The Southern Maryland Meats Program (SMM) has officially announced that the application process for the 2023 SMM Junior Livestock Program is now open. The SMM Junior Program aims to engage young people in raising high-quality meat animals that adhere to SMM standards for feed, humane treatment, and responsible raising practices, as well as incentivize participation in the adult SMM marketing program.
Open to kids and youth aged 8 to 21 years involved in livestock production in Anne Arundel, Calvert, Charles, Prince George’s, and St. Mary’s counties, the SMM Junior Livestock Program has had over 100 youth participants since its inception in 2017. Eligible SMM Junior livestock projects include beef, sheep, hogs, goats, poultry, and rabbits, and 4-H and Future Farmers of America (FFA) members are encouraged to apply.
According to Craig Sewell, SMM Marketing and Livestock Manager, “Southern Maryland Meats has always seen one of its missions as nurturing the next generation of livestock farmers. Through the creation of the Junior Promotion Program and as a premier sponsor for the past 16 years of the Southern Maryland Invitational Livestock Expo (SMILE), SMM has demonstrated a commitment to support the region’s future farmers.”
SMM Jr. Program participants will receive a free t-shirt and stall card to promote their animals during the fall county fairs. Upon successful completion of the program, they will also receive a stipend of $125 to help finance their ongoing livestock projects. To be eligible for the final Completion Award, SMM Juniors must submit an essay on one of four topics, including defining humane handling when raising livestock or outlining additional resources that SMADC can provide to assist with their livestock project.
Applications for the SMM Junior Program must be submitted by May 31, 2023, through the online 2023 Jr. Application Form, available on the SMADC website’s News & Events section. The Southern Maryland Meats marketing program is a program of the Southern Maryland Agricultural Development Commission (SMADC), a Division of the Tri-County Council for Southern Maryland.
As a program designed to encourage young people to engage in livestock production, the SMM Junior Livestock Program aims to develop and nurture the skills necessary for successful and sustainable livestock farming practices. In doing so, it also supports the future of Southern Maryland’s agricultural industry, which has been an essential part of the region’s economy and cultural heritage for centuries.