Nebraska Extension 4-H Volunteer Newsletter - April 2017

In the Spotlight for April!

  • 4-H: Helping Nebraska Students Write their Next Chapter

  • Parental/Guardian by in to the Club

  • Club Activity: Livestock

  • Livestock Quiz Bowl

  • Livestock Disease Prevention

  • 4-H Builds Strong Families

  • Our Hands for Service

  • Interview Skills for Success

4-H: Helping Nebraska Students Write their Next Chapter

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Nebraska 8th graders will have the opportunity to participate in Next Chapter, an exciting program that connects students to the University of Nebraska! Those that enroll in this program as 8th graders will receive a letter from the University congratulating them on their preadmission to UNL. This means that students, who qualify academically will be admitted to the University after high school. Next Chapter also grants students access to resources like never before. Highlights include:

  • Insight from 4-H alumni regarding campus life
  • Discussions with UNL professors about opportunities at UNL
  • Access to admissions and financial aid personnel
  • Step-by-step lessons to prepare students for college throughout their high school career
  • Real-world connections between content and 4-H projects

All 8th graders enrolled in 4-H last year will be admitted to the Next Chapter program. New 8th grade students that enroll in a 4-H program will have the option to join Next Chapter at no additional charge. Students will need to re-enroll annually, and successfully complete the current year’s program to advance to the next level. To do this, the student must be present for at least five lessons (out of a possible eight) per academic year, and complete the annual 4-H project designated by their club. This programming will begin during the student’s 9th grade year.

We will continue to provide information throughout this 8th grade year, but there are a few dates to look forward to now:

  • Enrollment open through February 15, 2017 (to participate in statewide celebration)
  • March 2017: live online question and answer sessions with University students and professors will begin
  • Early April 2017: Local 4-H district celebration for all new Next Chapter students and families
  • April 25, 2017: Statewide celebration for all Next Chapter students and their families in Lincoln

The University of Nebraska is excited to help students and their families make this exciting time of change easier by providing this unprecedented access to high school students. If you have any questions regarding this program, feel free to contact Phil Onwiler and Lindsay Kretchman, with the University of Nebraska – Lincoln.

Parental/Guardian buy in to the Club

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4-H is a family affair! Successful clubs will likely have strong parental involvement and engagement. Implementing parent/guardian engagement strategies will benefit not only each 4-H member but the entire 4-H club.

Make parent/guardian engagement a priority. Create a member checklist or club action plan that helps guide parents/guardians to what is expected from the members as well as the parents/guardians.

A friendly smile, a positive attitude, and a greeting for parents/guardians will help make them feel welcome. Be sure each parent/guardian has a way to engage with the club during the meetings. Holding a short parent/guardian meeting to share the club goals or programs under consideration will help to engage all parents/guardians. At the same time provide time for parents/guardians to socialize with one another to build strong relationships.

Positive and open communication between club meetings will help to establish parental/guardian involvement at meetings as well as before and after each club meeting. Work to utilize texting and social media rather than the traditional calling tree format.

To engage parents/guardians, be sure to communicate this expectation before, during and after each club meeting. Parental/guardian by in does not have to be just at the meeting but can be accomplished by sharing successes outside of the 4-H club meeting as an advocate.

Work to development parental/guardian relationships so you can identify their skills and strengths. Then be prepared to ask them to help as they are just as busy as the next and are not looking for another job. Most important, make parental volunteering fun so parents/guardians are excited to volunteer for the betterment of the entire club.

Recognize 4-H members and their parents/guardians. Thank parents/guardians for their support both personally and in public. Complement parents/guardians for their contributions to the club program.

Favorable Attitudes + Parent/Guardian Interests + Active Parent/Guardian Cooperation = Successful 4-H Clubs

Club Activity: Livestock

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4-H Animal Science Anywhere

In 4-H, as in life, we need to make our lives easier, so why re-invent the wheel when a wonderful resource is readily available?

Michigan State University Extension developed the “4-H Animal Science Anywhere” lesson series to help leaders engage 4-H youth at club meetings or events in learning more about the science and life skills involved in animal and veterinary science projects. Youth may work in teams or individually to accomplish the lesson objectives. Lessons are flexible, providing adaptations for various locations, ages and audiences.

These activities are easy to read, print and collect supplies for and are great for busy 4-H Leaders. Go online to:

Here’s an example of the Overview to one activity:

The Importance of Animal Identification: That’s MY Apple!

This activity is designed to help young people learn about the basic requirements for animal identification. In the interactive lesson, participants will also learn the importance of proper animal identification while reviewing state and federal requirements.

Objectives: After completing this activity, participants will be able to:

  • Identify and document the appearance and characteristics of objects such as apples and animals.
  • Discuss the benefits to agricultural producers, government agencies and consumers of being able to identify and track the movements of individual market animals such as cattle, sheep and swine.
  • Explain the general and species-specific identification requirements (such as tagging and ear notching) for cattle, sheep, and hogs.

MSUE 4-H Animal Science Anywhere Activities include the following lesson plans:

4H1655 The Importance of Animal Identification Activity: That’s MY Apple!

4H1656 Anatomy & Physiology Activity: Locating Common Bones

4H1657 Sculpting Meat Science Activity: Creating & Evaluating Steaks

4H1658 Growth & Hormones Activity: Examining Growth Hormones in Beef

4H1659 Animal Digestion Activity: A Stomach At Work

4H1660 Animal Science Educational Resources

4H1661 Biosecurity Activity: Basics of Biosecurity

4H1662 Identifying Cuts of Meat Activity: Pin the Meat Cut on the Animal

4H1663 Farm Animal Reproduction Activity

4H1664 Pathogen Activity: What Is a Pathogen?

4H1665 Diseases that Animals and Humans Share: The Words You Need to Know

4H1665 Zoonotic Vocabulary Activity Cards

4H1666 Mammary Gland Anatomy Activity

4H1667 Building on Biosecurity: Reducing the Risk

4H1668 Building Structurally Correct Animal Models

4H1669 Livestock Injection Methods and Placement

4H1688 Influenza - Mutation Nation

4H1689 One Health - Health for One, One Health for All

4H1690 Careers - Bridging Human and Animal Health

4-H Contests: Livestock Quiz Bowl

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Quiz Bowl is a contest that tests the knowledge of all member of the team on a wide range of livestock knowledge. It can also be a bit overwhelming for those who have not competed before. Here are some tips to get you started.

What is quiz bowl and how does it work?

Livestock quiz bowl is set up in rounds for teams to compete head to head in livestock knowledge of beef, sheep, swine, and goats as well as current events affecting the livestock industries. Each team is made up of four individuals and up to one alternate. There are two divisions: Intermediate (ages 10-13) and Senior (ages 14 and up). Each team will designate a captain before the contest. The state contest is held at PASE (Premier Animal Science Events) June 26th, 2017 at UNL East Campus. Youth are competing for prizes and a chance to represent the state at the National 4-H Livestock Quiz Bowl Contest.

The Contest

The matches are set in a bracket ahead of contest time. Each match consists of three phases. Phase one has eight one-on-one questions where members compete head to head to buzz in and answer the question correctly. Only the two members, one from each team, to which the question is specifically directed to can respond. Questions start with the team captains then are asked down the line of contestants in each team until all eight questions have been asked. In Phase Two, there are also eight questions. These questions are delivered to a specific team and that team may confer with each other before answering. If wrong, the opposing team may confer and deliver an answer. Phase Three, consists of regular, toss-up and bonus questions with a possibility of 16 questions in the round. Any team member from either team may buzz in to answer.

How to Prepare

Preparation is very important for Quiz Bowl. Start your team prep meetings or practices early enough to allow time to both study this content and go through mock rounds to get comfortable answering in the manner expected for each round. Often teams think it important to have content experts make up their four individuals. This can work well particularly in Phase Two and Three when it is less of an individual challenge. Keep in mind when putting your teams together in Phase One each person is given two questions to answer on their own. Particularly in this Phase, having some knowledge with each of the livestock species is helpful. Use the following resources and others to help prepare for contest:, Beef Resource Handbook, Sheep Resource Handbook, Swine Resource Handbook, Overview of US Meat Goat Industry, Alabama Cooperative Extension, Penn State Cooperative Extension, NebGuides-Sheep, Beef, Swine, National Cattlemen’s Beef Fact Sheets, Grazing Systems for Nebraska, Sandhills Rangeland, CCS Beef 1, 2, 3, Just the Facts – Meat Quality, TAMU 4-H Meat Goat Guide, Fast Facts – Sheep USA, CCS Sheep 1, 2, 3, CCS Swine 1, 2, 3, APHIS Fact Sheets, Pork Checkoff Report,,,,,,,

Livestock Disease Prevention

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When it comes to livestock diseases, prevention is priceless. Many livestock health problems can be prevented if the proper steps are taken. Biosecurity practices help ensure the proper steps are followed.

But what exactly do we mean by biosecurity? Biosecurity practices on the farm are management practices that help prevent the introduction and spread of diseases on your farm. Diseases can spread through direct or indirect contact. Some ways indirect contact could occur would be through the air, flies, mice, equipment, or clothing. The more contact your animals have with other animals or humans, the higher your biosecurity risk. If you have a closed herd with no visitors, your biosecurity risk is low but there are still basic practices you can do.

The USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service recommends the following biosecurity checklist.

  • Keep your distance
  • Keep it clean
  • Don’t haul diseases home
  • Don’t borrow disease from your neighbor
  • Know the warning signs of diseases
  • Report sick animals

Having effective perimeter fences, only allowing visitors access to your farm from one entrance, ensuring visitors have clean footwear and clothes (providing them if necessary), and preventing visitor contact with animals unless necessary are some ways to “keep your distance”.

Keeping it clean is a great way to help prevent the spread of diseases. Simple things such as providing hand washing stations and clean clothes, especially after treating sick or quarantined animals can go a long way. When around the animals, it is recommended to move from clean to dirty, young to old, and healthy to sick animals, and to keep equipment and vehicles clean.

When purchasing animals, or for animals returning from a show, they should be quarantined for 30 to 90 days at least 30 feet away from other animals, to confirm they did not contact a disease. Changing clothes and footwear after contacting other animals assists in not bringing diseases home.

At fair, it is easy to share equipment and other supplies with other livestock owners. Since this is a potential source for disease transmission, clean and disinfect them before they reach your property and after use.

Knowing the warning signs for the diseases of concern to your herd or flock will help you know what signs to look for. The health of all the animals should be assessed daily, and an owner should watch for unusual behavior, signs of illness, and unexpected deaths. Serious or unusual animal health problems should be reported to your local or state veterinarian.

Simple biosecurity practices can go a long way in ensuring the health of your animals.

Source: Extension Disaster Education Network- Dr. Susan Kerr, Extension Specialist with Washington State University Extension

Are You Ready for a Disaster? (Emergency Preparedness)

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Families are crucial in the development of human competence and character. Research tells us that the family's influence is even greater than we have imagined. Families play a major role in how well children do in school, how well they perform on the job as adults and how well they contribute to society in general. Families have the first and foremost influence on our development.

What makes families strong? In land-mark research at the University of Nebraska by Drs. Stinnett and DeFrain researchers agree that strong, healthy families have six traits in common. These traits have been found in families of different types, races, social backgrounds, nationalities, and religious beliefs. The traits are: commitment, spending time together, express appreciation, communication, spiritual wellness and coping with stress positively.

When 1500 children were asked, “What do you think makes a happy family?” they didn’t list money, cars, or fine homes. They replied: doing things together. Members of strong families agree. They spend lots of time together — working, playing, attending religious services, and eating meals together. What you do isn’t as important, they say, as doing it.

4-H provides that structure that helps families prioritize time so that they can be together attending club meetings, planning projects and setting goals of what is to be accomplished this year. From the daily chores of caring for animal projects to planning and creating a quilt, preparing a family meal together from skills learned in a 4-H foods project, to building and launching a rocket. 4-H families spend time together creating projects and skills, thus building a strong family. 4-H families spend as much time working together as playing. 4-H families have some of their best and closest times working together.

What about quality versus quantity of time? Strong families realize the time they spend together needs to be good time. It also needs to be sufficient; quality interaction isn’t likely to develop in a few minutes together. Preparing for 4-H contests and county fair gives a family the opportunity to spend that quality time together, communicating, practicing, refining, and expressing appreciation to each other. At times 4-H can create stress for the family, but it also gives the family the opportunity to work out positive solutions and in looking back they gain a sense of accomplishment in their success as a family to overcome stress and adversity. So in 2017 take time to look at how 4-H helps your family build your family strengths. Based on personal experience, 4-H helped our family make time to work together to accomplish our goals, communicate and develop skills that are used daily.

Our Hands for Service

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Community Service is defined as, work done by a person or group of people that benefits others. Through 4-H, we pledge our hands to larger service for our club our community our country and our world. It is our hands that enable us to reach out to the communities where we live and help make it a better place. What service project will your club be accomplishing next?

If you are like many, deciding what to do for your service project is often the most cumbersome task of all. So, where do you start? Begin by including all of your 4-H club members. When 4-H’ers take a role in the planning process, not only will it allow for creative and new ideas to be generated, but youth will feel a larger sense of ownership in the project which creates a stronger commitment towards your service project. If you find your club struggling to generate ideas, remember to keep it simple and think about your own community first. What needs is your community facing? Maybe, your food pantry needs restocked, fire-hydrants repainted or do you have graffiti that could be painted over? If you have a family in town or elderly person(s) who could use extra assistance, can your club help them out for a day? When deciding on your community service project remember, involve your club, be creative and assess your own community needs.

Winston Churchill stated, “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” When it comes to working your community service project, have fun. This is a time for your 4-H’ers to enhance their leadership and social skills by working as a group towards a common goal. The work itself might be ‘grunt’ work but with a positive attitude and a smiling face, ‘grunt’ work can be enjoyable. During the activities, be mindful and ensure every member has a task, feels needed and remind everyone of the good they are doing for their community. Take pictures during the project, including a group photo at the end. Then, write a simple news release and submit to all local newspapers. Focus the press release on who you are, what you are doing, why and how the project impacts your community.

It is our hands we use for service, with our two hands we can make our community a better place, a kinder place and we can help someone in need. Promote civic responsibility in your club and observe how acts of kindness can start shaping your members into respectful young leaders who give back and lead by example. Decide on a project together, have fun accomplishing the service and finally, promote your efforts in local papers, recapping the event with your club. Now, how will your 4-H’ers use their hands for service?

Interview Skills for Success

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Interview skills are one thing that 4-H in Nebraska encourages. This process may first happen interviewing with a project at the fair and may progress to participating in the 4-H Interview Contest. As a 4-Her gets older, they may begin looking for a part-time job. An interview is the employer's opportunity to assess the fit for a position and the organization as a whole. The format may be (phone/video or in-person, one-on-one or panel), most interviews take a common sequence:

INTRODUCTIONS - A few minutes of small talk to set the tone of the interview.

INFORMATION - Brief summary of the employer, position, and possibly, the format of the interview.

QUALIFICATIONS - Questions and answers about your qualifications for the position.

CONCLUSIONS - Explanation of next steps in the selection process.

Interview Steps:

Before the Interview:

  • Research the organization's purpose, structure, strengths, and challenges.
  • Obtain a copy of the position description.
  • Evaluate your interests, skills/abilities, and weaknesses for the position/organization.
  • Practice interviewing.
  • Obtain professional and appropriate attire for the position.
  • Know the exact location of the interview and plan to arrive 10 minutes early.

During the Interview:

  • Be courteous to everyone you encounter; staff may be asked for their input on your interactions.
  • Turn off your phone and do not use it while waiting for the interview.
  • Stay positive and show enthusiasm for the position.

After the Interview:

  • Send a thank you note to each of your interviewers.
  • Follow-up with a phone call or email if you have not heard from the employer within the time period indicated for a decision.

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