Hard Work Pays at County Fairs
It’s fair time in Montana, and for local 4H kids, that means show time. Unlike the midway carnival scene that characterizes what many people think when they imagine a fair, the Cascade County 4H Livestock Show has corrals and sawdust rather than carnival rides and food vendors. The fair is the culmination of months of hard work by local kids, a chance to compete against others in quality and showmanship, and also to finally get a paycheck for all their hard work and expense. MFU staff caught up with Ruby Jennings the night of weigh-in to learn more about her projects and hear how more people can support local fairs. On her 8th year raising animals for 4H, Ruby has her process down to a science, everything from providing the right nutrition to how to clip and trim her animals for the show.
Ruby and many others are gearing up for a big weekend in Great Falls, and rely on locals to come and bid on their animals. “Some people come to the sale thinking they’re going to get a deal” shares Elizabeth Jennings, Ruby’s mom. Instead, when buying a 4H animal, buyers are providing a lot more than meat for the freezer. In addition to animal husbandry, youth are learning about budgeting, business, markets, and are part of keeping programs like 4H and agricultural education going. Buying a 4H animal supports local agriculture, education, and builds community.
If you are interested in supporting 4H and purchasing livestock, here are a few things to know:
You don’t need a trailer! Buyers do NOT typically take home animals, and arrangements to have the animal processed are made on site.
There are business advantages. 4H Clubs and individuals love to promote businesses and organizations who step up to support the program.
Animals will vary in size and type. If you have specific needs, walk around prior and talk with kids about their projects.
Animals have received the best care. In order to make an impression, 4Hers provide the best care and feed they are able.
Check with your County Extension Office to find a fair near you!
By Audra Labert, MFU Marketing Specialist