This summer 174 4-H youth around our valley took on the responsibility of raising sheep, swine, and beef as part of the Morgan County 4-H Jr. Livestock program.
Raising livestock requires dedication to take care of the daily needs of the animals and also prepare to present them to be judged during fair week. The program that has been around since 1984 is held in cooperation with 4-H and FFA to provide development opportunities for youth raising animals.
The program aims to help participants function as adults in society and accept responsibilities, gain ability to communicate, inquire, solve problems, make decisions, and work with other people.
This year the market price for animals was down; however, the number of kids involved and the generosity of the buyers made this year a great one. Extension Associate Professor of Family & Consumer Science, Amanda Christensen said, “It was a steady sale.” “The buyers really came to support,” Eric Turner, Morgan County 4-H Jr. Livestock president, explained gratefully.
Marci Stapley stood out this year as she raised and presented a lamb, hog and steer. “I was impressed with that,” Turner said of Stapley participating with all three animals for her last year in the program. “That is a lot of responsibility.”
Most competition settings rely on the natural abilities of the participant. The 4-H Jr. Livestock program relies on the determination and dedication of the participant which levels the playing field. From the high school senior to the third grader, from the football superstar to the petite dancer, all can not only participate but also become super successful with a livestock project.
One such example showed itself in a memorable way when Krystin Spens showed her sheep. “This is what the program is all about,” Turner echoed the words that the judge said as the sixth grader presented.
Krystin hasn’t let having down syndrome stop her from doing the things she wants to do and the 4-H Jr. Livestock Auction was the perfect way to show off her fun personality, determination and skills. The judge and attendees were impressed with her abilities and applauded her for her skills with her animal.
The program is growing as parents and kids are seeing the benefits that come from being involved in a youth development program. Participants learn responsibility in taking care of their animal. The daily feeding and maintenance cannot be done without dedication and accountability.
Participants also learn record keeping. Kids as young as eight are required to document their experience in a 4-H portfolio. “Thank you to both youth and parents for taking the time to learn how to put together a portfolio and for doing such an exceptional job this year,” Nicole Reed, 4-H program coordinator commented.
Contestants also have the opportunity to learn that they can do hard things. Many kids would be too scared to hold the rope of a 3,000-4,000-pound steer. These kids don’t just have to master this fear, but also add the fear of presenting in front of a judge while holding that rope. Competing builds confidence.
This program is reliant on the support of the buyers and also the hard work of the committee. “It would never happen without the volunteers,” Turner said. He is grateful for all the people whose dedication helps to make this livestock program a huge success. “There is a committee of people that come together to pull this off.” The committee begins planning for the sale in January and works throughout the year until after the fair. “They just do so much,” Turner added.
The current 4-H year is coming to a close so now is the time to begin looking forward to the next year of 4-H. Re-enrollment will begin on Oct. 1. In addition, those in grades 10-12 whom are interested in applying to become a 4-H Livestock Ambassador should visit the 4-H office for an application in September or contact Nicole Reed at 801-829-3472.
Congratulations and great job to all 4-H and FFA Jr. Livestock participants.
Swine Quality Winners: Grand Champion Maloree Stapley; and Reserve Champion Brittney Jay. Showmanship Winners: Senior Showman Grand Champion, Aspen Francis; Reserve Champion, Brittney Jay; Intermediate Showman Grand Champion, Porter Giles; Reserve Champion, Cole Peterson; Junior Showman Grand Champion, Cali Stuart; and Reserve Champion, Maggie Shupe.
Sheep Quality Winners: Grand Champion, Lisa Blazzard; and Reserve Champion, Brynlee Wixom. Showmanship Winners: Senior Showman Grand Champion, Lisa Blazzard; Reserve Champion, Maloree Stapley; Intermediate Showman Grand Champion, Janel Blazzard; Reserve Champion, Ashlyn Morrell; Junior Showman Grand Champion, Timber Peterson; and Reserve Champion, Cole Keele.
Steer Quality Winners: Grand Campion, Jake Rowlan; and Reserve Champion, Dani Velasquez. Steer Showmanship Winners: Senior Showman: Grand Champion, Brittany Morgan; Reserve Champion, Maloree Stapley; Intermediate Showman Grand Champion, Taylee Velasquez; Reserve Champion, Annie Rowlan; Junior Showman Grand Champion, Hayz Madsen; and Reserve Champion, Miya Tuner.