South West Farm Press Logo

Encouragement, time can transform lives

Mentoring someone or simply a kind word can be life-changing. You never know the difference you might make.

Shelley E. Huguley, Editor

May 22, 2024

3 Min Read
Sam Werth
Sam Werth mentors students at the Emerging Leaders Luncheon. Shelley E. Huguley

I’ve written two articles recently that reflect the power of mentors and an encouraging word. One of the articles focused on the Emerging Leaders Luncheon, and the othert Clint Langley and his mentor, the late Butch Hufnagel.  

The Emerging Leaders Luncheon was held during CattleCon. I stumbled across the event while walking through the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association Trade Show in Orlando. Professionals moved in speed-dating style from table to table every 12 minutes to visit with collegiates. The event, sponsored by American National CattleWomen Association, was free to college registrants.  

I interviewed various professionals, including Sam Werth, NCBA sustainability senior director and U.S. Roundtable for Sustainable Beef executive director. She did not grow up in agriculture but always had an interest in cattle. She said all she knew to do was become a vet. A professor in one of her undergrad classes inspired her about supporting the cattle industry through sustainability. She changed her major and even received her doctorate under him.  

As she visited with the students, she not only shared her journey but also encouraged them to be okay with changing their minds about their majors. She also assured them that a doctorate is not a prerequisite for success in the cattle industry. She listened and answered questions like her mentor had done for her years prior.  


On April 9, I reached out to Clint Langley about his experience with the recent eclipse. His county was in the line of totality. I was curious how his cattle responded. As we visited, he began to talk about a mentor in his life, the late Butch Hufnagel.  

He shared how Butch saw something in him he didn’t even see in himself. He also shared how Butch was there for his grandfather as he was dying of cancer. Clint and his brother tried to do the same as Butch’s health was ailing. “It all went full circle,” he told me.  

It just reminded me that we never know how our words and actions impact others. For these two individuals, their mentors changed the trajectory of their lives. This reinforces the power of encouragement, a kind word, and saying something when we see potential in people.  

Occasionally, I receive e-mails, texts, or even phone calls from readers saying they like what I wrote, that I’m doing a great job, or, my favorite, that an article touched them. To those who have reached out, your words mean so much! Thank you for taking the time to let me know.  

Encouragement can be as simple as a quick text or email, but it can also mean walking alongside someone to help them become who God created them to be. Look for someone to speak into today. You might just change their life!  

About the Author(s)

Shelley E. Huguley

Editor, Southwest Farm Press

Shelley Huguley has been involved in agriculture for the last 25 years. She began her career in agricultural communications at the Texas Forest Service West Texas Nursery in Lubbock, where she developed and produced the Windbreak Quarterly, a newspaper about windbreak trees and their benefit to wildlife, production agriculture and livestock operations. While with the Forest Service she also served as an information officer and team leader on fires during the 1998 fire season and later produced the Firebrands newsletter that was distributed quarterly throughout Texas to Volunteer Fire Departments. Her most personal involvement in agriculture also came in 1998, when she married the love of her life and cotton farmer Preston Huguley of Olton, Texas. As a farmwife, she knows first-hand the ups and downs of farming, the endless decisions made each season based on “if” it rains, “if” the drought continues, “if” the market holds. She is the bookkeeper for their family farming operation and cherishes moments on the farm such as taking harvest meals to the field or starting a sprinkler in the summer with the whole family lending a hand. Shelley has also freelanced for agricultural companies such as Olton CO-OP Gin, producing the newsletter Cotton Connections while also designing marketing materials to promote the gin. She has published articles in agricultural publications such as Southwest Farm Press while also volunteering her marketing and writing skills to non-profit organizations such as Refuge Services, an equine-assisted therapy group in Lubbock. She and her husband reside in Olton with their three children Breely, Brennon and HalleeKate.

Subscribe to receive top agriculture news
Be informed daily with these free e-newsletters

You May Also Like