September 15, 2000 | By: Mark Eclov

The newest Kentucky 4-H animal science contest does not require participants to show or own livestock, yet it's extremely valuable to young people who have always lived on a farm.

The competition is called the Kentucky 4-H Animal Science Knowledge College and it is coordinated by agents and state specialists of the Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service.

"This contest is really all based on a person's knowledge of the livestock business and different aspects of it," said Monty Chappell, Extension 4-H Livestock specialist in the UK College of Agriculture. "Fifty percent of the contest is based on identification and the other half on evaluation."

Subject matter for the contest includes knowing different breeds of livestock, identifying different types of feed, meat cuts and livestock handling equipment.

The training is done through local county Extension agents. Materials for next year's contests will be sent out months in advance to allow plenty of study time.

The state's first competition was comprised of two regional contests that attracted 200 contestants. That group was winnowed down to 3, four-person county teams that advanced to finals competition held at the Kentucky State Fair.

This year's champion senior team came from Boyle county and included Katie Ellis, Ben Bohman, Hewett Rowland and Jeff Zinner. The Kentucky team will compete in the national contest that is slated for in mid-November as part of the North American International Livestock Exhibition in Louisville.

"We are expecting a great deal of growth in this contest," said Chappell. " We are planning for as many as four regional contests in Kentucky next year."

The team chosen for the national contest will do cooperative problem solving which consists of a case study that the team must work through to get an answer. They then present an oral solution to the problem. All the other test sections are individual and are conducted like a judging contest where contestants work on their own.

"Although this is the first official year of the contest for Kentucky youngsters, our state is actually the national reigning champion," said Chappell.

Eight states competed for the National Skill-A-Thon title last year. This year's competition will probably be a bit tougher. Chappell expects more than 20 teams to participate in the second national contest.

Chappell will assist Kevin Ellis with team coaching duties. Ellis is a Boyle county pork producer and county 4-H volunteer leader.

This year's state awards were sponsored by the Carhartt Corporation which will also fund scholarships to provide the team with further training experiences and to cover the costs of travel and lodging for the Boyle County team representing Kentucky at the national contest in Louisville.


Monty Chappell 859-257-2716