“Some people claim that raising livestock through FFA and 4-H hardens the hearts of our industry’s young people. Yet, if you have been involved in these orgs, you know it does just the opposite. Raising livestock awakens the soul and gives young people a purpose. It gives them a reason to wake up each day and be a caretaker and teaches the proper way to care for animals to ultimately deliver a safe product to the marketplace,” writes Jessica Judge in her recent article, “Three Reasons to Support Youth Who Raise Livestock.”
“I grew up showing pigs, and I learned each animal is an individual and they all have different needs. I was the little kid who named her show pigs and walked them twice a day. I think that taught me a lot about understanding animal behavior and welfare ultimately,” says Miriam Martin, a graduate research assistant at Kansas State University in Manhattan, Kansas. “In those settings we’re pretty good at stockmanship in a lot of ways. We teach animals to trust us, we acclimate them to a lot of different experiences. And that’s something that if we can implement these same concepts on a larger scale, we can make a lot of progress.” Read more of Martin’s thoughts about how to attract youths to agriculture here.