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101617 FARM fair winners dairy show (copy)

Youngsters compete in the 4-H Dairy Show at the 2017 Orangeburg County Fair.

Orangeburg County and agriculture are nearly synonymous as the county throughout its history has remained a state leader in agricultural production and interests.

Icons of the county's agricultural history are the competitive 4-H and FFA shows each year at the Orangeburg County Fair.

The events include the 4-H/FFA Youth Dairy Heifer Show, the Commercial Dairy Heifer Show, the Youth Beef Cattle Show, the Youth Barrow Show and the Meat Goat Project Show.

The shows continue the tradition of ensuring the fair's agricultural roots are respected and honored through these events.

The fair also provides youth an opportunity to participate in the 4-H Poultry Project and Pullet Chain project.

The Pullet Chain Project requires youth to raise chickens from newly hatched chicks to pre-laying hens (pullets).

During the project, youth learn how to care for their flock and record their progress in an official record book.

Youth are recognized for best Pullet Flock, Showmanship and Record Book completion.

In addition to the competitive shows at the fair, 4-H, which is the youth-development arm of Clemson University Cooperative Extension, provides youth a number of opportunities to learn more about the world of agriculture.

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4-H programs cover animal science, agriculture, science, engineering, natural resources, healthy living, leadership and more.

The Orangeburg County 4-H has a number of events throughout the year to introduce young people and their families to the 4-H Livestock Programs.

Though the Livestock Programs youth learn about animal care, handling and showing in the ring by 4-H members in the projects.

There is also 4-H Club Summer Camp which helps young club members develop the skills they need to succeed in all areas of life.

From wake up to lights out, campers enjoy new challenges, discovery, friendships and fun, with a focus on developing character through cooperation, teamwork, respect for others and for our natural environment.

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Other events include the 4-H Small Garden Project, an independent-study project where youth plan, plant, maintain and harvest a garden, as well as compete for county, regional and state awards.

The number of 4-H programs is expansive and includes opportunities for youth to be involved in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) fields, career building, a 4-H LEGO Club and a shooting sports program.

Membership in 4-H is offered to all youth, ages 5-19, on an age-appropriate basis.

The FFA has four chapters in The T&D Region. Three are in Orangeburg County -- Cordova, Branchville and Santee -- according to the FFA website.

FFA is an intracurricular student organization for those interested in agriculture and leadership.

FFA, however, is not just for students who want to be production farmers. The organization also welcomes members who aspire to careers as teachers, doctors, scientists, business owners and more.

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The organization provides a number of career development events and opportunities through agriscience fairs, public speaking, ag mechanics, agronomy, nursery and landscape and others.

FFA members also have a chance to visit the South Carolina General Assembly and embark on camping trips through the FFA's camping program.

For more information about 4-H or FFA, call 803-534-6280 or email Glenna Mason at gcmason@clemson.edu.

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Staff Writer

Gene Zaleski is a reporter/staff writer with The Times and Democrat.

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