Dwayne Nunez, Bogren, Richard C. | 2/26/2009 3:09:18 AM
GONZALES, La. – Six exceptional Louisiana youths among 30 finalists were recognized Saturday (Feb. 21) for their knowledge, skills and communication abilities as they were named winners of the Gerry Lane Premier Exhibitor Awards at the 74th annual LSU AgCenter Livestock Show Presented by Price LeBlanc at the Lamar-Dixon Expo Center here.
For the past 12 years the premier exhibitor program has recognized 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, Dumas said.
"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 – Jeanne DeVille, Lafayette Parish.
-- Dairy Premier Exhibitor – Katherine Rashall, Caddo Parish.
-- Goat Premier Exhibitor – Sarah Baldwin, East Baton Rouge Parish.
-- Poultry Premier Exhibitor – Robert Burkhardt, St. Martin Parish.
-- Sheep Premier Exhibitor – Jessie LeJeune, Calcasieu Parish.
-- Swine Premier Exhibitor – Evan Adams, Beauregard 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 – Tyler Inzerella, Iberia Parish; Adam Barrilleaux, Ascension Parish; Tyler Braud, Ascension Parish; Cassie Mae Karl, St. Helena Parish.
Dairy – Danny Pearce, Pointe Coupee Parish; Joel Berken, Jeff Davis Parish; William Hutchison, Livingston Parish; Ayla Baugh, Vermilion Parish.
Goats – Lauren Broussard, Calcasieu Parish; Jade Daspit, Lafayette Parish; Alanna Hailey, LaSalle Parish; Cody Benoit, Lafourche Parish.
Poultry – Karl Simon, Lafayette Parish; Jed Hoover, Livingston Parish; Chad Peloquin, Acadia Parish; Jade Daspit, Lafayette Parish.
Sheep – Deborah Rogers, Washington Parish; Hannah Thibodeaux, St. Martin Parish; Matthew Greene, Vermilion Parish; John LeJeune, Calcasieu Parish.
Swine – Seth Duhon, Calcasieu Parish; Jeanne Deville, Lafayette Parish; Sara Douga, Calcasieu Parish; Christopher McVicker, Jeff Davis Parish.