Texas 4-H Equine Ambassador Program
The Texas 4-H Equine Ambassador Program strives to provide high school aged 4-H members the opportunity to develop and practice advanced leadership skills related to mentoring other youth, and to become advocates for the equine industry.
The Texas 4-H Equine Ambassador Program was founded in 2012 when we recognized the need for a new generation of knowledgeable, well-spoken advocates for the equine industry in Texas. Today, the average American is at least three generations removed from the farm. It is essential that the upcoming generation be able to bridge the gap between consumers and farmers. Through collegiate level training, combined with hands-on experience, these youth will be equipped with the skills and knowledge to serve as educators of their community, youth volunteers, and stewards of the equine industry.
Through the Texas 4-H Equine Ambassador Program, students engage
in a comprehensive learning experience to gain exposure to the many
facets within and surrounding the equine industry. The program strives
to create immersive and unique experiences to enlighten students
about potential higher education and career pathways. Ambassadors
emerge from the program with more clarity and understanding of how
they will positively impact the industry and their communities.
Advocacy is the common thread running through the entire experience.
Skilled communicators share research-backed information locally, regionally, nationally, and internationally. Ambassadors seek and create equine advocacy engagements through civic clubs, radio stations, newspapers, television, social media, grocery stores, major shows and elected official interactions. Ambassadors recognize the critical need to share the nonfictional story of youth equine programs and the positive impact of agriculture worldwide with people several generations removed from the farm.
Through the creation of the Texas 4-H Livestock, Equine and Poultry Ambassador Programs, a new generation of knowledgeable, educated, and well-spoken youth will emerge in Texas to teach other youth and adults the skills of being good stewards, producers, and exhibitors of poultry, horses and livestock. These young people will begin a new generation of agricultural industry professionals.
- 1,354 ambassadors trained
- 122,689 hours served
- 3,172,690 people reached
- $2,654,059 monetary impact
- 99.2% college aged Ambassadors enrolled in higher education
Texas 4-H Equine Ambassador Short Course
Ambassadors are exposed to various topics in the equine industry such as reproduction, nutrition, dentistry, and veterinary science. Beyond the classroom, Ambassadors get real-world, hands on experience by visiting renowned ranches and facilities such as the Four Sixes Ranch, Sam Houston Race Park and Brazos Valley Stallion Station.
- Prepare youth to serve in leadership capacities in horse projects and programs across Texas.
- Prepare youth for higher education, through intensive science-based instruction and experiences in a university setting.
- Prepare and provide opportunities for youth to serve in advocacy roles for the equine industry, 4-H, and the horse programs.
- Develop a heightened awareness of career opportunities in the equine industry and advocacy.
Ambassadors must contribute 40 hours of service in presenting topics in agriculture advocacy, nutrition, daily maintenance and care, showmanship, sportsmanship, preparing new 4-H families for show, and management of poultry projects at a show. Not only that, Ambassadors are charged with creating animal agriculture advocacy engagements through civic clubs, radio stations, newspapers, television, social media, grocery stores, major livestock shows and elected official interactions.
“From working in the meat lab at Texas A&M to garnering industry leading knowledge from the most unique agriculturists on the West Coast, each relationship along the way has granted me varying perspectives. In turn, this has allowed me to have a more sustainable voice for all in agriculture. My time and relationships built with the people throughout the entirety of the Ambassador Program has made me the richest person in the world.” - Cooper Ford, Former Livestock Ambassador
In 2010, in a research study, students were tested on his/her livestock production knowledge before and after the short course. The exam was 100 questions, multiple choice and short answer. The average before was 49% and elevated to an outstanding 75% at the conclusion of the course. Further investigating knowledge gained, students received a livestock production expertise instrument administered pre and post course.
Positive reports of student achievement from our partner universities have become the norm. Ambassadors are leading student organizations, serving in critical student worker positions, staff for elected officials, national champions in competitive events, serving as ambassadors for his/her university, coordinating educational programs and mentoring new students.
Texas 4-H Advocacy Academy
The Texas 4-H Advocacy Academy is confronting the challenge of a lack of agricultural literacy and misinformation by an increasing number of Texans. The second phase of the program hosted at the Texas Capitol gives Ambassadors the opportunity hear from industry leaders in agricultural policy, law, agricultural environmental impact, labor challenges, and eminent domain. However, the central feature of the course are three independent media trainings where students are challenged to advocate on agricultural issues. Educational partners provide the elite training providing Ambassadors honest feedback to improve communication skills. Ambassadors emerge with a better understanding of the political process, credible threats, and effective advocacy strategies to implement each of our young leaders.
Domestic and International Agricultural Experiences
In the third phase of the program, Ambassadors have the opportunity to travel and see first-hand challenges, characteristics and diverse atmospheres associated with national and international agriculture in places like Argentina, Uruguay, Australia, California, Oregon, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and Kentucky. Through visits to progressive and established farms and ranches as well as industry facilities and universities, Ambassadors gain a greater understanding of varying agricultural practices globally. Consequently, these experiences increase awareness of global agriculture and international trade. Upon reflection, Ambassadors reported meaningful changes in their world views and solidified interest in pursuing a degree in agriculture.