Nick Nelson

Scratching the Bulls

Blog Post created by Nick Nelson on Sep 13, 2018

This is a feature from the September 2018 edition of NAAE’s News & Views Newsletter. To read News & Views in its entirety, please visit this link.


Halter breaking bull calves has always been something I have enjoyed. I know the secret to taming those buggers down. It's pretty simple really....they live for two things, and one of them is being scratched -- you can figure out the other. We like to take the bulls to the county fair before we send them down to the bull development lot. Some people show their cattle for marketing, others show because that is what they do. We show for the experience for both the calves and the kids. I could care less how they do in the show. I really focus on getting them ready for the competition when they get to the grower lot, and I find that gentling and backgrounding the calves creates for an aggressive bull when they are all thrown together. Winning awards is nice, but it is more than that -- just like being recognized for an NAAE award.


I would like to extend my congratulations to all of the NAAE award winners for the 2018 year. This is a major accomplishment that oftentimes we may overlook the importance of. As these awards recognize you and your program's accomplishments, they also recognize your community, administration, students, and your fellow teachers. That is truly the importance of this recognition. The stakeholders involved in the awards are extremely proud that they had a contribution, and these awards are recognized at the national level. You can see the 2018 Award Winners on the NAAE website.


Many of you may have seen information about the Ag Ed Summit that will occur Tuesday, prior to NAAE Convention.  This will be an extremely important meeting that I believe will impact the future and advancement of agricultural education. I would encourage that each of your states have a representative available to attend, as well as other ag ed stakeholders in your state. I am excited and encouraged by the work that the National Council for Agricultural Education has done at their September meeting to advance agricultural education into the future. I do not believe there has ever been a time when all of the ag ed stakeholders have been willing to collaborate, as I witnessed this past week.


Ag education has had many changes over the past 100 years that we often forget about. Some of the facts we need to remember is that we had 90,000 students taking agriculture classes in our public schools 10 years prior to the Smith-Hughes Act of 1917. Ag ed has been housed in the US Department of Agriculture, US Department of the Interior, US Department of Health, Education and Wellness, US Department of Labor, and currently in US Department of Education.  Since we have been housed in the US Department of Education, we have gone from nine federally paid staff in the 60’s to seven in the 70’s, five in the early 80’s, and two in the 90’s until now. Change is upon us again, and we have the power to control our own destiny regarding the advancement of agricultural education in the US.


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