Exceptional Youth Rewarded For Demonstrated Knowledge Skill Abilities

2/22/2006 2:12:57 AM

Gerry Lane Premier Exhibitor Awards recognize six young people involved with livestock projects who display knowledge, skill and communication abilities. Winners receive a $1,000 Savings Bond, commemorative belt buckles and monogrammed jackets. The winners, their affiliations and livestock categories are, from left, Katie Authement, Lafourche Parish 4-H, poultry premier exhibitor; Taylor Register, DeSoto 4-H, dairy; Gerry and Faye Lane, the donors of the premier exhibitor endowment; Matt Ortego, Lincoln 4-H, swine; Laremy Stilley, Livingston 4-H, goat; Matthew Greene, St. Tammany/Covington High School FFA, beef; and Jake Whatley, Calcasieu 4-H. sheep.

News Release Distributed 02/18/06

Six exceptional Louisiana teen-agers were recognized Saturday (Feb. 18) for their knowledge, skills and communication abilities when they were named winners of the Gerry Lane Premier Exhibitor Awards at the 71st annual LSU AgCenter Livestock Show.

Now in its ninth year, the premier exhibitor program recognizes 4-H and FFA members who may or may not have champion animals but who have a thorough understanding of animal science.

"The awards are based on performance in tests of each youth’s knowledge of the livestock industry, practical exercises demonstrating skills and the ability to communicate effectively," said Dr. Terry Dumas, the LSU AgCenter’s state 4-H livestock specialist.

Program participants have to pass an exam, take part in a skill-a-thon, write an essay, prepare a resume and show poise and confidence during an interview with livestock show officials, Dumas said.

The winning youths were among 30 finalists and scores of contestants in the program, which recognizes outstanding livestock exhibitors in six categories – beef cattle, dairy cattle, poultry, sheep, goats and swine. They were the all-around best of approximately 3,030 young people who participated in the state livestock show this week (Feb. 11-18) at the Lamar-Dixon Expo Center in Gonzales and the thousands more who participate in 4-H livestock projects across the state all year long.

"The premier exhibitor program definitely is about the young people rather than prize-winning animals," said LSU AgCenter Vice Chancellor Paul Coreil. "It recognizes them for their skills and abilities, as well as their commitment and hard work. It is one of the great examples of the kinds of things we are trying to do with our 4-H youth development programs."

Through an endowment from Gerry Lane Enterprises of Baton Rouge, the top winner in each premier exhibitor category received a $1,000 U.S. Savings Bond, a commemorative belt buckle and a monogrammed jacket. Each of the other four other finalists in the six categories was awarded a trophy.

This year’s top winners in the LSU AgCenter’s Gerry Lane Premier Exhibitor Program were:

Beef Premier Exhibitor – Matthew Greene, St. Tammany Parish/Covington FFA.

Dairy Premier Exhibitor – Taylor Register, DeSoto 4-H

Goat Premier Exhibitor – Laremy Stilley, Livingston 4-H.

Poultry Premier Exhibitor – Katie Authement, Lafourche 4-H.

Sheep Premier Exhibitor – Jake Whatley, Calcasieu 4-H.

Swine Premier Exhibitor – Matt Ortego, Lincoln 4-H.

"The kids really are the important ones in what we’re doing here and with our variety of youth education programs all year long," said LSU AgCenter Chancellor Bill Richardson. "We strive to help them develop skills, knowledge and a sense of responsibility that will benefit them throughout their lives – and we’re glad for every opportunity we have to recognize some of the best of the best."

Other finalists in this year’s premier exhibitor program, by category and in order of placing, were:

Beef – Drew Coombs, Rapides 4-H; Jeanne Deville, Lafayette 4-H; Lance Bearb, St. Landry 4-H; and Jonathan Curtis, Livingston 4-H/Live Oak High FFA.

Dairy – Felicita Wilhelm, St. Landry 4-H; Jake Hoover, Livingston 4-H; Kristina Mouch, West Baton Rouge 4-H; and Katherine Schillings, Washington 4-H.

Goats – Quentin L. Givens, Washington 4-H; Cassie Karl, St. Helena 4-H; Tate Guillotte, Iberia 4-H; and Whitney Crockett, West Baton Rouge 4-H.

Poultry – Michele Hullum, Ascension 4-H; Richard Labranche, Livingston 4-H; Kris Simon, Lafayette 4-H; and Daniel Sharbono, Caddo 4-H.

Sheep – Ethan Cart, Acadia 4-H; Lyndsey Tassin, East Baton Rouge 4-H; Aaron Martin, Rapides 4-H; and Ashley Hebert, Allen 4-H.

Swine – Jake Whatley, Calcasieu 4-H; Jordan Head, Lafourche 4-H; Gabrielle Guidry, Lafayette 4-H; and Laura Granger, Lafayette 4-H.

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Writer: Rick Bogren at (225) 578-5839 or rbogren@agcenter.lsu.edu

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