Consumers have become increasingly aware of how their food is produced.
More and more people want to know where and what methods were used in the growing of the foods they eat. This mentality provides great opportunities for creating and sustaining healthy food systems.
4-H livestock projects are designed to promote youth development where they learn responsibility, develop character and learn about food production. 4-H livestock members are involved in market-animal projects that produce meat, milk and eggs. Members are educated about the importance of the food-safety requirements of these products.
The Colorado State University Extension 4-H program requires members to attend an Ethics and Wholesome Meat Quality Assurance training to participate in a livestock project. The training mission is designed to maximize consumer confidence and acceptance of food products produced via youth livestock projects. All next week, La Plata County 4-H will have an interactive workshop for members.
In the Animas Room at the Extension building (2500 Main Ave.), members will go through stations that cover the 10 good production practices. Such practices include topics in feed nutrition, proper herd-management techniques, administration of medications, record-keeping and establishing a partnership with a local veterinarian. If followed correctly, these practices ensure production of quality food products. The workshop is self-guided. Call the Extension office for specific hours the workshop will be open during the day and evening.
4-H market meat animals will be available to purchase at the annual La Plata County Fair. At 6 p.m. Aug. 8 in the pavilion, the Junior Livestock Sale will take place. Animals will be auctioned to the highest bidder. The sale is a great benefit to our 4-H livestock project members. Many members use the profit they receive from the sale of their animal for higher-education expenses.
La Plata County 4-H also is looking to promote more vegetable projects at the county fair. This Saturday, we will be planting lots of potatoes and onions in our 4-H Giving Back Garden at the Old Fort in Hesperus. I hope this will encourage more young people to get involved in vegetable production.
Members can enroll in gardening or self-determined vegetable production projects. The fair horticulture committee would like to see more fruits, vegetables and flowers entered this year. Community members are encouraged to provide entries in the open-class horticulture shows.
Encouraging youths to engage in food production has many benefits. At an early age, they begin to understand the amount of time and effort it takes to produce quality products. This lifelong knowledge makes them more ethical consumers and stewards of our lands.
Any cribbage players out there? After the big turnout at the Snowdown Cribbage Tournament in January, the Mountain Shadows 4-H Club thought it would be a great fundraising opportunity to host a cribbage tournament of its own. At 7 p.m. this Saturday at the Breen Grange, the club will host a tournament. The entry fee is $5, so grab your boards and pegs to benefit the Mountain Shadows 4-H Club.
email@example.com or 382-6463. Greg Felsen is the La Plata County 4-H youth development agent.