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2024 Chick Chain Show Results

Cloverbud participants

On Saturday, April 20, 2024, the Washington County Ag Center came to life with 64 4-Hers and 141 chickens for the 2024 Northwest District Chick Chain show. The show was the culmination of the seven-month Northwest District 4-H Chick Chain project.

In September 2023, at the beginning of the 4-H year, 4-Hers took ownership of day-old chicks and began their journey in the 4-H poultry science project. They learned about poultry nutritional and (more…)

Keeping Your Pets Warm and Safe This Winter

Keeping Your Pets Warm and Safe This Winter

As we enjoyed a beautiful Christmas day in the panhandle, we need to start to brace for some colder weather as we welcome the new year.  Here are a few ideas on how to protect your animals in the colder weather.  During this upcoming cold snap, your “critters” will rely on you to survive it.  As you think about how to best protect your outside pets and livestock, remember the three W’s. (more…)

Chick Chain Project begins September 1, 2023

Who can participate in the NW District Chick Chain Project?

4-H Youth ages 5-18 from the Northwest District of Florida can enroll and participate in the NW Florida 4-H Chick Chain project. Those counties include Bay, Calhoun, Escambia, Franklin, Gadsden, Gulf, Holmes, Jackson, Jefferson, Leon, Liberty, Okaloosa, Santa Rosa, Wakulla, Walton, and Washington.

What is the Chick Chain project?
Join 4-Hers from our 16-county Northwest Extension district and learn how to raise and care for chickens. At the end of the project, there’s a district show where you’ll show off your birds and everything you’ve learned. This website will support you throughout your project.  (more…)

Recognizing the Signs of Human Trafficking

image with National Human Trafficking Hotline

To get help for someone call or text this number

Understanding Signs of Human Trafficking

The common misconception when the average person hears about human trafficking is that the victim has been kidnapped and sold into slavery across the world.  The visions of young people restrained in the back of a semi tuck or cargo ship may come to mind.  The reality of the matter is kidnapping of victims only happens in about 9% of these cases.  The sad fact is that most victims are trafficked by someone they know and trusted at one point.  Many victims even feel they are doing their trafficker a favor now and then in exchange for a new cell phone, video game, or some other type of prized possession.

Understanding the signs of human trafficking is the first step to helping the victims find their freedom.  Many youth who are venerable can be influenced and controlled by savvy individuals they initially see as a trusted adult.  Through research, the susceptible victims are targeted and are in over their heads before they know what has happened.  Often, these victims feel stuck without any hopes of relief or rescue.

The signs to look for are subtle and for experienced traffickers, sometimes well hidden.  A sudden change in appearance or attitude could be a sign of youth hanging out with a new crowd.  If you notice youth that have a new friend who is considerably older, this could also be a signal that the relationship may not be healthy.  Here is a sample of additional signs to look for:

  • Sudden absences from school
  • Repeatedly running away
  • Abrupt change in attire, behavior, or relationships
  • The existence of an older “boyfriend” or “girlfriend”
  • Being escorted by an older male or female who is not their guardian
  • Sudden existence of costly material belongings
  • Homelessness
  • Signs of psychological pressure, such as anxiety, depression,
  • An overly submissive attitude
  • Tattoos or other branding marks
  • Lack of control over their schedule or money
  • Unable to possess their own proof of identification
  • Signs of physical trauma (like bruises, cuts, burns, or scars)
  • Coached or rehearsed responses to questions

If you are a trusted adult and changes are noticed, a few well-placed questions, may help the victim open up a little.  Victims may be resistant to questioning but may speak more freely with an open-ended conversation.  Can you tell me more about, “the new friend’s name here”?  What do you do when you hang out with “new friend”?  Why did “new friend” buy you such a nice cell phone?  It is not necessary to confirm abuse before calling the Florida Abuse Hotline to report suspicion.  Remember, these victims can also be young adults that have been trapped inside a human trafficking ring for years.   If abuse is suspected, please call Florida Abuse Hotline (report abuse for children) TEL: 1-800-962-2873 TTY: 1-800-4955-8771 The Florida Abuse Hotline accepts reports 24 hours a day and 7 days a week of known or suspected child abuse, neglect, or abandonment and reports of known or suspected abuse, neglect, or exploitation of a vulnerable adult. Please use the links below to report a child or adult abuse.  National Human Trafficking Resource Center 24/7 (for adults).  1 (888) 373-7888

BeFree Textline 24/7 Text HELP to 233733 (BEFREE) Send a text for crisis support, referrals, and more – to get help for victims and survivors of human trafficking or to connect with local services.

Meet the Author-Prudence Caskey

Prudence Caskey, Santa Rosa County 4-H Extension Agent

Prudence Caskey is the 4-H Extension Agent in Santa Rosa County, Florida. Prudence grew up on Voscinar Poultry Farms in central Florida and has been raising her own chickens since the age offive. She remembers ordering baby chicks by mail with her twin sister, “We both worked all summer and put our money together and bought all we could afford, which was only 551 Rhode Island Reds. So, that’s what we started with.” Within a month, Prudence and Sara had raised the chicks and sold 300 of them. “We were able to triple our money and we were hooked.”

Prudence enjoys some time with her pardoned Royal Palm Turkey hen, Reggie.

As soon as Prudence was old enough to join 4-H, she was at the Hernando County Extension office to sign up. At the age of eight, Prudence was able to enter her beloved chickens in the county fair. Her 4-H agent, Bill Hill encouraged her to show chickens. This is a past-time she has enjoyed for the better part of 25 years. “He was an excellent mentor and taught me how to try hard and step out of my comfort zone. He was amazing!” Prudence was a Hernando County 4-H member for ten years.

Fast forward sixteen years. Prudence Caskey served as a volunteer 4-H Club leader and after a short time, she applied for the 4-H Program Assistant position. Two years later, the Santa Rosa County 4-H Agent, Vicki Mullins, retired. Prudence successfully interviewed for the 4-H Agent position. She started her dream job in March of 2014.

Prudence with one her favorite trees on her farm.

Prudence received her master’s Degree in Agriculture Education and Communication from the University of Florida in 2016. Today, as the 4-H agent, she spends much of her time working with 4-H’ers who have an eager passion to learn about everything from Art to Zoology. Embryology and public speaking are huge aspects of her program. She also works closely with Santa Rosa County school teachers to bring 4-H into the classrooms.

Prudence has been married to Kyle for 24 years and they have one son. They live on a pecan orchard in the northern part of Santa Rosa County.  For more information on 4-H, please contact your local 4-H office.  You can find your local office here.