Wildcat Connection February 2019 - Page 22

t is easy to find inspiration during the dark days of winter as a Wildcat 4-H Agent! As I started preparing for our first livestock club meeting of the year, I pulled out the first-year member packets. These are folders with information about the different livestock projects the kids are enrolled in. The packets include parts of the animals, general information about feeding and showmanship. As I reviewed the information and then looked at our enrollment here in Wilson County, I was pleasantly surprised to find we have 15 first-year members in the livestock projects. WOW! That is a lot, but it got me to thinking about why these kids sign up to do these projects. Some have older siblings that are doing the projects, for some it was their parents, while others are looking for a new and exciting challenge. In total there are 56 members enrolled in some type of livestock project. Many of those will have more than one species.

These young people are learning valuable skills when they take on one of these projects. The one most people think of is responsibility for the care of the animal itself. Others think about the record keeping skills they learn, feed costs, vet expenses and many other things to keep track of. I want these kids to have a greater understanding of the important work of which they are a part, i.e. feeding the world. We will discuss many topics at the livestock club meeting, but the one I hope they take from it is this: That animal they are feeding, doctoring, or just loving will ultimately enter the food chain. The importance of their work should not go unnoticed, and a great deal of time and care goes into each and every project.

I have been working on some new project materials for livestock projects and have a few of them done. These are a simple calendar showing what you should be doing for that month in each of the projects. They are by no means a complete list and I am always willing to add or subtract from them. I just hope they are useful to members. You can find them on our website: https://www.wildcatdistrict.k-state.edu/4-h/livestock-horse-events/index.html . Feel free to look them over and give me your feedback. I had help with these from various people in the community and I appreciate their input.

Some other happenings this month include the Neodesha afterschool program. I did a short program on birds and feeding them for the winter. The kindergarten and first graders then made a simple bird feeder using an old CD, peanut butter and bird seed. What a fun project! I also had the pleasure of presenting at the Wilson County Conservation banquet the conservation winners. Wildcat Wednesday is always fun and I discussed the new YQCA program. As I write this the sun is trying to peek out. I am looking forward to spring and the many projects that come with it.