Investing in the Future
4-H livestock programs receive $75,000 pledge of support
Story by Leah Barbour • Photos by Kevin Hudson
Whether it’s in time, resources, hard work, or even patience, investment is at the center of showing livestock.
Children and teens invest by raising and training their steers, pigs, lambs, or goats. Adults invest time with these young people as they learn how to care for and present their animals. Families invest resources in the animals to prepare them for market. Local communities invest by sponsoring livestock shows that give young people the chance to present their animals.
Even the state of Mississippi invests: The Department of Agriculture and Commerce partners with the Mississippi State University Extension Service and National FFA Organization to hold the Dixie National Junior Round-Up each February. The state show culminates with the Dixie National Sale of Junior Champions.
Over 52 years of consecutive sales, more than $8 million has been generated for champion animal sales. Young people who invested in showing livestock have been awarded more than $1 million in scholarship funds.
Ted H. Kendall IV, chair of the Dixie National Sale of Junior Champions promotion committee, knows quite a bit about making these investments. He emphasizes that showing livestock teaches responsibility, patience, drive, and focus.
“My daughter, Anna, showed lambs over her whole eligibility, 8 or more years, and her lamb livestock experience gave us a lot of time together that we wouldn’t have had otherwise,” he remembers. “We never made it to the Sale of Champions. It was a goal and we got close, but we made lots of friends all over the state that we wouldn’t have otherwise. It was a great experience for us.”
- 1,593 4-H’ers and FFA members presented
- 45 champion market animals
- 16 hogs—$132,500
- 10 goats—$78,675
- 10 lambs—$85,250
- 9 steers—$93,000
- Total sale—$390,925
- 38 scholarships
- $60,000 total scholarship monies awarded
Now that his daughter is grown, Kendall continues investing in young Mississippians who show livestock. As a member of the sale promotion committee, he oversaw the group’s recent $75,000 charitable gift to Extension’s 4-H Livestock Program.
“We’re here to give to these programs,” he affirms. “There are over 25 people on the committee, and they are businessmen and -women from all over the state. Our mission statement calls us to invest in these livestock programs, promote agriculture, and develop opportunities for these young people.
“For many of these bankers, automobile dealers, medical professionals, and others who get involved on the committee, the Dixie National Sale of Champions offers them their first opportunity to interact with live- stock and understand agriculture in general. Once they see what it’s doing for the young people, it’s easy to ask them to invest.”
To invest in Mississippi 4-H Livestock Programs, contact Will Staggers, MSU Foundation director of development for Extension, at (662) 325-2837 or firstname.lastname@example.org.