Rocky Mountain Career Adventure

Four youth 4-H'ers at a meat processing facility.

January found eight 4-H members from Knox, Morrow, and Richland counties in Colorado exploring careers that ranged from manufacturing to livestock management to food science and more. The trip included visits to the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA), Cactus Hill Ranch, Colorado State University, Great Range Bison, Sombrero Horse Stables, National Western Stock Show, Where Food Comes From and Celestial Seasonings.

According to Amanda Forquer, Extension Educator in Morrow County, the trip was an opportunity for youth to step out of their comfort zone, experience a new city, consider new ideas and learn more about careers they may not have previously envisioned.

Taylor Rush, a 4-H member from Morrow County, said, “More goes into running the NCBA than you think. They monitor the media constantly, test recipes in the culinary kitchen, advocate for farmers and ranchers, and so much more. The best part was they Youth riding horses in Denver. talked to us like people who were going to achieve something one day.”

At Cactus Hill Ranch, which currently houses 50,000 head of lamb, the owner educated the youth about feeding and watering lambs, manure management and making a profit. They also toured Superior Foods, Inc. where many Cactus Hill lambs are processed and saw the finished product packaged into retail cuts.  A visit to Five Rivers Cattle allowed youth to understand management of a feed yard with 50,000 head of cattle. Colton Boyer from Richland County said, “They fed efficiently, figured out how to feed on such a large scale and still make a profit.”

Colton Boyer, Ellie Kidwell, Cassidy Small and Ethan Staley also had the opportunity to participate in the Western National Roundup livestock judging contest in Denver. They competed with 4-H youth from across the country to test their knowledge and skill.  

Thanks to the trip’s sponsors for their support:  Ohio 4-H Youth Development, Knox County Cattlemen’s, and the Mildred and Harold Hart Endowment. Left to Right: Bryce Schott of Morrow County; Taylor Rush of Morrow County; Kayla Carlyle of Morrow County; Mackenzie Grandstaff of Morrow County; Cassidy Small of Knox County; Ellie Kidwell of Knox County; Amanda Forquer, Morrow County 4-H Educator; Colton Boyer of Richland County; Ethan Staley of Knox County; and Adam Staley of Knox County, 4-H Livestock Judging Coach.