Steele County launches new dairy recognition program
By Janet Kubat Willette
Date Modified: 08/27/2012 2:27 PM
OWATONNA, Minn. – Steele County will launch a new dairy project recognition program at the 2012 Steele County Free Fair.
The Dairy Project Development Committee has been busy putting the finishing touches on the Steele County 4-H Dairy Stars Award program. The first awards will be given out Aug. 18 during the District Holstein Show at the fair.
The program is modeled after the Dairy Showcase at the Minnesota State Fair, said Julie Mussman, a member of the Dairy Project Development Committee. The award is meant to recognize project development in the 4-H dairy project. Leadership and mentorship, both inside and outside 4-H, plus 4-H involvement, activities and accomplishments will be considered.
Awards will be given out in junior and senior age brackets. Award amounts for juniors, those in grades three through eight, is $75 for first place, $50 for second place and $25 for third place. Awards for seniors, those in grades 9 through 13, range from $100 for fifth place to $500 for first
place. Each award increases by $100.
In order to qualify for the award, a young person must be a Steele County 4-H'er who shows at least one dairy animal at the Steele County 4-H Dairy Show.
Applications were submitted prior to the start of the fair and evaluated by a panel of judges, Mussman said. They looked at criteria including: 4-H experience, whether or not the 4-H'er has participated in dairy judging or quiz bowl, whether the 4-H'er is active on the project development
committee, offices held within their 4-H club and their years in 4-H.
Results from the fair, such as if the person ran for or earned showmanship, will also be considered. Successful applicants must meet the requirements necessary in order to qualify for a state fair trip – excluding age.
Twelve applications were received this year – six each in the junior and senior category - and Mussman is optimistic that number will grow as more youth learn about the new program.
"We're pretty excited about this project," Mussman said. She hopes the opportunity to earn an additional award beyond the ribbon premium encourages more youth to consider participating in the dairy project.
The additional award was needed because those in the dairy project can't participate in the auction as those who show in other livestock species can.
Princess Kay Mary Zahurones will help kick off the program in Steele County. The District Holstein Show and Dairy Stars award presentation will be her 100th event and her last appearance before the Princess Kay selection of 2012.
Brad Rugg, fairs and animal science programs director for the Extension Center for Youth Development, will emcee the program. Rugg was involved in starting the Dairy Showcase at the state fair. The program is expected to begin around 7:30 p.m. Saturday.
The awards are funded through private contributions and the Steele County ADA.
Members of the Dairy Project Development Committee are Mussman, Carol Sue Ahlborn, Michelle Ulen and students Kelsey Mussman, Travis Thamert and Taylor Jirousek. Melissa Mussman represents Extension on the committee.