Terril D. Faul, Tassin, Mark G. | 2/17/2007 1:32:33 AM
BATON ROUGE – The LSU AgCenter honored an outstanding volunteer leader and six 4-H and FFA members Saturday (Feb. 17) for their work with youth livestock projects.
The awards were presented during ceremonies that concluded the 72nd Annual LSU AgCenter Livestock Show at the Lamar-Dixon Expo Center in Gonzales. That annual event ran Feb. 10-17.
Sponsored by the Louisiana 4-H Foundation and Louisiana FFA, the annual awards recognize young people and adults for outstanding contributions to or work in youth livestock programs. The awards are based on evaluation of each person's record book or a detailed application concerning his or her involvement with youth livestock projects.
The 4-H program is the youth development arm of the nationwide land-grant university system. It is operated in Louisiana by the LSU AgCenter and includes projects for youth on topics ranging from raising livestock to computer science, family life, environmental science and much more.
"Volunteer leaders help us reach even more young people with our projects and programs, so we’re pleased to be able to honor a few of them with these awards," said Dr. Paul Coreil, vice chancellor of the LSU AgCenter. "We’re also happy to be able to recognize these outstanding young people who are excelling in their 4-H and FFA projects."
Among the honors presented Saturday were the Attorney General’s Awards, which recognize volunteer 4-H leaders who have assisted youngsters with livestock projects. This year’s award went to Sheri Patout of Iberia Parish.
Other awards included the Superintendent of Education Awards, which go to students 13 years old and younger who have excelled in the livestock program. This year’s Superintendent’s Awards went to Makayla Labranche of Livingston Parish, Krisetn Morrison of Vernon Parish and Jonathan Peters of St. Tammany Parish.
Governor’s Awards went to Aaron Varnado of Livingston Parish, Richard Labranche of Livingston Parish and Samanatha Lirette of Lafourche Parish. Those awards recognize older 4-H and FFA members who have excelled in their livestock projects.
Patout has served as a 4-H livestock project leader for five years and has assisted more than 200 livestock project members by training, teaching, helping them to prepare for competitions, hauling animals to and from events and holding educational clinics. She also has helped to organize local 4-H clubs and has worked in efforts that have raised thousands of dollars in donations for local causes and for the parish livestock show each year.
LSU AgCenter 4-H agent Blair Hebert says Patout "has been willing to do any task that is needed of her to benefit Iberia Parish 4-H members."
Makayla Labranche, 12, is in her fourth year as a 4-H member from Livingston Parish and is the daughter of Richard and Melissa Labranche. Her livestock projects include poultry, rabbits and a Boer goat. She also participates in 4-H Fashion Camp, food and nutrition projects and service projects. In addition to her other projects, after Hurricane Katrina, she worked with cleanup efforts, collected supplies for those in need and visited the Red Cross shelters. She also devotes her spare time to taking care of her many family pets, such as cats, hamsters, rabbits, birds and a Guinea pig.
Morrison is a 13-year-old 4-H member from Vernon Parish and the daughter of Ray and Darlene Morrison. Her livestock projects include goats, cows, poultry and horses. She has participated in numerous 4-H awards activities on the local and state levels and has excelled in learning the many jobs of taking good care of her animals, including the financial and management practices required, as well as those of maintaining housing for the animals. Morrison also has given her time to several community services, such as collecting money for soldiers, St. Jude Hospital, American Red Cross, March of Dimes and Ronald McDonald House.
Peters is an 8th grader at Fifth Ward Junior High School in St. Tammany Parish, where he has been an FFA member since 7th grade. The son of Tommy and Cheryl Peters, Peters began his livestock exhibition experience in the 4th grade as a 4-H member with three Southdown ewes, one goat and several exhibition poultry. Through the years he has gradually expanded his poultry project, and he continues to exhibit his birds at the parish, district and state levels, as well as various poultry shows in and out of the state. One of his recent achievements was when he attended the 2006 Cross Roads of America National Poultry Show in Indianapolis, where he was named National Champion Intermediate Showman and won champion in the Cochin, Rhode Island Red and White Leghorn categories.
Varnado is a member of Albany High School FFA and the son of Liz and John Varnado of Independence. A senior at Albany High School, Varnado has participated in the market goat project for seven years, raising registered Boer goats. He has been quite active and successful in exhibiting at parish, district and state junior shows, as well as at sanctioned Boer goat association events. At these nationally sanctioned events, he has gained particularly high recognition with several grand champions to his credit. His flock currently numbers 60, and he has gained knowledge of breeding techniques, such as artificial insemination and embryo transfer. He also has conducted an annual goat camp on his farm for the past four years, and is a member of several Boer goat breed associations and the Louisiana Farm Bureau. In addition to his goat enterprise, he has exhibited breeding and market swine for nine years and market lambs for 3 years. Upon high school graduation, he aims to continue improving the genetics of his goats in order to provide younger exhibitors the opportunity of purchasing quality stock.
Richard Labranche is a 16-year-old 4-H member from Livingston Parish and the son of Richard and Melissa Labranche. His livestock projects include three breeds of rabbits, various poultry and two Boer goats. He also is involved in 4-H forestry and wood-working projects and has funded his 4-H projects by breeding his pet parakeets, as well as his pet guinea pigs, and selling the babies to a local pet store. He has also done this with his pet guinea pigs. In addition, he has been involved in numerous leadership roles in the community, as well as 4-H.
Lirette is a 17-year-old 4-H member from Lafourche Parish. Her parents are Arthur and Monica Lirette , and her livestock projects include dairy, poultry and goats. She has used her purchasing techniques to expand her livestock numbers and learn to manage her finances. She has worked with activities helping livestock project members prepare, collected Toys for Tots, presented demonstrations for children and helped with many other community-service projects. In addition, she also is involved in other 4-H projects including horticulture, veterinary science and computers.