Henderson County Youth Livestock Summer Wrap Up

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Now that the Mountain State Fair has come and gone, our 3 main youth livestock projects have wrapped up for the year! The livestock judging team competed at the end of July, the 4H Pullet Project show was in August, and the Dairy Steer project concluded at the beef show at the fair. We are super proud of the youth who participated in each of the projects and wanted to highlight a few special moments from each.

Livestock Judging

The livestock judging team practiced for 5 months in preparation for the state competition at NC State at the end of July. Practices included learning about 4 species of livestock, sheep, goats, pigs, and cows, and learning what qualities are ideal for each in both market and breeding animals. The kids also competed in quiz bowl, skill-a-thon, and learned how to give a set of reasons justifying why they placed the class of animals the way they did. Public speaking, critical thinking, quick reasoning, relationship building, and teamwork are life skills the youth further develop through livestock judging, in addition to gaining livestock knowledge to in turn be more efficient and profitable producers one day.

Abby Baldwin is involved in Barnyard Bandits 4-H Club and competed at her very first state livestock judging competition this year. She was a great teammate to her peers and placed 4th overall in the state junior division. Congratulations Abby!

child at a livestock competition

Pullet Roundup Project

Henderson and Buncombe Counties 4-H & livestock programs partnered to offer a new opportunity to youth in our area. Not many people in more urban areas have enough space for a large animal but want a livestock experience. We decided to attempt to fill the gap and offer a program with raising chickens. The Pullet roundup started with the youth participants attending 3 separate trainings to learn about brooding, housing, feeding, and taking good care of the soon to arrive chicks. After completing all 3 trainings, each participant received 5 chicks and was responsible for caring and handling them in preparation for the show in August. Area specialized poultry agent Lauren Greene taught a showmanship clinic in June and demonstrated to the kids how to hold, bathe, and transport their chickens. The poultry show was in August and the participants were able to showcase their hard work and knowledge gained in raising their chickens. Some participants chose to continue on and compete at the Mountain State Fair or enter an egg contest with their chickens! McKenna Camp continued on to compete at the Mountain State Fair and won her showmanship class!

child holding a chicken

Dairy Steer Project

We are so proud of our 2022 WNC Dairy Steer Feeder Calf Program participants! These young people have learned what it takes to raise and take care of a livestock project…most for the very first time. This year we had 27 participants who raised their calf from only a few days old in March until the Mountain State Fair. They participated in the beef shows at the Mountain State Fair where they exhibited their calves which were sold at auction on the following Monday.
Throughout this project, the participants have had to bottle feed their calves in the mornings and evenings, practice good nutrition management skills, monitor their calf’s health, provide clean and safe housing, participate in project work days and clinics, attend monthly Zoom updates, and learn from their advisors what it takes to raise a successful livestock project.
They have learned lessons of time management, finance, responsibility, follow-through, sportsmanship, animal husbandry, ethics, and loss in unfortunate situations. Although the project is over, we are looking forward to reading more about the lessons they learned through this experience when they submit their project record books in a few months.
This is the 9th year of the WNC Dairy Steer Feeder Calf Program with a total of 227 youth participants who are also members of 4-H and FFA programs. This program would not exist without the support of the WNC Beef Commission, Purina and Performance Livestock Feeds, and our local county Farm Bureau boards.

youth participants

4-H youth showing a steer