Quality does count when it comes to how you raise and show your livestock project. Too often we get caught up in the hardware. What in the world is hardware you ask? Well, those are the dinner plate-sized buckles, rainbow coloroed ribbons, and sky-high trophies. It’s also the cold hard cash.
Livestock projects are intended to be a tool to teach youth how to raise breeding or market animals…period. Somewhere along the way livestock shows have gotten away from its original purpose of helping educate our youth so that they know and can apply such skills as selection, feeding, marketing, breeding, and record-keeping. It is time to refocus on what is important.
In our program, livestock projects serve as a tool to teach responsibility, caring, and fairness. If a youth has been in the beef project raising a heifer for the last 4 years and cannot tell you basic information about their project such as the parts of his/her calf, where the high dollar cuts are on their animal, or their animals’ rate of gain, then we’ve missed the boat.
To help refocus our efforts in teaching what is important, Texas 4-H and FFA partnered together and developed an online training program for youth and adults in the area of livestock project training/ethics. It’s called “Texas Trail” and is part of the Quality Counts program. I was fortunate to be a part of the group that put this together.
I strongly encourage every 4-H and FFA member who has a livestock project to go through the training. Don’t worry, it’s kid friendly, interactive, and fun. Try your luck to get on the top ten list!
To get there, go to the Quality Counts website: http://qualitycounts.tamu.edu/ and click on the “Texas Trail” icon located in the center of the page. From there, create an account for yourself, log in, and begin learning about proper things to consider in showing livestock.
Parents, please sit at the computer with your child during this training. It is as much for the adults as it is for the kids.