April 9, 2020 | By: Dana Anderson

HARRODSBURG, Ky., — Organizers of the annual Dustin Worthington “I Love Cows” Memorial Contest have announced 10 winners of the statewide competition. The contest, which is open to all Kentucky FFA and 4-H members interested in the cattle industry, awards a heifer to each winner.

The award was established in 2000 after the death of Dustin Worthington, a Mercer County teen who was involved in the cattle industry. Worthington was killed along with his friend Dale Goodpaster in an automobile accident on April 4, 2000 near the community of Mayo in Mercer County.  In 2000, his parents set up the Dustin Worthington Memorial Fund and gave away two registered beef heifers in his name. To date, 298 animals have been awarded to 4-H/FFA youth across the state.

The program encourages but does not require youth to participate in a “chain program,” where winners donate their first-born heifer back to the program. To date, 111 past winners have donated animals back to the program. This year, the Dustin Worthington Memorial Fund purchased three heifers to be awarded in the competition.

This year, the 21st year of the contest, the committee judged more than 55 entries from 23 Kentucky counties. Due to the support of 4-H youth development agents with the University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service, FFA advisors and volunteers, youth from 85 counties have submitted essays since the competition began.

Statewide awards are given to one 4-H’er and one FFA member. Any youth in the state of Kentucky can apply with the exception of counties that have a county-only contest.

The statewide 4-H winner was Sahara Peterson from Christian County. Jaden Cain, Russell County, received the statewide FFA award. The Dustin Worthington Memorial Fund donated both heifers.

Boyle, Breckinridge, Casey, Mercer, Metcalfe and Washington counties host county-only contests for local youth.

Boyle County awarded one heifer this year to Hunter Ross, FFA. The heifer was donated by Caleb and Luke Kernodle, who were 2016 Boyle County winners.

Breckinridge County awarded one heifer to Vance Pickering, 4-H. Pickering’s heifer was donated by Greenwell Farms.

Casey County awarded two heifers this year. The first was awarded to Sarah Streeval, FFA. 2018 winner Justin Luttrell donated her heifer. Jenna Wethington, FFA, received a heifer donated by Casey County Farm Bureau.

Mercer County awarded one heifer to Zane Ison, FFA, which was donated by The Dustin Worthington Memorial Fund.

Metcalfe County awarded a heifer to Lexie Bowles, FFA. A 2019 winner, Lane Judd, donated the heifer.

Washington County awarded two heifers. Molly Shumate, FFA, received a heifer donated by Chassity Warner, a 2018 winner. The second heifer went to Lynne Tormoehlen, FFA. The Washington County Cattlemen’s Association donated that animal.

The awards ceremony traditionally is April 4, the anniversary date of Worthington’s passing. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, however, organizers plan to have the ceremony Sept. 23, his birthday.

Farms or individuals interested in donating a heifer of any beef breed can contact Dena Worthington at 859-612-7260. FFA and 4-H students or leaders interested in participating can get information by visiting the Dustin Worthington Memorial website at http://www.dustinworthingtonmemorial.org. Financial contributions can be mailed to 436 Arrowhead Road, Harrodsburg, KY 40330.

The UK Cooperative Extension Service is part of the College of Agriculture, Food and Environment. With its land-grant partner, Kentucky State University, UK Cooperative Extension brings the university to the people in their local communities, addressing issues of importance to all Kentuckians.


Dana Anderson, dana.anderson@uky.edu

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