Mississippi 4-H team won at national event
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- The first Mississippi team ever to compete in the North American International Livestock Exposition came home with a first-place win in the evaluation division.
The four-member team was an all-star group of 4-H members made up of winners of the premier exhibitors’ competition at the Dixie National Livestock Show in February. The national event was held in Louisville, Kentucky, with teams from 19 states competing Nov. 13-15.
Heather Jennings, Mississippi State University Extension Service agent in Rankin County, and Jennifer Williams, Extension agent in Lincoln County, coached the team. Funding and support came from the MSU Department of Animal and Dairy Science.
“Jennifer and I are very proud of these young people,” Jennings said. “They put in a lot of time and work studying and preparing for this competition. We had never entered this competition before, so we didn’t know what to expect. Now that we have this experience, we plan to be very competitive in the future.”
The competition has both individual and team components. Individuals took a quiz, evaluated hay and wool, and were tested in breed, retail meat cut and equipment identification. The team portion consisted of evaluations of pork carcasses, livestock feeding, breeding, quality assurance and performance marketing.
In addition to the first-place team win in evaluation, team member Will Watts of Lincoln County came in sixth overall in individual evaluation, and McKayla Shelton of Calhoun County was 10th overall in evaluation. Other team members were Rustin Anderson of Jones County and Sarah Thomas Smith of Sunflower County.