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4-H seeking livestock superintendents to work with kids

SHERIDAN — Sheridan County 4-H is looking for livestock superintendents to join its Livestock Committee and help 4-H and Future Farmers of America youth with raising and showing animals for the county fair.

Jerrica Lind, 4-H and youth development educator for the University of Wyoming Cooperative Extension Office, told the Sheridan County Fair Association about the open positions at its meeting Thursday.

The four positions that are open are for horse, swine, dairy cattle and beef cattle. The positions are voluntary and it is a three-year term in order to bring continuity to the committee and the youth, Lind said. All applicants must pass a background check before being accepted.

Livestock superintendents work together as a committee to coordinate the entire effort for livestock shows at each year’s county fair, Lind said. They guide rules for the shows and find qualified judges who will work well with youth to offer constructive criticism and affirmation. Superintendents also conduct educational workshops and clinics to teach youth about their animals.

Fair week is a crucial responsibility for livestock superintendents.

“Their major responsibility really comes down to during County Fair making sure the health of the animals is good, that if there’s kids that need help they’re there to help, making sure that risks are assessed and that everyone is in a healthy place,” Lind said.

Lind said a background in raising and showing animals is needed since superintendents are a key resource for youth who are raising and showing animals — sometimes for the first time in their life. While not required, it is encouraged that livestock superintendents also become 4-H leaders.

“The kids are raising meat products, so we need someone familiar with the meat industry and raising livestock for consumption and raising them to be shown, as well,” Lind said.

The Livestock Committee meets approximately once per month throughout the year. As the fair draws closer, additional meetings may be called. Superintendents need to be available most of fair week, especially at their respective animal’s shows, in order to be available to kids and parents needing assistance.

“The livestock show world is pretty fun, in and of itself, and above and beyond that it is neat working with the kids and getting a chance to mentor and share a passion for animals with the youth,” Lind said. “It’s certainly for the betterment of the Sheridan County youth. The more involved that the superintendent is, the more the youth learn, and through that they have those positive experiences and hopefully, when they’re old enough, they’ll mentor the youth younger than them and keep that cycle going.”

Applications are available at the UW Extension Office at the county courthouse and are due by Jan. 3, 2014. Lind did note that the Extension Office will be moving to its new location at Sheridan College on Tuesday. Call 674-2980 for more information.

In other business:

• Fairgrounds Director Jamie Ringley told the board that the Livestock Committee had several suggestions for how to improve the Sheridan County Fair in coming years. These included fixing latches and pins on livestock pens, re-thinking scheduling of equestrian events, constructing portable stalls to be used during judging in the sale ring to foster more efficiency, offering concessions throughout the day and not just during main events and offering more activities for younger family members of fair participants.

Ringley said the improvements will begin in the spring.

• The fairgrounds has implemented some staffing changes, Ringley said. Dakota Smith has moved into the position of maintenance supervisor and Jake Fitzpatrick has taken the open maintenance position. Ringley hopes the staff of four will become a core staff for a long time and eliminate frequent turnover.

• The fairgrounds is in the process of rebuilding the six doors of the pavillion. They will be custom made in the exact style of the current doors. Each door will cost approximately $270 for a total cost of $1,620.

• The Fair Association will hold elections for officer positions in January. Most members have expressed interest in remaining on the board although positions may be altered.

About

Hannah Wiest is the government and outdoors reporter for The Sheridan Press. She has lived in Colorado and Montana but loves her sunny home state of Wyoming best. She joined The Press staff in February 2013.

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