4-H member Cody Cole traveled to Austin and the Advocacy Academy last week with a number of peers to discuss different areas surrounding the future of livestock in the second phase of his Livestock Ambassadorship.
“(Ambassadors) have to give back to the community,” said Leslie Lazenby, who is in charge of 4-H and Youth Development for the Madison County Extension Office. “We are so proud of Cody, who did a terrific job representing us in Austin.”
Cole became an Ambassador last year after his application and 24 others were chosen among hundreds. Part of the job is to play a helpful role in the community with tasks such as youth education and public outreach.
“One of the cooler things I saw Cody do came at the Houston Livestock Show,” said Lazenby. “He took his heifer to a crowded area of the show so he could talk to others, take pictures and answer any sort of questions.”
The Ambassadors met with a broad range of groups such as Farm Bureau, the Texas Tribune and several other large agencies that operate out of Austin. They also met with some lobbyists and learned the best way to tell their stories.
The group also met with a humane society while in Austin.
“There are people who do not like animal agriculture, so we need members who can effectively communicate with them,” said Lazenby. “It is important for people to know that farmers are not your enemies, so we need to get our message out there.”
The Livestock Ambassador program got its start in Madison County about ten years ago. Their mission is to provide high school aged 4-H members with the opportunity to develop and practice advanced leadership skills related to mentoring other youth, and to become advocates for animal agriculture.
After Cole completes his hours this year, it will be time for the third phase in the process. His next trip will take him much further than Austin. He will likely travel to either California or Washington for ten days.
Two more local members earned Ambassadorships and will start the same journey through the three phases. Emma Hurst and Madi Caperton were chosen earlier this year and attended an extensive livestock educational program at Texas A&M last month.