Jadyn Lingo

Hello, my name is Jadyn Lingo. I am a senior at El Reno High School where I am Vice President of Student Council, Secretary of my FFA Chapter, and an active member of numerous other clubs and organizations. I have been admitted to Southern Nazarene University (SNU) in Bethany, Oklahoma, where I look forward to obtaining a bachelors degree in nursing with a minor in agriculture business.

Family is my everything and, at only 20 miles from El Reno, SNU will allow me to maintain active involvement with my family and our farm. I am extremely blessed to be part of a close-knit family who enjoys spending time together, so the proximity of SNU to home is perfect. When things don’t go as planned, my family is always there to show me the love and support I need to get through difficult situations.

While my family includes my dad, Jerry; my mom, Julie; and my older sister, Jordan; I must admit I am a Daddy’s girl, and my dad is my hero. Everything I know about living and working on a farm has been learned through my dad’s patient teachings; from how to know if a calf on wheat pasture is sick and needs a shot to driving a tractor. He has raised me to be a hard worker, loyal, and always be grateful. He is, literally, the hardest working person I know and I pray someday I’ll be known for the quality of my own work ethic as my dad is his.

My mom is my absolute best friend. We don’t always see eye-to-eye, but it’s because she pushes me to be the best I can be, holds me to a high standard, and keeps me focused on my goals. She is my role model and lives all of the values and characteristics of the person I strive to be. She has dedicated her life to raising my sister and me, and being a constant anchor for our family. She’s always the first to extend a helping hand to anyone in need, and I can’t remember a time she’s ever missed an activity I or my sister have been involved in. She is the cement that holds the bricks of our family together.

My sister, Jordan, is 22 and recently graduated from Oklahoma State University. She is currently attending nursing school at Oklahoma State University- OKC. At five years older, Jordan has always been one of my biggest role models. I wanted to be like her when I was younger, and I even remember trying to act her age just to fit in and hang out with her friends. And, even though she was so much older and it wasn’t “cool” to have a younger sister tagging along, she always made me feel included. Among my best memories are the many times we showed cattle together. The experience not only brought our whole family closer, but made us closer as sisters.

Living and working together with my family has taught me how to deal with adversity. In 2013, the biggest tornado in the United States barreled through El Reno, leveled my grandparents house, destroying most of our crops and taking with it ten miles of fence. All that remained was 200 acres of crops to be harvested. That summer was when I learned the importance of family. We’d lost what felt like everything, but we still had each other, and together we worked to rebuild our farm. Each season, I’ve watched my parents support and encourage each other and those around them. But their support didn’t end with the farm. They have done everything they possibly could to ensure my and my sister’s success. Today our family farm currently has 150 cow-calf pairs, 2,200 acres of wheat and canola, and 600 acres of grass; and through this experience I’ve realized not only how critical family support is, but I’ve gained a new appreciation for how hard farmers work. I know I wouldn’t trade living on a farm for anything.

I started showing cattle when I was 6, and I feel privileged to have spent these last eleven years showing livestock and traveling with my sister, Jordan, and our parents. Truthfully, I love the barn and the memories I’ve made with my family showing livestock have been the most important years of my life.

For as long as I can remember, our family motto has been, “It’s just one judge’s opinion, and tomorrow is a different day. Win and lose the same way.” Sentiments like this, modeled by my parents, have taught me the value of hard work, dedication, good sportsmanship, and perseverance. But more than that, they have molded me into the person I am today. Like most people, I’ve had my share of failures, but I’ve also had my fair share of successes. Traveling together, Jordan and I won numerous shows and made countless memories. In 2014, 2015 and 2017, I won the Hampshire gilt Breed, with the 2015 and 2017 gilts being raised by me. In 2016, I won the Berk Breed at the Oklahoma Youth Expo, and have also had several breed champions at our District Show and the Oklahoma State Fair. My success continued onto the cattle side where I had Beefmaster Breed Heifer at the Oklahoma Youth Expo and the Reserve Breed Heifer and Breed Bred and Own Heifer at the Tulsa State Fair in 2107. Being part of Canadian County, we are known for being one the most competitive counties in Oklahoma and across the country. I have made the sale every year I have shown, won many Breed and Reserve breeds, and this year I won Grand and Reserve Grand Overall.

El Reno FFA has become a huge part of my life. It has taken me to Alumni Camp, Washington Leadership Conference, and show rings across the country. Through these opportunities I have made not only great connections, but met some of my best friends. My agricultural teachers, Bob Listen and Eric Bilderback, are not only two of the best in the nation, but they’ve been like second and third dads to me, constantly lending me their knowledge, love and support. Without Mr Listen, I would not have had the success I have had in the show ring. He has supported me through tough times, providing encouragement in the show ring, giving reasons for disappointments, or even just a hug when I’m having a hard day. Mr. Bilderback has sponsored our officer team, and our road trips with him are packed full of wonderful memories I will take with me forever. Mr. Listen and Mr. Bilderback have walked with me through every step of my FFA experience and have helped prepare me for success as I begin the next chapter in my life.

In many ways, the people I’ve met through FFA have become my second family, and the friendships and love they’ve shown me has certainly influenced the person I am today. As this part of my senior year gets closer, I am not quite prepared for it to come to an end.

Outside of the show ring, I have judged livestock for four years. Judging has taught me how to select higher quality animals and how to talk a set of oral reasons. Oral reasons hasn’t always been easy for me. I am a naturally shy individual, so public speaking has been a challenge. With encouragement, practice, and more practice, I was able to put aside my natural inhibitions and helped my team win The Oklahoma State Fair Livestock Judging Contest in 2017. I am looking forward to the upcoming judging contest and more memories to be made. While FFA has taken up the majority of my free time, I also carved out time to compete on my high school’s varsity softball team my freshman, sophomore and junior years. Unfortunately, my busy schedule my senior year was not conducive to multiple activities and I had to make a decision between FFA and softball. Loving FFA as much as I do, the decision was made to drop softball and devote the necessary hours to what I enjoy most. Though I was sorry to leave softball behind, I learned a lot through team sports such as effective time management, how to juggle multiple projects while still maintaining good grades, and how to decompress under stressful situations. These experiences have helped become a more well-rounded person, and will aid my success as I continue my education.

I’ve mentioned some of the many people who have helped me get to where I am today—my family, my FFA friends, Mr. Listen and Mr. Bilderback. Among them I would be thoughtless in not mentioning the Beard family who is, without question, an extended part of my own family. They are always the first to step in when I need help whether that be in the show ring or just life in general. Additionally, I am also very thankful for the Bow, Cooper and Winter families who each portray a love and a passion that I hope to be able to share with others in the future. They have all shown me so much support and unconditional love and, together with the many others I’ve previously mentioned, have helped me grow as a person and in the livestock industry. My appreciation for all of them is indescribable, but I am deeply blessed by each.

My life has been shaped and blessed by the wonderful people in it who have lent me love, support and constant encouragement. At the end of the day, I pray each of us remembers to be thankful for who we are, the importance of extending a hug or a smile at someone, and that we encourage others to join 4-H or FFA. Each of these will change a person’s day, and may even change lives. I know they have mine. Thank you to my loving family and the agricultural community. I am excited to learn what the agricultural community has in store for my future and what lies ahead for my family and me.

2 Chronicles 15:7 “But as for you, be strong and do not give up, for your work will be rewarded!”