The following is a news release from the LSU AgCenter:
GONZALES, La. – The LSU AgCenter honored several Louisiana 4-H and FFA members and Saturday (Feb. 19) for their work with youth livestock projects.
The awards to one volunteer and five club members were presented during ceremonies that concluded the 76th annual LSU AgCenter Livestock Show at the Lamar-Dixon Expo Center in Gonzales, La. That event ran Feb. 12-19.
Sponsored by the Louisiana 4-H Foundation and Louisiana FFA, the awards recognized young people and adults for outstanding contributions to or work in youth livestock programs. The awards were based on evaluation of each person's record book or a detailed application concerning his or her involvement with youth livestock projects.
The winners of the awards were Wesley Ryan Hayes, of Kinder, who received the C.W. "Dub" Kennedy Award; Vendal Fairchild, of Oak Grove, who received the Attorney General's Award; Colby Lingo, of Oak Grove, and Mitchell Miles, of Dodson, who received Superintendent of Education Awards; and John M. Lejeune, of Sulphur, and Josh Scott, of Loranger, who received Governor's Awards.
The 4-H program is the youth development arm of the nationwide land-grant university system. It is operated in Louisiana by the LSU AgCenter and includes projects for youth on topics ranging from raising livestock to computer science, family life, environmental science and much more.
"Volunteer leaders help us reach even more young people with our projects and programs, so we're pleased to be able to honor a few of them with these awards," said Dr. Paul Coreil, vice chancellor of the LSU AgCenter. "We're also happy to be able to recognize these outstanding young people who are excelling in their 4-H and FFA projects."
The Kennedy award is in memory of a longtime former manager of the LSU AgCenter's livestock shows and recognizes a 4-H'er for outstanding animal science records and work with various 4-H livestock projects. This year's winner, Ryan Hayes, is a junior at Kinder High School and the son of Patrick and Kathy Hayes of Kinder.
Hayes keeps busy with his cattle operation, and this was his fourth year to own, raise and show cattle. He now has 5 calves, 9 heifers and 1 bull. But his work doesn't stop there. He serves as president for his local FFA chapter and president of his local 4-H Club. He also was state 4-H vice president in 2009-2010 and state 4-H parliamentarian in 2008-2009, as well as serving on the Louisiana 4-H Foundation Board as a youth and state 4-H Executive Board representative. In addition to those activities, Hayes is a member of FBLA, Beta Club and the Spanish Club at his school.
The Attorney General's Award recognizes volunteer 4-H leaders who have assisted livestock project members, and this year's recipient has an extensive history of that.
Vendal Fairchild has been a livestock leader for 20-plus years in West Carroll Parish. In addition, he is a member of the Northeast Louisiana Agribusiness Council, a board member and support committee member of the Northeast Louisiana District 4-H/FFA Livestock Show and district vice president and board member of the Louisiana Cattlemen's Association.
Among his many accomplishments, Fairchild helped secure $15,000 in grants through the local police jury for improvements to the 4-H livestock exhibit building. He also secured funding for district livestock show awards and plaques for parish livestock shows, and he helped start an LCA scholarship fund and works LCA Beef Kitchen for state fair to raise money for livestock scholarships.
Superintendent of Education Awards are presented to students 13 years of age or younger who have excelled in the livestock program.
One of this year's winners, Colby Lingo, is 12 years old and the son of Lindy Carl and Nicky Lingo of Oak Grove. The West Carroll Parish 4-H'er shows pigs and cows, and his many animals include five Angus heifers, an Angus bull, a dairy cow and one market heifer, as well as the Duroc, Yorkshire and cross pigs he has shown in the past.
Lingo's honors include winning the supreme champion breeding heifer award at the Ark-La-Miss Fair and his district 4-H/FFA show. His animals also have received district honors as champion breeding Yorkshire, champion breeding Duroc, supreme heifer, supreme breeding gilt and reserve grand champion market swine. Even more, Lingo says he has learned that it is not all about winning but is about learning and helping others and that 4-H is "definitely an experience of a lifetime."
The FFA winner of the 2011 Superintendent of Education's Award is Mitchell Miles of the Dodson High School FFA Chapter, where he serves as the chapter's chaplain.
The son of Kirk and Melinda Miles, the younger Miles' agricultural projects include goats, horses, beef and dairy cattle and swine production. In all, he has nine Boer cross goats, seven Hampshire and Yorkshire cross swine, six beef cattle, one Jersey dairy animal and four pleasure horses. He also is a member of his FFA chapter's horse and livestock teams for career development events.
The Governor's Award recognizes 4-H or FFA members 14 years of age and older who have excelled in the livestock program.
One of those winners is John M. LeJeune of the Sulphur High School FFA Chapter. The son of Mitch and Cathy LeJeune, his supervised agricultural experience program includes market sheep, breeding sheep and registered Angus heifers. He also works 17 acres of improved pasture.
Lejeune has raised and shown market lambs and breeding sheep for nine years at the parish, district and state levels, as well as at the North American International Livestock Expo in Louisville, Ky. He has been an FFA member for four years and received his state FFA degree at the 2010 state FFA convention. John plans to pursue a degree from McNeese State University in natural resources conservation management, with his focus on wildlife management.
The second winner of the Governor's Award was Tangipahoa Parish 4-H'er Josh Scott. The son of Julius and Monette Scott of Husser, he is a 15-year-old sophomore at Loranger High School.