Joe Stellato, UW-Extension Educator in Shawano County, spends much of his time and outreach work focused on youth development programs. As one of the top agricultural counties in WI, Joe serves as both advisor and teacher for many 4H dairy and livestock project activities. While fitting and showing have historically been the focus of local livestock project events, a survey in March, 2011 from 50 randomly selected livestock project members ages 10-19 shows Joe’s new emphasis on management practices is paying off.
Survey results from the random sample (N=50) of more than 200 Shawano County 4H livestock project members showed a majority of respondents indicated they learned how to keep records and calculate cost of production; what livestock buyers want in a properly finished animal, as well as what and how to feed their animals. A majority of respondents also said they learned about safe livestock handling and moving practices, appropriate withdrawal times for medicated feed, as well as the issue of animal rights.
Joe has also initiated and supported several state/federal grant projects, as well as local fund raising efforts, to help create several highly effective alternative education programs for hundreds of non-4H youth throughout Shawano County, including: personal financial management for middle school students; planning and development of the first-ever skate park in the City of Shawano, as well as after school programs with the Stockbridge-Munsee Tribe.