Marisa grew up showing and raising livestock in NC. She has shown animals at the N.C. State Fair for 15 years and is a past youth livestock scholarship recipient. She is an N.C. State University graduate, agricultural photographer and blogger.

2020 NC State Fair Youth Livestock Scholarship Announced

26 individuals were selected as recipients of this year’s NC State Fair Youth Livestock Scholarship. The scholarship is funded through proceeds of the NC State Fair Sale of Champions. This year, more than $53,000 in scholarships were awarded. Thanks to the support of buyers and sponsors of the N.C. State Fair Sale of Champions, more than two dozen students will have some of the financial stress of college eased. Showing livestock prepares youth for their future by teaching them responsibility, hard work, good sportsmanship, dedication, and discipline that will help them succeed in college and future careers. Showing livestock also…

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First-time Turkey Showman Wins Grand Champion

In honor of National Turkey Lovers’ Month, we wanted to highlight one of our turkey showman. This is Hattie Jo’s story. Every year, feathers fly in a large white tent by Gate 2 at the NC State Fair. Youth between the ages of five and 18 flock together to show turkeys that they have raised over the summer. While the Youth Market Turkey Show is similar to other livestock shows in that youth learn responsibility, hard work, and other life skills, the turkey show also stands apart from the other shows in unique ways. Hattie Jo Powell, 14, can attest…

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More than One Way to Show Livestock: Virtual Shows Provide Opportunity for NC Youth

When it became apparent that spring livestock shows across North Carolina would be canceled due to COVID-19, youth were heart-broken. Livestock shows are a special time to not only compete with animals they have worked so hard with, but is also a time exhibit their skills and knowledge and see close friends. Livestock shows, whether the NC State Fair or local spring shows, hold a special place in the hearts of these passionate youth and their family. Knowing just how important these shows are to youth and the positive impact these shows have on their lives, people came together in…

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NC State Fair, Where Dreams Come True

For the sixth year, Ashton Seal and his family drove from Mount Airy to Raleigh to show pigs at the NC State Fair. Like any other year, they were excited to show pigs and see friends, they were also holding their breath ever so slightly. They had a dream of winning the champion banner. This was a dream they had held for years. Many show families have that dream. Perhaps it is fair to say that almost everyone who participates in showing livestock at the NC State Fair comes to the ring with bated breath, a hope filled heart, and…

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Showing Livestock in a Pandemic: Going Virtual

Under normal circumstances, youth all over the state would be wrapping up their spring shows. This year, things look quite a bit different, leaving many youth disappointed. Because of the COVID-19 situation, counties all over made the difficult decision to cancel spring livestock shows. Many of these shows have been going strong for 80 plus years, so having to cancel was more than disappointing for youth signed up to compete in 2020, but it was also disappointing for alumni and communities that are historically involved. Much like the NC State Fair livestock shows, the spring shows bring people together—communities, businesses,…

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10 Ways Agriculture Grows Youth

This week, during National Agriculture Week, we celebrate food, fiber, fuel, and the individuals who grow and produce it. When we think of agriculture, tractors, livestock, crops, food, barns, and soil are among the images that pop into our heads. We think of farmers and the many hours they put into growing and producing food and products. However, agriculture goes beyond food, fiber, and fuel. There is so much more meaning behind the images of cows, plows, and sows. For youth involved in agriculture, it means so much more. Agriculture grows more than corn and livestock, it grows youth. For…

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More Than 100 Youths Compete in Judging in January Livestock Judging Contest

Judging in January was held on January 25th in Raleigh and hosted by the NC Junior Hereford Association. More than a 100 youth competed in the livestock judging contest held annually. Youth judged cattle, sheep, goats, and pigs. They also gave reasons, and, for those who were beginners, a reasons clinic was held. Livestock judging events and competitions are held throughout the year for youth to compete in across North Carolina and even nationally. Every workshop and competition help youth not only become better at judging livestock, but builds life skills and character that last a lifetime. Judging livestock is…

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The Heart of a Showman

In honor of Valentine’s Day, a day reserved for love and filled with heart, here is a peak into the love and heart of a showman. Look past the boots, past the show shirts, past the belt buckles. Look beyond the goat, pig, cow, sheep, or turkey. Look closely. There you will see the heart of the showman. We want our kids to be genuinely good people. People that care, think, and work hard. We want our kids to grow up and be leaders for the future. This is probably one thing, at least, we can all agree on. While…

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Sale of Champions Buyers Find the Livestock Program worth their investment

Every year, the best of the best in livestock are chosen as champions at the N.C. State Fair. Currently, the pens in which they are housed, stand empty, the signs above that tell who exhibited the animal stands blank. We don’t know who will be named champion. We do know that the competition will be stiff as it is every year. We know that the emotions will be intense. We know that everyone will stand around the show rings with bated breath as they wait for the judge to shake one youngsters hand. We also know that there will be…

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Scholarship Highlight: Mason Blinson–Seeker of Opportunity

Nothing is worse than missing an opportunity that could have changed your life. Below is a profile of Mason Blinson, a N.C. State Fair Youth Scholarship recipient that has shown sheep, pigs and cattle at the N.C. State Fair for many years. Mason is the daughter of Beth and Bryan Blinson of Buies Creek, NC. No one can accuse Mason Blinson of turning down a good opportunity, and because of her willingness to try new things, visit new places, and utilize the talents she’s been given, Mason has been able to experience some pretty awesome things. Mason is a senior…

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