BY LAUREN CHASE AND JESSE BUSSARD
NCBA’s Young Producers’ Council has been under great leadership this year with Ben Neale (Tennessee) serving as chairman. He has worked hard to streamline YPC efforts and encourage young producers to step-up in leadership positions. Please help us to thank him for volunteering his time this year. In this post, Ben shares his thoughts on this year as chairman of YPC.
Tell us about some of the things you’ve accomplished this year for YPC.
I can’t really claim that I accomplished anything this past year. Most organizations have a leadership position, but without support from a committed and qualified board, nothing is accomplished. In 2011, the board was instrumental in laying a structural foundation for YPC and aligning it with the original vision created by past leadership and current staff. Everyone convened in the first quarter to create and to adopt a clear mission statement and set of objectives for YPC. Out of those, other programs have grown further, as with the social media efforts, our newly created projects such as what’s been offered for 2012 convention in demographic specific education, the travel scholarship program, and a pilot year for a mentoring initiative; All headed by various members that served on the board or with them through task forces.
What do you feel your biggest contribution to YPC was during your time as chair?
When you have the opportunity to work with good people, all leadership has to do is be a sounding board for ideas and help the others work through them. I hope I was able to help in that capacity this past year and that our developments will be organizational stepping stones for the upcoming group to utilize and continue to grow.
What is your advice for the next chair of YPC and the leadership board?
No matter what it is, make something happen. There are a thousand things that need to get done and even if a mistake is made, it is a lesson learned. Keep moving forward. Doing nothing is the only failure. There are many issues we need to face head on as young producers and there is an array of tools that can be used to achieve results. As an organization, I hope YPC will continue to look for opportunities to work with other organizations across agriculture and even internationally to continually become more effective for everyone’s benefit. There is as much or even more opportunity in the cattle industry in the upcoming decades than when the west was settled. All we have to do as young cattle producers is choose a path and be determined to see that path to the end. There are multiple opportunities. We just have to look for them. Nothing comes easy. With anything there are challenges and with every challenge there are 100 people that will give you the reasons why something cannot work while they sit in a coffee shop and do nothing. Smile, thank them gracefully, and find the people you can work with that are as determined as you are to make things work. I take this quote by Theodore Roosevelt to heart and hope it will mean something to everyone else as well:
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”
I have really appreciated the opportunity to serve as chair this past year for YPC and hope I have done everyone some good. Seriously, if I can ever be of help to anyone or if any of you ever come through Tennessee for a visit or need a place to stay please look me up. My door is always open.