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OSU Extension

College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences


Eight Ohio Teens Explore Careers in Denver
By Amanda Staley, 4-H Educator

Eight teens from Knox, Morrow, and Richland Counties traveled to Denver, CO during January 8 to 12, 2020. They explored 12 businesses while on a career exploration trip that was coordinated by OSU Extension – Morrow County.

This trip was a chance to take youth out of their comfort zone to experience a new city, people, ideas, and open their eyes to career opportunities they may not have thought of before. Many of the places visited were similar to businesses in Ohio, but run a bit differently in Colorado or on a much larger scale.

Taylor Rush stated, “More goes into running it (the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association - NCBA) than you think. They monitor the media constantly, try recipes in the culinary kitchen, advocate for the farmers and ranchers, and so much more. The best part was they talked to us like people who were going to achieve something someday.” The NCBA was one of the youth’s favorite stops.

The group toured Cactus Hill Ranch, which currently houses 50,000 head of lamb, but has the capacity to house 150,000. Will Nelson, one of the owners, educated the youth about feeding and watering so many lambs, manure management, making a profit, and more. They also had the opportunity to tour Superior Foods, Inc. where many of Cactus Hill’s lambs are processed. This enabled the youth to see where the lambs were fed and then see the finished product processed into retail cuts and packaged.  

Visiting Five Rivers Cattle was impactful to the youth because they experienced the management of a feed yard having 50,000 head of cattle. Colton Boyer said, “They fed efficiently, and they figured out how to feed on such a large scale and still make money.”  

Some of the other locations they visited were Colorado State University, Great Range Bison, Sombrero Horse Stables, National Western Stock Show, Where Food Comes From, Celestial Seasonings, and others.

The youth gained insight into a vast array of career paths. Some of them had their eyes opened to new interests and others increased their knowledge of what they were already planning to pursue.  

Four of the youth also participated in the National Western Round-up livestock judging contest (Colton Boyer, Ellie Kidwell, Cassidy Small, and Ethan Staley). 

A special thank you to the sponsors of the trip – Ohio 4-H Youth Development, Knox County Cattlemen’s, and the Mildred and Harold Hart Endowment.

Youth pictured above left to right: Bryce Schott of Fredericktown; Taylor Rush of Cardington; Kayla Carlyle of Cardington; Mackenzie Grandstaff of Mt. Gilead; Cassidy Small of Fredericktown; Ellie Kidwell of Walhonding; Amanda Forquer of Mt. Gilead, 4-H Educator; Colton Boyer of Lucas; Ethan Staley of Fredericktown; and Adam Staley of Fredericktown, 4-H Livestock Judging Coach.