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Happy New Year

I hope that everyone had a wonderful Christmas and spent a lot of time eating with family and friends. What a great time to rest and enjoy God’s gift of freedom and provisions.

As we start the 2006 year I hope that you are busy in your 4-H projects and school work. Remember that if you don’t have a 4-H club in your school or community that you need to go to the local Extension Office and request a list of clubs nearby or, better yet, find a teacher or volunteer that is willing to give of their time and start one in your school. 4-H is not only for 4th and 5th grades. There are so many opportunities for older teens to participate and even win scholarships. Check us out; I think that not only would you have fun and meet many new friends, you could start a project that could change your LIFE!

Like the students shown in the picture at right (Photo 1). These 4-Hers had the chance to go to Atlanta the day after Thanksgiving and attend The National 4-H Congress. They had four full days of Leadership and Citizenship training. They heard many motivational speakers, like Miss America Deidre Downs, Secretary of Agriculture Mike Johanns and Army Lt. General Russel Honore (the man who went to New Orleans and set things straight), visited the Atlanta History Center, and tasted fine cuisine from many other countries. It was a great weekend! Ask any of them if they would like to go back? The answer would be a resounding YES. So come on, get active and broaden your horizons!

We also had a great group of twelve who traveled to Louisville, Kentucky to exhibit 24 lambs in the North American Junior Market Lamb Showmanship and Junior Market Lamb Show (see Photos 2  and 3 below). The event 

Photo 1. National 4-H Congress delegates included Cameron Mulvaney, Lee Co.; Erica Lewis, Coffee Co.; Mary Potts, Fayette Co.; Della Stabler, Lee Co.; Jarrett Moore, Lee Co.; Emma Cooper, Limestone Co.; Scott Sexton, Pike Co.; Janna Ford, Shelby Co.; Katie Harbour, Shelby Co.; Kimberly Lynn McGraw, Mobile Co.; Rebecca Morrison, Tuscaloosa Co.; and Brittany Stockton, Elmore Co.

Natural Colored, with her 144 pound lamb. This was a very exciting time for all Alabama participants.

was held November 11 and 12, 2005. These youth were from all over the state and came together as one at this event. Youth worked, played, socialized, ate and supported each other in all aspects of this event. A great time was had by all!

Thank you to all these youth for their time, dedication and hard work on the Youth Animal Science Projects.


Do your share to make your school and community better • Cooperate • Stay informed; vote • Be a good neighbor • Obey laws and rules • Respect authority • Protect the environment

A citizen is someone who is part of a city, town or community. Practicing citizenship means doing what you can to make your home, community, and country a better place to live for yourself and for others. Practicing citizenship has always been and always will be part of being an active 4-H member.

Truly practicing citizenship means getting involved. No one can make a difference without becoming personally involved in trying to make things better. In other words, if you think you have an idea of how things could be done better, don’t just stand around and complain about how they are done now, tell your idea to others and get involved to make some changes. Your idea alone may not be able to make all the changes you want, but by getting involved and working with others who also care about the situation, you will be able to make a difference.

As a livestock exhibitor, you are part of an 

Photo 3. Youth participating in the North American Junior Market Lamb Showmanship and Junior Market Lamb Show were front row (left to right): Jared Beasley, Jonathan Martin, Matt Conkel, Jason Haraway; Second row (left to right): Cannon Cornelius, Jordan Holding, Beth Lane, Maddie Lane, Kelly Goneke, Chelsea Boyd; Back Row (left to right): John Spurlock and Caid Cornelius.

"exhibiting community," and are therefore responsible for knowing and obeying all rules, regulations, and laws regarding exhibiting. Other members of the "exhibiting community" include other exhibitors, family members, show or fair hosts and sponsors. When you are involved in livestock production and exhibiting, you represent the exhibiting community as a whole. What you do or say can reflect positively or negatively on the entire community.

Take a moment to answer the following questions:

Do you follow the rules and regulations related to the care and exhibition of your animals?

Do you respect the judge’s decisions and accept those decisions graciously, regardless of how your exhibit placed?

Do you help younger members in your club?

Do you follow quality assurance guidelines that ensure the meat from your animals will be safe for consumers?

If you answered yes to all of these questions, you already have a great start on practicing good citizenship.

An important part of showing citizenship with your livestock and other 4-H projects is following the rules, regulations, and in some cases, the laws related to your animals. This includes following ownership and registration deadlines, using proper identification procedures, and using only approved drugs.

Showing respect to judges, show officials, and other exhibitors is another way of practicing citizenship.

Regardless of the ribbon or ranking your exhibit receives, you should accept the decisions of the judges with grace. This means you shouldn’t brag and make fun of other exhibitors who didn’t do as well as you, and you shouldn’t complain and find fault with others if you didn’t place as high as you thought you would.

Helping those in need is always a good way to show that you are a good citizen. Within your club, you may have members that are less experienced than you and would benefit from your advice. Or, you may have members that don’t own all the equipment and supplies that you do, and would appreciate being able to borrow your equipment.

Using quality assurance methods to ensure that you are producing a product that is safe for consumers is an excellent way of practicing citizenship. Even though you may not have a lot of livestock, there are consumers in the United States that will eat the meat that comes from your animals. (Those consumers might include yourself and your family!) All consumers should be able to have confidence that their meat supply is safe and high quality. Practicing quality assurance methods will help build consumers’ trust in our livestock industry.

Everything you do that shows good citizenship will also help create a positive image of the exhibiting community. So be a good citizen of your home town, and also of the exhibiting community!

Here are some questions for you to think about and discuss with your parents or leaders:

Herdsmanship is one of the activities in which all members who are exhibiting animals should participate. How are herdsmanship and citizenship related? What might happen if people come to a fair where everyone is doing a great job of herdsmanship? What if people come to a fair where no one has fulfilled their herdsmanship responsibilities?

Club lamb fungus is a disease that causes red, sore spots on lambs. It is highly contagious, meaning the disease can easily be transferred from one lamb to another and can also easily be transferred to people. In people, it also causes red, sore and itchy patches on your skin and is difficult to cure. What would you do if you lamb developed active club lamb fungus just before the county fair? What could or would you do if your lamb developed the fungus just after your county show, but while still at the fairgrounds?

Suppose you had two steers you planned to show at the County Fair. One of them got loose one night and was hit on the road and killed. Your neighbor offered to "loan" you one of his cattle, using the ear tag from your dead calf, so it would look like your calf. What would you do? How is this related to citizenship?

Until next time, God Bless!
James Shropshire

James Shropshire is the Alabama 4-H Regional Extension Agent for the Central Alabama Region.

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Date Last Updated January, 2006