WSU experts to participate in 4‑H livestock event to benefit rural community

A young man grooms a goat outside near a barn.
4-H youth working with livestock (photo courtesy of Linda McLean).

KELLER, Wash. — Washington State University Extension is hosting a 4-H Livestock Nutrition and Health Workshop to help youth raising livestock better understand animal health care and nutrition in preparation for fair season.

WSU experts will be part of the event at the Colville Reservation community in Keller on Sunday, March 24, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. This event is free and open to all.

“In low-income areas where the margins for agriculture are so slim, if you’re raising animals for sale, the loss of just one can be detrimental to your bottom line,” said 4-H educator Linda McLean, who grew up on the Colville Reservation. “In a rural community, access to veterinary services can be an hour away.”

Students from the WSU College of Veterinary Medicine volunteered to travel to the workshop, bringing with them higher education training in the field of animal health care. Hands-on learning through demonstrations will take place at various stations throughout the day on everything from animal wellness exams to treating wounds and identifying parasites.

Faculty member John Wenz from the WSU College of Veterinary Medicine quickly saw the value of the event when McLean contacted him.

“Client education and communication is an important part of veterinary practice, so this will provide our vet students with a great opportunity,” Wenz said. “They took the lead and created a great animal health curriculum that will better prepare the community to raise healthy market animals.”

Attendees will also learn from faculty in WSU’s animal sciences department about proper livestock nutrition, a fundamental aspect of animal health and well-being. Other WSU representatives will answer questions about higher education opportunities and potential career paths.

Additional facilitation support is coming from the neighboring Keller Valley Highriders 4-H Club, which will provide lunch.

“This will be a great experiential learning opportunity for youth and their families to handle and practice on live animals,” McLean said. “We hope many people from the surrounding area attend as well.”

Funding is provided through a U.S. Department of Agriculture Federally-Recognized Tribes Extension Program grant.

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