Texas Sheep and Goat Expo youth component gearing up with hands-on learning

 

Instructors: Skillathon competitors, young producers to benefit

Writer: Steve Byrns, 325-653-4576, s-byrns@tamu.edu

Contact: Marty Vahlenkamp, 325-365-2219, marty.vahlenkamp@ag.tamu.edu

SAN ANGELO – Hands-on instruction will be the capstone for this year’s Texas Sheep and Goat Expo Youth Program sponsored by the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, set for 8:30 a.m. Aug. 18 in the Auto Wrangler Sale Pavilion located on the San Angelo Fairgrounds, organizers said.

Marty Vahlenkamp, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service agent in Runnels County and a program coordinator, said the program will end after lunch with a skillathon-style contest.

4-H and FFA youth participate in the 2017 Texas Sheep and Goat Expo Youth Program. This year’s event is set for Aug. 18 in San Angelo. (Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service photo by Steve Byrns)

“The value of this training stems directly from the hands-on knowledge youth participants will receive to give them more insight into what goes into production agriculture in the sheep and goat industry,” Vahlenkamp said.

The youth program is part of the Texas Sheep and Goat Expo set Aug. 17 and 18 in the First Community Spur Arena adjacent to the pavilion. The Texas Sheep and Goat Expo, now in its fourth year, is billed as the industry’s largest, most comprehensive educational event in Texas. Aside from the youth component, the expo features a host of topics addressing wool sheep, hair sheep, meat goats, club lambs and Angora goats.

“This is only the second time we’ve offered the youth program, but we are very excited about this year’s event based on the great turnout and positive comments stemming from last year’s event,” Vahlenkamp said. https://youtu.be/cdOWoe_lq5k

“Our goal is to help youth with their 4-H and FFA projects by providing them with some positive animal husbandry practices in terms of taking care of their animals,” Vahlenkamp said. “We will take that a step farther as we help them prepare for competition in the Sheep Skillathon project and competitions the San Antonio Livestock Exposition and State Fair of Texas have to offer.”

Vahlenkamp said the Sheep Skillathon is a knowledge-based competition for 4-H and FFA youth, which is meant to add to their educational experience by incorporating production and industry perspectives.

“This training, the only one of its kind at this level, will allow our young participants to be very competitive as much of the information provided is meant to prepare them for those contests.”

Vahlenkamp said the San Antonio Exposition awards a $10,000 scholarship to the winner of their contest.

“So there’s levels of benefit for every youth depending on what their particular focus is,” he said. “If they are raising a small flock of sheep or goats, this training is going to help them there. If they are exhibitors showing at their county show and/or at one or more of the major stock shows, it’s going to help them there. And finally, if they plan to compete in the Sheep Skillathon, it’s really going to help them there.”

Vahlenkamp will be joined by instructors Dr. Shawn Ramsey, Texas A&M University professor of sheep and goat husbandry, College Station, and Chad Coburn, AgriLife Extension agent in Sterling County.

Early registration by Aug. 14 for the Texas Sheep and Goat Expo is $40 for adults. Student registration is $15 per day. Late registration after Aug. 16 is $60.

With the school year winding down, organizers urge parents to start their fall calendars with this event, which they said is purposely scheduled on a Saturday just prior to the start of the new school year.  

To register and for more information, contact Vahlenkamp at 325-365-2219, marty.vahlenkamp@ag.tamu.edu .

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