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Farming is risky, even in a good year.

Livestock Projects at the County Fair are teaching our youth true to life farm lessons; possibly more now in this year than in years past.

Christopher Frank (L) is a high school senior and is enrolled in both FFA and 4-H.

In the Fall of 2020 youth in my community had a choice to make: submit their intents to complete a livestock project for the County Fair or skip a year. With the many unknowns- including if we would even have a fair- half of the youth decided not to take the risk.

What's a livestock project?

The livestock projects are meant to simulate, on a very small scale, what a farmer goes through to provide food for our country. The youth raise a pig or cow to be sold during auction night at the County Fair. Some animals do not make it to the fair for various health reasons, and some are turned away from the fair because the animal did not gain enough weight to make the minimum requirements. All of these are real situations a farmer must deal with.

Did they miss the lesson to be learned or were they part of it?

The youth- both those who participated and those who did not- were part of the lesson of farming. Each year farmers must decide what investment- and what risk- in their land they are willing to make. farmers then work very hard to make the most of their investment. Some years are better than others; some years bring great gains, others devastating losses. The same can be compared to the youth who did and did not take on the investment and risk or raising a livestock project.

Was it worth it, the risk?

I am blessed to live in a great community that supports our youth. The buyers still came and many new buyers were added. The youth who took the risk, I am confident that they received great reward. I heard a higher than norma bid average. So I say yes, it was worth it, but it could have turned out very differently.

*FFA= Future Farmers of America

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