Clarence W. Reaves succeeded Hamlin Brown as Extension Dairyman in 1947 in the University of Florida’s Dairy Science Department. He was responsible for providing leadership to all extension dairy programs in Florida. His dairy experience in Tennessee prior to coming to Florida, helped him understand the needs of both the dairy industry and the 4-H dairy youth program.
“He was a strong supporter of 4-H programs and was frequently involved in coaching the State 4-H Dairy Cattle Judging Team and accompanying them to the national contest,” remembered the late Barney Harris, Jr., professor emeritus with the Animal Sciences Department at the University of Florida. “Even after his retirement in 1971, he continued his interest in 4-H by attending major 4-H dairy events in the state.”
One of the first programs initiated by Reaves were the District 4-H Dairy Shows, and the State 4-H Dairy Show. By 1951, only four years after he assumed his role as Extension Dairyman, all ten 4-H districts were holding annual 4-H dairy shows and judging contests. The district shows continued until 1966, and the State 4-H Dairy Show is still held in Orlando at the Central Florida Fair.
A statewide dairy judging contest was also begun in 1948, and the 1951 State 4-H Dairy Cattle Judging Team won the National Dairy Cattle Judging Contest. Reaves also established the Florida Dairy Cattle Artificial Breeding Program, worked with the National Dairy Herd Information Association, and mentored Florida 4-H Dairy Club members.
Reaves also published professionally so the knowledge he gathered as an extension dairyman contributed to science. Throughout his professional life he was in demand as a dairy cattle judge in the United States and abroad. After retirement, Mr. Reaves served as a dairy specialist through the University of Florida with a U.S. Agency for International Development project in El Salvador in Central America.
To help encourage young people to study dairy and support 4-H members, after his retirement from the University of Florida, Reaves established the C.W. Reaves 4-H Dairy Scholarship Fund. The scholarship at the University of Florida provides financial support for students who are 4-H club members and plan to study dairy science. Names of scholarship recipients are displayed on a plaque in the UF Dairy Sciences Department.