Adams County 4-H'er Learns Responsibility, Advocacy Working with Animals


It's hard to keep up with Trevor DeVries around the barns at Adams County Fairfest.
"Chickens went home this morning," he said as he headed towards the sheep barn.

From the fair, to market, to your dinner table. It's a cycle DeVries knows well, now in his tenth year in 4-H.

He got an early start thanks to a family of 4-H backers.

Extension 4-H Specialist Beth Janning said of the family, "They're always willing to step up, always help when needed."

Like many of the kids at Fairfest, Trevor feeds his animals before he feeds himself.

One night he's up late shearing sheep, early the next morning he's washing chickens or feeding hogs.

Some kids might play baseball, but for Trevor, summer's revolve around this.

He explained, "You get to show all the work we've been doing with animals, climax to the whole thing."

4-H leaders say the DeVries are a classic example of how it takes a family working together.

"You can't just drop you kid off," Janning said. "It's a lot of bonding, so build relationships and connections and that's the memories you have and pass on to your family."

Trevor's passion was passed down from his dad Terry, who was also in 4-H in Adams County
and now works as scientist on a nearby University of Nebraska research farm.

His mom Lynn teaches family and consumer science in Harvard. His brothers show animals.

Trevor says it's the Nebraska way.

"Agriculture's a big part of everything, especially in this state. If they're not involved with it, I think they're missing out on a big chunk. Good thing to be close to," he said.

And increasingly, kids are being challenged to have answers to the questions consumers ask, especially on issues like animal welfare.

During beef shows at the county fair, the livestock judge asked kids what they would tell moms at the grocery store.

Trevor said it's a good reminder to tell the story behind what they do.

"Lot of it's come under attack lately and as society moves forward, becomes less popular for some people, but it's really important to have something we can't lose anytime soon. People need to know," he said.

By working with sheep, chickens, and hogs and with a summer job at the Meat Animal Research Center, Trevor opens the door to be an advocate for agriculture.

Trevor just graduated from Sandy Creek and will study animal science this fall at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln as he hopes to become a vet or a researcher.