Nebraska 4-H members across the state were recognized as “Members of Excellence” for their participation in a new livestock program that launched in 2021.
The Nebraska 4-H livestock achievement program was designed to promote all educational aspects of 4-H livestock projects — including selection, production, leadership and exhibition — by recognizing youth striving to improve in their livestock project knowledge and leadership.
The program recognizes members of excellence across all 4-H livestock project areas, including beef, sheep, meat goat, swine, dairy cattle, dairy goat, rabbit and poultry.
At the beginning of the 4-H year, youth applied to participate in the program. Upon acceptance into the program, participants planned what to accomplish. At the end of the 4-H year, they reported on their completed accomplishments.
Additionally, participants were required to complete their annual 4-H online enrollment process, Youth for the Quality Care of Animals requirements and project record books in order to receive a Member of Excellence distinction.
The program saw positive participant outcomes in its inaugural year, with 26 youth from 20 Nebraska counties receiving their Member of Excellence distinction. Youth chose to participate for a variety of reasons, including wanting to learn more about their project and their species’ industry, a desire to increase their own leadership in 4-H and in their particular project, and identifying this as a way to bring new people into the project.
“I think it is great for my daughter to get a better idea about how much [their project] costs and what goes into it,” a participant’s parent said. Many participants decided to add educating others through developing 4-H static projects on topics related to their project, or providing educational experiences for others locally.
One participant said, “I learned to present information in a way to help educate others,” while another stated, “I also worked through my fear of presenting and talking in front of people.”
The Nebraska 4-H livestock achievement program is now accepting applications for 2022. Find details at 4h.unl.edu/livestock-achievement-program, or contact Ashley Benes, Nebraska Extension 4-H youth development coordinator, at 402-472-9184 or firstname.lastname@example.org.