A Year In Review: By Mario Villarino | Ksst Radio

A Year In Review: By Mario Villarino

A year in review:

2018 4-H Hopkins County Agricultural Plan

Developed by Dr. Mario A. Villarino, County Extension Agent for Agriculture and Natural Resources Hopkins County,Texas

Relevance: 4-H Agriculture and Natural Resources projects are an important component of the county 4-H program in Texas. Currently, sixty three percent of Texas 4-H members are enrolled in a livestock project. These projects provide youth with subject matter education, as well as valuable learning experiences, character education and leadership skills. Adult volunteer engagement is critical to administer the program and expand outreach. The development of youth volunteers as ambassadors for agriculture and natural resources will educate and recruit other youth to the project. As today youth are further removed from farming, many do not understand the importance of agriculture and how it impacts their daily lives. This plan included a Science of Agriculture (Ag Literacy/Awareness) program component to target elementary students (grades 4) and teachers in Hopkins County and provided the following educational components: Educational support materials for Science of Agriculture including Ag Day/Ag Fair field trip and information about 4-H opportunities for the participants and parents. Water conservation/protection awareness was also included. Texas A&M AgriLife in Hopkins County utilized a 4-H Livestock Project Coalitions to provide direction and support for the programs and events conducted. The programs and events provided support unities for 4-Hers to develop or improve their leadership skills and other life skills. Volunteer recruitment, training, and utilization were also an important component of the plan. This plan involved 200 youth and 60 volunteers in projects and 900 in curriculum enrichment..

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Response: 12 Veterinary Science Sessions (Monthly), 2 State Heifer Validation, NETLA Steer Validation, 6 Coalition Meetings, NETLA Swine Validation (Nov), District Dairy Judging Contest (Jan), District Livestock Judging (April), HC 4-H Round Up, NETLA Project visits (36), NETLA Junior Livestock Show (Feb), Ag in the Classroom (Oct), Goat Clipping Clinic (Feb),Goat and Lamb Showmanship Clinic, Shot Gun District Competition (May), Poultry Clinic (Nov), NETLA Dairy Show (June).

Results:       A specific pre and post test was conducted in a statistically significant subsample (50 students) in a randomly selected 4th grade school class in Hopkins County, with results as follows:

·         42% (16/25) agreed that agriculture touches their life every day.

·         68% (26/30) indicated that agriculture affects their life if they eat or wear clothes.

·         92% (35/36) agreed that Texas farmers and ranchers work hard to provide safe food.

·         47% (18/30) agreed that eating meat is an important part of a healthy and balanced diet.

·         81% (31/35) indicated that eating fruits and vegetables is an important part of a healthy and balanced diet.

·         68% (26/27) agreed that agriculture is more than food.

·         65% (25/36) indicated that farmers raising farm animals or growing crops are critical to produce food.

·         42% (16/23) will share the importance of agriculture with their parents.

·         68% (26/38) indicated that meat from livestock provides a good source of protein.

·         92% (35/38) agreed that dairy foods help grow strong bones and teeth.

Impact:  Agriculture and Natural Resource Projects in Texas remained a cornerstone for youth programs in 4-H. Hopkins County is no exception. More than 50 livestock projects, numerous public speaking and educational presentations were based on agriculture and natural resources. The Hopkins County Extension Office will like to recognize the multiple organizations supporting curriculum enrichment experiences and to Hopkins Rains Farm Bureau for their support, leadership and commitment to our youth in Hopkins County during the 2017 Ag in the Classroom.

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Mario Villarino DVM, Ph.D. Hopkins County Extension Agent for Ag and NR 1200B Houston Street Sulphur Springs, Texas 75482 903-885-3443

Author: Savannah Owens

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