How did we get here?

Hello! It’s the interns again! Today we thought that we would give you a little background on ourselves, and what lead us to be where we are today, and why we want to be involved in the agricultural industry today and in our futures. We hope you enjoy learning a little more about our backgrounds today!


I grew up in a farming community in a rural Illinois town, in a family that raises cattle and farms corn and soybean crop. I have a passion for the agriculture industry that is never going to burn out, and it is because of the people around me who used their passion to ignite mine. This is an industry that is a huge, nationwide family, and advocating for the industry is important now more than it has been. I want to be an advocate for this industry and help young people like myself to find their passion and grow future generations of agricultural advocates.

Agriculture has played a huge role in my life. I owe everything I have accomplished to the agriculture industry because, without it, I do not think that I would be where I am today. I wasn’t born into agriculture, but when my mom re-married, I was thrown into it headfirst. As soon as I was old enough to participate in 4-H, my stepdad, Donnie Brandenburg bought my first set of pigs to show at the county fair, and from then on, I was hooked. I got to grow up showing cattle, swine, and goats at local, state, and national levels. From day one, he has been my number one supporter and has given me everything I needed to succeed and more. He did not have to do the things he did for me, but he chose to anyway and I will forever be grateful to him for staring me on the path I am on. I truly owe where I am today to him. He taught me responsibility, leadership, and respect by giving me the opportunity to do what I spent 14 years loving. If I had to give any advice to a young showman in the industry it would be don’t blink, because the summers of showing truly do go by faster than you think.


I grew up raising and showing sheep on my family’s acreage. My dad grew up raising and showing just about every species possible and wanted his kids to be able to have that experience as well. Raising sheep is what began my interest in the livestock industry, as well as the agriculture industry as a whole. I give so much credit to my parents for giving me the opportunity to be involved in this industry at a young age and for always helping me throughout the last 21 years.

 I was exposed to agriculture on both sides of my family and was always eager to learn more about the different segments. My paternal grandparents raise donkeys and feed out cattle, while my mom’s sister and her family raise Angus cattle. Being from Nebraska, the cattle industry is something that I continue to learn about and peak interest in.

After joining FFA my freshman year of high school, I was intrigued by the disconnect between consumers and producers. As I went through my four years of high school, I knew that I wanted to be involved in helping educate people about agriculture and bridge that gap. FFA is truly when I found my passion in the agriculture industry and the reason I went into agricultural communications. My FFA advisor, Kris Spath, helped push me to better myself professionally, personally, and as an agriculturist. I learned a lot from her throughout my time in FFA, and still am today.

Agriculture has been in my life since I was young, and it will be my future as well. I am so thankful to have grown up in this industry and can’t wait to see how it grows and adapts in the upcoming years. 


How did I get involved in agriculture? Both of my parents grew up showing livestock, but I feel my passion came from their parents’ love for it. My dad’s parents raised commercial sheep and goats, while my mom’s parents raised registered Limousin cattle. It was not until I was in kindergarten when I started showing lambs at the county fair, and third grade when I showed my first string of cattle. I owe Val Wasinger, a Shorthorn and Simmental breeder of Winnebago, Minn. the credit for my passion for the livestock industry. I grew up showing cattle for her, as she grew up showing cattle for my grandfather. She has mentored me since I was 11 years old, and I still go to her for everything and anything. Additionally, I owe my passion for the agriculture industry to the National FFA Organization. I have gained many friendships and networking opportunities through that great organization. Between going to different camps to state and national convention, I have gained different qualities I never thought I could.

As I have grown into the person I am today, I have been able to know right from wrong through my parents raising me, however as I have moved far away from home first for college, and now for my internship, I have taken all that they have taught me about livestock, life, and perspective with me. I have been able to continue to grow even when they are not watching my every move. You may not choose your family, but I would pick them a million times over. Every part of your life happens for a reason, good or bad. You need to learn from your success and failure to grow.

This may be a lot, but that is how I have grown a passion for agriculture, and I would not change it for anything. In today’s world, each agriculturist needs to be an advocate. With the bridge between rural and urban becoming larger, we need to continue to show the rest of the world what agriculture and livestock industries are truly like and not what the outsiders view them as. One day there will be no outsiders and we will all be educated.

Get to Know the Interns

L-R: Michelle, Amelia, Bella.

Hey guys, it’s Amelia, Bella and Michelle, your 2021 ASA interns. It is week three in the office, and we are getting closer to the National Junior Shorthorn Show! This week, we thought it would be fun to do a little “get to know the interns” with some fun questions.

What is your favorite movie snack?

A: Peanut M&M’s and popcorn

B & M: Regular M&M’s and popcorn

What is your favorite safari animal?

A: Quokka

B: Giraffe

M: Monkeys

Any hobbies?

A: Tennis

B: Golf

M: Painting and Crocheting

Three bucket list items:

A: To live in Australia for a year, to travel across Europe, and to show in Canada.

B: To go on a mission trip, to visit every state, and to own my own business of some kind.

M: Travel to Amsterdam and across Germany visiting historical sights, travel across the United States, and to have a career in the livestock industry.

What is your favorite Podcast?

A: Beyond the Ring

B: The Keeper Pen

M: Crime Junkies

What is your favorite color?

A: white

B: light pink

M: purple

If you were a food, would you be sweet or spicy?

A: sweet

B: spicy

M: sweet

What is the best concert you’ve ever been to?

A: George Strait in Kansas City

B: Garth Brooks in Louisville

M: Parker McCollum at Calf Fry in Stillwater

What show are you currently binge-watching?

A, B, & M: Reba

Do you have any phobias?

A: chickens

B: Dachshunds

M: snakes

We are staying busy finalizing all the plans for NJSS. There is a record number of entries and exhibitors this year which is exciting for the Shorthorn breed. We are looking forward to meeting everyone in just a couple of short weeks!

Interns First Week

L-R: Bella, Amelia, Michelle

Hey everyone! We are Amelia, Bella and Michelle and we are serving as your interns for the summer of 2021. We have been working hard in the office to get everything prepped for junior nationals, and we hope you are as pumped as we are! Amelia is serving as the youth activities intern, Michelle is serving as the communications intern, and Bella is serving as the registrations intern for the summer 2021. We are pumped for the summer ahead and cannot wait to see everyone!


  • Hey y’all! Week one in the office was busy, but very exciting as we get ready to see everyone. As we start our second week in the office, we have been working on getting everything ready for the contests and activities the office junior board have planned. Us three interns have grown close in the past week and are excited to see what the rest of the summer entails. I cannot express how excited I am to see what this summer brings. I can’t wait to see everyone’s excited faces in Louisville in less than three short weeks!


  • Hey everyone! Week one in the office was full of tasks but was so much fun. As we start our second week in the office, we have been working on getting all registrations corrected and put into shows. We have gotten to know each other very quickly throughout this past week and I’m more than excited to see how the rest of this summer goes. I can’t wait to continue to build relationships throughout the office and this industry.


  • Hey guys! I hope everyone is excited to head to Louisville soon! Week one has kept all of us very busy working on preparations for junior nationals. In week one, and throughout the next week my focus has been on the exhibitor folders. I have also spent the last week getting to know my fellow interns and we are all excited for what the summer ahead holds for us, and we cannot wait to see everyone in Louisville soon!

Farewell from the Interns

This Friday is our last day in the ASA office and although we are sad, we have thoroughly enjoyed our time here! Today we had a potluck lunch with everyone in the office and we selected the Alabama Tropical Tri Tip Fajitas to make! Kendall did the cooking since Cassidy and I aren’t as handy in the kitchen. We have each put a little bit about our time here and we included the recipe we prepared also!


Our time here is winding down, as Friday is our last day in the office. In my final remarks, I want to thank all of the American Shorthorn Association staff for having me in the office. These past couples of months have been a blast, and I have learned many new skills that will help me in the future. I came back to the breed that got me started showing, and I have enjoyed every moment. I will soon pack up and head back to Stillwater to finish my last semester at Oklahoma State University as an agricultural communications major. I just wanted to thank ASA, the members, and everyone else for making this a successful NJSS and summer for myself.


As our time in the office comes to an end, I would just like to express how thankful I am for this breed and the people in it. Shorthorns were my first love and to have the opportunity to serve this breed is one that I will forever cherish. I have learned so much these past few months and I am sad that my time in the office is coming to an end. As I prepare to head back to Starkville, I would like to thank the ASA Staff, members, and AJSA members for allowing this experience to be as amazing as it has been. Thanks everyone and, hopefully, I’ll see everyone soon at the next show!


In just two more days we will be wrapping up our time here in the ASA office and these past few months have been awesome. I am really thankful to everyone here, especially Shelby, for working so hard to make sure that we got to have an internship amidst all of the crazy stuff going on in the world. I know that I’ll look back on this experience and cherish the memories I have made. I have learned so much during my time here and although I started off with Simmentals, the Shorthorn breed will now always have a special place in my heart! Thank you again to all of the staff and ASA/AJSA members who make this breed so great!

Alabama Tropical Tri Tip Fajitas Recipe:


  • 1 Tri Tip, 1 ½ – 2 lbs.
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 cup soy sauce
  • ½ cup pineapple juice
  • 2 bell peppers, 1 red and 1 green
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 pineapple split in half, save pulp
  • 1 tbsp. cilantro
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1 tsp. Adobo
  • 1 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp. smoked paprika
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  • Marinade steak for 2-8 hours in soy sauce and pineapple juice. Season with salt and pepper on both sides. Cook steak on griddle for 6-8 minutes per side. While the steak cooks, add bell peppers to grill and turn occasionally to char.
  • Once steak is done to your likeness, set aside to rest.
  • In a skillet, add olive oil, garlic, and onion. Cook until the onion is opaque. Then add sliced bell pepper, cilantro, cumin, adobo, pepper flakes, paprika, and cook 3-5 minutes until the seasoning is well blended.
  • Slice steak into strips. Add to skillet with the previous mixture. Add ½ cup pineapple juice and pulp from hollowed pineapple. Cook until steak is warm, and juice is thick.
  • Add mixture to the hollowed pineapples and serve on flour tortillas with pineapple sales.

Pineapple Salsa


  • 2 lbs. pineapple, diced
  • 10 Roma tomatoes, diced
  • 1 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 3 jalapeno peppers, seeded and chopped
  • 2 tbsp. lime juice
  • Salt and pepper
  • Hot sauce (optional)


  • Mix all ingredients well, season with salt and pepper to taste

Which ASA Intern Are You?

Hey everyone! Hope you are all doing well! We are coming down to our last couple weeks here and the office and we are pretty bummed. We have really enjoyed our time here this summer as we got to know the staff and ASA members, and since you all have gotten to know us a little, we decided to come up with a fun activity for this week’s blog post! We have created a quiz called “Which intern are you?” We hope you guys have as much fun with this as we did. Feel free to drop your results in the comments!

Link to the quiz:

Intern Recap on NJSS

We are back in the office with the Junior National’s blues. We had an incredible week in Abilene and hope that you are all back home getting some much needed rest! For this week’s post, each of us reflected on some of our favorite moments of the week.


Junior Nationals is over and I am sad! It was such a great week being with those who make this breed great. I was excited to get to meet all of our exhibitors and see them compete throughout the week. Although I spent a lot of my time in the office, I enjoyed getting to venture out to see some of the contests and walk through the barns. After growing up in this breed, it was exciting to know contest results before anyone else and I was so happy to everyone succeed in their contests. Flatland Cavalry was a big highlight of my week, but I have to say seeing the excitement on our exhibitors faces as they came to a “normal” junior nationals was the best thing I witnessed all week. Congratulations to everyone who attended! 


NJSS was truly one of the best weeks I have had in a long time. I loved the atmosphere and finally getting to meet the juniors after contacting and looking at their names for a month before nationals. I want to thank the Shorthorn breed and families for always making me feel welcome. I had the pleasure to capture many of the contest from behind a camera and loved being a fly on the wall. I had a good time just being able to help out wherever I was needed. I hope the juniors had as much fun as I did at the 2020 NJSS in Texas. Congratulations to all of the junior members and wish you best of luck in the future show seasons!


We are finally back in the office after Junior Nationals! It was a super fun-filled week and I hope all of you guys enjoyed it as much as we did. I loved getting to meet everyone and I especially loved getting to photograph the extremely talented youth of the Shorthorn breed. From speeches to fitting to showing, the talent you all possess is unreal. Both parents and exhibitors should be very proud of all your hard work! If you saw me throughout the week, you probably noticed that my face was pretty much glued to my camera, so it only seemed fitting that for this week’s blog post I included a few of my favorite shots. Thanks for a great week everyone!

Road to Junior Nationals

Hey everybody! We are getting everything packed and ready for Junior Nationals! We are heading out to Abilene on Thursday with Shelby and we are pumped! Our travel itinerary for the day is to get to the office around 6am to pack up the car and then head out around 7:30, next (and possibly most important), we will stop in Oklahoma City at the Whataburger for lunch (as directed by Shelby). We hope to be in Abilene around 4:30 that evening to start getting everything set up.

            In this blog post, we are sharing one of our favorite things with you guys: our music! In the office, we are always jamming so we decided to create a “Road to JR Nationals” playlist. We have each included 5 of our favorite songs that we contributed to the playlist. Happy listening & see you in Abilene!

Cassidy’s essentials:

  1. Tall City Blues – Flatland Cavalry
  2. Good Lord Lorrie – Turnpike Troubadours
  3. Elisabeth – Zach Bryan
  4. Rodeo Clown – Randy Rogers and Wade Bowen
  5. Burn it at Both Ends – Randall King

Kendall’s essentials:

  1. Me and My Kind – Cody Johnson
  2. My Texas – Josh Abbott Band and Pat Green
  3. Follow You to Virgie – Tyler Childers
  4. Million Miles – Kody West
  5. 14 Miles From Home – Six Market Blvd.

Abigail’s essentials:

  1. Traveler’s Song – Flatland Cavalry
  2. Panhandle Slim – The Panhandlers
  3. Easton & Main – Turnpike Troubadours
  4. Rhinestoned – Randy Rogers and Wade Bowen
  5. Die Rockin – Whiskey Myers

Shelby’s essentials:

  1. Mississippi Girl – Faith Hill
  2. ALL Shania Twain
  3. Run – George Strait
  4. Cows Around – Corb Lund
  5. Lord Bury Me in Texas – Shane Smith & the Saints

Junior Nationals Prep with the Interns

Hey y’all! We have 11 days until Junior Nationals and we hope you are excited as we are! For today’s blog post, we wanted to update everyone on what we have been working on, what we are excited for and give some advice to all of our juniors in preparation for NJSS! We are so pumped for a great week in Abilene and we can’t wait to see everyone!


What are you working on in preparation for Junior Nationals?

  • As we prepare to head down to Abilene, I am busy getting things together for ALL the contests. I’m doing a lot of printing to get scoresheets and result sheets ready. My favorite thing to do is sort through the prizes as they come in and, believe me, these prizes are NICE!

What are you looking forward to the most at Junior Nationals?

  • I am really looking forward to seeing all of the exhibitors as they compete throughout the week. I loved competing in different contests when I was a junior and am excited to be on this side of the event. I am also super excited to see Flatland Cavalry as they are definitely one of my favorite bands.

What are the essential items on your packing list?

  • Adidas tennis shoes, my flat iron, a quality playlist and of course, a good attitude.

What advice do you have for junior members?

  • Get out there and get to know other exhibitors and don’t be too competitive!


What are you working on in preparation for Junior Nationals?

  • I have been rounding up all the entries over the past couple weeks and double checking everything is correct. Lately I have been spending a large amount of my time to send confirmation emails to every member to make sure their entries are correct. In the weeks leading up to nationals I will be making labels for all the animal’s and kid’s numbers. This will take up most of my time leading up to when we leave for Texas.

What are you looking forward to the most at Junior Nationals?

  • I am looking forward to a fun filled week in Texas. I am also excited to finally be a part of the behind the scenes of a national show. Also, to help possibly make this the greatest week of your summer. It will also be great to finally put faces to names after working with entries for the past month.

What are the essential items on your packing list?

  • My croc sneakers, my Navajo pearls, and Chapstick.

What advice do you have for junior members?

  • Have fun, get out there and meet people from different states!


What are you working on in preparation for Junior Nationals?

  • I finished up putting the exhibitor folder together, so now my primary job is putting together social media posts about contest rules and reminders as well as creating daily schedules to keep everyone up to date while we are actually in Abilene. I have also been updating press releases so that they can be sent out with scholarship, contest and show winners after Junior Nationals. It’s been really busy, but it’s a lot of fun!

What are you looking forward to most at Junior Nationals?

  • I am really looking forward to being behind the camera. Before heading to Kansas City for my internship I did a couple of senior picture shoots for friends, but it has been a little while since I have gotten to photograph livestock and I can’t wait! I am also really excited about seeing Flatland Cavalry and looking forward to a honey butter chicken biscuit from Whataburger.

What are the essential items on your packing list?

  • My camera, earbuds for the drive, and my pillow.

What advice do you have for junior members?

  • Don’t be too serious. I know it’s easy to get caught up in wanting to win, but don’t forget to have fun too!

A Day in the Life of the ASA Staff

Hey everyone! We have been busy in the office getting things together for Junior Nationals. We are pretty excited and hope you are too! Since we have posted a little bit about ourselves, this week we decided to get to know the ASA staff a little more with a couple of questions!

Our first stop was in Amy’s office. Amy serves as the Creative Director for the Shorthorn Country magazine.

Question 1: “What does a typical day in the office look like for you?”

Amy: “A typical day for me includes designing ads, especially right now with the July issue, answering the phones, the mail. Basically anything and everything!”

Question 2: “If animals could talk, which one would be the rudest?”

Amy: “Donkeys”

After Amy, we stopped by to chat with Matt, the Director of Performance Programs, Performance Data & Commercial Acceptance.

Question 1: “What does a typical day in the office look like for you?”

Matt: “I don’t know if there is a “typical day.” There are so many different things that we do. I usually use the first few minutes of every day to catch up on industry and world news; from there, there’s no telling where it could go. It could be data entry, EPD problems, or marketing. You never know from one day to the next.”

Question 2: “Which maroon is better: Mississippi State maroon or Texas A&M maroon?”

Matt: “Mississippi State, 100%. You never forget your first love.”

From Matt’s office, we moseyed down the hall way to see Emily, the Director of Events, Show & Membership Activities.

Question 1: “What does a typical day in the office look like for you?”

Emily: “Well, it depends on the time of year. Right now, I basically come in and do the mail and answer the phones. Once show season starts, it’s a little more hectic because we are getting ready for all the national shows and I often will work on the weekends.”

Question 2: “Who is your celebrity crush?”

Emily: “I have a few. Jason Momoa and Shawn Mendes, but my ultimate one is Charlie Hunnam.”

After Emily, we headed to Shelby’s office. Shelby is the Director of Youth Activities, Marketing and Communications for the ASA.

Question 1: “What does a typical day in the office look like for you?”

Shelby: “I don’t really have a typical day since I do all the marketing and youth activities. It varies on the time of year. For example, as we get closer to Junior Nationals my focus shifts to making sure we have everything ready for juniors while also keeping up with the marketing and communications side of things.”

Question 2: “How many bowls of cereal do you think Seth (her husband) has had by this time today?”

Shelby: “He probably ate his bowl of frosted mini wheats at 10:30, so he is probably looking for his next snack right about now.”

Our next interviewee was Heather, the ASA’s Director of Customer Service, Registrations & DNA. We were pretty excited to hang out in Heather’s office because it’s full of cool things like the office punching bag.

Question 1: “What does a typical day in the office look like for you?”

Heather: “It starts with the daily run, which is the mail and answering the phones. I also check emails through my personal email and the information email, I process DNA samples and check DNA results daily, random things like writing articles for the magazine or other little projects that come up, and I order supplies for everybody.”

Question 2: “Is a hot dog a sandwich? Why or why not?”

Heather: “That’s tough. My first reaction is to say no even though I don’t know why because it has bread and condiments.”

Last, but certainly not least, we stopped by Montie’s office to ask him our questions.

Question 1: “What does a typical day in the office look like for you?”

Montie: “There is no such thing as a typical day because you never know what kind of issues may come up. Breeders have different problems we have to solve so there’s not usually a real typical day. If you were gonna say it’s a “typical day,” it would be being available to all the staff to answer any questions that may arise. If there’s anything typical, it’s making myself available to the staff while servicing the membership.”

Question 2: “What is the most ridiculous fact you can think of right now?”

Montie: “Less than 50% of beef consumed in the US is purchased in a grocery store. Most of it is consumed in a restaurant.”