4-H is the nation’s largest youth development organization. It is a non-formal, practical educational program for youth and uses a learn-by-doing approach to help youth gain the knowledge and life skills they need to be productive, responsible citizens. Florida 4-H is the youth development program of UF/IFAS Extension.
Every January the Collier County 4-H Livestock Show takes place in Immokalee. Part of this event is the ability to exhibit an animal in a competitive show ring environment. After months of preparation, the livestock weigh-in is one of the first events to kick off the livestock show.
A weigh-in is just like it sounds; a chance to get animals on a large scale and check their weight. But in reality, there is a lot more to a weigh-in than meets the eye.
A livestock weigh-in not only takes the weight of an animal for record books, it also allows youth to participate in “rate of gain” contests. It gives access to livestock scales and ear tagging equipment that families might not have. It provides practice loading and unloading the animal from a trailer. It also gives youth a chance to show their animals, and their abilities to care for that animal, in a public setting. It also gives them real-life experience with marketing, growth, feed efficiency and evaluation of animals for sale.
Most importantly, local, regional and national livestock shows give youth a chance to learn several life lessons. It introduces them to healthy competition and sportsmanship. It teaches them how to keep healthy animals, and the importance of financial investment and record keeping involved in raising animals, which translates to practicing good personal finance. And most impactful of all, youth build relationships within the community.
4-H is open to all youth, ages 5-18, determined as of September 1 of the current 4-H program year and open to all counties in the State of Florida. If you are interested in being a part of or volunteering for the Collier County program reach out to UF/IFAS Extension 4-H Agent, Ms.Tish Roland