Kent Nutrition Group strives every day to bring the best nutrition products to customers who raise, care for, or show their animals. And that includes even the youngest customers, like the nearly 11,000 members of the National Junior Swine Association (NJSA), who raise and show four different breeds of pigs throughout the country each year.
As a longtime Ally Sponsor of NJSA, Kent is a staple presence at all of the shows and educational events put on by the Indiana-based association. But show rings and banners aren’t the only reasons that drive Kent’s support. The young (21 and under) members of NJSA also participate year-round in leadership camps, study good genetics, raise purebred pigs and learn how to apply proper management skills to their swine projects.
“Basically, they’re learning how to move the industry forward,” said Ellen Knauth, director of junior shows for NJSA. “Kent’s sponsorship shows they believe in youth livestock not only for their business but for the future of these young leaders and their next-generation role in the swine industry.”
As the junior association of the National Swine Registry, NJSA members can participate in two national shows and four regional shows each year. Various camps, educational events and affiliate shows are held as well. All of the members have an interest in the Duroc, Hampshire, Landrace and Yorkshire breeds of swine, and can earn scholarships for exceptional achievement in some of the specific breeds.
NJSA is the largest youth livestock organization in the world. Even regional shows routinely draw members from more than 20 states, Knauth said. “It’s really a way of life for these kids,” she said.
Kent Product Manager Cody Vantiger knows first-hand the importance of youth livestock organizations, having participated in them himself for many years. Being able to network with peers and industry experts is an invaluable component to NJSA membership, he said.
“These kids are the future of the commercial world,” Vantiger said. “It’s important to support them so they have opportunities to grow.”
Being present at NJSA-sanctioned shows and events gives Kent the opportunity to educate members about the company’s research in animal nutrition, and explain how Kent Show Feeds help optimize the genetic potential of show animals, Vantiger said. Some of the most popular products are supplements given specifically to enhance appearance and muscle expression for shows.
“These animals really are “athletes” so you want them to walk flawlessly and not get tired right away — basically you need them to look and act their best,” Vantiger said. “Kent has complete feeds but we also have supplements that do many different things, like lubricate joints so the animals can walk longer, or expand stomachs so they look beefier. It just depends on what the desired look is for a specific animal. But it’s very competitive!”
Knauth said the relationship between Kent and NJSA has been long and mutually-rewarding. “Kent is always customer-oriented and super easy to work with,” she said. “We are always glad for their partnership.”