Wednesday, September 5, 2007

4H program misunderstood

I am writing this in response to a letter written by Marilyn Martin in the Aug. 22 edition of the Idaho Mountain Express. Ms. Martin, I am very aware that you do not have a complete understanding of the overall 4-H program. The 4-H program is much larger than just market animal projects. The 4-H program includes 17 individual programs which envelope over 60 project areas. Many of these projects have nothing to do with market animals¾examples are cooking, sewing, Jr. Master gardening and scrapbooking.

Youth enrolled in the market animal project have a full understanding of the whole project. This includes the sale of a high-quality animal that will eventually end up slaughtered for human consumption. Thanks are owed to dedicated 4-H leaders and parents who have donated many hours to educate these young individuals in the proper humane care of the livestock species they have chosen to raise. Each year 4-H livestock members attend day camps that introduce them to the latest technology and safe and humane production practices for their chosen livestock specie.

Many 4-H youth enrolled in the market animal program use the accumulated money earned over their 4-H career to pay for a college education. Most of these young people have a love for animals and continue their education in animal husbandry, and this I am very thankful for. You and other consumers can rest assured that because of the 4-H experience these young people have had, we will continue to have high-quality meat products available to us in grocery stores and restaurants.

Ron Thaemert

University of Idaho Blaine County Extension educator

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