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248 Youth & Small Holder Sheep Goats & Swine Health & Food Safety Specialist


Associated Documents


This proposal has been formally submitted for the 2012 cycle.



This position reinforces the belief that 4-H is an animal program, not a YD program. If anything, we should be discontinuing our fair affiliation and animal emphasis. To devote a specialist position to perpetuating "old 4-H" is not a good use of UC ANR funds.
Posted Jun 4, 2012 11:40 AM by Shelley Murdock
As a response to the previous comment and in pointing out the need for this position, the specialist in this position would develop new project objectives and curricula designed to more closely parallel emerging farm practices and initiatives, including sustainable systems, niche markets, "new" paradigms for recognizing project achievement than current "youth competition culture" (which may encourage practices which do not reflect of contemporary lamb/livestock husbandry practices)- and also to connect youth leaders and project members with the diversity of small ruminant production systems and outputs in the small and large farm/range setting. This is not meant to take away from traditional competition, which fosters achievement and leadership when done well, but there is a compelling need to develop new small ruminant and swine project work which addresses contemporary issues in animal agriculture while teaching youth (and their leaders) the physiology, nutrition, husbandry/welfare, health management of these species and the economical production of wholesome foods/fiber. Youth who complete these livestock projects should ultimately become more informed consumers about issues in food safety, more educated community members in the prevention of disease in man and animals and should become more engaged citizens in addressing the need to produce safe and affordable food while maintaining a healthy planet.

Youth livestock projects provide unparalleled opportunity for youth to develop respect for life and appreciate the cycle of life while developing life-skills in interpersonal interaction, small business planning knowledge and acquiring biological science literacy through the applied physiology and nutrition which are core to livestock care. Sheep, goats and swine remain some of the best animals for teaching youth the responsibility of animal care and learning principles of responsible animal stewardship and production of safe and wholesome foods. Their relatively small size/space required, ease of handling, short generation time and relatively modest financial investment needed to start and maintain a project make them an ideal projects for youth to experience the life cycles and production of safe/wholesome food/fiber in large livestock. Niche markets for value-added specialty food and fiber products from these species (small ruminants in particular) continue to expand in California, making development of new project emphasis with these species timely and relevent.

This specialist should be charged with statewide leadership for addressing ethics and animal health issues in the care and competition of these livestock and serve as a statewide resource to coordinate educational efforts, assessment of state/regional/local needs and to be a driver of change where needed - or to reinforce and reward of strong core values where demonstrated – both within the 4-H program and to serve as a catalyst to coordinate addressing these issues across all youth programs where common needs exist.
Posted Jun 28, 2012 8:26 PM by Joan Rowe
I think the word "Youth" should be dropped from the title and leave it as "Small Holder Sheep, Goats & Swine Health & Food Safety Specialist". That being said, I would like to see all of the future specialists have a youth development component built into their responsibilities when they are recruited and hired. That way would we have everything from nutrition to marine science specialists supporting the 4-H program as some of the other states do.
Posted Jul 5, 2012 10:46 AM by John Borba
This specialist position addresses the long-standing issue of ethics in youth programs as well as the various—and at times unique—needs of small-holders. I was in 4-H for seven years, serving six years as a club officer (youth leadership development) while enrolled in animal-related projects; those projects (including Rate-of-Gain lambs and veterinary science) funded nearly a third of my undergraduate education at UC Davis and underpinned my subsequent graduate degree. Those degrees are crucial to my public policy work at the state, national, and international levels involving such topics as agro-terrorism (e.g., protecting the US food supply from acts of terrorism), animal health (e.g., foreign animal disease and zoonotic considerations), animal welfare (e.g., production practices such as tail docking and on-farm euthanasia), agricultural research, and food safety (e.g., antibiotic resistance in humans vis-à-vis use of pharmaceuticals in food animals). If this specialist position were approved and filled, I immediately would tap the individual as a key subject matter expert in myriad capacities including research, policy analysis, education (including collaborative extension efforts), and public outreach. The specialist would be beneficial to my professional roles with such groups as the U.S. Animal Health Association, the National Institute for Animal Agriculture, and UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine's Center for Food Animal Health.
Posted Jul 30, 2012 5:13 PM by Ria de Grassi, Director, Livestock, Animal Health and Welfare, Federal Policy Division, California Farm Bureau Federation

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