October 16, 2013

bring on the fair.

In honor of the North Carolina State Fair that begins tomorrow, I thought it would be fun to reflect on my fair days as a show kid.  While watching the fair news coverage every morning, I have been kind of upset how the most talked about topic is the latest food craze (AKA, the Krispy Kreme Sloppy Joe, fried oreos, etc.)  While this is an important part of the fair, fairs were created to display exhibits of home-cooked goods and hand- made products. Many people work hard to prepare their animals for show and hope to bring home that prized blue-ribbon.

Agriculture has always been in my blood. When I was about 2 years old, my parent's started their own feed business.  Both of my parents had an interest in agriculture, and I like to think that is the one thing that led me to where I am today (you can read about our store here

At the age of nine I was FINALLY old enough to start raising livestock for the local Oakland County 4-H Fair.  My parents took me up the road to a man that raised kids (this is what baby goats are called) for the local 4-H member's livestock projects.  

I got two kids my first year in the 4-H program, joined the Oakland County Livestock Club, and began raising these babies.  Our barn was a bit drafty, so we built a pen in the basement and they lived there until they got a little bit bigger.  They were bottle-fed twice daily and grew like weeds.  The moment we heard little goat hooves climbing up the basement stairs during supper one evening, we quickly learned they could jump the pen and it was time for them to go outside.  

These goats taught me the value of hard work. They encouraged me get up at 5:00am each morning to prepare a bottle, to keep close records, and to develop friendships with those in the show ring.  They taught me responsibility and the value of a dollar.  When I purchased these goats, I knew they were going to auction at the county fair.  I wrote letters to family, friends, and people in the community encouraging them to purchase my goats that year.  My dad's first boss (a feed store owner) bought each goat for $600 a piece.  Folks, that's a lot of money to a 9 year old!

As the years went on, I chose to start showing other species of livestock.  I got my first calf, started raising market hogs, and even went into the chicken world for a year or two.  All in all, raising livestock taught me responsibility and gave me a love for animals.
So, if you plan on attending your local county or state fair this year, please take some time to go check out the exhibits and watch kids show their livestock.  Ask them questions...they will love it.  Smile, take pictures, and enjoy what agriculture can do for you. Many show kids are proud of their animals and are not afraid to show them off outside the show ring.  Most of all, HAVE FUN!