76th Greensboro District Junior Dairy ShowBy Yasmine Regester / July 26, 2018
Kids and cows came out to strut their stuff on July 19 and 20 at the 76th Greensboro District Junior Dairy Show.
This year, 85 dairy cows and 44 kids participated in the annual event held at the Guilford County Extension Center on Burlington Road in Greensboro. 4-H camp participants from a six county area got an opportunity to showcase their animals and the agricultural skills they have acquired. All five major groups of dairy cows were represented at this year’s dairy show: Holstein, Guernsey, Jersey, Ayrshire and Brown Swiss.
Through a partnership between N.C. Agricultrual & Technical State University, N.C. State University, and the N.C. Cooperative Extension, programs are focused on agriculture and food, health and nutrition. 4-H youth development engages young future farmers and agricultural specialists in hands-on agricultural learning activities.
Marti Day, an area specialized agent in Dairy Agriculture with the N.C. State Extension, noted that the camp program helps to build the kids’ confidence.
“We have kids come from different backgrounds — kids who are familiar with farm animals and those who aren’t — come together and build friendships with one another,” said Day. “It’s something special to see.”
Participants ages 5-19 spend eight weeks learning how to care for cows and prepare them for shows at the dairy competition which takes place at the conclusion of the program. The cows that the kids show are 12 months old and younger. In the dairy show, the cows are judged on walking, how well groomed they are, and if they meet the standards for a good dairy cow. Participants can show as many as three varieties cows.
Corey Burgess, dairy manager at the A&T Farm works closely with the young 4-H participants and cows at the summer camp.
“For the kids to come in and have no prior experience with farm animals, but are able to develop a relationship with that animal is amazing to watch,” said Burgess, who also enrolled his two children in the summer camp.
Morgan Burgess, a fourth grader at Triad Math and Science Academy, returned to the camp for a second year. She said her favorite part was teaching the cows how to walk for the competition.
“I like teaching them how to walk, behave, and we get to feed them. I would tell other kids not to be scared to try this because cows are gentle animals, they won’t hurt you,” said Morgan.
As the dairy industry has changed over the years and more options are available to students over the summer, camp leaders say they have been working hard to continue to encourage youth to try the program.
Doug Thorne, a camp volunteer through N.C. A&T, explained that the camp not only educates them about agriculture, but also teaches sportsmanship and the value of hard work.
“This is the first time for many of them that they’re working with cows and turning them into show animals,” said Thorne. “This is a wonderful opportunity for them to be exposed to new experiences that will undoubtedly shape their futures.”