Guest Blogger — Andee Marston

Andee directing at the 2015 Chi Jr. Nationals.

Today’s guest blogger is someone you might know — Andee Marston. Andee has worked with several breeds, and currently works for the American Chianina Association.

We wanted to feature Andee, because he wears many hats for the ACA and offers a unique perspective to the cattle industry.

Thank you to Andee for taking the time to answer our questions!

1. Please share a little bit of your background in the livestock industry.
I have been involved in the cattle business since birth.  My family ran a Shorthorn operation until 1993.  I have shown cattle since I was three years old.  Even though my family moved around quite a bit we always found a place to keep some heifers or a steer.  I have been very fortunate to stay connected with agriculture and the cattle industry.  After graduating from Kansas State University I had the opportunity to work for several outstanding cattleman and operations.  I then had the great fortune of working as a area representative for the American Hereford Association in the Southeast Region.  I then moved on to work for Burns Farms Herefords in Tennessee as their herdsman.  My wife, Robin, is a third generation Hereford breeder and also works for the American Maine-Anjou Association.  Our son, Trigg, has already said he wants to start showing. 

Robin, Trigg & Andee Marston.

2. What is your current position with the American Chianina Association? What do your duties entail?
Currently, I am the CFO at the ACA. Since we are a smaller organization we all have to wear many hats.  I also work with the youth activities, editor of the American Chianina Journal, marketing and performance as well.  

3. The Chianina breed is known for the show ring. How are you and the association working to keep the breed relevant in the commercial cattle industry?
We have a very strong following in the show ring but we are proving that these cattle can go to work anywhere.  We are working hard to increase the amount of data we collect.  The more data, testimonials and facts you can provide will ultimately prove the value of your cattle.  Chianina influenced cattle have always been supreme in feedlot performance and carcass characteristics.  We are working on gathering more information on the maternal side of the equation and have shown that Chianina cattle can increase longevity, performance and are making high quality replacements.

4. When applying for this job, what interested you the most?I have always had an affinity for working with youth.  I would not be where I am without the encouragement I received when I was exhibiting cattle at junior shows when I was young.  I also love working with producers to help market cattle.  The ability to work on the Journal and develop advertising to foster cattle sales.  Then to provide outstanding service to the membership.

Andee and part of the AJCA junior board trying out the selfie stick.

5. How have your experiences as a herdsman helped you in your current position?One enormous benefit is understanding.  Balancing the chaos is the best way I  can put it.  As anyone will probably tell you, you have to be multifaceted.  You have to be able to balance pictures, deadlines, ad proofs, sick calves, sale cattle, nutrition and everything else in the day to day regimen.  You learn to handle several different situations.  I feel that being able to understand what herdsman and breeders have to go through and try to make their life easier by reminding them about deadlines and understanding that have a lot to get done and it was usually by yesterday.  So providing service that makes their lives easier is a major concern of mine.

6. At a show, where can we typically find you?Probably you will find me walking through the barn and talking to breeders.  I like to see what people are using in their breeding programs and where their success can be bridged with someone else?s breeding program.

7. What is the most rewarding part about working with junior members? 
Seeing the junior members continue to the next phase.  The most amazing part is when they start to pursue their life by going on and getting that Master’s degree or going home to help run the family business. 

Andee, Katie, Twig & Mary Marston.

8. Who is your role model?
I have had many over the years and continue to have several people I try to learn from today.  My mom and dad really got me started on this path.  They always pushed me and continue to tell me there is always more to learn and more than one thing you can accomplish.  If I had to mention everyone that inspired me or someone I inspired to be, I would need more than one ream of paper.  

9. If you could go back to your younger junior days and tell yourself one thing ? what would it be? 
I have always thought I was pretty lucky.  I have found one quote that I really love about luck, ?The harder I work the luckier I get.?  It seems that this quote becomes truer everyday.  I would probably go back and share that with my younger self.

10. What advice do you have for young people looking for their first jobs out of college?
Don’t be afraid to call.  I get emails all the time.  Rarely does anyone call up and say I want to work. Never miss the opportunity to call an employer to learn more about the job and what they are looking for in the right person.  Then you can prepare yourself for what they are looking for and what they expect.

11. Anything else you think our readers would appreciate?I have had the good fortune to always have a job I enjoyed and the hard work has never really felt like hard work.

For more information about the American Chianina Association, or to contact Andee — click here