Interest in the Lauderdale County 4-H Club livestock projects seems to run in the Riley family.
"Because my Grandpa raised cattle and my Daddy showed them," said Hunter Riley, 11.
"My Grandpa used to do it and he got us interested in it, me and my brother," said Blakely Riley, 13. "It is really fun to do."
"My stepmom used to do it and it is a lot of fun," said Grey Harper, 10.
While family involvement is a big part of what the 4 H club is all about, 4-H agent Tracy Robertson wants people to know just how much a child learns and gains by raising a calf for auction.
"They learn the responsibility of owning and caring for an animal, but they also learn analytical and reasonable skills that teach them why they want to select a certain animal," said Robertson. "Why they are going to feed it the way they do, consumer education, withdrawal time. So they learn a great deal of information with these projects."
Along with new skills and knowledge, the livestock projects allow young children a way to make a significant amount of money for college tuition.
Blakely has been participating in the 4-H livestock program since the age of 6, and Hunter since age 8. Since then, they have raised $10,000 to $20,000 for college.
The project starts in the fall when the calves are born. Each year the kids pick out a cow to raise, feed, and break. Then they sell their prized cow at an auction that will take place at the Meridian Stockyard.
The next 4-H auction is Jan. 20, 2010.
There is no cost to join 4-H Club and it's not limited to livestock projects. There is a place for kids that enjoy photography, horses, and shooting sports.
To learn more about 4-H, call 601-482-9764.