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“All you have to do is be smarter than the cow.”

Hello everyone!  My name is Brandon Reeves and I am honored to be a member of the VALOR class this go-round.  At the outset, I’d like to thank all the supporters of VALOR and the folks that make it happen.  We had an awesome first session and I look forward to spending the next two years with an incredibly diverse, talented and passionate set of classmates.  We were asked to share a little bit about ourselves for this first assignment, so if you’ll indulge me this, I am excited to share my journey with you along the way.

The Basics:

I am a 28-year-old farm kid.  I grew up on my family’s beef cattle operation (Valley View Farms) in the Shenandoah Valley.  Livestock judging and showing cattle pretty much defined my childhood.  Despite never being able to beat my sister at a stock show (I remain convinced she could enter a goat in the sheep show and still place ahead of me in class), we had so many good times growing up and I wouldn’t have had it any other way.

After high school, I ventured west to Texas Tech University where I loved it so much that I stayed 5 years. I majored in both Animal Science and Political Science and earned a minor in Business.  I studied abroad on four separate occasions, was heavily involved in an organization called President’s Select and spent three years working as a student assistant in the President’s Office.  I also competed on the Wool Judging, Livestock Judging and Meat Animal Evaluation teams.

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My family at a Texas Tech football game.

From Lubbock, I spent time doing some graduate work at the University College of London and then made the move back to Texas to intern at the R.A. Brown Ranch the summer of 2014.  Throckmorton was much quieter than the big city :).  At the completion of my internship, I joined Combest, Sell & Associates in Washington D.C. where I worked for nearly two years as an agriculture lobbyist helping represent farmers and ranchers to Congress and the Administration.  I moved back closer to home in 2016 to become more involved in my family’s farm and attend law school at Washington & Lee where I will graduate from this coming May.  The past two summers I worked as a summer associate in Lenhart Pettit’s Harrisonburg law office.  I currently work as a law clerk for the House Agriculture Committee in Washington D.C. through Washington & Lee Law’s externship program.

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Sale day at the R.A. Brown Ranch.

It has been a busy ten years since graduating from Buffalo Gap.  I am blessed to have been surrounded by some great people.  The folks at Texas Tech, R.A. Brown and Combest-Sell taught me so much and have been tremendous influences.  The same goes for my more recent experiences at Lenhart Pettit and the House Ag Committee.  I am truly thankful for the support of my family and friends throughout my journey and look forward to everything that is to come.

My Approach:

Growing up, my dad used to tell us, “All you have to do is be smarter than the cow.”  There is no doubt there were plenty of times the cow outsmarted me.  Looking back, there is a lot of wisdom in my dad’s advice.  It doesn’t matter how big or fast you are.  If you don’t have a plan, it is hard to get much done.  Translating that to my approach, I hope to live an intentional, balanced life that I believe in.  I am really excited about how VALOR fits into that.  Virginia agriculture is something I was born into and have always been passionate about.

In terms of my personal approach, I am a big fan of Lifebook’s personal development program.  It has helped me focus on living a conscious, balanced life.  Without giving the program away, it divides life up into 12 categories such as: Health & Fitness, Intellectual Life, Emotional Life, Spiritual Life, etc.  Within each category, you define your beliefs for that category, your vision, your purpose and your strategies for obtaining your vision.  It has been a game-changer for me.

Overall, my faith, family and friends mean the world to me.  I believe true intelligence is how intelligently a person lives their life. I believe if you want to have an extraordinary life, you have to have an extraordinary attitude.  Self-discipline and accountability are key.

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My sister and brother-in-law at a Cody Johnson concert. 

On a less serious note, some other passions of mine include the Baltimore Orioles (yes, it was a tough year), Texas Tech athletics and the Kansas City Chiefs (now that Mahomes is QB).  I’m also a big fan of Aaron Watson, Cody Johnson and the Texas country music scene.  My little niece, Maci Kate, is the most perfect little human in the world and I love being able to go home and hang out with her and my family.

Like anyone else, I’ve had my share of challenges and made my fair share of mistakes.  Life can be tough and messy at times.  You just try to do what is right and make the best decisions possible given the information at hand.  Things usually have a way of working out.

Future Aspirations:

This is the question. I am blessed to have some exciting opportunities and look forward to graduating law school in May.

Career-wise, I want to do something meaningful.  I believe it is important to do something you are passionate about, get good at it, and be able to contribute to society.  Agriculture is where my heart is and that is why I am so excited about VALOR.  I believe VALOR will help me become more knowledgeable about different aspects of the industry and help me figure out the best ways I can make a difference and give back.

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House Agriculture Committee Chairman Mike Conaway  (R-TX).

Big picture, I think it goes back to my approach.  I want to live an intentional, balanced life that I believe in.  The other night, I watched Drew Brees break the all-time NFL passing record.  He was quoted by the commentators as saying that he doesn’t try to prove people wrong, he tries to prove people right.  I think that is an awesome outlook to have and responsibility to take on.  I look forward to hopefully proving people right over the next two years in VALOR and in the years to come.

Until next time, all the best.

-Brandon

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