Excellence in Education Award to Arrowhead Livestock Leader
This past fall Nevada Agricultural Foundation awarded its’ Excellence in Education Award to 4-H club leader Marena Works for her work in reinstating “Dairy Cattle” as a class in the Nevada Junior Livestock Show. As a leader of Arrowhead Livestock club in Carson City since 1997, Marena saw a need to include a class for 4-H youth raising and showing livestock that did not end in a slaughter animal. She also felt the rapid shift in urbanization in Carson City was removing all trace of the rich history of dairy cattle as a viable agricultural commodity.
In 2004 Marena decided to work toward reinstating the “Dairy Cattle” class back into the Nevada Junior Livestock Show program. At the show boards request she entered into a two year trial to prove there was interest on the part of 4-H and FFA youth in raising and showing these animals.
Raising dairy cattle in an urban interface environment created a challenge. Marena’s solution was to build a working partnership with the Carson City Prison Dairy Farm which served as a source to purchase and breed dairy cows. Over the next two years, Arrowhead Livestock Club members under Marena’s leadership worked at raising and working with these animals.
In 2006 Marena and her club brought three dairy cows to the NJLS show as an exhibit and 4-H youth demonstrated dairy showing techniques during the show. An educational display created by Arrowhead 4-H members on dairy in Nevada was also a part of the exhibit. By this time Marena felt 4-H and FFA youth had demonstrated enough interest to request reinstatement of the “Dairy Cattle” class for the 2007 Nevada Junior Livestock Show and her request was granted. Largely due to her efforts, Carson City, Douglas, Washoe and Churchill counties 4-H and FFA youth participated in the 2007 NJLS show “Dairy Cattle” class.
Currently Marena is using a portion of her prize money to repay the generosity of Carson City Prison Dairy Farm by helping them register their animals. She is also working toward assisting area youth who have a desire to raise dairy cattle and no space to offset their expenses with pasturing and housing their animals.