Capital Press | FFA Capital Press Wed, 23 Jul 2014 02:48:11 -0400 en Capital Press | FFA Livestock camps prepare kids for fair time Fri, 11 Jul 2014 11:33:54 -0400 John O’Connell DOWNEY, Idaho — Riley Kofford has attended the same summer day camp every year since he was 5 years old, when he’d tag along with his big sisters.

At Bannock County’s livestock day camp — a three-hour crash course in animal agriculture hosted by a team of University of Idaho Extension educators — Kofford explained presentations have prepared him for showing 4H animal projects during the annual county fair.

Livestock day camps have been organized for the past 18 years to prepare students within southern UI Extension district counties for fair competition.

“During the show, the judge will ask us a question, and you never know what it is going to be,” said Kofford, a junior at Marsh Valley High School in Arimo. “Knowing all about the animal you’re doing definitely helps you so you can answer the question correctly.”

Kofford, who shows market lambs, said he always learns something new at the day camp.

More than 50 students and several parents and siblings attended the Bannock County day camp on July 10. It was the last of eight southern district day camps, which started during the final week of June and were also hosted in Power, Bingham, Caribou, Bear Lake, Oneida, Bonneville and Teton counties. Organizers estimate 500-600 students attended the district’s day camps, which are offered free and include a meal.

Experts from each county present at every day camp to provide students a broad range of information. Southern district educators have partnered on camps in the past with other districts in Idaho, and even Wyoming and Utah extension educators to diversify the subject matter.

Ashley Tolman, Bannock County’s 4-H program assistant and organizer of the county’s day camp, said the turnout was encouraging, recalling past years when just three or four children participated.

Tolman’s presentation emphasized biosecurity, which she said is an especially important topic this summer as 4-H fairs seek to teach children steps to prevent outbreaks of porcine epidemic diarrhea virus on their own farms and in fairgrounds. The highly contagious disease has caused significant losses in the swine industry since first surfacing in the U.S. last May.

During his presentation on animal breeds, Power County Extension educator Reed Findlay engaged students in an interactive trivia card game. He explained day camps are open to any student with a 4-H project, but they tend to draw younger children, as the older kids are often busy with other summer activities.

Bingham County Extension educator Scott Nash offered students beef samples after discussing the different meat quality grades and preparation methods. He informed students that the most tender cuts come from supporting muscles, such as loins, while muscles used in movement, such as the rump, are tougher.

Children also heard Caribou County Extension educator Steve Harrison present on marketing fair animals and ultrasound use in animal agriculture and Oneida County Extension educator Meranda Hazelbaker discuss animal reproduction.

Student to give cattle showmanship clinic Mon, 7 Jul 2014 11:35:13 -0400 Carol Ryan Dumas FILER, Idaho — An incoming senior at Filer High School wants to help youth prepare for showing their beef cattle at judging events and is offering a free clinic with the help of University of Idaho extension educators in Twin Falls County.

Joely Roe, 17, has been showing cattle since she was 7 years old and will be demonstrating the techniques of showmanship, animal handling and show preparation.

The clinic will not only be instructional and informational, it will serve as Roe’s senior project to fulfill her high school requirements.

In addition to showmanship, the clinic will include a presentation by Billy Whitehurst, extension beef cattle educator, on animal nutrition and cattle breeds. Another presentation, by Suzann Dolecheck, 4-H program educator, will be on the deeper meaning and benefits of 4-H.

The event is set for July 19, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Roe family farm at 3762 N 2300 E in Filer. The event is open to all ages, including interested adults, and will include lunch.

The clinic will be a hands-on learning opportunity in animal handling, proper showing and washing, clipping, brushing and blowing animals for the best presentation, Roe said.

Grooming and working with an animal for presentation at a show takes months, with a lot of work and pre-planning involved. Animal owners need to start ahead of time and do it correctly “because it’s no fun to lose,” Roe said.

The clinic will cover such things as how to lead an animal, how to set it up in a profile and how to train its hair.

The goal is to make it fun and teach kids all about the animal and the correct way of preparing and showing animals, Roe said.

While the clinic is geared for youth, all ages are welcome.

“It’s never too late to learn something,” Roe said.

A 4-H and FFA member with a love for animals, Roe intends to pursue a degree in veterinary medicine and a large- and small- animal practice.

Cattle for the clinic will be provided and lunch will be served. There is no charge for the event or lunch, however preregistration is highly suggested.

For more information or to register, contact Roe at (256) 960-2901 or by e-mail at

DAYS OF AGRICULTURE EQUAL DAYS OF SUCCESS Fri, 6 Jun 2014 11:27:48 -0400 Career development events give FFA members ‘real world’ preview Thu, 5 Jun 2014 09:47:18 -0400 Matw Weaver MOSCOW, Idaho — About 600 FFA members from around Idaho converged on the University of Idaho campus this week to compete in state career development events, which tested their skills in a “real world” scenario.

Winners in state CDEs will compete in FFA nationals, held this year in Louisville, Ky., in the fall.

“A lot of these contests are very much like the real world,” said Justin Nesbitt, Idaho FFA Association state treasurer. “Once students come out of FFA, go to college and go into industries, (the CDEs) are very similar to what they’ll be seeing.”

Growing up in Meridian, Idaho, Nesbitt competed in a variety of CDEs for four years. He plans to follow in his father’s footsteps as an agricultural engineer.

“I really like the fact we’re learning about different parts of agriculture, different industries,” he said. “I find it really cool and interesting to learn about all these different areas within agriculture as possible careers.”

CDEs in Moscow included livestock and dairy judging, forestry, agricultural mechanics, veterinary science, food science and dairy handling.

Jacob Christensen, an 11th-grader from Homedale, Idaho, and his team competed in the marketing CDE, practicing for weeks prior to make sure they knew the material.

“When you go through it and you know you nailed everything, it’s just a great feeling to know you’ve done all this work and you know it through and through, you can deliver it perfectly,” Christensen said.

In marketing CDEs, members present their efforts in working with agricultural businesses to develop a marketing plan.

Bonners Ferry FFA member T.J. Smith competed in small engines and copper pipe fitting.

Smith enters the 10th grade this year. He says an agricultural career is a possibility, and competing in the CDEs gives him the chance to learn new skills.

“If you don’t want to pay someone to do it for you, you can just do it yourself,” he said.