Louisiana youth heading for LSU AgCenter Livestock Show Feb. 9-16

Dwayne Nunez, Merrill, Thomas A.  |  1/18/2008 3:24:46 AM

News Release Distributed 01/17/08

BATON ROUGE – Youth from across Louisiana are preparing to compete in the 73rd annual LSU AgCenter Livestock Show next month at the Lamar-Dixon Expo Center in Gonzales.

LSU AgCenter officials say they expect more than 3,000 youngsters to bring nearly 6,000 animals to the competition.

By the time those 4-H and FFA members reach the state championship show, they already will have competed in parish and district livestock shows across Louisiana during the first few weeks of 2008. They all will arrive in South Louisiana hoping to be named state champions – or at least to reap rewards for their hard work and dedication – at the LSU AgCenter Livestock Show.

LSU AgCenter Chancellor William B. "Bill" Richardson frequently stresses that while the annual event may be called a livestock show, it’s actually much more about the young people than the livestock.

"This event provides an opportunity for some of the most outstanding youth in the state to receive recognition for their hard work 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 also is about the dedication of the many parents, teachers, volunteer leaders, 4-H agents and FFA advisers who have worked with the young people to help them grow as people and responsible citizens."

Richardson points out that some of the young people involved in 4-H and FFA today are the future civic and political leaders of our state, as well as its teachers, doctors, ministers, attorneys and much more. "The values they have learned through their involvement with livestock projects will benefit them throughout their lives – no matter what path they pursue."

Of course, the livestock involved represent some of the best examples of the state’s vital animal industries – industries valued at more than $2.6 billion to Louisiana’s economy last year.

"But every one of those animals is accompanied by a champion young person," said Dr. Paul Coreil, vice chancellor of the LSU AgCenter. "In this show, all the participants are winners whether the animals they are with are named champions or not – because what they’ve learned will benefit them throughout their lives.

"This show provides a glimpse of some of the best young people in the state and some of the most significant outcomes of our youth development programs – what those young people have learned about character, leadership and responsibility," he said.

4-H is the youth development and outreach program of the nation’s land-grant university system and is coordinated in Louisiana by the LSU AgCenter. Its purpose is to help young people develop knowledge and skills that will benefit them throughout their lives – with projects ranging from livestock to computer science, family life, photography and many more.

Because Louisiana 4-H is celebrating its 100th year, this year’s LSU AgCenter Livestock Show is dedicated to the statewide 4-H youth development program. All 4-H alumni, as well as past and current volunteer leaders, members, school leaders and other supporters, are invited to attend the show and celebrate this centennial event, Coreil said.

As part of the celebration, belt buckle awards given to some of the top winners in the livestock show will feature the 4-H centennial logo, and other winners will receive special centennial pins.

Judges at the LSU AgCenter 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.

LSU AgCenter livestock show manager Dwayne Nunez said 3,130 youngsters brought 5,708 animals to the state championship show last year, and he said officials are expecting similar numbers this year.

"Because district shows are still going on across Louisiana, we won’t know the final figures on how many kids and animals have qualified for the state show until later on," Nunez said. "But we know we’ll have good numbers because of the volume of young people involved in 4-H and FFA livestock projects across the state."

Competition in various phases of the show will begin almost as soon as the first animals are checked in on Saturday, Feb. 9, and will continue daily through Feb. 16.

Top winners from the show, as well as winners of scholarships and other awards, will be honored during a ceremony and reception at 5 p.m. Feb. 16 at the Lamar-Dixon Center’s Trademart Building.

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.

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Contact: Dwayne Nunez at (225) 621-5799 or dnunez@agcenter.lsu.edu

Writer: Tom Merrill at (225) 578-2263 or tmerrill@agcenter.lsu.edu

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