Thomas A. Merrill, Bere, Shannon L., Nunez, Dwayne P. | 1/27/2006 2:08:35 AM
BATON ROUGE – Thousands of youngsters from across the state are working toward competing in the 71st annual LSU AgCenter Spring Livestock Show Feb. 11-18.
Approximately 1,500 4-H and FFA members are expected to bring about 4,500 animals to the state show, which will be held at the Lamar-Dixon Expo Center in Gonzales.
By the time the youngsters reach the February events, they already will have competed in parish and district livestock shows across Louisiana during the first few weeks of 2006. They will arrive at the Spring Livestock Show with the hopes of being named state champions.
LSU AgCenter Chancellor William B. "Bill" Richardson says the event may be called a livestock show, but he points out it reflects much more.
"There’s no question that the animals in this show represent some of the best examples of our state’s vibrant animal industry – an industry worth more than $2.5 billion to Louisiana’s economy last year," Richardson said. "But each animal selected as a champion during this show will be accompanied by a champion young person."
Richardson said the life skills young people gain from working with livestock projects really is the major focus of the LSU AgCenter’s livestock shows, adding, "All of these young people are champions, whether the animals they are showing turn out to be winners or not."
Judges at the LSU AgCenter Spring Livestock Show determine state champions in various breeds of beef and dairy cattle, goats, hogs, poultry and sheep.
In addition, six young people will be selected to receive Gerry Lane Premier Exhibitor Awards in a competition based on their knowledge of livestock. These annual awards were made possible by a $60,000 endowment donated in 1998 by Gerry Lane Enterprises of Baton Rouge.
Those winners, as well as winners of scholarships and other awards, will be honored during a ceremony and reception at 5 p.m. Feb. 18 at the Lamar-Dixon Center’s Trademart Building.
This year's show is dedicated to Mary Lee and Bill Dixon – whose vision and financial backing led to the construction of the Lamar-Dixon Expo Center, which now serves as the home for a variety of LSU AgCenter livestock programs and other community activities.
"Our livestock shows provide an opportunity for some of the most outstanding youth in the state to receive recognition for the hard work they have done in learning not only the scientific principles that must be mastered but also the responsibility required to grow this wide array of animals," Richardson said. "This show is about the dedication of the young people and the many parents, teachers, volunteer leaders, 4-H agents and FFA advisors who have worked with the young people to help them grow as people and responsible citizens."
For more information on the show and the variety of research and educational activities offered by the LSU AgCenter, visit www.lsuagcenter.com or call your parish LSU AgCenter Extension Office.