AYDEN, N.C. (WNCT) — Simply Natural Creamery and 4-H are collaborating again this year to give kids an opportunity to get involved with livestock.
Fifty kids from Lenoir, Greene and Pitt County 4-H clubs are attending 4-H Down East Dairy Project sessions each week to learn more about livestock and showmanship. The sessions are held at Simply Natural Creamery using their jersey cows.
“This project is one of our big projects throughout the year that gets involved with so many counties,” said Kaelyn Mohrfeld, livestock extension agent for Lenoir and Greene counties.
“Depending on the year, it’s a six to eight-week project. We want them to be knowledgeable about their calf but we also want them to take home some showmanship skills,” said Mohrfeld.
This week, the kids learned how to shave the animals to prep them for the livestock show on Sept. 16. The calves were also measured and weighed. Two participants are assigned to each calf and are expected to learn about that animal during two afternoon sessions each week. At the livestock show, they’ll show off their skills.
“Most of these people that handle these calves they’re not typical livestock kids. They don’t have this in their backyard,” said Mohrfeld.
Mohrfeld said Simply Natural Creamery has played a key part in allowing 4-H participants to learn more and build community while working together. Pitt County Cooperative Extension Agent Andy Burlingham said that he has been involved with the project since it started. He said Simply Natural presented the idea to 4-H extension with the hope of getting more youth involved in agriculture.
“Its come together really good this year. I think we’re going on 11 years now,” said Burlingham. “In the founding of Simply Natural Creamery, right in the first year or two they came forward to us and said, ‘Hey, we would like to do something with 4-H working with our dairy heifers.'”
It has since encouraged numerous kids to get involved.