Decatur County 4-H hosted Swine Short-Course

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Swine legend, Mr. Warren Beeler, of Caneyville, Kentucky provides one-on-one advice to youth swine exhibitors during the Swine Short-Course hosted by Decatur County 4-H.

On January 5-6, 2018, Decatur County 4-H hosted a swine showmanship short-course at the Cloud Livestock Facility. Over one hundred youth and adults from Georgia, Florida, and Alabama were presented with valuable swine exhibition information from industry leaders.

Mr. Warren Beeler, from Caneyville, Kentucky, led the two-day course with pertinent information on youth swine showmanship skills. Mr. Beeler addressed ethics and the importance of students being the center of livestock projects. Students also gained hands-on, show-ring instruction from a world renowned showmanship judge.

Mr. Beeler is a respected and well known livestock judge and is currently the executive Director of Agriculture Policy for the Governor of Kentucky; he is no stranger to the youth livestock arena. He has judged youth livestock shows for forty years in forty-three states in addition to being the superintendent of the North American International Livestock Exposition (NAILE.) NAILE is the world’s largest purebred livestock exhibition and attracts over 200,000 livestock producers and visitors each year.

Teaching sessions and contributing to the success of the swine short-course were local swine industry leaders and legends. Dr. Cliff Bailey of Port City Animal Hospital provided attendees insightful information regarding the health and wellness of their livestock projects. Mr. Mark Lashley of Bainbridge FFA led a session on best practices for clipping swine projects. Additionally, Pavo native, Mr. Ricky Stephenson, presented beneficial information regarding swine selection and nutritional importance. Other speakers included past Southern Region Junior Board member of the National Junior Swine Association, Jessica Page; Deron Rehberg of Grady County Extension and Lindsey Hayes of Decatur County Extension. They discussed the importance and benefits of becoming involved in swine related organizations. Jessie Youngblood of Blue Ribbon Show Supply provided helpful reviews on products that can be used to maximum results in the swine show ring.

The short-course concluded with a showmanship competition where students demonstrated their skills that were enhanced from instruction received throughout the event. Taylor Barber of Decatur County 4-H won the senior competition, Macie Waller of Citrus County 4-H/Florida won the junior competition, and Riley Burger of Orange County 4-H/Florida won the intermediate competition.

The Georgia Junior Livestock Program develops self-motivation, self-esteem, self-reliance, and responsibility, while providing youth the opportunity to exhibit their animals and to demonstrate knowledge of their livestock projects. Participants obtain an awareness and respect for agriculture and its importance to the community, the state, and to the international economy. In addition, exhibitors gain many positive outcomes. Participants acquire leadership abilities, initiative, a sense of fair play and other desirable character traits. They experience the pride of owning and raising a market or breeding animal and being responsible for its care. Additionally, livestock exhibitors increase their knowledge of all aspects of animal science and management and foster an understanding of the business and career opportunities of breeding, raising, showing, and judging livestock. They develop an appreciation of livestock exhibition as a healthy form of recreation, assume citizenship responsibilities, and cultivate skills, knowledge and attitudes for lifelong use.

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