Deron Rehberg's love of agriculture and livestock has come full circle -- from growing up on a small farm in Thomas County and taking part in 4-H as a child to becoming a University of Georgia Extension 4-H agent in Grady County.
Rehberg, whose favorite 4-H program as a child was livestock, enjoys his role as leader of Grady County's 4-H program.
"I help the kids with selection, grooming, getting ready for shows and going to shows," said Rehberg, whose livestock program consists of more than 60 students. Rehberg supports students by helping them select animals and build their showmanship skills.
"It gives me a sense that I'm giving back to the program. When you work with some of these young show kids, and help them from the ground up...it gives you a sense of accomplishment to know you had a little bit to do with how they did [in the show]," said Rehberg.
His goal is to teach students to put their best foot forward. "Be competitive in the show ring; win or lose, but do it with grace," he said.
Rehberg also oversees Grady County's Shooting Awareness, Fun and Education (SAFE) program, which runs from October to May. Seventy-six students participate in the skeet shooting and archery program.
"The neat thing about those two programs (livestock and SAFE) for us is that they're family-oriented," Rehberg said. "The more a family can do together, the better."
Rehberg loved 4-H as a child, so much so that it influenced his career choice. Livestock piqued his interest in fifth grade. He joined 4-H to develop that interest and began showing steers. From there he joined the livestock judging team and mastered (won project on state level) his senior year. He continued his livestock-judging career at UGA and still enjoys judging shows throughout South Georgia and Florida.
"From elementary to high school, I was the most active 4-H'er that Thomas County had," Rehberg said.
Since becoming an Extension agent more than 26 years ago, Rehberg has enjoyed working with the students and families of Grady County.
"Because I was familiar with 4-H, it was a job that appealed to me," he said. "I'm leading a program that I grew up participating in."
Visit the UGA Extension Grady County website for more information about local programs.
Published October 24, 2014
"It gives me a sense that I'm giving back to the program. When you work with some of these young show kids, and help them from the ground up...gives you a sense of accomplishment t to know you had a little bit to do with how they did [in the show]."
- Deron Rehberg, Grady County 4-H Agent