Young people, ages 9 to 19, have until Tuesday to register for the 4-H market animal program. Market animals include steers, swine, lambs and goats. The deadline to register is 5 p.m., Tuesday, Jan. 20.
It is not necessary to have an animal at the time of registration. In fact, 4-H Youth Development Agent Lani Hall recommends registering for the program even if you are undecided.
“Enroll and learn more about it, you can change your mind. But you cannot sign up any later than Jan. 20,” she said.
Young people participating in the market steer program must have their animal by March 1 and tend to it until the Northern Gila County Fair. Youngsters in the swine, goat and lamb programs must have their animal by June 1 and care for it up through the fair in September.
Hall said so far about 15 young people have signed up to participate in the 4-H market animal program.
She said for the swine, goat and lamb program the cost is around $150 for an animal, plus around $200 or so for food. “It generally doesn’t cost any more than $400 to raise a swine, goat or lamb,” she said.
The cost for a steer is more, depending on the quality of the animal, its feed and supplies.
Hall said if the cost of the program is a concern, young people can get assistance from the United States Department of Agriculture with low interest loans. She said the loans are not based on the credit rating of the parents, but is a way for young people to begin to build a credit history and learn financial management. Hall suggested youngsters get registered and then investigate financing their animal. The USDA loan program has a quick turnaround time, too.
If needed, Hall said she could also make boarding arrangements for market animals being raised by youngsters who live where they cannot have livestock.
The market program is much like other 4-H projects, it requires participants to give demonstrations, learn how to judge projects, attend meetings and complete a record book.
“In 4-H young people learn life skills that include generosity, independence, mastery and belonging,” Hall said.
The market animal program is contained within a livestock group project led by Heidi Kueny, Hall said. Mike Burket leads the market swine project.
She said she has been fortunate in getting leaders for her program in Northern Gila County, but there is always a need for project leaders. Most surprising is the fact that it is hard to come by leaders for the cooking and sewing project clubs.
Registration in all other 4-H projects takes place throughout the year, only the market animal project has a registration deadline, she said.
“Not many women today (who would have children in 4-H) are available to lead the projects because they are working outside the home,” Hall said.
The “job” requirements for leadership are very flexible and there are a tremendous variety of opportunities, she said. The projects can represent all walks of life and any interest.
“4-H has been around for more than 100 years and is the second most positively recognized program after Red Cross,” Hall said.
The program’s themes are “Learn by Doing” and “Make the Best Better,” Hall said.
To register for the market animal program, get forms at http://ag.arizona.edu/4-H/forms or get one from the extension office at 107 W. Frontier St., Suite B, Payson.
To contact Hall for more information, call her at (928) 595-0655 or e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org. More details about 4-H can be found at http://ag.arizona.edu/4-H/.