Livestock competitions to begin soon

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By Roberta Hunt

Although the warmer temperatures of spring and summer are just wishful thinking, it’s time for 4-H members who want to participate in livestock projects to begin making plans.  Kentucky 4-H requires that each member receive six or more hours of instruction in the various areas of livestock care, judging and general knowledge in order to participate in any 4-H livestock competition.  In Washington County, 4-H members join the 4-H Hooves and Horns Club to learn about the livestock industry and earn their six hours. The first instructional session for Washington County youth will be at the Hooves and Horns Club meeting on Monday, Jan. 25, 6:30 p.m. at the Washington County Extension Office.  Dr. Jeffery Lehmkuhler, University of Kentucky Beef Cattle Specialist will be the guest speaker and will speak on nutrition and management.

When many people think of 4-H, they do think of livestock programs.  What many people do not know is how the various aspects of the 4-H livestock program help young people develop positive character traits and become leaders of tomorrow.    There are many ways youth can be involved in livestock programs through 4-H. Owning an animal is not a requirement for participation.  Programs offered through 4-H include quiz bowls, skillathons, livestock judging, projects and shows.

Mentally challenging programs such as quiz bowls, skillathons and livestock judging provide young people with skills they can use throughout their lives.  Skills learned through these programs allow 4-Her’s to become more informed consumers, team players, better employees and community leaders, regardless of whether they ever own an animal.  Quiz bowls and skillathons are competitions that test youths’ knowledge in various aspects of livestock production.  Through participation in livestock judging, young people learn to be more observant, confident and develop effective communication skills.  They also learn how to make decisions and logically defend those decisions to a judge.

Livestock projects allow 4-Her’sto get firsthand experience in raising and caring for an animal.  This project teaches youths responsibility as they are in charge of caring for another life.  As the animal grows, young people can take pride in knowing they helped the animal develop and mature.

Livestock shows can be competitive for some youths and parents, but that shouldn’t be the focus.  The goal of 4-H is to raise grand champion kids, not grand champion livestock. Participation in shows teaches youths the importance of proper public behavior in a contest setting.  Losers are taught to be courteous to winners, and winners learn to accept their award graciously and humbly.

Opportunities are limitless for youth in 4-H livestock programs.  For information on these and more 4-H animal science programs, contact the Washington County Extension Office at 336-7741.

Educational programs of the Cooperative Extension Service serve all people regardless of race, color, sex, religion, disability or national origin.


Jan. 18 – 4-H Young Riders, 7 p.m., Washington Co. Extension Office

Jan. 19 – 4-H Spurs & Furs, 7 p.m., Washington Co. Extension Office

Jan. 23 – 4-H Sewing, 9-12 noon, Washington Co. Extension Office

Jan. 25 – 4-H Hooves & Horns, 6:30 p.m., Washington Co. Extension Office