Young people acquire knowledge and skills through educational events on animal husbandry

Three Wisconsin teams from Iowa, Grant and Jackson counties packed their bags. They joined many young people from across the United States who traveled to Louisville in November to test their knowledge of animal science at one of the most prestigious livestock events, the North American International Livestock Exposition.

The Wisconsin teams had a great performance in Louisville in 2021, but accolades aren’t all young people get from these experiences. While receiving recognition and accolades is powerful and motivating, we are interested in seeing how these activities benefit young people and fit into society and career options.

This work started many years ago for most of the young people, preparing and learning from the older members as junior third year members. This work marked the beginning of the journey of attending weekly practices with peers, older youth and adult volunteers who guided their learning through hands-on activities and fun interactive sessions that kept young people coming back. every week.

Great gratitude goes to these adult volunteer coaches for the endless hours of preparation and support for young people on this path, which included preparing engaging activities and maybe a pot of bars or casseroles to keep the kids coming. and motivated – from the mouths of adolescents.

As a parent myself, there is nothing that I hope my children cultivate more than engaging in a positive partnership between youth and adults with other kind and caring adults. While meaningful and positive classroom teachers are key, the adults in the community are dedicating their time to projects that young people seek to give youth organizations such as 4-H an added advantage for the growth of young people.

A Wisconsin assessment survey conducted during the State 4-H Livestock Quiz Bowl and Skillathon in March 2020, just before the pandemic, yielded key results supported by a similar assessment conducted during the National 4-H Livestock Skillathon competition. of the 2017 youth participants. Youth who participate in knowledge-based activities acquire or acquire life skills and have an advantage in understanding post-secondary interest opportunities.

Since these activities involve many disciplines of animal science, from genetics to meat science and everything in between, not to mention new and evolving fields such as precision agriculture and animal welfare, it It is easy to understand how these young people are better prepared than their peers. Keep an eye on the results of our Wisconsin assessment in the coming months for other areas of awareness.

While waiting for the banquet to start in Louisville, I asked the students and coaches to reflect on their time in the program and capture it in written form. Here are some of the answers:

“I learned a lot and developed a lot of judgment and life skills!” – Annie Robinson, 4-H’er Iowa County Cattle Judge.

“This experience taught me to think on my feet and work well with others. These skills and more that I can use later in my life.” – Jessica Patterson, Grant County Livestock Skillathon 4-H’er.

“I started coaching some of my team members eight years ago, and it has been fun and so rewarding to watch them grow and mature and see the great young adults they have become. They are so dedicated. and hardworking and have so much cattle knowledge. I am more than proud to be their trainer. ” – Jessie Oberlin, Jackson Livestock Quiz Bowl coach.

Finally, we can’t forget all the fun and teamwork that comes with these types of experiences. One coach fondly remembers always stopping for ice cream on the way home from the event and many funny stories of car trips to and from the events. This is because memories support the experience and usually keep families engaged for generations.

The Jackson County Livestock Quiz Bowl team was the National Reserve Champion! Trent Laufenberg finished 5th and Kaden Moseley 9th for the number of answers to the quiz questions.

The Grant County Livestock Skillathon team was 4th overall, 4th in identification, 4th in evaluation and 1st in quality assurance. Jessica Patterson finished 3rd overall, 8th in quality assurance and 1st in identification.

Iowa County represented Wisconsin well in a competitive cattle judging contest.

For more information on these events and how to get involved, contact Bernie O’Rourke [email protected], Youth Breeding Extension Specialist, and Jill Jorgenson [email protected], raising awareness of animal science and 4-H agriculture. Also follow the Wisconsin 4-H Youth Development and Wisconsin Youth Livestock Programs on social media for more information.

Bernadette O'Rourke

O’Rourke is the Youth Raising Extension Specialist, Department of Animal and Dairy Sciences at the University of Wisconsin-Madison

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