By: Ann Oswald
Dear Future Mentors,
I know I’m not the first to tell you, but congratulations on being accepted into the Pork Mentoring class of 2012! [if you’re reading this and you’re not a member of the new class, congratulations on reading anyway! I’m glad you’re here!]
As an incoming mentor, you are in for a fun year of activities with the Nebraska Pork Producers. From representing at county fairs, attending meetings, eating delicious food (don’t worry about gaining a few pounds, it’s all worth it), and growing your network of connections, a fabulous experience is sure to follow.
For years people have ranted and raved about the program, and you are about to find out why. Through Pork Quick Facts you will learn pertinent information about the pork industry, both past and present. Meetings and seminars will allow you to become involved in the industry. Job shadows expose you to the large range of careers available in the world of pork production. Many other opportunities such as helping at the annual golf scramble, promoting pork while visiting with people at county fairs, and attending the World Pork Expo make it a worthwhile program. Community service is also a large part of your experience, because as responsible citizens, we need to work with others in building strong communities.
In completing my year as a mentor, here are a few pieces of advice I would like to offer you as you head into the program:
- Meet all the new people you can, especially those involved in the industry as well as your fellow mentors.
- Take part in every event available to you such as Ribs & Bibs, Allied meetings, the World Pork Expo, Ribfest, and county and state fairs, just to name a few.
- Start early in planning shadows and education events. There are so many neat things to do, so you’ll want to make sure you leave enough time to attend many different events.
- Get to know the NPPA staff—they have so much advice and fun to offer to the program.
- Become excited about the pork industry and share that excitement with those around you.
The skills and outlook on life I gained will be beneficial to me for the rest of my life and therefore it seems impossible to stress the immense value of this program. As time continues to pass, farms and the pork industry are going through changes. Those involved in the swine industry (past and present) recognized the need to educate the next generation in order that forward progress and leadership could be maintained. For that reason, we owe a huge ‘thank you’ to those men and women who support the mentoring program. Nebraska is blessed to have an industry of producers who care about educating youth. I had the opportunity this past year to visit with a farmer within the dairy industry. He shared his amazement with the program as dairy farmers are trying to set up a similar mentorship so they can keep young leaders in the dairy industry. Nebraska Pork Producers are leaders in youth education, so please take the time to thank those men and women who make this program possible.
Most importantly, go into this opportunity ready to learn. Have fun with the activities and tasks you set your mind to do. Ask as many questions as you can. You have the opportunity to learn and the opportunity to share the importance of pork and agriculture with those around you. Ultimately, thank you for taking an interest in the pork world and I, as well as many others, look forward to seeing the great things you will do!
“Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.”