Howick’s Geordie Woods has been a member of 4-H for quite a while, showing cows, chickens, and growing a garden, and it has given him a variety of skills and experiences. The motto of 4-H is “learn by doing,” and Woods has exemplified this throughout his time with his local club.
This year Woods had a major success at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair, winning Grand Champion Ayrshire in the TD Canadian 4-H Dairy Classic. This was his third time competing in the event. “We had a young team representing South-West Quebec, but don’t let that fool you – these young members were extremely hardworking, passionate competitors,” he says. He highlights that though the Royal provides an incredible experience, it’s the people who make it so. “I was fortunate enough this year to show a summer yearling Ayrshire heifer from Money Making Ayrshires from Howick. Without the ongoing help of Melissa Sylvestre and Andrew Scoble, I would not have had the opportunity to show at the Classic this year.”
Woods was thrilled to win and reminds people that “It takes the right diet, hoof trimming, climate, and daily rinsing,” to be show-ready. Because Woods is currently away at university, he has not been around for a lot of the upkeep. He explains that “Melissa took responsibility for that, and the results paid off…The credit should be given to the breeder and caretaker back at the farm, because without them none of this would have been possible.”
Because The Royal takes place in a huge city like Toronto, it opens up the world of agriculture to a new demographic. “This allows for people who have never seen a cow in their life to not only see one but see how they are treated, milked, and fed. Events like these are great for spreading new technology to farmers and educating the population on how certain parts of agriculture work.”
Woods is currently doing a Bachelor of Science in animal biology at the University of Guelph. He hopes to go on to the Ontario Veterinary College and become a veterinarian. This goal “has certainly been fueled by my time around animals, more specifically dairy cows.” He is extremely grateful for the experience this year.
Several members of the South-West Quebec team were also recognized during the TD Classic in their respective categories. Vincent Proulx finished in ninth position in the summer yearling class during the Holstein show, while Keith Quinn also earned a ninth-place finish in the spring yearling class. Finally, Maeve McIntyre finished in 15th position in the spring yearling class during the Jersey show.