Thomas A. Merrill, Tassin, Mark G.
GONZALES, La. – The LSU AgCenter honored several Louisiana 4-H and FFA members and one adult leader Saturday, Feb. 16, for their work with youth livestock projects.
The awards to one volunteer and five young people were presented during ceremonies that concluded the 78th annual LSU AgCenter Livestock Show at the Lamar-Dixon Expo Center in Gonzales. The event ran Feb. 9-16 and annually attracts approximately 2,500 young people who exhibit about 7,000 animals.
Sponsored by the Louisiana 4-H Foundation and Louisiana FFA, the awards recognize young people and adults for outstanding contributions to or work in youth livestock programs. The awards were based on evaluation of each person's record book or a detailed application concerning his or her involvement with youth livestock projects.
The winners of the awards were 4-H volunteer leader Sandra Brumley, of Caddo Parish, and 4-H and FFA members Adam Gaspard, of Vermilion Parish; Mitchell Miles, Winn Parish; Megan Simon, Lafayette Parish; Reese Tassin, St. Tammany Parish; and Hunter Tauzin, St. Martin Parish.
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.
“Adults, as well as youth, who serve as volunteer leaders help us reach even more young people with our projects and programs, so we’re pleased to be able to honor some of them every year with these awards,” said Paul Coreil, LSU AgCenter vice chancellor. “We’re also happy to be able to recognize the accomplishments of outstanding young people who are excelling in their 4-H and FFA projects. They are just some of the shining examples in our youth development programs.”
Among the awards, the Attorney General’s Award recognizes volunteer 4-H or FFA leaders who have assisted livestock project members. This year’s recipient was Sandra Brumley, who has been a 4-H livestock project leader for 12 years.
Brumley is credited with assisting many Caddo Parish livestock projects members with perfecting showmanship techniques, practicing good character in the show ring and purchasing animals. She worked with 53 livestock members this year and 68 during the past year. She says she “may have learned as much from them as they have from her.”
Brumley also has worked as a volunteer at three of the state’s major livestock shows for youth – the state championship show presented by the LSU AgCenter and others at Southern University and the Louisiana State Fair.
The C.W. “Dub” Kennedy Award is in memory of a former, longtime manager of the LSU AgCenter’s livestock shows. It recognizes a 4-H’er for outstanding animal science records and work with various 4-H livestock projects. This year’s winner was Megan Simon, of Lafayette Parish.
Simon has been involved with the broiler project and showing exhibition poultry, as well as being a member Lafayette Parish 4-H Junior Leader Club and serving as a counselor at 4-H summer camp. She also participated in the poultry judging competition at 4-H University and was the state winner in the Poultry Premiere Exhibitor contest and the champion in the Louisiana State Fair Broiler Showmanship Contest. Simon credits 4-H with helping her build leadership and life skills that will last a lifetime and stand as her foundation for years to come.
Superintendent of Education Awards are presented to students 13 years of age or younger who have excelled in 4-H or FFA livestock projects. The winners of those awards this year were Adam Gaspard, of Vermilion Parish, and Reese Tassin, of St. Tammany.
Gaspard is 13 years old and in his fifth year in Vermilion 4-H. He is a member of the Rene Rost Middle School 4-H Club, Junior Beta Club, school band, math club and Vermilion Parish 4-H Junior Leader Club. Gaspard says he is most proud of his swine project and being awarded the grand champion any-other-breed pig at the Acadiana District Livestock Show. In addition to livestock, Gaspard also is active in the 4-H electric and horticulture projects, and he and his partner won a team demonstration contest at 4-H University. Gaspard says what he loves best about 4-H is the family involvement and that 4-H has “taught him valuable leadership skills and helped him gain confidence to speak in front of groups.”
Tassin is a member of the Covington High School FFA Chapter and the son of Reese Tassin Sr. and Charlene Tassin. His livestock work includes Beefmaster cattle and poultry, and he has been active in livestock shows at the parish, district and state levels – winning numerous grand champion and reserve champion awards. Tassin also has served as an FFA chapter officer and a member of his chapter’s forestry and parliamentary law teams, and he was a member of its livestock judging team that won the state championship. He wants to attend college and to compete on a livestock judging team at the collegiate level.
The Governor’s Award recognizes 4-H or FFA members 14 years of age and older who have excelled in the livestock program. This year’s recipients were Mitchell Miles, of Winn Parish, and Hunter Tauzin, of St. Martin.
Miles is a member of the Dodson High School FFA Chapter and the son of Kirk and Melinda Miles. His livestock work includes goats, swine, sheep, horses, beef cattle and dairy cattle. He has participated in a variety of livestock shows as both a 4-H and FFA member and has won many grand championships and reserve champion honors with his show animals. Miles is a member of his FFA chapter’s horse and livestock career development event teams, and he has served as an FFA chapter officer and has attended state FFA conventions and area leadership camps.
Tauzin is a 16-year-old St. Martin 4-H member who attends Cecilia High School. He says his love is the 4-H goat project, and he is a member of multiple goat organizations and is serving on the national Board of Directors for the Junior American Boer Goat Association. Tauzin also has participated in numerous service projects, four 4-H goat educational trips and National 4-H Congress. He has won numerous awards with his goats, including the Trent Guidry Memorial Trophy for the Louisiana Bred Market Goat Champion at last year’s LSU AgCenter Livestock Show.