2021 Dairy Heifer Program Kicks Off
| Posted in: Community Impact
The future of the agriculture industry lies in the hands of the younger generations. At Threemile Canyon Farms, we value the opportunity to teach kids about the dairy industry and to instill good animal practices into future generations of farmers.
That is exactly why Threemile is involved in the 4-H Dairy Heifer Program. The project came to life when Dr. Jeff Wendler, DVM and Threemile Director of Livestock Operations, was talking with local 4-H clubs and heard there was a strong desire from members to get involved in dairy programs. From there, Jeff worked with his team at Threemile and leaders from the 4-H community to build the Dairy Heifer Program.
The goal of the Dairy Heifer Program is to educate youth and community members about the dairy industry. 4-H participants are taught all different aspects of raising and caring for the animals.
For those 4-H members interested in the program, the selection process begins with an interview with one of the animal care professionals at Threemile. During the interview, applicants must demonstrate they are able to take care of a heifer, have transportation for the animal and commit to completing the program. Next, the Threemile team selects the participants, who are then matched with a heifer.
On January 15, 14 kids, their families and their heifers kicked off the 2021 program. Families were given care instructions, the heifers are weighed and loaded, and then the families and their animal head home to get started.
“Meeting the families, helping kids who might not be able to get an animal on their own, and then teaching them are my favorite parts of the program. Seeing how much the kids enjoy the program makes it all worthwhile.”Dr. Jeff Wendler, DVM and Threemile Director of Livestock Operations
Throughout the program, there are around 20 Threemile team members who support the kids and their families. These professionals offer regular showing and grooming clinics, as well as conduct routine at-home check-ins where the animals and their living environments are evaluated by one of the vets on staff as well as a nutritionist.
As part of the program, participants are also introduced to other aspects of animal care at Threemile and within the dairy industry like nutrition, management and veterinary sciences.
When August rolls around, it is show time at the Morrow County 4-H Fair. After months of preparation, the participants get to show off their animal in the ring. Each heifer is evaluated by a judge and the animals are placed within each class. At the completion of the fair, the kids say their goodbyes and the heifers return to the Threemile herd. Many of those who participate in the program say that they not only had a lot of fun but that they learned more about animal care and the work that is required to keep heifers healthy and happy.
“It was so much fun raising my dairy heifer. Thank you for the experience!”Sierra Simmons, 2020 Participant