The Ambassador Beat: Kate Higgins

The 4-H Ontario Ambassador program provides youth with advanced level training in leadership, citizenship, communications and public relations. Ambassadors put their energy and 4-H experiences to work recruiting new members and sharing the 4-H story. Throughout 2014, each of 4-H Ontario’s six Ambassadors will submit blog entries about their experiences in the program. The 4-H Ontario Ambassador program is proudly sponsored by GROWMARK, Inc. and UPI Energy LP. For more info on the Ambassador program click here. To book an Ambassador for you event please complete the request form.

Submitted by Kate Higgins, 4-H Ontario Ambassador, Huron 4-H Association

The World of Dairy Through Ambassador Eyes

Take it from me that it isn’t just in 4-H clubs that you are “learning to do by doing” but also in the extra 4-H experiences you endeavour such as my Ambassador events. I continue my Ambassador journey this month by learning about a different world of showing cattle. During the month of August and end of July I was granted the privilege of going to two dairy related events.

On July 31st I attended the Inter-County Dairy Judging Competition in Ancaster and on August 22nd I was the lucky Ambassador that got to go to the West-Central Junior Show.

At the judging competition I got to mark quizzes, input scores, and retrieve scores during the day where I quickly learned some important parts of a dairy cow. Some important words I continuously heard were size of withers and width of hips among other lingo! I also saw how seriously this judging competition is taken when participants had to change outfits two to three times to be dressed for the certain activity. This formal atmosphere is enforced by the experienced Bert Stewart who has taken the winning top four participants to the prestigious World Dairy Expo in Madison Wisconsin to compete as team Ontario as an exhibitor. The good efforts are all paid off when winners are given beautiful crystal bowls as prizes from sponsors and Ontario Holsteins.

At the Junior Show I got to hand out ribbons and prize envelopes to the show participants. As I watched the multiple heats and classes I picked up some tricks of the dairy showing trade and general rules. The showman always wears white (although by the end of the day not everyone is still entirely white!) to symbolize the old milk man and the size of the heifer should match the size of the showman. There is no show stick like in beef showing but the showman pushes on the front shoulder of the calf to adjust it accordingly to have the feet square under the calf while the hair on the spine of the calf is spiked and after the heifer does a number one or two the showman pushes on the spine to straighten it out and pulls down the tail. From listening to Stephanie Murphy, a former Ambassador and World Dairy Expo Exhibitor, give reasons for her placing I learned it is important to hold the head of the heifer high but to give some space between you and the calf.

These two events were a wonderful experience! I would like to thank Jason French for inviting me and being my contact for both of the events along with the other welcoming Ontario Holstein staff. Also thank you to John Drummond for being a friendly face at both events and introducing me to many of the volunteers at these events. I look forward to continuing my learning on my Ambassador journey this fall!