Richard Bogren | 2/10/2007 4:03:30 AM
News Release Distributed 02/09/07
More than 200 4-H and FFA members participated in the Northeast Louisiana District Livestock Show held recently (Feb. 1-3) in Delhi.
Those young people were similar to hundreds more across the state who participated in district livestock shows and a variety of educational activities as they prepared for the state championship competition beginning Saturday and running through the week (Feb. 10-17) at the 72nd annual LSU AgCenter Livestock Show in Gonzales.
Participants showed market animals and breeding stock in beef, dairy, sheep, goat, poultry and rabbit categories and vied for honors in showmanship and Premier Exhibitor divisions.
Premier Exhibitor competitions evaluate youths’ knowledge of projects through tests and skill-a-thon activities, officials said.
Showmanship competitions allow all exhibitors to compete equally regardless of the quality of their animal entries. They emphasize a youth’s ability to work with an animal in the show ring.
In addition to livestock competition, 75 4-H participants from 10 Northeast Louisiana parishes competed in nine commodity nutritional contests. Categories for these contests were beef, catfish, chicken, corn, dairy, eggs, pecans, rice and sweet potatoes. Each contestant received a premium provided by regional or state commodity groups and civic and community leaders.
Event organizers said the commodity contests allow participants to learn about agricultural commodities and their economic and nutritional importance to citizens of Louisiana.
The commodity contests were part of a 4-H Food and Fitness Expo, which also included hands-on, research-based nutritional programs featuring educational presentations on using the USDA Food Guide Pyramid to make healthy dietary decisions and on increasing physical activity.
LSU AgCenter regional 4-H coordinator Debbie Bairnsfather said the goal of the 4-H event was to increase awareness and use of Louisiana commodities as well as encourage preparation of nutritious dishes by the youth.
Parishes participating in the expo were Caldwell, East Carroll, Franklin, Madison, Morehouse, Ouachita, Richland, Tensas, Union and West Carroll.
Students, teachers and parent volunteers from schools in East Carroll, Franklin, Madison, Richland, Tensas and West Carroll parishes participated in a program called Ag Adventures.
"This was the first year of the educational event, which hosted more than 900 4th and 5th graders," Bairnsfather said. "It was an excellent opportunity to expose youth and adults to the importance and value of agriculture in the northeast part of Louisiana."
LSU AgCenter and Southern University Agricultural Center faculty and staff conducted programs that featured sampling and learning about both the economic importance and nutritional benefits of sweet potatoes and learning about poultry, dairy products and cotton.
Other activities included demonstrations by Master Horsemen and nutrition education activities.