Ag Report: Learning the links between livestock and County crops

PRESQUE ISLE, Maine - The 4-H Baby Beef Program provides a learning experience that benefits participants well into adulthood. In this week's County Ag Report, Kathy McCarty speaks with the club's co-leader about how raising livestock means so much more than feeding animals.

Educational opportunities aren't restricted to the classroom. Participants, like these, of the 4-H Baby Beef program learn first-hand where meals originate, They spend countless hours raising steers destined for market. Troy McCrum is the Baby Beef Club's co-leader and says the experience is worth the time invested.

"Teaching kids where food comes from is important today - that it just doesn't come from a grocery store."

It's a big time investment for youth, ranging from 10-year-olds to seniors in high school. Feeding, grooming, and otherwise caring for animals teaches them responsibility - something McCrum says applies to all areas of farming.

"And just like if they were - if they were raising potatoes or grain or anything like that, you know, the agriculture is a great way of life."

He says in Aroostook County, all aspects of agriculture are connected in some way. Beef producers rely on rotational crops to feed their animals, providing a market for hay and grain.

"These kids are feeding these animals grain that is - most of the grain is raised here in The County. There's potato rotation and so, you know, we - it's a good thing for County agriculture, all the way around."

McCrum says the program involves so much more than raising livestock. It helps build character, teaches responsibility and provides a learning experience not available in any classroom.

If you're interested in more information about the program, see our website at