About 40 young people from across southern Missouri will learn the basic skills to clip, groom and judge their dairy animals during the Missouri 4-H Dairy Camp, June 1 to 3.

RobThom Farm near Springfield, MO, will host the event for the fourth consecutive year. Organized by University of Missouri Outreach and Extension specialists, the camp is expected to draw young people from as far as the Bootheel.

Dale Cox, Polk County 4-H youth specialist, said a new component of this year's camp will be a computer workshop, which will allow participants to work with SimFarm, dairy sire selection programs and different internet sites.

"Computers are becoming increasingly important to farm operations,"

said Cox. "I want the 4-H members to use the computers in a real life situation to see how they can be used in addition to the games and word processing that many of them are familiar with."

Bob Bruffey, a 4-H leader and professional dairy fitter, will also be on hand to teach the group about fitting dairy cattle. Using everything from brushes to hairspray to blow dryers, the youths will learn first-hand the tricks of the trade in preparing an animal for show. Other workshops include reproductive anatomy and physiology of dairy cows.

The camp's objectives are to teach the care and management of dairy animals, to develop awareness of the ethical issues of caring for dairy animals, to promote the dairy industry and to emphasize the importance of youth to the industry.

Due to space limitations, registration is open to only 40 participants, 10 to 18 years old.

Robert Thomson, owner of RobThom Dairy, provides the heifers and facilities for the camp. As a registered Holstein farm, Thomson's operation earned national recognition in 1993 when his cow, Suzet, set the world record for annual production with 59,000 pounds of milk.

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