AMES, Iowa -- A new Web site created by Iowa State University Extension allows 4-H and FFA members to locate donated equipment for livestock projects.
Youth and parents can use the Youth Equipment Exchange, /4H/exchange.htm, to locate used items, such as livestock feeders, waterers and show boxes. People who no longer need equipment can donate it by posting a description of the item, their name, county and contact information.
Youth who don't find what they're looking for on the Web site can contact the Webmaster and request an item. An anonymous list of equipment that members need will be posted from this information. All items will be listed for two weeks before they are removed from the Web site.
Mark Pearson, host of "The Big Show" on WHO Radio, developed the idea for the Web site when he mentioned on the air that his daughter was looking for a hog feeder for an FFA project involving 12 hogs. A new feeder costs approximately $800, which he believes is an unreasonable expense for a few hogs. Pearson received many calls from listeners who had hog feeders they no longer needed and were willing to donate to his daughter.
"I thought that what we would do is set up a livestock equipment exchange," Pearson said. "It's kind of one of those things born of my own experience."
He hopes that the Youth Equipment Exchange will expose more youth to livestock production and give them a chance to complete projects that wouldn't be possible without equipment.
"If you expose more kids to livestock production it becomes more important to them and gives them a reason to participate," Pearson said. "I'm hoping that every 4-H and FFA chapter participates and takes advantage of it and gets the word out in their own area."
Although Pearson initiated the project, Becky Nibe, ISU Extension 4-H program coordinator, created the Web site.
"There are young people who would like to have livestock projects and if their parents aren't farmers or livestock producers, they might not have the equipment they need," Nibe said.
Youth should work with an adult when finding equipment on the Web site or meeting anyone face-to-face.
Youth Equipment Exchange partners include ISU Extension, WHO Newsradio 1040, FFA and Iowa 4-H.
Carol Ouverson, Continuing Education and Communication Services, (515) 294-9640, firstname.lastname@example.org