30 youths earn premier exhibitor awards at LSU AgCenter Livestock Show

Staff reports

Adam Barrilleaux and Tyler Braud of Ascension Parish were finalists in the beef category of this year’s premier exhibitor program at the 74th annual LSU AgCenter Livestock Show presented by Price LeBlanc at the Lamar-Dixon Expo Center Feb. 21.

Six Louisiana youths were among the 30 finalists recognized for their knowledge, skills and communication abilities as they were named winners of the Gerry Lane Premier Exhibitor Awards.

For the past 12 years the premier exhibitor program has recognized 4-H and FFA members who may not have champion animals but who have a thorough understanding of animal science.

“The awards are based on performance in tests of each youth’s knowledge of the livestock industry, practical exercises demonstrating skills and the ability to communicate effectively,” said Dr. Terry Dumas, the LSU AgCenter’s state 4-H livestock specialist.  

Program participants have to pass an exam, take part in a skill-a-thon, write an essay, prepare a resume and show poise and confidence during an interview with livestock show officials, Dumas said.

The winning youths were among 30 finalists and scores of contestants in the program, which recognizes outstanding livestock exhibitors in six categories – beef cattle, dairy cattle, poultry, sheep, goats and swine.

They were the all-around best of hundreds of youth who participated in the state livestock show and the thousands more who participate in 4-H livestock projects across the state, Dumas said.

“The premier exhibitor program definitely is about the young people rather than prize-winning animals,” said LSU AgCenter Vice Chancellor Paul Coreil. “It recognizes them for their skills and abilities, as well as their commitment and hard work. It is one of the great examples of the kinds of things we are trying to do with our 4-H youth development programs.”

Through an endowment from Gerry Lane Enterprises of Baton Rouge, the top winner in each premier exhibitor category received a $1,000 U.S. Savings Bond, a commemorative belt buckle and a monogrammed jacket. Each of the other four finalists in each category was awarded a trophy.

“The kids really are the important ones in what we’re doing here and with our variety of youth education programs all year long,” said LSU AgCenter Chancellor Bill Richardson. “We strive to help them develop skills, knowledge and a sense of responsibility that will benefit them throughout their lives – and we’re glad for every opportunity we have to recognize some of the best of the best.”