MARSHALL — Ryan Warfel, 19, of Casey has been taking part in his last Clark County 4-H Fair as a 4-H member this week but he has not been taking it easy there.
The Casey Achievers 4-H Club member has been tending to his Polled Hereford steer in preparation for the beef show at 8:30 a.m.and the livestock auction at 6:30 p.m. today, the closing day of the fair, at the Marshall Fairgrounds. Warfel estimated that he puts in 24 hours of feeding, washing, grooming and other work for his steers during a three-day period to get ready for a show, not to mention the months of effort beforehand.
“A lot of work goes into a show steer,” said Warfel, who has shown livestock for 11 years in 4-H. Warfel noted that he began his 4-H career at age 8 by winning the junior beef showmanship honor, with coaching from his older brother, Derek, a veteran 4-H showman.
Now, Warfel and six of his fellow 4-H completion members from Clark County are finishing their last year in this agriculture-related youth education program. The other completion members are Cherise Boyd and Colton Keeney, both of Casey; and Hannah Bender, Logan Macke, Drucilla Miller and Makayla Wycoff, all of Marshall.
Bender, 18, said her family does not live on a farm, but they have made being part of 4-H a family tradition over the years. Bender said she was drawn to 4-H because of the opportunities to perform community service in her hometown and to learn new skills.
The Clarksville Co-eds 4-H Club member has honed her public speaking skills through 4-H, created electrical and woodworking general projects, and learned to cook Swedish tea rings and many other baked goods. She entered a prize-winning cherry pie in this year’s 4-H fair.
“The opportunities 4-H offers, you can’t really get from other organizations,” Bender said.
The self-confidence she has developed through 4-H, according to Bender, will serve her well as she starts studying nursing this fall at Indiana State University and then pursues a career after graduation.
Warfel said 4-H helped him develop leadership skills and introduced him to people from throughout Illinois who are working in the livestock industry. The 4-H’er said he especially enjoyed being able to advance from the Clark County fair to beef and swine competitions at the Illinois State Fair on a number of occasions.
“You learn quite a bit whenever you go to the state fair. You pick up a lot of pointers from seeing what other people do,” Warfel said.
Warfel, who works for Evapco Midwest in Greenup, said he plans to continue helping on his family’s farm and entering his cattle in open shows, and he intends to return next summer to assist with the Clark County 4-H Fair. He said his long-term goal is to acquire a farm and a herd of cattle of his own.
“Hopefully, I will raise good show steer for the young-uns,” Warfel said of the next generation of 4-H youths.
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