a great amount of talented, young agriculturalists in NJSA, and he believes the swine industry as a whole will benefit from their knowledge, deep-rooted passion for pigs and instilled values of responsibility and animal care.
Lexi Delaney, 19, is the daughter of David and Tami Delaney from DeWitt, Iowa. Lexi is a junior at Iowa State University majoring in animal science and agriculture communications. Lexi’s career goal is to work in producer and consumer outreach while educating them on the importance of modern day pork production.
While in college at Iowa State, Lexi has been involved in the Block & Bridle Club, serving as an Executive Officer, a member of the Iowa State National Agri-Marketing Association Competitive Team and helped organize Iowa State’s Bacon Expo. She also served as a student on the Student Social Forces for the #RealPigFarming campaign through National Pork Board.
Lexi has been a member of the NJSA since 2010, exhibiting at World Pork Expo, the North American International Livestock Exposition (NAILE), American Royal and the National Western Stock Show. She has attended three National Youth Leadership Conferences (NYLC) and helped host the 2016 Bootcamp at Iowa State. Lexi is involved in the MVP program and enjoys getting to be a role model for younger members of the NJSA. Lexi recently retired from the Iowa Swine Jackpot Series Junior Board and is excited to stay involved in youth development to help the next generation of the industry find their passion.
Angie Ruffoni, 21, of Santa Rosa, California, is the daughter of Dino and Teresa Ruffoni. Angie is pursuing a bachelor’s degree and double majoring in agriculture communications and animal science. After earning her bachelor’s, she plans on attending graduate school for agriculture communications. She looks forward to furthering her education and continuing to make a significant impact giving back within the industry she feels incredibly blessed and thankful for.
As a member of the NJSA, Anige has enjoyed attending National Youth Leadership Conference (NYLC), as well as showing and participating at WPX Jr. National, NJSA Western Regional, National Junior Summer Spectacular (NJSS), Arizona National and several affiliate shows. Angie is also involved in Mentoring Values People (MVP) program where she loves building connections with members of the NJSA and serving as a role model for them.
In high school and college, Angie has joined various organizations and has held key leadership roles in those clubs. In high school, she served as Santa Rosa FFA Reporter and Secretary, as well as California North Coast Vice President At-Large. Angie served as a California FFA Nominating Committee member, participated on the livestock judging team and was a National FFA Proficiency Finalist in Vegetable Production. At the collegiate level, she has been highly involved in Agriculture and Natural Resources Ambassadors and the chair of community development, Sonoma-Marin Young Farmers and Ranchers, Sonoma County Farm Bureau Collegiate member, National Pork Board #RealPigFarming Student Social Forces member, Collegiate FFA, AgChat Collegiate Congress and California Junior Livestock Association.
“Serving in prior leadership positions developed my leadership abilities and involvement within agriculture far past my expectations,” she says. “My time in these roles also helped me realize that service is a value that is rooted deep in my heart. My desire to serve as an NJSA Jr. Board of Director stems from my passion for agriculture and a yearning to serve others.”
Angie believes the agriculture industry provides so many rewarding opportunities; however, the greatest of all is the chance to work with so many talented people in the livestock industry.
“I am honored to serve on the Junior Board of Directors. Within this position, I hope to instill in others the same hard work, passion and dream-achieving aspirations that NJSA and other youth organizations have always given me,” she says. “Impacts last a lifetime, and through the NJSA Jr. Board, I anticipate making lasting impacts.”
Jessica Page, 21, of Preston Georgia, is the daughter of Julie and Jay Page and is currently a senior at Berry College studying animal science. Jessica would like to pursue a master’s degree in swine reproduction and genetics to become a swine reproductive specialist to help further the growth of the swine industry.
Jessica has been an NJSA member since 2008 and has enjoyed showing and participating at the NJSA Southeast Regional, World Pork Expo Junior National, National Junior Summer Spectacular (NJSS) and the North American International Livestock Exposition (NAILE). She has also attended the National Youth Leadership Conference (NYLC) in Lexington, Kentucky. All the NJSA events Jessica has attended has improved her networking and communication skills and heled her make new friends across the country.
Jessica is honored to be able to serve on the NJSA Junior Board and give back to an organization that has had a major impact on her life. She has found her passion in the swine industry and enjoys sharing her passion with other junior members by encouraging them to become more involved in the agriculture industry. Jessica wants junior members to be excited about the swine industry because they are the ones who will make improvements and further the industry as a whole.
Hannah Lauffenburger, 19, from Queen Creek, Arizona, is the daughter of Tim and Dallis Lauffenburger. She is a sophomore at Black Hawk College East majoring in animal science and is a member of the livestock judging team. Hannah would like to pursue a degree in animal genetics with a future career goal as a livestock embryologist.
Hannah has actively been raising and showing livestock since she was 8 years old with many championships in small and large livestock and livestock judging competitions. Her involvement in NJSA was a result of a last minute decision to attend the World Pork Expo, in 2013, and has shown there for three years. She has also shown at the Arizona National Livestock Show and National Junior Summer Spectacular (NJSS). She has also been actively involved in working with the NJSA at various shows such as Arizona National Livestock Show, National Western Stock Show and NJSS.
Hannah has been involved in a variety of organizations including 4-H, FFA, Student Council, Key Club, NHS, Physics Club and Student Council.
Hannah has a great passion for livestock. Being part of NJSA and a member of the Junior Board of Directors will allow her to spend time with others who have the same passion for the industry and a drive to succeed. She wants to educate others about NJSA by increasing membership and activity participation in such an important organization that provides respect, growth and value to an organization that gives back to society and helps raise the next generation of successful kids.
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