4/22/2005 12:02:36 AM
BATON ROUGE – Six exceptional Louisiana young people were recognized Saturday (Feb. 12) for their knowledge, skills and communication abilities as they were named winners of Gerry Lane Premier Exhibitor Awards at the 70th annual LSU AgCenter Livestock Show held at the Lamar-Dixon Expo Center in Gonzales.
Now in its eighth 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.
"These young people have to pass an exam, go through a skill-a-thon, write an essay, prepare a resume and show poise and confidence during an interview with livestock show officials," said Dr. Terry Dumas, the LSU AgCenter’s state 4-H livestock specialist.
The awards are based on performance in tests of each youth’s knowledge of the livestock industry and in practical exercises that demonstrate their skills and the ability to communicate effectively.
The winning young people were among 30 finalists, as well as scores of other 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 3,700 youth who participated in the state livestock show and the thousands more who participate in 4-H and FFA livestock projects across the state.
"The premier exhibitor program is about the young people much more than about prize-winning animals," said LSU AgCenter Chancellor Bill Richardson. "While some people watch the animals in the ring, I keep my eye on the looks on the kids’ faces.
"The kids are the really important ones," Richardson added. "They are the ones who are achieving goals after all their hard work and learning the commitment and responsibility it takes to win such an honor."
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 – Ben Greene, St. Tammany Parish/Covington High School FFA.
Dairy Premier Exhibitor – Lauren Tucker, Desoto Parish 4-H.
Goat Premier Exhibitor – Rebecca Robertson, St. Helena Parish 4-H.
Poultry Premier Exhibitor – Andre St Romain, Pointe Coupee Parish 4-H.
Sheep Premier Exhibitor – Tate Guillotte, Iberia Parish 4-H.
Swine Premier Exhibitor – Blair Landry, St. Mary Parish 4-H.
"Our goal in 4-H is to make the best better, and that’s what this premier exhibitor program has done," said LSU AgCenter Vice Chancellor Paul Coreil. "It’s a big addition to the program, and it really benefits the young people."
Other finalists in this year’s premier exhibitor program, by category and in order of placing, were:
Beef – Tim Thibodeaux, Calcasieu Parish 4-H; Danielle Beard, St. Landry Parish/North Central High School FFA; Ashley Peart, Rapides Parish 4-H; and Dustin Soileau, St. Landry Parish 4-H.
Dairy – Rebecca Robertson, St. Helena Parish 4-H; Felicita Wilhelm, St. Landry Parish 4-H; Kristina Mouch, West Baton Rouge Parish 4-H; and Jessica Windham, West Baton Rouge Parish 4-H.
Goats – Laremy Stilley, Livingston Parish 4-H; Katie Strecker, East Baton Rouge Parish 4-H; Tate Guillotte, Iberia Parish 4-H; and Lance Johnson, Lafayette Parish 4-H.
Poultry – Michele Hullum, Ascension Parish 4-H; Richard Labranche, Livingston Parish 4-H; Katie Authement, Lafourche Parish 4-H; and Kris Simon, Lafayette Parish 4-H.
Sheep – Jake Whatley, Calcasieu Parish 4-H; Lindsey Tassin, West Baton Rouge Parish 4-H; Shawn Zeringue, Lafourche Parish 4-H; and Ashley Hebert, Allen Parish 4-H.
Swine – Mia Granger, Lafayette Parish 4-H; Chris Head, Lafourche Parish 4-H; Christine Landry, St. Mary Parish 4-H; and Jake Whatley, Calcasieu Parish 4-H.
Writer: Rick Bogren at (225) 578-5839 or firstname.lastname@example.org