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When Opposition Meets Passion

Wednesday, November 1, 2023

Showpig News

Written by: Abi Lillard, Summer Intern 2023


This year was my first summer away from my beloved pig barn. When accepting a position with The Wendt Group as a Summer Events and Marketing Intern, one thing was certain — the long, yet rewarding, days spent on the family farm and inside my safe space, the pig barn, would be few and far between. For someone who has spent what seems like their entire existence immersed in the show pig life and those day-to-day tasks, who found the barn to be their sanctuary in times of uncertainty, it was hard to accept the fact that summer as I knew it would not include my norm. My biggest hesitation going into this position was how I would find purpose and meaning in something other than my pigs. I knew my pigs were my greatest assets, they guided me and developed me into who I am today. How would I put that growth and knowledge into something greater? With nothing but uncertainty ahead, I put my trust in the only One I knew and was excited for a summer with


I was born and raised in Abilene, Kansas, where I grew up on a diversified farming operation that included anything from row crops to haymaking. Through farming, I met my first passion in life, which was 4-H, where the passion for pigs arose. Once I began showing, I never turned back. I found happiness in the pig project, traveling near and far with my family to accomplish goals we never imagined we would reach. The treasured project eventually led me to where I am today, a junior at Kansas State University majoring in agricultural communications and minoring in agricultural sales. It is through my experience showing as a youth that I have been fortunate enough to develop a love and passion for this industry.


I am always game for a challenge. There is just something so beautiful about encountering obstacles and finding ways to overcome them. Perhaps that is why I loved the unpredictable life of being on the farm and living in the show barn. The opportunity to work as an intern for this past summer was a new challenge for me. I had been in college for two years now and was less than confident that I could put my knowledge and experience into something brand new. This was my first summer internship, and I felt as if I knew nothing, but in reality, I knew so much more than I was giving myself credit for. I had the knowledge and industry experience to put into use, and I don’t think that is something people my age think about. 


With each opportunity and experience this summer, I came away with a new perspective. One of the most powerful things I heard over the last two months was this — the two most important days in your life are, first, the day you were born, and, second, the day you discover WHY you were born. This hits super deep for me. For the season of life I am in now, I can say that the second most important day of my life has been surpassed. While I might not have been confident in my physical ability, I was confident His faithfulness would give me the ability to make the step and begin to discover more of my purpose — using my experience and passion in the swine industry, combined with my skills in communications, to effectively illustrate just how far a show pig can take you. 


While the internship itself helped me grow as a person, I also grew in my ability to effectively communicate within the industry. Opportunities to do so lay within learning how to capture and relay events on our social media platforms, how and where to market said show pigs, and even simply how to work as a team. The TWG team has, by far, been the best part of my experience as an intern. I would say that this team is one of the most talented in the industry. So extremely brilliant, hardworking, and impactful in everything they do. It was said this summer to work for people you can learn from, and I could not agree any more. This has been the best team to learn from and grow alongside.

Time is so precious and ultimately the biggest investment in life. I can confidently say I got more out of this summer than I ever thought I would. The opportunities you want most often come wrapped in opposition; however, the opposition I faced was just proof of His promise in my life — to find purpose and meaning in an industry so near and dear to my heart. I cannot thank God enough for my family, who first placed me in this remarkable industry, and for such an extraordinary, forward-thinking team whom I have learned so much from. While I was not sure how a summer away from the barn would turn out, I would say it turned out pretty great. What started as a simple show pig has turned into something greater — a passion for the industry and the special people in it.   


Author Bio: 

Abi Lillard, a dedicated and driven agricultural communications student at Kansas State University, works to support the team as a marketing intern. Utilizing her industry background and communications experience, she brings passion and innovation into our marketing strategies to assist in achieving our goals.