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Nebraska Ag News Headlines
Rural and City Youth Increasingly Interested in Showing Livestock, Mandatory Certification Required
Nebraska Ag Connection - 03/28/2023

With anticipation mounting for the upcoming season of showing livestock in 4-H or FFA, the number of kids interested in showing animals has increased, and there’s been a surge in enthusiasm from teens and younger children who live ‘in town;’ not just rural students participating in Nebraska Extension’s livestock program. Since every young person who shows livestock must be certified in the ‘Youth for the Quality Care of Animals’ (YQCA) training, many counties in Nebraska are offering these 4-H livestock programs now through May.

The topics rotate each year, and this year Nebraska Extension is focusing on animal well-being, food safety and life skills, which is set up by YQCA’s national governing board.

“A quality assurance training has always been required. YQCA, which launched in March 2017, is the current training for participation in livestock projects. We’ve always had someone from Nebraska on the YQCA board of directors,” said Ashley Benes, statewide 4-H youth development coordinator and YQCA state contact.

The training takes the ownership to a different level, as children take on the role of a livestock producer and learn about the food they’re producing and what consumers purchase.

“The more we can educate young people and have them be a part of that whole food system, and what that means for consumers is important; especially for them to tell their story. We talk about: why did you decide to get involved in this livestock program, what life skills are you gaining, and what does it mean to you that your animal is part of the food system,” said Rhonda Herrick, Nebraska extension educator for 4-H youth development in Kearney and Franklin counties.

They also teach what to tell people, when they don’t understand what it means to be a livestock producer.


The training is required every year to show any animals.

“I know that I wasn’t initially excited to do it again, but it’s a great program. Overall, I think doing this really helps kids understand the industry and it’s not the same every year, so it’s not so repetitive,” said Sophia Lentfer, education director for Nebraska Pork Producers Association.

Lola Loschen, a junior in high school and 4-H’er in Franklin, Neb., has been showing her family’s registered Angus cattle since she was 10 years old.

“I get to be around my favorite climate — animals — and it gives me an experience I can use for the rest of my life. We have a registered Angus herd, and having been raised around a ranch all my life, it’s something I’m very comfortable with,” Loschen said. “I do the training every year — they require that,” she added.


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