Next Generation Heading to NAILEPosted on Nov 2, 2015
The North American International Livestock Exposition (NAILE) is arguably the biggest and most prestigious livestock show in the country having hosted millions of visitors and exhibitors to Louisville since it began in 1974.
While many of those exhibitors have made it a yearly experience, Jenna Harrod and her younger brother Jacob, will be making their first trip to the NAILE, at least in the exhibitors’ show ring. The Harrod family owns a cattle operation in Franklin County. Jenna is a senior student at Western Hills High School, president of her FFA chapter and FFA region. She has been showing cattle since middle school. Over the last two years she has made her presence known at the Kentucky State Fair winning various classes with her Charolais, Commercial and Hereford show cows.
“We’ve done pretty well at the state fair, but it has nothing to do with me, it’s all about the cattle,” she said. “We work with them every day and during the summer we give them a bath every day and work with their hair. We just make them shine.” Jacob said some of his friends wonder why he puts so much effort into showing the cows but he tells them it’s fun.
“ It may seem like a lot of work but we enjoy it,” he said. “It’s something we’ve always done in our family and I can’t imagine not doing it.”
All that work has paid off as Jenna and Jacob came away with several champion and reserve champion honors at the 2015 Kentucky State Fair including Champion Charolais Heifer, Champion Hereford Bull and Reserve Kentucky Proud Commercial Heifer, to name a few. Jenna also showed at this year’s Kentucky Farm Bureau Beef Expo.
While their success at the county and state levels has been exciting, the two feel as though making it to the NAILE is the pinnacle of their show careers.
“Being at the NAILE is an opportunity for agriculturalists, farmers and breeders of different animals to be able to show others all the hard work that goes into this,” she said. “It’s fun for all of us that show and demonstrates, on a national level, how proud we are to have livestock to show at such an event.”
For the Harrods, another important aspect of this year’s expo is the fact that the National Charolais Show will be held during the NAILE. The family has a history of showing the breed. Jenna’s father Jeff showed this breed while in high school. Steve Kelly, Executive Director of Expositions for the Kentucky State Fair Board said it is exciting to see a new generation of exhibitors coming to the expo each year.
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“While we are excited to see all of all exhibitors coming to the NAILE year after year, it is the young people like Jenna and Jacob that help to keep this expo and our industry, as a whole, strong and growing,” he said.
Jenna said it has been her experience that there is a growing number of young people getting involved in the cattle industry, as indicative of the number of youth she has seen throughout her time in the show ring.
“This new generation is full of ideas with technology and innovation that provides so much knowledge,” she said. “Being the future of agriculture, it’s our job as young people to show that we as individuals are capable of doing things in ways that perhaps an older generation never thought was possible.” Jenna added that shows like the NAILE really need this next generation because they have a different way of thinking and a new outlook in changing many of the stereotypes that have been placed on agriculture.
“People from all over the country come to Louisville to exhibit their cattle and, as young people, we have to keep it alive,” she said. “After having this opportunity to go the first time, I know I’ll want to continue to go each year for the rest of my life.”
Tagged Post Topics Include: Charolais, Commericial, Franklin County, Hereford, Jacob Harrod, Jenna Harrod, Kentucky Beef Expo, Kentucky State Fair, Livestock, North American International Exposition, Show, Steve Kelly