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To Assay State
(ponlinued from Pag* At)
system, what benefits parents see
from showing. It covets a lot of
There are two survey forms, one
for parents and one for the youth.
There are 38 questions for the
parents (one parental response pa
family or individual, if one child),
and 36 questipns for youth.
Some of the questions ask for
basic information, such as name,
breed shown, number of animals,
number of shows, etc. A couple of
questions allow for short written
Most of the questions, however,
are multiple-choice, designed to be
used for program evaluation.
The results of the survey are to
compiled and tabulated. The find-
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ings are to be repented to the state
Junior Dairy Show Advisory Com
mittee during its meeting in
Members of the committee are
elected representatives from each
The state youth dairy program is
offered and organized coopera
tively by Penn State University’s
College of Agricultural Sciences
Extension and Outreach (which
includes 4-H, an Extension-run
program), and FFA. Those with
FFA are essentially its local club
organization leaders, primarily
high school vocational agriculture
and agricultural sciences
Because of the changing nature
of the dairy industry, the changing
Of Member, Parental Concerns
Youth Dairy Show Program
nature of people's lives and sche
dules, there have been some
changes to the program imple
mented over the past decade.
For a number of years now, the
state dairy show, held annually at
the state Farm Show Building
Complex in Harrisburg in conjunc
tion with the Pennsylvania All-
American Dairy Show, has com
bined 4-H and FFA members in
competition. (This year, the state
show is to be held Sept. 21.)
Previously, the 4-H and FFA
state shows were separate.
As the number of dairy-focused
members in each of the two youth
organizations has declined over
the years, and the difference in
competitive advantage of FFA
members over 4-H disappeared.
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Lancaster Farming, Saturday, September 5, 1999-A29
the state show eliminated member
Three years ago, the district
shows were likewise combined.
Additionally, participation in a
distreit show was opened up to any
FFA or 4-H member in the state.
Previously the district shows were
restricted to 4-H and FFA mem
bers in the counties included in the
The opening up of the district
shows was done for several
Among them was the fact that
some of the FFA-only shows were
poorly attended, but would require
as much support and organization
al effort as a well-attended 4-H
show at the same place.
It was also done because of
scheduling conflicts for exhibitors,
such as having to work a summer
job for college, having to start col
lege, being on the road showing at
county fairs and breed organiza
tion competitions, involvement in
sports programs, and in some
cases, going on family vacations.
Despite the diminishing number
of youth directly involved with
raising dairy cattle, following the
decline of the number of family
dairy farm operations, the state
youth dairy show has continued to
“I think (the changes made to
date) had many positive effects,”
He said that, from the standpoint
of exhibitors, the changes allow
them a great amount of flexibility
in attending a district show.
For example, they can register an animal for a
particular show early in the season, but if the ani
mal should become ill close to that show, they
can drop the animal out of that show, get the ani
mal's health regained, and still attend a district
show to qualify for the state show.
The changes have also eliminated some of the
poorly attended shows, and evened out participa
tion among all district shows, Olvcr said.
For local 4-H and FFA organizers it has added
some work, however.
Different counties have different prerequis
ites, and 4-H and FFA leaders in those counties
with strict restrictions have to ensure that their
youth fulfill the state requirement for
showing that each member be "in good
“So, if (the youth) don’t follow all the county
rules, they are not a member in good standing,”
That means the local leaders must keep track
of the youth from their area, no matter where the
youth end up attending a district show.
In order to qualify an animal to show at a dis
trict and state show, the animal must receive a
“blue” ribbon from a judge.
The judge’s awarding of a blue ribbon indi
cates that the animal is of sufficient quality so as
to be competitive at a higher level.
Some counties also have additional prerequis
ite restrictions on its youth’s qualifications to
participate in the state show, such as having to
attend the county 4-H roundup, local show, or
attend a certain percentage of club meetings.
Some have suggested that the growth in parti
cipation at the slate show which means more
blue ribbons being awarded at county and district
levels is due to the increase in quality of dairy
animals available to youth, through breed orga
nization improvement and artificial insemina
Others have suggested that more youth are
involved because there arc more family farms
depending on the sale of breeding stock in addi
tion to milk, and the honors bestowed animals at
any and all shows can be used in the promotion of
a breeding line of cattle.
Whatever the reason, the state show last year
saw 1,100 animals entered (representing six
breeds), and more than 800 exhibited.
That makes it one of the largest state dairy
youth shows in the nation.
Olver said this week that it appears, even with
several district shows to go, that this year’s state
show may well exceed last year’s. It may well be
the nation’s largest youth dairy showing.
For those suspicious of surveys, it is not being
done in any attempt to curb participation at the
state show or to provide statistical support to
foward a personal agenda.
Rather, it is only being done to guage the level
of satisfaction and comfort the existing program
and system offers youth exhibitors and their
Olver said other states have different systems
for establishing pre-qualifications for state
shows ranging from going directly from the
county level to the state level without a district
show, or each county being assigned a particular
quota it can send to the state.
He said that the advisoiy committee is com
mitted to the district system.
“We’ve had good response to the survey,”
Olver said. “It’s been vciy gratifying that parents
and exhibitors have taken the time to fill them