4-H Animal Science Projects Promote Life Skills Development
4-H is a non-formal, practical educational program for youth. It is the youth development program of Florida Cooperative Extension, which is a part of the University of Florida IFAS. The Florida Cooperative Extension 4-H Youth Development program uses a learn-by-doing approach to enable youth to develop the knowledge, attitudes, and skills they need to become competent, caring, and contributing citizens of the world. This mission is accomplished by using the knowledge and resources of the land grant university system, along with the involvement of caring adults.
4-H is for all youth—wherever they live—and is open to ages 5-18. Youth ages 5-7 can be 4-H Cloverbud members where they can experience noncompetitive learning opportunities. 4-H serves youth from all backgrounds and interests. 4-H offers membership without regard to race, color, national origin, religion, gender, disability, or handicap. It reaches both boys and girls through 4-H clubs, special-interest groups and short-term projects, school-age child care, individual & family learning & mentoring, camping, and school enrichment. Most 4-H members are from towns and cities, and they participate in contemporary projects such as bicycle care and safety, consumer education, aerospace and model rocketry, public speaking, and animal sciences.
Taking advantage of the opportunities that 4-H offers in the animal sciences opens up the possibility for youth to pursue careers as veterinarians, food/health inspectors, animal/agricultural scientists, consultants, and a host of other professions, as they learn basic to advanced skills and knowledge in the 4-H Animal Science programs. It also allows for the chance to expose youth to something in which they may have little to no experience, but may have expressed an interest in, or even just want to find out if they might possibly enjoy. As a member of 4-H, youth have the opportunity to participate in animal science projects (market and breeding animal projects and the 4-H horse program) where they can develop leadership abilities, build character, and become responsible citizens.
A 4-H member must be 8 years of age at the beginning of the current 4-H program year (September 1) to be eligible to enroll in a large animal 4-H project, including exhibiting or showing a large animal (sheep, goat, swine, beef, dairy, llama, ostrich, or horse). Florida 4-H does not permit 5-7 year olds to enroll in any 4-H large animal project, to raise a large animal as a 4-H project, or to participate as a 4-H member in a livestock or horse show or other event with these large animals. Cloverbuds (5-7 year olds) can raise small animals (chickens, rabbits, dogs, cats, hamsters, fish, etc). They just cannot show them competitively until they are 8 years old. Here is a link to the program participation/age policies: http://florida4h.org/policies/#enroll.
Our 4-H youth have been diligently working on their animal science projects this year and will be competing in the Gulf Coast Agriculture and Natural Resources Youth Organization (GCA & NRYO) Spring Livestock Show April 18th 2015 at the new 4-H property 5701 Highway 99, Molino, FL. The GCA & NRYO is a group of livestock supporters of 4-H and FFA. This organization gives the youth of Escambia County and surrounding counties of Florida and Alabama the opportunity to show off the skills they have learned from their 4-H and FFA animal sciences projects. The Livestock show will start at 8 am. We will have a ribbon cutting ceremony at 8:30 to signify the first event at our new 4-H Barns.
To find out more about 4-H Animal Science in Escambia County check out our website at http://blogs.ifas.ufl.edu/escambiaco/4h/ or contact the new 4-H Agriculture and Small Farms Agent: Hank Bignell: phone at 850-475-5230 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
4-H Agriculture and Small Farms Agent
UF IFAS Extension Escambia County
3730 Stefani Road
Cantonment, FL 32533