Mr. and Mrs. Billy Nance have a passion for both the meat goat industry and for youth. The result is a yearly 4-H meat goat leadership institute made possible by an endowment from the couple.
The 8th Annual Billy Nance Family 4-H Meat Goat Leadership Institute was held on Feb. 10 at the N.C. State University Beef Education Unit in Raleigh. Youth learned about more than goats, though. They also gained skills to become an effective leader in their communities and beyond.
The institute invites youth ages 10-19 to apply, and the top applicants are selected to attend the day-long event. This year, 24 youth participated.
Class topics ranged from animal well-being to leadership. Youth particularly liked the class on parasite control in goats.
“My favorite part was learning about the internal parasites and how you can identify a parasite in your goat,” said Mackenzie Hinson of Wayne County.
Jacob Hinson, also from Wayne County, said the parasite class was his favorite, too.
“I think this was my favorite part because I was able to learn about the science behind why some dewormer doesn’t work anymore and how you should go about managing parasites in a herd of goats,” said Jacob.
The classes weren’t just lectures, though. There was a lot of hands-on activities as well.
“We were able to do a fecal flotation and count the amount of parasite eggs in a sample,” Jacob said.
Youth also learned to give proper vaccinations and medications by giving shots in an orange during a class on animal well-being. These lessons also allowed them to become Youth for the Quality Care of Animals (YQCA) certified. The institute truly believes the adage from Benjamin Franklin, “Tell me and I’ll forget. Show me, and I may remember. Involve me and I learn.”
The purpose of the institute isn’t just about gaining knowledge to raise goats better. The purpose is also to prepare youth to go out in the world and make a difference.
With less than 2 percent of the population involved in farming, it is vital that the story of agriculture is told. Institute attendees learned how imperative it is to tell their story and why agriculture advocacy is so important. This was presented by state FFA officers.
Those attending the institute were also able to learn about the selection of Boer goats. This is important for youth to know when picking out show goats or raising their own. Knowing what to look for in a goat helps youth have better success in the ring and improve their goat herds. In addition, the event covered team building, leadership presented by 4-H state officers, opportunities in 4-H livestock, and career opportunities in animal science.
The Nance family is truly invested in the development of leaders in the meat-goat industry. The impact the institute has is profound and long-lasting. As one of the first attendees at the Meat Goat Leadership Institute almost a decade ago, I still remember the classes and lessons taught. Through the event, I became a better leader that has helped me in college and in my career.
A huge thanks to the Nance Family for investing in our youth and just simply caring. The Nances even made a special trip to Raleigh to visit with the attendees.
I can’t wait to see how youth put their new skills to work at the county, state and national level.