Washington Evening Journal

Fairfield Ledger   Mt. Pleasant News
Neighbors Growing Together | May 25, 2018

Local food investment through 4-H

Jun 26, 2017

Iowa 4-H’ers have been “learning by doing” since 1902. One of the long standing traditions of 4-H has been to teach young people skills of animal husbandry, livestock nutrition and production practices that will raise quality animals that go into the food system. The 15,000 Iowa 4-H’ers enrolled in livestock projects produce about 17 million pounds of meat. Add to that the poultry and dairy projects. That is a lot of pork chops, steaks, milk and eggs!

4-H and FFA members are also part of the “local food system.” The term “food system” refers to all the processes involved in providing us with food: growing, harvesting, processing, packaging, transporting, marketing, consuming, and disposal. Local food systems provide additional ecological and economic benefits like reduced trucking costs and jobs for labor and processing.

In 2016, Washington County 4-H/FFA members sold over 250 head of livestock at the County Fair Auction which were purchased by local businesses and personal buyers. The majority of these animals sold are processed at local meat lockers or taken to other local auctions. Additional dollars are invested to pay the processing costs and trucking fees as well. The County Fair Livestock Auction is a local food investment as the money goes to local youth and business over and over again throughout the process.

The 2017 Washington County Fair Livestock Auction will be Friday, July 21, at 9 a.m., in the main show ring at the Washington County Fairgrounds. All those insteresteed in buying local meats and supporting Washington County youth and their livestock projects are welcome. Contact Amy at the Washington County Extension Office, 319-653-4811, with any questions.

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