If this subject sounds familiar, it should. Since this is June and fair time is approaching, this is my annual encouragement to be sure you go to at least one fair.
We go to usually two and sometimes three county fairs through the summer and they are as individual as your children.
It is not, “If you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all.”
There is one thing they have in common. It is those wonderful young people who are in 4-H and FFA.
Their projects are wide-ranging from food and photography to chickens, and cattle and pigs. Oh, my.
And sheep, rabbits, restored farm equipment, clothing, and other things made from cloth, and much more, all created and grown.
These projects were started since the last fair and through the encouragement of parents and club leaders, whatever the project, it had to be ready by fair time.
While you are at the fair, look at the projects and appreciate what time and effort was required to get that project to completion.
However, my personal favorite place at the fair is the livestock barn where you can see the cattle, hogs, sheep, chickens, and rabbits.
Just as important as the animal are the young people themselves.
Whether as small as a rabbit or as large as a beef or dairy cow, the sense of competition is strong when they are judged.
Prior to judging, the animal is washed and groomed by a young person usually wearing a t-shirt and rubber boots.
At judging time, both the animal and the young exhibitor are looking their best with a continuous eye on the judge, following the judge’s instruction and seeking the judge’s approval.
Months of preparation come down to the minutes the judge looks over the competitors and then awards blue, red, and white ribbons. For the very best, purple ribbons are awarded and a possible trip to be judged at the state fair.
The show ring is a great lesson in life. Everyone arrives hoping to be awarded for their efforts with a high, or hopefully the highest, placement.
The decisions will be made by the judge and agree or disagree, the judge’s decision is final.
It is all in the pursuit of excellence and learning that what you get out of something is in proportion to what you put in to it.
After judging, there will be thoughts about what could be been better and to remember those for next year. There is always next year.
Those 4-H and FFA members who are wearing rubber boots, an old t-shirt, and a garden hose with one hand washing a cow or any other livestock plus entering all the other projects are the future of our society.
They will be the mothers and fathers of the next generation, the employees or maybe the business owner who understands what it takes to work for a goal, and when it doesn’t go as planned to work harder.
My only criticism is that there aren’t enough of them.
I look with respect and admiration at each one.
Rye is a Farm News staff writer and farmer from Hanlontown. Reach him by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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