September 2005
4-H Extension Corner

Alabama 4-H project hatches superstar

by James Shropshire

  Annabelle, a Rhode Island Red hen, is launching her acting career with Subway™’s national ad campaign for their new Chicken Cordon Blue Sandwich. Amber Burns, 17, of Clanton, is Annabelle’s proud owner.
Howdy! The end of summer has been a tremendous time for Alabama 4-H and Alabama’s young people. We have held a wide array of youth livestock events, events for children of the National Guard and Reserves, and a whole host of other programs.

Montgomery was the site of two major horse events this past month. We hosted the State 4-H Horse Show with 300 4-Hers and the Southeast 4-H Horse Show with 500 young people from throughout the southern United States. What a great nine days for the equine world! Alabama youth made a large splash in the total placings throughout the competition.

How fast the summer passed! School is back in gear, and we parents have been busy buying school supplies.

A new year starts with new hopes and with much anxiety for kids and parents. It’s tougher than ever to be a kid, so please remember to be supportive and encouraging for your kids.

Our 4-H year is starting with many in-class and after-school programs. We are also fortunate to have special interest clubs, directed by a great group of caring volunteers. Do you have a special interest or hobby? Maybe you are interested in public speaking, golf or even raising emus. Through 4-H, you can help start an interest club and be a mentor to a group of kids in your community. Our future is in our children’s hands, help us prepare them!

We do have a new national super star from Alabama–Annabelle! She happens to be a 4-H project that is on SubwayTM’s national ad campaign. The ad will be introducing a new Chicken Cordon Blue Sandwich. Annabelle is a Rhode Island Red hen that belongs to Amber Burns, 17, from Clanton.

The Coosa County Forestry Team won the state Senior Forestry Competition and went on to win first place in the National Competition. The Forestry Team (from left to right) is Roger Vines (CEC and Team Coach), Anna Vines, Elijah Phillips, Samuel Cordner, Justin Glover and Doug McConnell (County Forester and Assistant Coach). Sam Cordner placed 1st in overall Individual High Score and Anna Vines placed 2nd.  
I apologize for not being able to provide a list of our State 4-H Contest winners, but a certain bad boy, hurricane Dennis, showed up on the days we were to have the competitions. I’ll list State winners for you next month.

Congratulations to Coosa County – again! Roger Vines and company won both the Senior Forestry and Wildlife Competitions here in Alabama and then went on to Nationals and "showed out." The Forestry team was number one in the nation, and the Wildlife team was number two. What a great experience for the youth of Coosa!! They make all of Alabama proud.
Leading With Character

Last month, I began a series of observations on the "Six Pillars of Character: Trustworthiness, Respect, Responsibility, Fairness, Caring, and Citizenship." Showing Character through Alabama 4-H Animal Science Projects will give us some ideas how livestock can develop young men and women.

  The Coosa County Wildlife Team won the state Senior Wildlife Competition and went on to win second in the National Competition. The Wildlife Team (from left to right) is Joel Glover (Wildlife Biologist and Assistant Coach), Jimmy Mitchell, Justin Glover, James Mooney, Carey Phillips, Roger Vines (CEC and Team Coach). Carey Phillips placed 7th overall for individual and Justin Glover placed 10th.

How would you define or describe respect? What does it mean to you? How is respect something that you learn and practice through your Alabama 4-H livestock projects?

One definition of respect is showing courtesy and proper treatment of people and things. The things should include your 4-H animals. Take a moment to answer the following questions:

1. Do you handle your animals properly and treat them humanely?

2. Do you realize that your 4-H animals depend on you for daily feed, water, and care?

3. Do you listen to and follow the advice of advisors and professionals?

4. Do you believe that consumers and other people not involved in livestock production should expect you to take proper care of your animals?

If you answered yes to these questions, you are practicing the Character Pillar of Respect. Respect should be shown to your animals, to other 4-H members, to your county extension staff and to the public, just to name a few.

When you handle your animals properly, treat them humanely, and take care of them daily, you are showing respect for the animals. Handling animals properly will help prevent stress on both you and your animals and will reduce injuries to both you and the animals. You will need both patience and skill to handle animals. However, the rewards for proper handling include less time spent on tasks, fewer injuries to yourself and the animals, and a high quality end product for consumers.

Treating animals humanely means treating animals with consideration for their comfort and discomfort. For example, providing animals with protection from wind and snow and giving them additional dry bedding during a storm would show that you were concerned about the animals’ comfort and were treating them humanely.

Although nearly all livestock producers and 4-H members treat their animals humanely, it is the occasional case of inhumane treatment that can give the public a very negative impression of livestock producers. We must always treat our own animals humanely and be sure that others are also treating their animals humanely. An example of inhumane treatment would be neglecting to feed and water your animals. Daily feeding and watering are part of the proper care and respect you show your animals. What might happen if your animals had nothing to eat or drink for two days?

Upcoming 4-H Events:

September 7-9 • Huntsville
Alabama Association of
Extension 4-H Agents

September 10 • Wetumpka
Elmore County Livestock Show
No matter how long you’ve been working with livestock, there is always something more you can learn. If a trusted advisor, educator or professional offers you advice, you should show respect for that person and listen to what he or she has to say. Chances are they’ve learned from past experience and just want to help you.

Finally, we’ll talk about the last question - should consumers expect you to take proper care of your animals?

Consumers do have the right to expect that of you. Every livestock owner has the responsibility to take proper care of their animals and by doing so they show respect for the livestock and for the many thousands of people who know very little about livestock. If all livestock producers show respect to the public, the public will be more likely to respect our ways of handling and caring for livestock. Showing respect for the public will help build a positive image of 4-H and the livestock industry!

Now some questions for you to think about:

What are some ways you can show respect to other 4-H members and to your county extension staff?

Suppose that two days before the Market Hog Show, your best show pig weighs 30 pounds more than the maximum weight. You would have to severely restrict your pig’s feed and water or use drugs to get him under the maximum weight. What would you do? How does respect and humane treatment apply to your decision?

What would you do if you saw someone beating his or her lamb so that it would handle better and have a better chance of winning a show? What would the public think if they saw this?

If you have your cattle at a show and a member of the public who knows nothing about cattle stopped to ask you a lot of questions about your cattle, how would you respond? What impression would this leave with that person?

I hope that this article has informed you and given you some food for thought. Until next time!

For more info on the dates or events: or go to

James Shropshire is the Alabama 4-H Regional Extension Agent: 4-H & Youth Development for the Central Alabama Region.