Raising and showing livestock can provide Arkansas youth with numerous benefits, both personal and educational. Whether through participation in programs like 4-H or FFA, or simply as a hobby, livestock offers unique opportunities for personal growth and learning.
According to junior high livestock competitor Dillon Phelps from Paragould, “One of my favorite things to do with livestock is the day of the show, getting it ready, clipping it, fitting it, getting it looking as good as it can.”
Raising livestock can teach responsibility and work ethic. Caring for animals requires consistent attention to detail and a strong commitment to their well-being. Arkansas youth who take on this responsibility learn to manage their time effectively and develop a strong work ethic, which can carry over into other aspects for their lives, including college scholarships.
Dillon’s brother and fellow livestock competitor Thompson Phelps continues, “There are scholarships for everything, scholarships for public speaking, winning big shows, judging. You get out of it what you put into it.”
Students can also learn about topics such as animal science, nutrition and genetics, which can be applied to a variety of fields in the future. Raising livestock can provide opportunities for hands-on learning, such as caring for animals and developing marketing strategies for selling livestock.
Participation in livestock shows can also build confidence and communication skills. Students who show their animals must learn how to present them effectively, answer judges’ questions and make lifelong bonds with other young livestock farmers. Some students go on to pursue careers in fields such as agriculture, veterinary medicine or animal science.
According to Chris Phelps, father of Dillon and Thompson, “We’re trying to raise better young men and women, and we’re using the cattle to do that.”
From teaching responsibility and work ethic, to building confidence and communication skills, to providing opportunities for scholarship and career advancement, livestock projects offer unique opportunities for growth and learning for Arkansas youth.
Friday, March 24, 2023
"Good Roots" is produced in partnership with Farm Ranch Stress Grant.