Busboom spends a lot of time teaching youth how to work with livestock
but the animal scientist is much more interested in the youth than
at the Palouse Empire Fair, Colfax, as two of his daughters and
their sheep were winning ribbons, Busboom said, 'I see these youth
shows as a tremendous opportunity to teach kids. For us, the primary
product we're working on is the youth, not the livestock.'
a lot of good evidence that people who handle animals well treat
people well,' Busboom explained.
shows give children opportunities to perform under questioning
and learn how to communicate under pressure when they have to
see it as a real important area,' said Busboom.
Busboom, extension meat specialist, is part of a team of WSU faculty
and staff who provide educational materials and training to support
youth programs such as 4-H and FFA.
Busboom and one of her 4-H sheep.
One of those efforts is teaching livestock judging schools that
draw livestock judges from throughout the northwest. 'That's
a big cooperative program with many people in extension involved,'
who are certified by the school judge thousands of youth shows around
the country. These judges interact with youth at very teachable
moments at fairs.
WSU program teaches judges how to communicate better with youth.
'We train them as educators,' Busboom said.
commitment to 4-H goes beyond his professional assignments for
He and wife Janice are also 4-H leaders for 20 youth who have sheep
projects in Albion, Washington.
Their three daughters belong to 4-H. Hannah, 17, won reserve grand
champion showmanship in sheep; Abby, 15, entered the reserve champion
lamb and Bekah won the grand champion ram ribbon and the grand champion
showmanship ribbon at the Palouse Empire Fair.
McCormack smooth-shears a lamb under the close supervision
of Hannah Busboom, who demonstrated the technique at the Palouse
In addition, Hannah gave a demonstration on how to shear lambs
Besides educating youth in livestock and working with 4-H, Busboom’s
university assignments include working with commercial livestock
producers on quality assurance and a value-based marketing program
to increase the palatability and marketability of meat.
Along with other WSU faculty, Busboom also works with food processors
in food safety in red meats and poultry.
One of the programs is a federal initiative, Hazard Analysis Critical
Control Point. It involves protecting the food supply from physical,
chemical and biological contamination. Busboom helps the industry
identify what hazards are and to identify control points.
As the HACCP program and science develop, Busboom says specialists
one day will be able to trace harmful bacteria back to individual
producers and help them eliminate problems.
Busboom has been a WSU faculty member since 1989.
Busboom poses with one of her 4-H sheep.