North Dakota Association of Agriculture Extension Agents

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2016 Excellence in 4-H Programming

Rick Schmidt - State Winner

Livestock exhibition is an art as well as hard work. As a livestock judge and an Extension Agent who conducts fitting and showmanship clinics across the state, I developed a Showmanship Manual, which summaries the essential elements needed to be competitive in livestock showmanship events.  Livestock Superintendents from across the state have analyzed the  various methods of exhibition. We considered ease of showmanship, safety of the youth and where exhibitors maintain maximum control of the animal when determining what we felt was the most acceptable practices. Ethical treatment of the animals is highly focused upon both in and out of the showring throughout the manual.

The manual addresses the importance of proper care of the animals. Nutrition is extremely important for livestock to look and perform to their greatest potential.  Youth need to feed and provide care for their animals on a regular scheduled routine daily.    

Youth exhibiting livestock need to be aware of maneuvers, techniques and patterns in which they may be expected to perform in the showring.  The manual is used as a guide to assist youth, with visual diagrams, ways to properly practices and preform the tasks.   

The manual is also sent to out of state judges coming to evaluate shows in our state, so they can be familiarized with the accepted practices that we expect from our youth.  Showmanship techniques vary in each state. We prefer judges become familiar with the methods we use to teach our youth before evaluating showmanship classes.

Todd Weinmann - State Winner

Many children in ND are undernourished and inactive. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported 92% of children in ND do not eat enough vegetables for a healthy diet. An estimated 78% of children do not get enough physical activity. These rates are among the highest in the nation (North Dakota: State Nutrition, Physical Activity and Obesity Profile, 2012).

Gardening programs can help. Children who grow their own food are more likely to eat vegetables and have healthy eating habits throughout their lives. Healthy diets lead to better performance in school, better paying jobs in the future, and the prevention of chronic diseases such as obesity and diabetes.

The ND Junior Master Gardener Program provides hands-on activities that lead to healthy kids and strong communities. The NDSU Extension Service awarded $30,000 to 65 youth gardening projects. NDSU Extension staff provided educational support to all projects and led 43 of them.

All 65 project leaders completed a survey at the end of the year. This survey showed that 5,200 youth participated in Junior Master Gardener projects. Project leaders reported youth developed skills in gardening and science. Children learned how to eat a healthy diet and enjoyed being active in the garden. The youth gained experiences in helping their community through public service.

Projects assisted in the production of 30,000 pounds of fresh vegetables. This produce was donated to food banks, churches, new Americans, the elderly and other needy families. Additional vegetables were provided to school cafeterias.

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