Livestock Show Season
Raising and exhibiting a livestock project is not only instructional, concerning raising livestock for show, but also serves as an excellent teaching tool to illustrate livestock production techniques and animal science principles. Participating in a livestock project promotes sound livestock production practices. To be successful, families need to start by learning the essentials. Some of the major areas include: livestock/animal health, nutrition, facilities, behavior, reproduction, genetics, selection and handling.
From here, students will become life-long learners of agriculture. Principles learned regarding livestock production will be applicable to the student’s life. For example, a student can learn about balancing a cattle diet with protein and carbohydrates to add or reduce body fat of breeding females. Of course, it makes sense the same student will be able to apply these principles to his/her own diet to lead to a healthier lifestyle.
More importantly, the students learn about ethically producing a quality protein source for all consumers. One of the programs we use to teach ethics, quality assurance, and decision making is “Quality Counts”. Quality Counts verification is required to exhibit livestock at all major livestock shows in Texas and at the NETLA show in Hopkins County. The livestock project engages the student throughout the process.
The livestock show is not the end of the livestock experience, but rather, a beginning – opening the door to valuable opportunities. 4-H Youth Livestock offers many methods to enhance and grow your experience. As students progress through the program gaining knowledge we hope they will cultivate a passion for sharing. Students share gained knowledge through educational presentations, mentorship of novice 4-H youth, speech competitions and media sources. For some, basic understanding of livestock projects is not enough, and they seek advanced training and competitions.
How can your family start to get involved in livestock projects? As new families learn about the benefits of participating thru a livestock project is important to do some planning so the family understand the type of involvement required to raise a livestock project. The first step is to contact a 4-H leader or FFA mentor. In Texas, youth livestock exhibitor programs are structured based on these two youth organizations. A lot of planning, understanding and learning must happen even before a project animal is selected. 4-H is the largest youth organization in the United States of America.
Every 4-H program is coordinated thru the local County Extension Office (Hopkins County Extension Office is located at 1200B Houston Street, Telephone number 903-885-3443). 4-H is organized in clubs, with a youth leader conducting meetings and providing know-how support for the projects. Many 4-H leaders have personal experiences showing livestock. A quick phone call to the Extension Office (903-885-3443) or visit to the extension Office can start the process. Enrollment is required to participate in 4-H sponsored events.
FFA chapter may be chartered in any public school with an agricultural education program. Leadership is provided by student officers who are elected each year by the chapter’s members, and by the agriculture teacher who serves as the advisor for the chapter. If you are interested in learning more about FFA, contact an agricultural teacher to learn more about it.
Hopkins County Junior Livestock Show
An important requirement for showing livestock projects is having the project validated. The validation process is the declaration and presentation of a project by an exhibitor. Depending of the show, the requirements for validation might be specific. Here the dates for the 2018 NETLA Livestock Show:
- NETLA Lamb and Goat Validation: October 19th, 2017 at the Regional Civic Center 5:00 to 7:00 PM
- NETLA Steer and State Heifer Validation: October 23, 2017 5:00 to 6:30 PM at Dairy Health Services.
- NETLA Broiler orders: December 1, 2017
- 4-H Swine Validation: November 20, 2017 4:00 to 5:00 PM at the Hopkins County Extension Office.
Contact your FFA chapter mentor or call the Hopkins County Extension Office (for 4-H members) at 903-885-3443 for more information.