Some may evaluate themselves and say they have a busy schedule. Katie Nolles is definitely a person that can say this. She is from Bassett, Nebraska, where her family raises and shows Hereford cattle. Last October, she accomplished a dream of hers with being crowned the 2014-2015 National Hereford Queen. She then went on to decide that she wanted to run for a state office in FFA in Nebraska. Katie was fortunate enough to receive Vice President. Being involved with two major organizations, Katie then looked forward to starting college at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. I had the opportunity to ask Katie some questions about how she handles her life with so much going on at once.
How did you get started in the Hereford breed and was becoming National Hereford Queen always something you want to do?
I was born into the Hereford breed. I am a fifth generation Hereford breeder on both sides of my family, and grew up working cattle on our family ranch. I always loved looking at old pictures, especially the ones of my mom when she was Nebraska Hereford Queen. When I started showing, I was infatuated with the queens. My mentor at my first junior nationals became National Queen, and I decided that I wanted to do the same. Becoming National Hereford Queen was the first goal that I set for myself.
As National Hereford Queen, what has been your greatest accomplishment?
I am pleased with how the Helping Hooves project that I organized turned out. I had an idea that we had never done before, which was a school supply drive. Junior National Hereford Expo (JNHE) exhibitors donated 126 pounds of school supplies, and I presented them to an elementary school in Grand Island, our host city, that has a 90% poverty level among their students.
What is one thing you would like the public to know about the Ag industry that would give them more knowledge about it to help them better understand Ag?
Ranchers and farmers believe in integrity. We are the best source to go to with questions about food and production practices. We aren’t in this industry to make money; we are in it to provide safe food for the world.
What has been the most enjoyable part about your time as a State FFA Officer?
Hands down, my favorite part of State Office has been meeting members! I love that people grow, because FFA helped me grow so much as a person. My goal is to always support people in pursuing their passions, and State Office allows me to do that.
How can we get more people involved in FFA and see it grow as a whole?
FFA is not just for farmers. We are the largest student led organization in the nation. Sharing our message, core values, and cool stories with people who aren’t involved is the best way to grow our organization. Everyone should understand that we can all wear the blue jacket-there is something in FFA for everyone.
How are you managing your time being National Hereford Queen, State FFA Officer, and college student?
I have two planners and a calendar. My professors are very understanding of my schedule, which makes me value being in College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (CASNR) at UNL. My faith has grown immensely this year, and making time for God in my life is what directs me. Ultimately, communication with my support system and professors is key. My parents have always supported me, and I have the best State Officer team in the world. They recognize the significance of being queen, and have picked up my slack or brought me coffee so that I can make the most of each experience as National Queen and a State Officer. I couldn’t do it without them.
What have you learned from all of your leadership roles you have held?
No matter how hard you work and how passionate you are, people are always going to tell you that you can’t do something. Their motivations may vary, but the important thing is to know what you believe in and to never give up on your dreams. I KNEW that I could make a difference as National Hereford Queen and a FFA State Officer, but people told me that I would fail. With support, I learned that I make my own decisions, and that those decisions have to be based on the good of the organization, not on my own desires.
Is there anything else I have not asked that you would like readers to know about you?
I may come off as being very intense, but I try to be as real as possible. I love the simple things in life, and am always up for a good laugh!
If you have any questions for Katie, she is always willing to talk about different things going on in the Ag and livestock industry.
Hello, my name is Karly Biddle and I am from Walcott, IA. I am currently a junior at Western Illinois University studying Agricultural Business with minors in Animal Science and Horticulture. I transferred to WIU from Ellsworth Community College in Iowa Falls, IA. I live on a farm where my family and I raise and show Hereford and Miniature Hereford cattle. I continue to show cattle at local, state and national levels. At WIU, I am active in the Hoof-n-Horn club and Horticulture club.