Vermilion Parish 4-H member Ty Hebert is no stranger to livestock — he’s been in the show ring practically since birth.
St. Martin 4-H Agent Hannah Devall did not grow up in the livestock program but has developed a passion for agriculture, especially livestock.
In early 2019, Louisiana 4-H began exploring the creation of a livestock ambassador program to advocate for agriculture. Around that same time, Texas 4-H invited Louisiana 4-H to send a delegation to participate in the Texas 4-H Livestock Ambassadors program. From a stack of applicants, Hebert and Devall were selected to represent Louisiana 4-H and gain firsthand experience of the ongoing Texas program and return to establish a similar program in Louisiana.
The Texas 4-H Livestock Ambassador program strives to provide high school 4-H members the opportunity to develop, practice and advance knowledge in animal science. It also helps to cultivate participants’ leadership skills so they can mentor other youth and become advocates for animal agriculture.
During the weeklong program Hebert and Devall participated in training focused on media, the farm-to-table process of livestock animals, animal nutrition and reproduction, emerging animal technology and current events of the agriculture industry. They also learned to empower youth to be the faces of agriculture and to tell their stories to educate consumers.
Experiences included classroom learning with some of the leading authorities in global animal science and visiting a local grocery store to talk with customers and provide education on the importance of agriculture in their lives.
“My main goal was to bring the livestock ambassador program back to Louisiana in order to give our livestock youth an outlet to use the leadership skills they learn through their animals,” Hebert said. “I know that I will continue to be an ambassador for livestock and protect the industry that has given me the world!”
As a livestock ambassador, Hebert can apply to attend the second ambassador training focused on legislative advocacy. Additionally, he was scheduled to travel to Australia with the program in the summer of 2020 to explore another country’s agriculture program. However, the trip was postponed because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
After attending the Texas Livestock Ambassador Program, Devall said she is looking forward to working with Hebert on creating a similar program in Louisiana.
“Attending the Texas Livestock Ambassador program was an eye-opening experience that has fueled me, as an agent, to implement additional programming efforts to further train teens in livestock projects,” she said.
"True mastery takes place when these students can relate their livestock projects to members of their community that don’t have previous experience with livestock animals."
- Hannah Devall, St. Martin 4-H Agent
Initial plans are currently underway to develop an in-depth program for Louisiana high school 4-H members. The program is scheduled for release in the summer of 2021.