Richard Bogren | 3/4/2008 8:17:00 PM
BATON ROUGE – Six exceptional Louisiana youths were recognized Saturday (Feb. 16) for their knowledge, skills and communication abilities as they were named winners of the Gerry Lane Premier Exhibitor Awards at the 73rd annual LSU AgCenter Livestock Show held at the Lamar-Dixon Expo Center in Gonzales.
Now in its 11th year, the premier exhibitor program recognizes 4-H and FFA members who 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 hundreds of youth who participated in the state livestock show and the thousands more who participate in 4-H livestock projects across the state.
"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 finalists in each category was awarded a trophy.
This year’s top winners in the LSU AgCenter’s Gerry Lane Premier Exhibitor Program were:
-- Beef Premier Exhibitor – Foster Lanie, Vermilion Parish
-- Dairy Premier Exhibitor – Sarah Shattuck, Covington High FFA, St. Tammany
-- Goat Premier Exhibitor – Aaron Martin, Rapides Parish
-- Poultry Premier Exhibitor – Cassie Karl, St. Helena Parish
-- Sheep Premier Exhibitor – Lindsey Tassin, East Baton Rouge Parish
-- Swine Premier Exhibitor – Felicita Wilhelm, St. Landry Parish
“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 – Jeanne Deville, Lafayette Parish; Tyler Inzarella, Iberia Parish; Brooke Prather, St. Landry Parish; Londyn Kolder, Iberville Parish
Dairy – Danny Pearce, Point Coupee Parish; Ellen Boudreaux, Assumption Parish; Jake Hoover, Albany High FFA, Livingston Parish; Delos Thompson, St. Tammany Parish
Goats – Kadie Sewell, Tangipahoa Parish; Kurt Williams, Livingston Parish; Ashley Johnson, Lafayette Parish; Richard Laranche, Livingston Parish
Poultry – Kris Simon, Lafayette Parish; Richard Labranche, Livingston Parish; Karl Simon, Lafayette Parish; Jed Hoover, Livingston Parish
Sheep – Jessie LeJeune, Calcasieu Parish; Deborah Rogers, Rapides Parish; Autumn Hay, Bienville Parish; Emily Trahan, Vermilion Parish
Swine – Evan Adams, Beauregard Parish; Jordan Head, Lafourche Parish; Ethan Boudreaux, Iberia Parish; Sara Douga, Calcasieu Parish
Writer: Rick Bogren at (225) 578-5839 or email@example.com