2017-08-24 / People

4-H Livestock Projects - a great life learning experience

By Brian Tankersley Lincoln County Extension Service

The school year has just started and students are getting in the swing of being back in class. As we rec­ognize the importance of education for our young people, I wanted to make parents and students aware of the value of 4-H and the educational opportunities that are available.

The 4-H program is a great ex­periential learning experience that helps the student to develop into outstanding members of the com­munity. Many outstanding leaders contribute their success to the train­ing and experiences gained through 4-H. Students have the opportunity to present illustrated talks, judge and give oral reasons, participate in livestock and animal projects, attend camp, and participate in community service activities.

One of the outstanding education­al opportunities is the 4-H livestock project. The 4-Her’s involved in the livestock program are challenged with real-life issues as they learn responsibility through raising, showing and judging livestock. Livestock projects give students the opportunity to practice and ac­quire new knowledge in the fields of animal science, business, time management and leadership.

Through the years, many former Lincoln County 4-Her members have participated in livestock proj­ects and can share with you the many positive benefits of this great life learning experience. Listed below are some quotes from past participants and parents of partici­pants: l The benefits of participating in livestock projects are obvious in our own children. They are confident, hardworking and committed to do­ing their best and I attribute those traits back to their involvement with livestock projects. l I would say that some young people develop a passion for live­stock, and that opens the doors of opportunity for them through edu­cation in the Ag field. It’s Georgia’s largest industry! l Showing livestock taught me a lot of valuable lessons in middle and high school. From learning the value of hard work and prepara­tion, to money management, there is really nothing else like it to help a young person grow up. My broth­ers and I had to ‘feed up’ in the morning, and wash and groom our show calves after school and sports practices. Without that work ahead of time, our animals wouldn’t have performed well at the show – so we knew hard work was important. At the end of the season, we sold our calves and learned to save that money for the next years’ animal purchases, and even kept some set aside for college. There is nothing like the friendships and life lessons that come out of being involved in a livestock program, and I would en­courage everyone to get involved. l The memories made will follow you forever. l We cannot say enough good things about the 4-H Program or the livestock project. It teaches re­sponsibility and instills character. It takes a daily effort to work with an animal that will eventually weigh 1300- 1500 pounds and in the show ring, it’s just the 4-H’er and the calf. This project teaches respect and courage. Sometimes you and your animal are in front of hundreds of spectators. Not many adults would step up to that challenge. It is truly a family project and requires 100% commitment for everyone, but at the end of the day ...or the end of the show, it is well worth the effort. We have met so many wonderful people over the years that we still stay in touch. I would encourage any family that has a child interested in show­ing Livestock to take a leap of faith and give it a try. The hard work pays off on show day with fun, together­ness, laughter and of course a blue ribbon is the icing on the cake.

There are many different types of livestock projects for 4-Hers includ­ing Beef Steer and Heifer Projects, Market Hog, Market Lamb, and Breeding Ewes, Market Goats, and Commercial Dairy heifers. If you would like to have more informa­tion, contact the Lincoln County Extension Service.

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