December 3, 2003 | By: Laura Skillman

Developers of Kentucky Cowpokes, a Youth Master Cattleman Program, hope to fill a gap between the current youth and adult programs.

The program is being piloted with the Washington County Youth Beef Program, Junior Kentucky Cattleman’s Association, Kentucky Department of Agriculture’s Youth Expos and Todd County Beef Heifer Chain Program, said Alison Smith, Master Cattleman program coordinator.

The lessons and materials will focus on youths 13 through 16 years of age. However, participants can be 9 through 21 years of age, she said.

To become certified, youths must complete 10 of 14 sessions. The interactive sessions include management skills, nutrition, forages, facilities and animal behavior, environmental stewardship and industry issues, herd health, reproduction, genetics, marketing and profitability, end product, beef quality assurance, showmanship, wholesome beef preparation, and careers.

Once certified, youth will be asked to present a school program, participate in a cooking demonstration, and conduct other activities to show what they learned.

It also is the goal of the program to create a beef program that would include lessons and materials in a kit that a teacher, agent, or anyone else could use to talk about beef production or the industry, Smith said.

The three-year pilot program began in October and has received funding from the Kentucky Beef Council and the Agricultural Development Board through the Kentucky Beef Network. Additional funding is being sought from a Kentucky 4-H Venture Grant and a SARE grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The program is a cooperative effort between the Kentucky Cattlemen’s Association, Kentucky Department of Agriculture, and the University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service.

The curriculum is being developed with the help of staff from KCA, KDA, and UK. Existing materials from the Master Cattleman Program and KDA are also being utilized.

“It’s a long term process but we want it to be good,” Smith said.

The idea for the Cowpokes program came about from discussions among UK specialists and others involved in the Kentucky Master Cattlemen’s Program, she said. Smith, who has a background in youth education, said the program also offers her a chance to again work with young people.

“Our ultimate goal is to prepare them to go into the master cattlemen’s program,” she said. 



Writer: Laura Skillman 270-365-7541 ext. 278
Source: Alison Smith 859-278-0899