By Chris DeCubellis
Livestock chains were once common-place through 4-H and FFA in rural America. In a chain project, a young person receives a project animal, provides the proper care, feeding, and housing for that animal, and one of that animal’s female offspring will go on to another young person to start the process all over again. The idea is to introduce a young person to production agriculture with a high-quality animal, and then that young person gives back and provides the same opportunity to someone else. In Florida 4-H, what is old is now new again.
Recently DJ and Robin McGlothern of Irish Oaks Acres decided they wanted to place a registered Jersey heifer calf with a 4-H member. They contacted Dr. Chris DeCubellis, 4-H State Specialized Agent for Dairy/Animal Science, and he created a new 4-H Dairy Heifer Chain. Now some 4-H club member ages 8-13 in Florida will have the opportunity to win a very high-quality dairy heifer. The selected 4-H member will raise this animal, provide daily care, and be eligible to show this animal in local, regional, state, and national dairy shows. When the animal reaches maturity, Chris will work with the youth to ensure the heifer is bred to produce a heifer calf. The original 4-H member will care for the new calf for the first three months of life, and then some other 4-H member will be able to obtain this calf as their very own 4-H dairy project.
Any 4-H member who is interested in participating can read the attached information, and turn in the application, along with
• a cover letter
• resume highlighting 4-H participation
• the consent/attestation of proper care
• a short essay on ‘What impact owning a registered Jersey heifer will have on my life’, and
• a letter of recommendation from a club leader or 4-H agent
Submit the application and materials above to Dr. Chris DeCubellis at firstname.lastname@example.org
This attached picture is from the Brewton Standard newspaper showing dairy heifers purchased by local Rotarians for a 1949 dairy chain project in Alabama.