Working With the Youth Program
Jerry Weiss, Field Specialist-Swine, Northwest
One of the areas in program planning that I work in as a Swine Field Specialist is the youth component. My goal in working with the youth is two fold. One is to show these young people how important livestock and crop production is to the world. How are we going to continue to feed the growing population unless today's youth take an active roll in livestock and crop production. Agriculture is a broad field with a wide variety of job opportunities for today's youth to pursue.
In order to be successful in Agriculture Production the youth must be well educated. This ties in with my second goal which is recruitment to ISU in the Ag sector. By my being a good roll model in my teaching, and working with the youth, I hope to take a step closer to fulfilling the two goals listed above.
ISU Extension has a very strong 4-H Program. Working through this program, I am able to make face-to-face contacts with youth and use this contact as a teachable moment. The programs that I work with are as follows:
- Food Safety Quality Assurance (FSQA) This program, which was held in a classroom setting, brought me in face-to-face contact with 649 youth in a 15 county area from March of 2006 until present. Each of these sessions were 2 hours in length with classroom instruction and a lot of hands on experience. Each of these sessions included myself, county youth staff and often the local veterinarian.
- Air and Water Quality Environmental Tours These tours were held in Kossuth and Palo Alto counties for youth in 4th through 8th grade. CEED, Bob Behnkendorf put these tours together with the aid of grant money from Farm Bureau. Four different schools were involved. Being involved on the teaching staff put me in contact with over 167 youth. More of these tours are planned.
- Buena Vista County Special Swine Program This project involved working with 29 youth through the 4-H program. County youth staff and the Buena Vista County Pork Board made this project possible. These youth live in non farm locations. It gives these kids a chance to work with live pigs and have the opportunity to show these pigs at the county fair. We meet with these youth six different times, each time learning a little more about Pork Production. A very hands-on program for kids who do not live on a farm. This was the second year for this program.
- Educational Partners Agriculture Kids (EPAK) This program is designed to help students develop an understanding of the impact of agriculture on the environment, their everyday lives, and health and safety. Participants included 4th graders from Kossuth, Palo Alto and Pocahontas counties and 5th graders from Emmet county. The teaching staff includes county youth staff, field specialists, such as myself, and various other agency volunteers. Through this program I had face-to-face contact with over 250 youth. This is an ongoing program.
- The County Fair The county fair is where face-to-face contacts are made. I worked at 12 county fair swine shows during the summer of 2006. I work in the show ring which gives me contact with the youth, the judge, the county pork board. Following the show, I also have contact with the parents of the exhibitors. I also serve as the Iowa Swine Superintendent at the AK-SAR-BEN 4-H Livestock Expo. Even though it is difficult to evaluate the outcome of this effort I think it is a very valuable part of my job as an ISU Extension representative.
- Certification through the National Pork Board through the FSQA Program of over 649 youth who are producing food products for our world food chain.
- These youth are following the several good production practices relating to care and handling of a livestock project because of this education.
- This FSQA program also teaches ethics which the 4-Her uses in his or her everyday life.
- I had face-to-face contact with 167 youth who were from grades 4th through 8th at Kossuth & Palo Alto Schools on seven environmental tours. These youth became aware of environmental and air quality issues as it relates to rural as well as urban situations. Seeing air quality as well as environmental challenges first hand vs. just talking about then in the classroom is a very good teaching tool.
- Working with the Buena Vista County Special Swine Project, I was able to provide direct contact of 29 urban youth with a live swine project. They learned care and handling of these animals. They also learned the importance of livestock production and how their work contributed to the food chain.
- The EPAK program exposes many kids from both rural and urban background to agriculture in food and fiber production.
- Through my work in various county fairs as well as at AK-SAR-BEN Livestock Expo, I have contact with many youth involved in swine and livestock production. This allows the youth a look at ISU through my teaching and involvement. This in turn may eventually head to attending ISU. Currently 16% of our Iowa 4-H Youth attend ISU.
150 Iowa Pork Industry Center
Page last updated:
April 11, 2007
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