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4-H intern helps kids with showing, judging

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RONAN — MSU extension agent Jack Stivers said Lake County’s 4-H program is one of the best in the nation, offering a youth development program seeking to educate and grow the valley’s kids. 

“If I was to sum it up in a couple of words, it’s an educational program outside of work with guidance and direction for 4-H leaders,” he said. “We’re building quality youth to function in the community as good citizens and supporters of their community ... and we have a volunteer network that really makes the program what it is. It’s USDA directed through MSU.”

Nori Pearce, a 4-H and FCS Extension Agent, said most of their programs end up being agriculture and livestock oriented, owing this to their close affiliation with MSU. 

And with programs ranging from robotics to space exploration to livestock showing, 4-H is in constant need of dedicated volunteers to help the process along. 

This year, Stiver’s office got a welcome surprise in the form of summer intern Monica Mitchell. Mitchell is a soon-to-be senior at Montana State University where she is studying animal science and minoring in agricultural business. 

The agriculture business has been in her blood for some time, though, as Mitchell comes from a ranching family in Oregon. Their horned Hereford genetics have been in the family for more than 100 years and they recently earned the Centennial Award from the American Hereford Association. She is also on the Montana State University Livestock Judging team at MSU. Last spring, the team competed in Phoenix, Ariz., Denver, Colo., Houston, Tex., and in Nebraska at the Cattleman’s Classic.

“My goal coming in is to be another resource for the kids, to come from somewhere else and maybe have a few different points of reference for things,” she said, adding that she’s been showing for more than 10 years. “I’ve primarily been helping with the livestock kids ... I’ve pretty much shown an entire barn at one point or another, so I’ve been trying to offer clinics and be available for kids who need help - beginners or more advanced kids who want to try new stuff and doing more things - just other things to give them more experience.”

Pearce said they were very happy with the way Mitchell was working with the kids. 

“We’d like to see the youth who go through this, whatever path they take, to use it,” Pearce said.

Mitchell recently put on a cattle hoof trimming clinic to the delight of several young 4-H participants. One such youngster, 12-year-old Cody Guenzler of Sanders County, made the trek with his cow Tony. 

“I wanted to come out and see what was going on,” he said, “see how many people came out and wanted their cows and steers taken care of.”

Guenzler said everyone seemed to like it, and he was pleased with the new manicure on his cow. In the past, he’d had to tie her to his four-wheeler and walk her down the county road to trim her feet. 

“That’s how I trimmed it back then,” he said. “This is a lot better.”

Mitchell’s next event will be a swine clinic held July 17 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Motichka Family Place near the extension office. 

“It’s been really great to be there for these kids and help them out,” Mitchell said.

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