Kids shine at 4-H show
BY AMELIA HARPER
Thursday, April 19, 2018
More than 150 young people from the Twin Counties participated in this year’s Eastern Carolina Livestock 4-H Show & Sale this week at the East Carolina Agriculture and Education Center on Kingsboro Road.
The two-day event is billed as the longest-running 4-H livestock show in Eastern North Carolina.
“This year’s event went very smoothly,” said Sandy Hall, the Nash County extension director who heads up the 4-H and youth development programs in the county. “We are increasing our extension staff and we had a lot of volunteers help out. The kids were really excited and did a great job with their animals.”
Kelsey Lichtenwalner, the livestock agent for Nash and Edgecombe counties, said this was her first year at the event and she was impressed.
“This is a great show, and it is a big show,” Lichtenwalner said. “A show like this takes a lot of effort. I can tell the kids have also put a lot of work into their animals, and that is a rewarding experience for them.”
About 50 Edgecombe County students and 47 Nash County students ages 9-18 participated in the event, showing cattle, hogs, lambs and meat goats before offering them up for sale. Lambs and goats were more popular with Edgecombe County youth, while Nash County students were more likely to enter steer into the competition.
Philip Lucas had two teens who were showing steer at the event. Lucas, who participated in the event when he was young, had a double interest in the event because he also raises cattle as a sideline. Lucas said events like this teach valuable lessons to his children.
“In addition to learning about responsibility, they are learning about finances because they have to keep track of the expense of the feed and everything that goes into raising animals,” Lucas said.
In addition, more than 60 children ages 5-8 received awards for participating in the Cloverbud Sheep and Goat Show.
The children who participated all enjoyed different aspects of the goat-raising process.
Lianna Vandemark, 9, said she enjoyed washing her goat, Peanut. Her younger brother, Tucker, 5, said he enjoyed walking his goat, Casey. His cousin, Barrett, 5, also said that leading around his goat, Brownie, was his favorite activity.
For the Vandemarks, the 4-H show and sale is a family tradition. Their fathers also participated in the show and sale when they were young.
Angie Vandemark, the mother of Liana and Tucker, said she feels the experience is valuable for her children, even at a young age.
“This helps them develop a sense of responsibility as they learn to care for something other than themselves,” Vandemark said. “They also gain a sense of pride by working with their animals and showing them in the event.”
Edgecombe County Extension Agent Tanya Heath agreed.
“The students who participate in this gain important life skills. They see out this project from the beginning to the end. They are spending time away from the computer and their phones and learning responsibility,” Heath said. “It is important that we have events like this, because agriculture plays a big role in North Carolina — and these kids are the future of agriculture.”