Recently while most kids were sleeping in and just enjoying being out of school for spring break, a few western Arkansas 4-Hers comprised of youth from Sebastian, Crawford, Washington and Benton Counties had the opportunity to participate in the Beef Educational Experiences Forum (B.E.E.F) which took place at Lake Fort Smith State Park Lodge.
During the forum the 4-Hers had the opportunity to participate in several hands on activities and learn how to better tend their beef herds and projects when they returned home. The three day camp started with the Grassland Evaluation Contest training led by Dr. John Jennings and Kenny Simon with the University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service, which is designed to enhance the youth’s knowledge base of identifying and inventorying weeds and forages for cattle production and how to manage them. Students are given a hypothetical farm scenario with cattle and pasture production for spring, summer, fall and winter. The student must then evaluate the pasture area marked in the field, interpret soil test results, animal forage requirements and pasture forage production and determine if forage production meets animal needs. Corrective decisions must be made to solve production problems based on the information provided.
Day two of the camp started with the tour of J&C Cattle Company, a large stocker cattle operation in Sebastian County, to learn more about the buying and selling process, bulk feeding process, the importance of water, vaccination schedules and also learn how one 4-Hers steer project has turned into a real world feedout business. The group also traveled to the Dale Bumpers Small Research Farm to learn hands on how to look for internal parasites and the importance of this process. The participants also learned about the newly developed poultry subsurfer, which for lack of better words no till drills poultry litter into the soil, and how this helps with reduced runoff. While at the station the youth also had the chance to observe and ask questions while a graduate student artificially inseminated heifers. Dr. Mike Looper also provided the youth the opportunity to put their hands inside the rumen of a cannulated steer while he talked about the importance of continued research in this area to improve feed efficiency among other needs. The campers also observed how to use and read a sonogram and its many uses in the cattle industry.
On day three the camp participants listened while a guest speaker with Cargill talked to the kids about the importance of education and the opportunities that agriculture provides. They were then treated to a boat ride and educational tour of Lake Fort Smith. The B.E.E.F program was designed to educate tomorrows agriculture leaders in better management practices in a fun social environment and was planned by the County Extension Agents of the counties listed above Johnny Gunsaulis, Nickie Harding, Jessica Street and Jesse Bocksnick. For more information on the 4-H program please contact your local county extension offices.
Jesse Bocksnick is the County Extension Agent – 4-H in Sebastian County.


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