Developed by Dr. Mario A. Villarino, County Extension Agent for Agriculture and Natural Resources Hopkins County, Texas
Relevance: 4-H Agriculture and Natural Resources projects are an important component of the county 4-H program in Texas. Currently, sixty three percent of Texas 4-H members are enrolled in a livestock project. These projects provide youth with subject matter education, as well as valuable learning experiences, character education and leadership skills. Adult volunteer engagement is critical to administer the program and expand outreach. The development of youth volunteers as ambassadors for agriculture and natural resources will educate and recruit other youth to the project. Today youth are further removed from farming. Many do not understand the importance of agriculture and how it impacts their daily lives. This plan included a Science of Agriculture (Ag Literacy/Awareness) program component to target elementary students (grades 4) and teachers in Hopkins County and provides the following educational components: Educational support materials for Science of Agriculture including Ag Day/Ag Fair field trip and information about 4-H opportunities for the participants and parents. Water conservation/protection awareness will be also included. Hopkins County will utilize 4-H Livestock Project Coalitions to provide direction and support for the programs and events conducted. The programs and events provided support unities for 4-Hers to develop or improve their leadership skills and other life skills. Volunteer recruitment, training, and utilization will be an important component of the plan. This plan involved 200 youth and 60 volunteers in projects and 900 in curriculum enrichment component in Ag/NR 4-H projects.
Response: 12 Veterinary Science Sessions (Monthly) (12 participants), 2 State Heifer Validation, NETLA Steer Validation, 6 Coalition Meetings, NETLA Swine Validation (Nov), District Dairy Judging Contest (Jan), District Livestock Judging (April), HC 4-H Round Up (36 participants), NETLA project visits (36), NETLA Junior Livestock Show (Feb)(330 exhibitors), Ag in the Classroom (Oct)( 900 youth, 80 adults), Goat Clipping Clinic (Feb) (4 youth),Goat and Lamb Showmanship Clinic (10 youth), Shot Gun District Competition (May) (110 youth), Poultry Clinic (Nov) (25 youth), NETLA Dairy Show (June) (12 youth).
Educational programs of the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service are open to all people without regard to race, color, sex, religion, national origin, age, disability, genetic information, or veteran status. The Texas A&M University System, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the County Commissioners Courts of Texas Cooperating
Results: A specific pre and post test was conducted in a statistically significant subsample (50 students) in a randomly selected 4th grade school class in Hopkins County, with post test results as follows:
- 63% (40/64) indicated a better understanding of the connection between agriculture and health.
- 84% (53/63) have a better understanding of the path food takes to get to their plate.
- 63% (40/64) have a better understanding of the importance and nutritional values of food
- 77% (49/64) have a better understanding of the way farmers and ranchers produce the food they eat.
- 61% (39/64) have a better understanding of the value of agriculture and how it is important in life.
- 83% (52/63) have a better understanding of the importance of eating a healthy diet and a variety of food.
Impact: Agriculture and Natural Resource Projects in Texas remained a cornerstone for youth programs in 4-H. Hopkins County is no exception. More than 50 livestock projects and numerous public speaking and educational presentations were based on agriculture and natural resources. The Hopkins County Extension Office would like to recognize the multiple organizations supporting curriculum enrichment experiences and Hopkins Rains Farm Bureau for their support, leadership and commitment to our youth in Hopkins County during the 2018 Ag in the Classroom.