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September 24, 2021

12/20/2015 1:22:00 PM
UW-Extension team receives national recognition
Brooke Bechen
Reporter/News and Features

When first time families and youth interested in exhibiting animals through 4-H in the county have questions, they usually give Iowa County 4-H Youth Development Agent Debra Ivey a call. She can guide them through many of the processes, but now, thanks to the collaboration of Ivey and three others with UW-Extension, those families have another resource at their disposal.
Bernie O'Rourke, Extension Youth Livestock Specialist, UW-Madison; Alissa Grenawalt, Extension Outreach Specialist, UW-Madison; Pam Hobson, Ag/Animal Science Specialist, Wisconsin 4-H Youth Development; and Ivey were all recognized regionally, at the state level and nationally this year for a collaborative project that educates first time families on the skills, values and basic information surrounding the 4-H Livestock Project.
They were recognized for earning the Excellence in Animal Science award for their project at the 2015 National Association of Extension 4-H Agents Conference in Portland, Oregon, where nearly 1,100 4-H youth development professionals from across the nation gathered to learn, exchange ideas and promote cooperation among all Extension personnel.
The project the team worked together to create was a series of Livestock Learning Webinar Powerpoint slides, accessible online at
"Exhibitors are often many generations removed from the farm and these new families have questions," Ivey said. "The slides provide basic information for people so they know more about their 4-H project."
The series of Powerpoint slides walk new families through several areas of the Livestock Project, including a general overview, and the areas of beef, swine, sheep and meat goats. While the overview presentation includes information on the general value of the project, life skills that young people learn and opportunities available that extend beyond the Livestock Project, presentations on the four livestock areas (beef, swine, sheep and meat goats) provide basic information on health and care, sportsmanship, how to be safe around the animal and how to produce a quality end product - the carcass.
"Enrollment in the Livestock Project has skyrocketed over the years," Ivey said. "And there's more to the project than just showing."
When Ivey started working for UW-Extention 16 years ago, dairy was one of the top categories when it came to 4-H projects. Now swine is ahead of dairy, with 4,700 youth showing swine in the state last year compared to 3,800 in dairy and 3,200 in beef. Photography remained the top project, with over 10,000 youth submitting projects in that area.
While Ivey, O'Rourke, Grenawalt and Hobson all contributed to the slides and presentations, Ivey said she enjoyed working on the general overview the most.
"I like the research and explaining the skills," she said. "It's those skills that young people say they learn and then come back and apply in their own communities."
Because the webinar series was completed in 2014, the team plans to keep the resource available for anyone interested in learning more about the Livestock Project. They hope to update the slides in 2016 and want to add new webinars as well, Ivey said.
"The idea that the four of us worked together speaks to how the UW-Extension works," she continued. "The collaboration really helped because we each brought our own expertise to the project."

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