Sheila G. Kelley If you were to ask people what 4-H is about, a large number of them would say, “cooking and cows.” Yes, that’s where the …
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Sheila G. Kelley
If you were to ask people what 4-H is about, a large number of
them would say, “cooking and cows.” Yes, that’s where the emphasis
of 4-H was years ago, and those quality projects are still
Teaching good animal husbandry and efficient home economic
practices were founding ideas in the 4-H program. Although our
lifestyles have changed over the past 100 years, our needs for
quality meat products and humane animal care and safe, nutritional
food preparation and service have not.
4-H started as the conduit to reach parents with research-based
information and techniques from the land-grant universities. Today,
although it still reaches adults, the 4-H program strives to teach
youth skills that will be used throughout their lives.
The traditional animal projects of beef, sheep and swine are
still strong for many 4-Hers. In Elbert County, we have more than
250 youth taking one or more of these projects. The main goal for
these members is to provide humane care and housing for their
animals while producing the best marketable animal possible for
today’s consumer consumption.
Market and breeding project members must participate in the Meat
Quality Assurance program to ensure they are following up-to-date
It’s important for them to know the project from its beginning
to its end — from the pasture to the plate. Consumer markets these
days are very influential on the quality of meat, milk or eggs they
will purchase. It’s important for the youth involved in these
projects to understand current market trends and respond in kind
when raising their animal.
Looking at the family and consumer science side, the foods and
nutrition project has come full circle from when enrollment numbers
were high in the beginning. Then when the fast food craze and
processed food products became so popular, numbers dropped
People are now again learning the importance of preparing their
own food and practicing better nutritional choices.
The Decorate Your Duds and Recycled Clothing projects show
members how to embellish or change what they may already have in
their closets into new, fashionable clothing and home accessories.
This has proved to be very helpful in these stressful economic
4-H has answered needs for new and evolving projects such as
computer, wind power, geospatial and more, the tried and true 4-H
projects still offer much needed skills and opportunities.
If your child is interested in joining 4-H or you would like
further information, please contact either Elbert County Extension
office at 303-621-3162 or 719-541-2361. 4-H is a cooperative effort
between CSU Extension and Elbert County.
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