The disrupted state of our world during 2020 cannot be doubted and will definitely have a major impact on many young people who had hoped to show animals at their local fairs this summer. While we can empathize with the loss of fun and competition, their diminished returns on major investments of both time and money, and the dearth of learning experiences, as adults, we can still be instrumental in helping 4-H-ers and FFA participants stay involved. A quote attributed to Willie Nelson says it perfectly: "Once you replace negative thoughts with positive ones, you’ll start having positive results."
We at CRYSTALYX® are longtime supporters of youth learning opportunities and skill development, and while many events and activities will be cancelled this summer, others will put extra safeguards in place and carry on with the show. Let me offer several positive ways CRYSTALYX can be part of 4-H, FFA or other youth programs this summer:
- Earn to Learn™
The Earn to Learn program is designed to assist youth groups such as horse clubs, 4-H, rodeo clubs and FFA chapters by raising funds to expand their educational opportunities. For many years, this fundraising program has offered youth groups a way to earn cash for their clubs by selling discount cards to livestock producers. (Do you know any producers willing to spend $20 to get a $40/ton discount? I thought so!) All the money earned remains with the youth club, while producers are able to buy CRYSTALYX Brand products at a discount through local dealers, supporting both groups with product sales and service. I’d call that a WIN-WIN-WIN!
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Earn to Learn is an easy program to administer since, unlike with many other fundraisers, once the coupon is sold and the money collected, there is no follow-up required with the producer, like delivering fruit, candy or flowers. This program can continue to provide a method of fundraising even during times of maintaining distance via the creative use of social media and other means, encouraging young people to continue setting goals and improving their communication, business and marketing skills. Enroll your club in Earn to Learn and find out how the program could benefit your group at Crystalyx.com/earn-to-learn.
- Small-size tubs for individual animals
While most of the blocks and tubs sold by CRYSTALYX are 200–250 lbs., we offer several smaller-sized units that work great for individuals or a small group. The best example for show cattle is the 60-lb. Blueprint® Battalion® tub, the newest generation of stress block with special additives (called Bio-Mos® 2) designed to maintain a healthy gut and support overall performance, especially during times of nutritional stress. The Blueprint® package of 100% organic trace minerals mimics the form found naturally in plants, which translates to better absorption and, as a result, improved nutrition for growth, immune support and healthy hoof and hair development. Improved absorption also means a lower level of minerals can be used in the formulation, leading to a lower level of those nutrients being excreted into the environment. One particular trace mineral, chromium, helps improve the energy status of cattle, so they derive more calories from the feeds consumed. The small 60-lb. container allows for better control to manage intake on just one or a few animals.
A second stress block available in a 60-lb. size is CRYSTALYX® Brigade®, which has been proven for many years to significantly reduce health problems in tough situations. Brigade includes a combination of organic and inorganic trace minerals and, like Blueprint Battalion, a high level of vitamin E to boost the immune system. It does not, however, contain Bio-Mos and chromium.
Something we don’t stress enough with lick tubs is the importance of the licking action for stimulating saliva to buffer the rumen, helping reduce digestive upsets for cattle on high-grain diets. By being available 24/7, any animal feeling a little bit “off” can have access to the lick tub, which often helps them feel better. I personally knew the father of a 4-H-er who told me they had a steer go off feed, but upon introducing a stress tub, the steer had a huge turnaround and quickly got back to eating and gaining.
- Sheep and goats
Due to the smaller size of these project animals, sheep and goats have become very popular species to show, especially for younger 4-H-ers. These small ruminants are grazing animals, like cattle, but their specific nutritional requirements are a bit different. Sheep have a much lower need for copper, so it is always critical to feed sheep-specific products that have no added copper. Goats do require supplementary copper in dietary concentrations similar to cattle, so again, it is best to feed a goat-specific product when raising show goats.
With CRYSTALYX, we can offer three very high-quality supplements in a 60-lb. tub, which is the perfect size for smaller show animals. Our newest addition, the CRYSTALYX® Blueprint® Sheep Mineral block, is a mineral supplement for sheep without added protein, making it ideal for when forage and grain adequately meet protein requirements. As part of the Blueprint line, all of the trace minerals included in the block are provided in an organic or chelated form, which, as mentioned above, improves the absorption of these essential nutrients.
RELATED ARTICLE: Blueprint nutrition now available for sheep
Two other small ruminant options are CRYSTALYX® Sheep-lyx™ and Goat-lyx®, which are quite similar in their nutrient content and nutritional additives, but each is, of course, formulated for a particular species. Sheep-lyx and Goat-lyx are superb supplements because they offer high fortification levels of minerals — including chelated trace minerals — as well as vitamins and protein. Protein helps with muscle growth and definition and skeletal development. The inclusion of organic (chelated) trace minerals helps animals overcome stress, as many of these projects are subjected to moving, showing and extra handling. For only pennies a day, these supplements can be made available 24/7, so project animals always have access to a high-quality nutritional package — plus the licking action required, which is a natural instinct, helps produce saliva to buffer the rumen of lambs or kids on high-grain diets.
- Equine products
Over the years, CRYSTALYX has had tremendous success with the Stable-lyx® block, offering Stable-lyx® with ClariFly® for fly control in pastures and stables for the summer. While 60-lb. and 125-lb. tubs are available, we recently introduced a 33-lb. flat back bucket with a handle for easy carrying or hanging in a stall or on a fence. For the desired intake, the horse must be managed, and the small size of this block helps in this effort. Stable-lyx is another highly fortified supplement with organic trace minerals included for improved absorption, plus biotin, zinc and other minerals and vitamins for better hoof and hair quality. Added electrolytes help horses recover after a strenuous workout or competition. The salt in the formula contributes to consumption regulation while encouraging more water intake. Stable-lyx can make your life easier, giving you the peace of mind that, along with good forage, your horse will have a balanced diet that meets its nutritional requirements in a cost-effective and simple manner.
At CRYSTALYX, we hope that, this summer, our youth can find new and creative ways to engage with others and in our industry through our dealer network. Please let us know how we can be part of the planning and implementation of these programs.