AP NEWS

4-H’ers hone animal science skills

March 22, 2019

WABASSO, Minn. — Members of 4-H chapters from throughout southwest Minnesota gathered in Wabasso on Feb. 16 to hone their skills in animal sciences.

They took part in seminars on livestock nutrition, common diseases found in dairy cattle, livestock and horses, and even took a dive into the meat industry looking at where the meat we eat comes from and how it’s processed and made.

Melissa Runck with Murray County Extension coordinated the event. Runck said 14 different counties took part in the annual event.

“We bring in veterinarians and other industry professionals,” Runck said. “A lot of what we do is hands-on, so it really ties the kids to the industry, and getting that connection as far as potential careers.”

Runck said the hands-on part of the day is an important factor for the planners and the participants. This is the ninth year the event has been held.

“An event like this is important,” Runck said. “Not only do the kids get a chance to practice for the regional project bowl, but they get to see how to apply the knowledge they have.”

One of the more popular workshops was about livestock nutrition. The 4-H members looked at feed and its components — protein supplements, fats, and carbohydrates.

“It’s nice to get to work with the students in small groups like this,” said Brant Groen, a nutrition and production specialist with Form-A-Feed. “They get to see the complexity of the feed, the components that go into it, and how that impacts production.”

Baileigh Peterson, a 10th-grader from Sibley County, said events the 4-H day are important for students planning to pursue a career in today’s ever-increasing technical agricultural industries.

“The skill-a-thon workshops are vital,” Peterson said. “We did one earlier in the day on grading manure and how that can be used as a tool for judging the health of the animal and how to adjust rations.”

Peterson’s family raises beef cattle, poultry and swine, and she shows cattle and swine in 4-H. She’s planning a career in the beef industry.

“I’ve looked into being a nutritionist, and different aspects of the meat industry,” she said. “Taking part in a get-together like this one is important because it gives us a chance to see how what we are learning in 4-H can be applied in the real world. It’s something that can really help us in planning for a future in a lot of different areas in agricultural.”