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Animal Science Clinic with the Washington County U of I Extension

By Tyler O’Donnell

As the dust settles on spring, and our office turns to full-blown fair mode, I wanted to highlight some of the exciting things our office has been up to this spring. 4-H members have a pledge that they recite before every meeting- “I pledge my head to clearer thinking, my heart to greater loyalty, my hands to larger service, and my health to better living, for my club, my community, my country, and my world.” This pledge has been recited by members for decades, and they live by this pledge, as was evident by thinking more clearly about their animal science projects that many youth will take to the county fair July 29th – August 3rd. The Washington County Extension office held a series of animal science clinics that reached youth not only across our county, but neighboring counties such as Ada, Canyon, and Payette counties. Youth engaged in 3 different field days in February, March, and April where they learned skills such as injection site techniques for vaccinations and medications, proper reading of medication labels, how to read feed labels and meet nutritional requirements for their projects, how to exhibit their animals to the best of their abilities, and many others. This endeavor was taken on by many 4-H volunteers, and we thank them for their support and teaching assistance at each of our clinics.  We reached 142 youth for our clinics, as well as 15 adults who wanted to expand their knowledge about animal care practices. At our first clinic in February, we used a teaching assessment to evaluate the knowledge level before and after for each youth attendee using a Likert scale (rate 1-5 your knowledge on the subject). We had many youth with little to no exposure to topics such as injection site techniques, castration and dehorning methods, internal and external parasite problems, reading medication labels, and meat quality assurance. This was indicated by the 48 responses of 1, the lowest score, on their pre-assessment relating to the various topics. After the clinic concluded, there was 1 response that indicated they did not feel comfortable with a topic indicated by a 1 score. We had 54 responses indicating a 5 or above before the clinic, and 98 responses with a 5 after the clinic. This shows a large increase in knowledge for our 4-H youth and higher quality meat products being sold by 4-H members at the county fair. The animals produced by 4-H members are the staple of the Washington County Fair, culminating in the junior livestock auction at the end of the week. 4-H members will use the proceeds of the sale to further their 4-H projects, or even to go to college. The knowledge gained at this series not only affects their 4-H project but will provide knowledge to use as they further their agricultural expertise.  

If you or someone you know aged 6-18 is interested in becoming a 4-H member please call the Washington County Extension office at (208)414-0415. There are also volunteer opportunities available to adults. 

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