GREAT FALLS, Mont. - 4-H clubs are one of the nation's largest youth development organizations to help empower young people.
The Cascade County Livestock Show and Sale plays a crucial role in helping Montana's future generation of farmers and ranchers on their path to success.
Head, heart, hands, and health are the 4-H's in 4-H and the values that young people are working on throughout the program.
"A person has to enroll in a club and then pick their projects and what not," said Leann Murphy, a member of the Ulm Pishkun 4-H club.
One way many of Montana's future farmers are learning these values is through animal science projects.
"You keep track of all your records and everything that you do. We sell our animals if they're livestock and it's just like a class in school really in what you're doing it's just different areas," said Leann.
Several years ago the Cascade County 4-H clubs created an event called the Cascade County 4-H Livestock Show and Sale.
"I have a market sheep, and this is my breeding heifer Brie," said Leann.
Leann and her family have been participating in the show and sale for 3 years.
(MT Family Farms/Macy Herman/Circle S 4-H Club Member)
"You just walk around the sale ring with the live auction," said Macy Herman, Circle S 4-H club member.
This show is doing more than just showing off these animals.
"It really teaches you the responsibility of taking care of another animal," said Herman.
Not only are they learning that responsiblity, the principals of animal nutrtion, and learning how to train and handle animal safety - they are also exploring the livestock industry or even how to start a business of their own.
"It gives those kids the opportunity for so much more growth... 4-H down the road, most definitely. Scholarships is a big thing, raising your livestock and being able to create your own fund for down the road. For whether it's college or whether it's life experience," said Ginger Murphy, former 4-H member and Leann's mother.
There are jack pot shows, which you can think of as a traveling sport.
"They go around to different cities, you have a show pretty much like this, it's really competitive, and there is money involved, lots of awesome prizes involved for the best animal and best showman," said Leann.
While jack pot shows and other auctions may help put a little extra cash in the 4-H'ers' pockets, they always turn back to the Cascade County Show and Sale.
"This is kind of our core. Our locals support us here, when we talk the state auction, we're looking at people all over the state are here to buy. I'll be honest, prices aren't nearly as good and those kids need that little bit of extra money in the pocket," said Ginger.
Proof that purchasing a 4-H animal is more than a way to feed your family.
It's a way to show support to Montana's youth, our future, and a program providing leadership skills for our next generation of farmers.