Seven young people in the University of Minnesota Extension 4-H program had an amazing learning experience at the National 4-H Poultry and Egg Conference in Louisville, Ky., Nov. 17-18, according to 4-H volunteer Mark Otto.
The conference is where competition and fellowship develop the next generation of leaders. 4-H'ers from all over the country compete in educational events that help them learn to make and defend decisions, speak publicly and gain skills. They participate in poultry careers workshops and have a chance to network with industry professionals.
"Youth development and life skills are at the root of this and every type of 4-H project," says Otto, a 2021 4-H service award recipient. Otto received a 4-H service award for his leadership, dedication and commitment in the poultry project in Wright County, guiding 4-H'ers in poultry knowledge and showmanship.
The youth, all pictured below, are from Meeker, Mower, Olmsted and Wright counties. From Meeker County is Gretta Lemke, 17, of Watkins. From Mower County is Lydia Drees, 16, of Austin. From Olmsted County is Christopher Bureau, 15, of Rochester. And from Wright County are Miriana Eiden, 17, of Corcoran; Erica Kazin, 15, of Maple Plain; Evelyn Otto, 16, of Delano; and John Otto, 16, of Delano.
Kazin made history when she became the first Minnesota 4-H'er to win first place in the egg prep demonstration. Egg Preparation Demonstration contest participants demonstrate the preparation of an egg dish while giving a presentation on the nutritional value and versatility of eggs.
Wright County youth also placed fourth in Avian Bowl, a contest judging their knowledge of several species of poultry, food safety, physiology, nutrition, eggs and other subjects.
Wright County youth placed first in chicken BBQ and fifth place in turkey BBQ.
In the barbecuing contests, participants barbecue chicken thighs or ground turkey and give a presentation on the corresponding poultry industry. Participants develop skills in food safety, grill and fire safety, barbecuing and preparation of a product, and presentation skills that demonstrate knowledge of the broiler or turkey industry, food safety, and product attributes.
Poultry Judging is an intense competition that requires youth to have the knowledge to evaluate and rank animals and then defend those rankings in a presentation called “oral reasons.” Participants are required to evaluate ready-to-cook chicken and turkey carcasses, live production hens, and market eggs.
Individual judging awards went to Olmsted County youth (seventh place in market poultry), Mower County youth (sixth place in market poultry and 10th place overall), and Meeker County youth (first place in market egg).
Team judging awards include third place for market poultry, fifth place for market egg and sixth place overall.