Guest Blogger: Torie Schwartz

Hello everyone! We’re happy to introduce our next guest blogger – Miss Torie Schwartz of Rossville, Ind. Many of you know Torie from her family’s (JM Cattle Co.)  success in the shorthorn ring and her many personal accomplishments on the Western Illinois University livestock judging team.

Today, we’re going to visit about another important part of Torie’s life – her position at the National Swine Registry in W. Lafayette, Ind.

Many young people go to college wanting to work for a breed association. Torie shares some of her insight to the profession below.

Please join me in thanking Torie for answering all of our questions and welcome her to the Focus blogging family!

1.Tell us a little bit about yourself and your involvement in the livestock industry.
The livestock industry is my life, and this is all I have ever done. I grew up raising and showing Shorthorn cattle and I am still in the cattle business with my family in Rossville, Ind. I was very active in the American Jr. Shorthorn Association as I served as the 2007-2008 National Shorthorn Lassie Queen and was the Vice President on the Junior Board of Directors for three years. I also served as the Publicity Chair for the Indiana Junior Beef Cattle Association. Growing up, I was a 10 year 4-H member and served as an FFA officer. Between showing cattle with my family and being very involved with these organizations, I developed a passion for youth and livestock. I attended Black Hawk College ? East Campus where I competed on the livestock judging team, and then transferred to Western Illinois University where I received my bachelor?s degree in Ag-business management in 2011. At Western, I served as the Vice President of the Hoof N Horn Club and was a contributing member of the livestock judging & show pig team. I am now the Director of Junior Activities for the National Swine Registry which includes oversight of the National Junior Swine Association (NJSA), the nation?s largest youth livestock organization with over 12,400 members. I thoroughly enjoy working with the young livestock enthusiasts and building the future of the livestock industry.

2. Why did you want to work for the National Jr. Swine Association (NJSA)?
After being heavily involved with junior livestock associations and showing livestock, I knew that I wanted to work for a junior program where I could help build youth organizations and the future of our industry. I have always wanted to make a difference and an impact, and I feel that this is my calling. Unfortunately, I was not actively involved in the NJSA, due to the fact my family focus was cattle. So, I cannot sit here and say that I had a goal of working for the NJSA; But, when the opportunity was presented, I knew this is exactly what I wanted to do. By taking this opportunity, this has allowed me to not only learn more about the swine industry and youth development, but it has allowed me to share new ideas that I learned from the junior organizations I was involved with and instill them into NJSA. I also firmly believe that by growing up in the cattle world that I can offer a fresh, new look on different perspectives of the NJSA.

3. Explain some of your job responsibilities.
I categorize my responsibilities by three different aspects- KIDS & THEIR FAMILIES, SPONSORS, & SHOWS. These are three areas that I manage and oversee. My most important duty is taking care of the kids and their families. I do this by managing the NJSA and taking every opportunity there is to improve our organization and move it forward by educating and building leadership within our youth. My job also requires me to answer questions and solve problems that my NJSA kids and families have about NJSA and instill  the rules and regulations of the NJSA. Sponsors is another huge responsibility I take on as well. Since NJSA is a non-profit organization, without sponsors, NJSA would not exist. My job is to reach out to our current sponsors and seek out new ones as well and inform them of how they are benefitting the future of the swine industry with their contributions. Another big portion of my job is overseeing and executing all of our shows. With the Assistance of our NSR Junior Activities Coordinator, Kaley Bontrager and VP of Member Outreach and Youth Development, Brian Arnold, we work together to plan, coordinate, and carry out all of our shows.

4. How is the show pig world different than cattle?

It is so funny to answer this question! After growing up in the cattle world, and now being involved with the swine industry, I believe there are many differences. Personally, I think pig shows are much more laid back?which is probably due to the fact that there is no fitting (Clipping, gluing, painting, etc.) like there is at a cattle show! Plus, there are less items needed when exhibiting at a pig show vs. a cattle show! I also think that there is a lot more focus on the kids and educational contests at NJSA events. I am not saying that cattle organizations do not focus on these aspects at all, because I personally know they do, but since we are able to conduct four regional shows where we not only show pigs, but we have skillathons, judging contests and sweepstakes I believe this is where it gets more personal and educational. We offer our educational events at all four regional shows, not just our national shows.

5. Do you have any advice for someone interested in working for a breed association?
My best advice for someone who is interested in working for a breed association, is to get involved by joining a junior association. Whether you are simply a member or on the board of directors, this is the best way to have a better understanding of what the mission of an association is. Another piece of advice is be open minded–things are much different on the other side of the fence, meaning just because you have shown your whole life does not mean you fully understand what it takes to put on a show or carry out certain responsibilities. The ability to communicate and work as a team is another important skill one must have to work for a breed association. I not only work with 15+ employees and a Junior Board of Directors, but I work with my members and their families on a daily basis. Being able to communicate and work with people is a huge concept that one must grasp before taking a position within a breed association. I also strongly believe that by being ?livestock savvy? and having a good comprehension about the livestock industry is very beneficial.

6. What’s your favorite part of your job?

Honestly, I love everything about my job. But, one of my favorite parts is the kids and their families! I have grown to love these people like they are my own. And, when I can make a positive difference in a members life and help them reach their full potential, I can honestly say that is why I love my job. I truly am blessed to say at the age of 25, I have my dream job.

7. Name one thing you wish you would have learned in college before starting your job.

A lot of the skills needed for this job are more along the lines of ?soft? skills, meaning personality and character. However, I wish I would have taken a few more computer courses and writing classes! But, the longer I have been here, the more my NSR team has taught me skills and tips when it comes to using computer software and writing.

Thank you Torie, and best of luck to you and the rest of the NSR. The future of hog industry looks bright!