Extension Livestock Clinic offers hands-on skills for youth new to show ring

Aside from the practicality of raising animals for income or food, there’s also the thrill of stepping into the show ring with a prized animal and winning accolades.

The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture will host a free Livestock 101 Clinic on July 15 for youth interested in learning to show cattle, sheep, market goats, dairy goats, sheep, swine, rabbits and poultry. The clinic will take place 8 a.m to 5 p.m. at the Drew County Fairgrounds, AR-35 East in Monticello. Registration is due by June 30 and available at https://bit.ly/livestock-clinic.

Youth will learn the basics of prepping their animal for show competition and get hands-on help with showing their respective species and tack identification. The event also includes lunch for participants and a mock showmanship. Overnight stalling for livestock and hotel information is also available for participants who will be commuting to southeast Arkansas for the event.

“This is mainly a beginners’ clinic,” Drew County Extension intern Rayvin Callaway said. “There will be some advanced material, but most everything will be geared toward kids new to the show ring.”

Callaway, 21, who is double majoring in animal science and plant and soil science at the University of Arkansas at Monticello grew up showing livestock. She organized the livestock clinic last summer when she interned with the Bradley County Extension Office. This summer, she is interning with Drew County Extension, and she knew she wanted to offer the clinic again.

“Showing livestock teaches responsibility, confidence, team building, the importance of researching their specific animal and so much more,” Callaway said.

New this year is a livestock clinic for parents, who will learn about feed and feedstuffs as well as vaccinations and health for each species.

Some of the speakers include:

• Rocky Lindsey, associate professor of animal sciences, College of Forestry, Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of Arkansas Monticello;

• Les Walz, Agriculture and Natural Resources educator for livestock and forages, Division of Agriculture;

• Dr. Maribel Nelson, DVM, associate professor of animal sciences, College of Forestry, Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of Arkansas Monticello;

• Dan Quadros, extension small ruminants specialist, Division of Agriculture;

• Maggie Justice, assistant professor and extension beef cattle specialist, Division of Agriculture;

• Anthony Rodriguez, 4-H volunteer; and 

• Frankie Harper, show poultry producer and judge.

Attendees do not have to be members of Arkansas 4-H, but information about 4-H opportunities and registration will be offered.

Many Arkansas 4-H members are currently involved in animal science-related projects, including horse and equine programs, livestock, veterinary sciences, poultry science, rabbits, sheep and goats, swine, and meat judging and identification. Many choose to compete in the show arena.

“They get their showmanship skills from their 4-H experience,” said Debbie Nistler, assistant vice president for 4-H & Youth Development with the Division of Agriculture. “Showmanship evaluates the skills of the youth in the ring—how they present the animal, how they fit it. It is the part of the livestock exhibition process that is all about youth skills. They don’t need an expensive animal. They just need to develop the skills.”

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For more information about the clinic, call Rayvin Callaway at 870-308-1820.