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Virginia 4-H and FFA Youth Swine Weekend - June 2 & 3, 2006

Livestock Update, May 2006

Dr. Allen F. Harper, Ph.D. Extension Animal Scientist, Swine, Virginia Tech Tidewater Agricultural Research & Extension Center

4-H and FFA participants and their adult teachers, leaders and Extension Agents have a unique opportunity to participate in a program focused on swine science and husbandry. During the late afternoon and evening of Friday, June 2 and throughout the day on Saturday, June 3, the Virginia 4-H and FFA Youth Swine Weekend will be held at the Airfield 4-H and Conference Center near Wakefield, Virginia. This marks the third year for this intensive youth livestock learning program and the first time it will be held at the Airfield 4-H Center, a beautiful facility located on Airfield Lake in rural Sussex County. This facility is well equipped for over-night youth programs with rustic but very comfortable cabin style lodges for youth campers and adult leaders.

Arrival and registration of pre-registered participants is at 5:30 p.m. on Friday, June 2. The program will kick-off at 6:00 p.m. with a pizza party style supper. Following this will be a series of brief presentations on unique and important components of swine husbandry and production. These will include presentations from Dr. Mark Estienne, Swine Physiologist with Virginia Tech, Dr. Jeremy Pittman, Veterinarian for Murphy-Brown, the largest swine integrator in Virginia, and Dr. Allen Harper, Extension Swine Specialist at Virginia Tech. After the program plenty of time will be built in for fun, relaxation and social time.

After breakfast the next morning, group transportation has been arranged for all participants and leaders to tour nearby Sunset View Farms, a 1200-sow farrow-to-wean operation owned by the Rex Alphin family of Zuni, Virginia. Participants will get a complete tour of the breeding, gestation and farrowing components of this large intensive sow farm. Farm manager, Dave Tribby will be guiding the tour that offers a unique opportunity to see firsthand how a large hog farm operates. The group will then return to the 4-H Center for a lakeside pork Bar-B-Que lunch compliments of the Virginia Pork Industry Association.

On Saturday afternoon teams can participate in a friendly, but educational quadrathalon contest that tests knowledge of the swine husbandry and production. At 4:00 p.m. the contest will conclude, awards will be presented, and the program will adjourn.

Registration costs for the program is $35 for over-night campers and $25 for "day" campers. Organization and program development for the youth swine weekend is under the leadership of Mark Estienne of the VA Tech Tidewater AREC and Cyndi Estienne, of the Southampton County Virginia Cooperative Extension Office. For information and pre-registration assistance, contact these individuals at (757-657-6450, ext. 114) or (757-653-2572), respectively. Pre-registration is requested by May 19, 2006.

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