Former 4-Hers will likely agree—some of our favorite memories are from the fair, brushing, washing and showing livestock and horses. Yes, “our memories”—because many of the editors at Farm Journal—started our journey in agriculture the same way. Celebrate National 4-H Week with us by pulling out those old pictures and sharing your experiences of “Learn By Doing” and “To Make The Best Better.” Take a look at the photos below and see if you can guess who the writer is!
Livestock and horse projects are one of the most visible 4-H projects, but there’s more than just show day. Months before the fair, 4-Hers learn an incredible lesson in the responsibility of caring for animals.
It’s hard work feeding and watering animals every day, fixing equipment and fences and training animals to lead from halters or walk calmly. Keeping animals warm in the winter and cool in the summer. But the rewards of just being with the animals, when they come up to see you at the gate or ask for a scratch, far outweigh the work.
When you care for animals, inevitability you meet your local veterinarian, feed store owner, banker, farm supply store employees, other farmers and livestock market owners. Each 4-H project creates ripple effects through a community.
At some point every 4-H member learns they may not always come in first place, or even second place. They learn emotional maturity of how to accept disappointment, learn tenacity in resolving to do better next year, while showing respect to their competitors, ring-side staff and fellow 4-Hers.
One of the hardest decisions is selling animals to market. From an early age, 4-H members learn they are part of an industry that raises animals for meat and milk production—meat and dairy products that feed people around the world, and millions of byproducts, from wool to feathers and leather to tallow. They learn how their decisions impact animal health, human health and food safety.
Behind every 4-Her is a 4-H parent, and beside them are 4-H friends. Building relationships are one of the greatest parts of our 4-H years.
Big lessons come from 4-H projects—knowledge that we take to work with us every day to report agricultural news to you. We are 4-H.