4-H Dairy Cow Camp educates youth to become leaders, teaches life skills
A prominent Springfield dairy farm played host to 49 youths ages 8 to 18 as part of the Missouri 4-H Dairy Cow Camp May 24-26.
According to Karla Deaver, 4-H Youth Development Specialist, University of Missouri Extension, Robthom dairy farm has hosted Missouri 4-H Dairy Cow Camp for 22 years, and the 2017 camp was a record-breaking year for attendance.
Extension organizers say the camp is significant for two reasons. First, it is designed to encourage youth wanting to go into the dairy industry. Second, it provides campers with an opportunity to learn a variety of life skills, including teamwork, cooperation and responsibility.
“This camp draws attention to the importance of farming and its important role in Missouri’s economy," said Deaver. "It provides youth a hands-on opportunity to care for dairy animals, and learn about many aspects of dairy production while learning life-skills. Our attendance was the highest it has been in the history of the camp, and we had several on a waiting list, demonstrating dairy cow camp is still relevant to our 4-H families.”
Campers work in pairs under the direction of adults and take part in workshops to learn about judging dairy animals, dairy management, animal care ethics and showmanship. Older teens serve as group leaders and counselors for younger 4-H members. Persons working in the dairy industry visited with campers about careers in the dairy industry as well.
In addition to educational workshops on dairy heifer management, foot care, the origin of the major dairy cattle breeds, showmanship, dairy cattle judging and quiz bowl, campers participated in sessions enabling them to be certified in Show Me Quality Assurance. The activities, designed as a series of learning stations, help 4-H’ers develop both personal and project skills.
Stations included an animal health tool identification, hay testing, feedstuffs, calf care, and a special presentation from the International Association of Fairs and Expositions about how to reduce E.coli outbreaks at fairs from the exhibitor point of view.
The camp concluded with a judging contest and showmanship competition. In the dairy judging contest, first place junior was Maria Vedder of New Haven, and second was Molly Archer of Falcon. In the senior division, first was Kylie Scrivner of Ava, and second was Whitney Yerina of Phillipsburg. The top oral reasons were given by Logan Archer of Falcon, followed by Avonlea Bergthold of Marshfield.
In the showmanship competition, winning the junior division was Molly Archer of Falcon; second was Mikayla Angelo of Fair Grove. In the intermediate division, first was Alyssa McCarty of Gentry, Ark.; second was Brooke Vedder of New Haven. In the senior division, first was Whitney Yerina of Phillipsburg; second was Serena Stewart of Ava.
A number of other awards were given, including the Rookie Award to Ada Bluel of Monett. Teamwork awards were given to Quinn Northrup of Republic, Roper Voskamp of Mt. Vernon, and Garrett Henke of Moscow Mills. Quiz bowl awards were given to Logan Archer of Falcon, and Kylie Scrivner of Ava. Case Melzer of Harrisonville and Kalaa Clark of Seymour earned Good Attitude awards. Kylie Scrivner of Ava earned the Most Improved Award. Molly Archer of Falcon earned the Sportsmanship Award, while Logan Archer of Falcon earned the Leadership Award.
4-H Dairy Cow Camp is a cooperative program between the Extension and industry sponsors, including Robthom Dairy, Dairy Farmers of America, Southwest Dairy Farmers, MFA, Inc., Paul Mueller Co., Orscheln’s of Republic, Missouri Holstein Association, Missouri Holstein Junior Association, Missouri Jersey Cattle Association, Missouri Brown Swiss Association, Missouri Guernsey Breeders Association, Land O’Lakes/Purina, Missouri Dairy Association, Sancrest Specialized Transport, Main Street Feeds, Mac’s Vet Supply, Race Brothers, So-Mo Agri-Supply, D Bar J Livestock LLC, Perrydale Farms, Jeanne Whip of Republic, John Underwood, Charles and Lynn McLean, Hiland Dairy, Monsanto Company, FCS Financial and the Missouri 4-H Foundation.
For more information about cow camp, contact Deaver at the Lawrence County Extension in Mt. Vernon at (417) 466-3102, or your local county extension center.