"The awards are based on performance in tests of each youth's knowledge of the livestock industry, practical exercises demonstrating skills and the ability to communicate effectively," said Dwayne Nunez, LSU AgCenter livestock show manager.

Six exceptional Louisiana youths were recognized February 16 for their knowledge, skills and communication abilities as they were named winners of the Gerry Lane Premier Exhibitor Award at the 84th annual LSU AgCenter Livestock Show at the Lamar-Dixon Expo Center.

For the past 21 years, the premier exhibitor program has recognized 4-H and FFA members who may not have champion animals but who have a thorough understanding of animal science.

"The awards are based on performance in tests of each youth's knowledge of the livestock industry, practical exercises demonstrating skills and the ability to communicate effectively," said Dwayne Nunez, LSU AgCenter livestock show manager.

Program participants have to pass an exam, demonstrate skills, write an essay, prepare a resume and show poise and confidence during an interview with livestock show officials, Nunez said.

The winning youths were among 30 finalists and many other contestants in the program, which recognizes outstanding livestock exhibitors in six categories: beef cattle, dairy cattle, poultry, sheep, goats and swine.

Supported by an endowment from Gerry Lane Enterprises in Baton Rouge, the program is open to participants exhibiting beef, dairy, swine, sheep, poultry and goats. The top winner in each premier exhibitor category received a $500 cash award, a commemorative belt buckle and a monogrammed jacket. The other four finalists in each category were awarded trophies.

This year’s first-place winners of the Gerry Lane Premier Exhibitor Awards are:

--Beef Premier Exhibitor: Mary Claire Istre, Calcasieu Parish 4-H.

--Dairy Premier Exhibitor: Owen Brouillette, West Feliciana Parish 4-H.

--Goat Premier Exhibitor: Sarah Tarver, Pointe Coupee Parish 4-H.

--Poultry Premier Exhibitor: Claire O’Neill, Tangipahoa Parish 4-H.

--Sheep Premier Exhibitor: Ethan Coker, Claiborne Parish 4-H.

--Swine Premier Exhibitor: Josie Purvis, Livingston Parish 4-H.

Other finalists in this year's premier exhibitor program, by category and in order of placing, are:

--Beef: second, Ty Hebert, Vermilion Parish 4-H; third, Caiden McDowell, East Baton Rouge Parish 4-H; fourth, Lily Gisclair, Beauregard Parish 4-H; fifth, Madison Plaisance, Tangipahoa Parish 4-H.

--Dairy: second, Madison Pollet, West Feliciana Parish 4-H; third, Coralie Deloach, Avoyelles Parish 4-H; fourth, Greer Gardner, East Feliciana Parish 4-H; fifth, Madelyn Landry, Assumption Parish 4-H.

--Goats: second, Keri Landry, St. Mary Parish 4-H; third, Luke Lirette, Iberville Parish 4-H; fourth, Emmerson Lyons, St. Landry Parish 4-H; fifth, Sydney Pearce, Cameron Parish 4-H.

--Poultry: second, Zack Duncan, Avoyelles Parish 4-H; third, Madison Pollet, West Feliciana Parish 4-H; fourth, Alex Meche, St. Martin Parish 4-H; fifth, Erin Jines, East Baton Rouge Parish 4-H.

--Sheep: second, Emma Sarradet, West Baton Rouge Parish 4-H; third, Megan Davidson, St. Landry Parish 4-H; fourth, Ali Fontenot, St. Martin Parish 4-H; fifth, Sadie Lear, St. James Parish 4-H.

--Swine: second, Amanda Simmons, Sabine Parish 4-H; third, Saige Pellerin, Iberia Parish 4-H; fourth, Caitlin McBride, Ouachita 4-H; fifth, Tristan Foret, Lafourche Parish 4-H.

Dwayne Nunez can be reached at 225-621-5799 or dnunez@agcenter.lsu.edu