Learning 4-H skills prepares tomorrows leaders

Sherry Martell
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BIBLE HILL - Expertly wielding the tools of their trade, about 60 teenagers teased, shined, polished, shaved and brushed a contestant for the intense scrutiny of judges.
Newport resident Jacob Greenough was among the fold at the Agridome in Bible Hill on Friday doing last minute touchups, while anxiously waiting for his time in the spotlight
at the Eastern Breeders Incorporated 4-H Showcase.
"Your most important things are your clippers, hairbrush and sprays," said Greenough concentrating on shaving the top line of his yearling Allegro Wildman Venus.
The young man was raised on a dairy farm and said grooming his Holstein calf for shows is a talent that comes naturally.
This is the 20th year for the three-day event that wrapped up yesterday.
"This show is basically a learning experience," said Greenough. "It's good practice for real shows."
For two intense days, experts from Eastern Breeders Inc. and 4-H specialists with
the Department of Agriculture taught members the finer points of show preparation then gave them an opportunity to demonstrate the technical skills needed to be competitive in the agricultural industry, both locally and abroad.
"We are immensely proud and fortunate that for 20 years we have had the opportunity to work with hundreds of rural youth in the Maritimes," said Paul Stewart, communications and genetic programs supervisor for Eastern Breeders Inc.
"4-H participants gain experiences and leadership skills that prepare them to be tomorrow's leaders."
Katelyn O'Connell has been showing beef calves since age nine, about five years ago.
The Upper Stewiacke teenager loves
animals and is aspiring to be a large animal veterinarian.
She said the showmanship competition is exciting and is a great way to make new friends and learn from each other's mistakes.
"I like prepping the animal and feeling that rush of excitement," said O'Connell.
"If my animal is doing really good I'm proud to be here."
Atlantic 4-H members older than 14 years of age and have at least two years experience with 4-H dairy and beef projects are eligible to participate in the showcase.
Participants learned beef and dairy cattle show preparation, using genomic data to improve cattle genetics evaluation, livestock judging, the latest techniques in showmanship, herd management, display design and marketing.

smartell@trurodaily.com

Organizations: Agridome, Department of Agriculture

Geographic location: Newport, Bible Hill, Stewiacke

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