Private donor helps Virginia Family Nutrition Program give cookware to families in need

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Family Nutrition Program participants learn healthy living strategies including healthy cooking, physical activity, and thrifty food shopping.

Virginia Cooperative Extension’s Family Nutrition Program recently launched a new pilot program called Let’s Get Cookin’. The program, taught by Family Nutrition Program Assistants in northern Virginia, focuses on healthy living strategies including healthy cooking, physical activity, and thrifty food shopping. At the end of each program series, participants who complete the entire course will receive a cookware set.

This initiative began in August 2016, when the Family Nutrition Program received a call from a private donor who wanted to contribute to the program. Since the Family Nutrition Program works with limited-resource families and SNAP recipients, the donor suggested giving cookware sets as an incentive to participants who completed the programs.

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Virginia Cooperative Extension provides training in facilitation skills

Leading an organization, community group, or gathering of any size can be stressful and frustrating without the skills necessary to engage and manage a group.

To help make meetings more productive, Virginia Cooperative Extension is offering a two-day training that teaches effective facilitation principles and practices.

The Strengthening Your Facilitation Skills training offers participants the opportunity to learn and demonstrate facilitation skills, observe facilitation challenges, and identify practices that will prepare them to develop and guide the facilitation process. Those who have completed the program report feeling more comfortable planning and leading meetings.

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Virginia Tech Beef Cattle Center earns 2017 AICA Outstanding Seedstock Producer Award

Two men with heifer

Dan Eversole (left) teaches students like John-Robert Helsley about Charolais cattle

The Virginia Tech Beef Cattle Center received the 2017 Outstanding Seedstock Producer Award at the annual membership meeting of the American-International Charolais Association in Corpus Christi, Texas, this spring. Dan Eversole, associate professor of animal and poultry sciences and director of beef cattle programs, received the award on behalf of the university.

The Beef Cattle Center’s Charolais herd consists of 40 purebred breeding-age females. Charolais were introduced to the Virginia Tech Beef Cattle Center in 1998 through donations and the support of Charolais breeders across the country, led by the late Mary diZerega of Oakdale Farm in Upperville, Virginia.  Charolais, a breed of taurine beef cattle from the Charolais area in eastern France, are white colored and are often crossbred with Angus and Hereford cattle.

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Bristol Junior Steer and Heifer Show in Abingdon, Virginia on May 10

The 2017 Bristol Junior Steer and Heifer Show will take place May 10, at the Washington County Fairgrounds in Abingdon, Virginia. The 73rd annual show will begin with the steer exhibition at 9 a.m.

The event is a partnership between Virginia Cooperative Extension and University of Tennessee-Tennessee State University Extension, and it includes 4-H and FFA members from both Southwest Virginia and Northeast Tennessee.

Youth exhibitors will compete in steer, heifer, and showmanship classes; project record books; and an educational beef skill-a-thon, as well as for college scholarships. Participants have been caring for their project animals for several months in preparation for the show.

The Bristol Junior Steer and Heifer Show is a time-honored event that started in downtown Bristol in 1944. Goals of the event include teaching youths about the beef cattle industry, where their food comes from, and life skills. Participants learn responsibility, decision-making, communication, relationship building, and teamwork.

For more information, contact Walter Malone in the Sullivan County Extension Office at 423-279-2723. The office is open Monday through Friday, 8 a.m.-noon and 1-5 p.m.

4-H pledges to re-engage millions of alumni to grow 4-H: ‘Raise Your Hand’ if you are a 4-H alum from Virginia

4-H’ers learn by doing with the guidance of caring adults and volunteers.

4-H, the largest youth development program in the nation, is calling on all 4-H alumni to raise their hands to help bring 4-H to 10 million youth by 2025. Currently 4-H empowers nearly 6 million young people in every county across America, including more than 240,800 young people ages 5 to 19 in Virginia.

As part of the “Raise Your Hand” call to action, which will take place through June 30, 4-H is asking the millions of 4‑H alumni across the nation, including 4-H alums in Virginia, to raise their hands to help pay it forward so 4-H can continue to provide the hands-on learning that empowers kids across America.

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