Retinal Imaging Verifies 4-H Champs
Note to media editors:
A higher resolution photograph of the champion market steer is linked from the photo shown here.
AMES, Iowa--Only 14 of Iowa's 99 counties piloted the retinal imaging identification system for 4-H livestock entries at the Iowa State Fair in 2007, but two of the 14 counties produced three 4-H champions at the fair.
In the past, Iowa State University 4-H Youth Development has used a variety of methods to identify beef, sheep and meat goats, including noseprints and a hair DNA sample, according to Michael Anderson, 4-H livestock program coordinator. The goal is to replace noseprints and DNA samples with retinal imaging for all 4-H State Fair entries in beef, sheep and meat goats by 2009.
Other states already using retinal imaging to identify 4-H livestock include Indiana, Mississippi and New Mexico. Colorado and Ohio also are considering the program.
Advantages include the ease of collecting the images and electronically storing the information, Anderson said. The match also can be done at the show instead of waiting weeks for verifying DNA matches.
State Fair winners verified by retinal imaging at the 2007 Iowa State Fair included the champion 4-H market steer shown by Nolan Ferguson of Mahaska County, the champion 4-H market lamb shown by Brenden Kuesel of Poweshiek County and the 4-H reserve champion meat goat shown by Kayla Middlesworth of Mahaska County.
Michael Anderson, 4-H Youth Development, (515) 294-8617, email@example.com
Carol Ouverson, Extension Communications and Marketing, (515) 294-9640, firstname.lastname@example.org