Thursday, November 29, 2012

A New 4-H Year Begins

As JM's first 4-H year came to a close with the county 4-H banquet, a new 4-H year begins to take shape.  JM really enjoyed his first year in 4-H.  He learned a lot about feeding and caring for his cattle, and his record book taught him about keeping good records about the care of those animals.  JM was fortunate enough to get a First Year Record Book award for his hard work.

The new 4-H year began last Saturday with the weigh-in of his Pen of Four calves.  We take 4 of our home raised calves and separate them from the other feeder cattle.  These four calves are fed and cared for by JM and his dad.  They are kept separate since their daily feed needs to be weighed and recorded as well as their health records.  JM submits weekly feed sheets to the county extension office.  They also have the opportunity to learn about what it takes to make the project profitable.  They give the calves a value at weigh in, and the kids can choose to lock in a price on the Chicago Board of Trade that they will get when the cattle are fat.  They can also choose to lock in their feed costs and use options on the Board of Trade to help with the profitability of the project.

The Advanced Cattle Feeder project is an excellent learning tool for the kids.  It gives them an appreciation for the costs that go into all aspects of the project, and they learn that it is not always a money making project.