About Me

Kentucky, United States
Fourth generation beef producer, wife, mother, 4-H & FFA supporter, agriculture advocate, Christian, WKU alum, love livestock shows, basketball, college football, Dallas Cowboys. All things agriculture.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

State Fair Season ~ Tournament Time for Youth Livestock Exhibitors

     Opening day for the Kentucky State Fair is Thursday, August 15, and for many 4-H and FFA youth the most important week and a half of the project year has arrived. Each member will soon be competing in showmanship and exhibiting breeding and/or market project animals on the green shavings at the Kentucky Exposition Center, and each with hopes their months of feeding and caring for these animals results in a champion banner.


     For folks not familiar with the livestock projects of 4-H and FFA members, some find it difficult to understand the daily work it takes to care for these animals or the dreams and determination of these kids to succeed. This lack of knowledge by the general public and some school officials often makes it difficult for some members to be away from school to exhibit their project animals at the state fair. We've been blessed in our local school system with strong support for the youth and they are able to make up class work following the fair.
     I like to relate the youth livestock projects and the state fair to state championship athletic events. Basketball is king in Kentucky and there are county school systems that regularly close during the Kentucky Sweet 16 basketball tournament making it convenient for school employees, specifically coaches, to attend even if the school is not involved. Or, coaches are permitted to take their teams to watch the tournament and students be excused from school. The state fair is the state tournament for agriculture youth and it is unfortunately scheduled during the opening month of school for most districts.
     Agriculture youth work just as hard, if not harder, than athletes and usually feed and care for their animals both before and after school. Their responsibility and commitment to their animals and the agriculture industry are usually life-long, not just a few months or years. The majority of these members live on family farms and have made a choice to raise livestock. The education gained by these youth reaches far beyond animal husbandry and nutrition, but  provide a hands-on education in responsibility, determination, and the rewards of hard work. By their early teens, many of these youth have highly developed skills of communication, marketing, and public service due to their experiences with their projects.  
     These youth have great support from family and the agriculture community however they could use a little more understanding and support from the non-agriculture community. Teachers and school officials be aware that these kids may be absent from school a few days in the following two weeks but you can be sure that they are working hard, trying to reach goals they have set for themselves, just like student athletes.
     If you have the opportunity to attend the Kentucky State Fair or your own state fair, take a moment to watch the youth livestock shows and make the opportunity to meet these young folks and ask them about their animals. You might be surprised by what you learn.
   


2013 4-H/FFA YOUTH LIVESTOCK SHOW JUDGING SCHEDULE

DATE/TIME EVENT LOCATION
Thursday, August 15
8:30 a.m. Dairy Show - Guernsey, Broadbent Arena
 Brown Swiss, Ayrshire &
 Milking Shorthorn
1:30 p.m. Dairy Cattle Judging Contest Broadbent Arena
4:00 p.m. Livestock Judging Contest Broadbent Arena
Friday, August 16
8:30 a.m. Dairy Show - Jersey & Holstein &
 Red & White Broadbent Arena
3:00 p.m. Dairy Show Supreme Champions Broadbent Arena
5:00 p.m. Market Goat Showmanship Broadbent Arena
Saturday, August 17
11:30 a.m. Market Goat Skillathon Newmarket Hall
3:00 p.m. (approx.) Market Goat Show Broadbent Arena
Tuesday, August 20
8:30 a.m. Sheep Exhibitors’ Meeting Newmarket Hall
12:30 p.m. Sheep Skill-A-Thon Newmarket Hall
1:30 Sheep Showmanship Sheep Barn
(begins 30 minutes after Jr. Breeding Sheep Sheep Barn
the completion of Showmanship)
Wednesday, August 21
8:30 a.m. Steer Show Broadbent Arena
8:30 a.m. Sheep Exhibitors’ Meeting Newmarket Hall
 Followed by Novice Showmanship
 Followed by Novice Market Lambs
11:00 a.m. (approx.) Steer Showmanship Broadbent Arena
12:00 noon Market Lambs Sheep Barn
1:00 p.m. Beef Skillathon Newmarket Hall
2:00 p.m. Swine Exhibitors Meeting Newmarket Hall
2:30 p.m. Swine Skillathon Newmarket Hall
3:00 p.m. Heifer Showmanship Broadbent Arena
4:00 p.m. Swine Showmanship Swine Barn
 (Followed by Novice Market Hog Show)
Thursday, August 22
8:00 a.m. Market Hog Show Swine Barn
8:00 a.m. Heifer Show Broadbent Arena
1:00 p.m. Breeding Gilt Show Swine Barn
6:30 p.m. Sale of Champions Newmarket Hall