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The 411: Youth

4-H ambassadors get up-close look at government

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July 3, 2013 | 1,568 views | Post a comment

AUSTIN -- In mid-April, 19 members of 4-H clubs from throughout Texas had an opportunity to meet and learn firsthand from the people involved in Texas government and agriculture.

The 4-H members, all Texas 4-H Livestock Ambassadors, participated in the “Texas 4-H Livestock Ambassadors at the Capitol” program in Austin specifically designed for them.

Dr. Billy Zanolini, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service specialist in youth livestock and agriculture, College Station, and county agents Robert Scott of Lubbock County, Alyssa Puckett of Polk County, Dustin Coufal of Brazos County, and Keeton Ehrig of Lee County coordinated the program.

“This year’s program was probably the most effective trip to Austin by the livestock ambassadors so far, providing opportunities for them to engage in meaningful discussions with legislators and others on the topics of junior livestock projects and Texas agriculture,” Zanolini said.

Taylor Shearrer of Atascosa County was one of the livestock ambassadors who participated.

The program began with a training on how to prepare and deliver messages for communicating with elected officials and governmental affairs representatives. The ambassadors then met with government officials, including Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples, Reps. Tracy King, Trent Ashby, Kyle Kacal, John Raney, and Cecil Bell Jr., plus Sen. Glenn Hegar and Oscar Garza, legislative director for Sen. Juan Hinojosa.

Livestock ambassadors also met with agriculture business and industry officials at Texas Farm Bureau offices, including representatives of the bureau, the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association, the Texas Sheep and Goat Raisers Association, DuPont, and Armstrong Ranch.

Zanolini added that the new motto for the Texas 4-H Livestock Ambassador program is “Embracing Our Past, Engaging the Present, and Refining Our Future” and the trip to Austin was in keeping with that motto.

“Our livestock ambassadors were able to discuss some of the past, present, and future aspects of agriculture in the state, as well as learn what young people like themselves can do to help secure the future of agriculture in Texas,” he said.

For more information on the 4-H Livestock Ambassador program, contact Zanolini at 979-458-0466 or

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