CREWE – Southside Electric Cooperative staff and board members joined representatives from the Virginia Cooperative Extension and Virginia 4-H Foundation on Friday to complete the awarding of matching charitable gifts to the 4-H Youth Livestock Program. Through a joint effort, SEC and cooperative financial partner CoBank were pleased to announce $5,000 in total contributions to benefit youth livestock initiatives in Virginia.
SEC’s initial gift of $2,500 in November of last year went to defray costs of the 2012 Virginia Junior Livestock Expo, held in Rockingham County for the first time. The annual youth livestock event had become a longtime staple of the Virginia State Fair, but after financial uncertainty jeopardized the Fair, the Virginia Cooperative Extension sought new sources of funding to keep the program intact.
"We are delighted to help fund a program which holds such great importance for so many of our young member-consumers and their families. I can’t begin to count the number of people I know whose children have been involved in the 4-H livestock program. It truly is an invaluable experience for them, and Southside Electric Cooperative is proud to be a part of that," remarked Jeff Edwards, SEC president & CEO. Joining Edwards for the presentation was SEC board vice-chairman, Dr. Earl C. Currin, Jr., a livestock farmer and former provost of Southside Virginia Community College. Dr. Currin reiterated Edwards’ comments, noting the important developmental role the program has played for the region’s youth over many decades, both personally and professionally.
Following their initial contribution, SEC approached CoBank, a cooperative lending institution that serves rural areas across the United States, to match their donation. As a collaborative effort to fund causes of great importance in the communities where they serve, CoBank’s "Sharing Success" matching grant program afforded SEC the opportunity to secure an additional $2,500 to support youth livestock projects in Virginia. Specifically, the CoBank matching donation will benefit the Virginia 4-H Foundation, the organization spearheading the advancement of the Virginia 4-H Youth Livestock Programs Endowment.
"With more than 2,900 youth participants, the 4-H Foundation’s endowment is a vital source of income used to fund the cost of livestock programming for our young people," noted Tad
Melton, chairman of the Virginia 4-H Foundation. "We are grateful to SEC and CoBank for their generous donations and look forward to partnering with them in the future."
4-H youth members receive a number of opportunities to expand their knowledge of livestock, improve management and handling skills, and develop personal responsibility. Participants also learn invaluable leadership, communication and critical-thinking skills through year-round competitions and events.
Easily the most visible event supported by the 4-H Endowment, the Virginia Junior Livestock Expo is the culminating activity for competitive livestock projects, and is open to all 4-H and Future Farmers of America (FFA) members. Drawing young people from across Virginia, the Expo offers market and breeding shows for beef cattle, swine, sheep and meat goats, as well as a stockman’s contest.
"When we were looking to help fund the costs of the Expo last year, Southside Electric stepped up without hesitation. We recognize their commitment to the community, and are deeply appreciative of their strong support," added Dr. Paige Pratt, youth livestock extension specialist with Virginia Tech’s Department of Animal & Poultry Sciences.
For additional information contact Franklin D. Harris, SEC Manager of Public & Member Relations at 1-800-552-2118; extension 3211, or by e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.