Worth the Wait!! – Dairy Show

The following blog is a guest post provided by Rachel Gray, a Senior in Agribusiness at the University of Mount Olive. The article is part of a series of blogs provided by UMO students. The North Carolina State Fair is an annual event people anxiously look forward to attending. During the 10 days the fair is hosted, nearly one million people will visit the fairgrounds. Livestock and poultry competitions go on throughout the fair. Families from across North Carolina and surrounding states work year-round to prepare their livestock for competitions. My younger sister and I have shown dairy cattle since…

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Hair breed sheep bring a new look to a classic show

Livestock shows are a classic part of the North Carolina State Fair, so it’s only fitting that the fair’s return in 2021 would bring with it a new show for people to enjoy. The junior market lamb show will add a hair wether breed division this year, bringing in a new and popular breed to the fair for the first time. Bill Sparrow, junior market lamb superintendent, said that haired sheep have grown in popularity recently. “I wouldn’t say they’re new, but in the last 20 to 30 years haired sheep have increased in numbers dramatically and significantly as a…

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Changes to 2021 Youth Livestock Shows

Although the State Fair had to be canceled last year, the Youth Livestock Shows were fortunately still able to go on. The shows are continuing this year, however, they will still not be operating in their pre-pandemic state as was hoped. Because of the financial hit these shows took when revenue was not generated by the 2020 State Fair or other events held at the fairgrounds, some changes will have to be implemented to keep the show going. Below is a list of some of this year’s major changes: The schedule will be much more spread out, allowing species to…

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The Greatest Gift of the NC State Fair: The Memories

In less than a month, youth from across the state will be able to do what they always have, albeit a bit different. In less than a month, livestock trailers will pull in to the NC State Fairgrounds to compete in another year of shows. Goats, cattle, pigs, sheep and turkeys will all make an appearance with some very eager youth. Masks will be plentiful and distance will abound, but the show will go on, thanks to the dedication and hard work of many. Because of their efforts, youth from across the state will be able to make memories yet…

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The Show Must Go On

For months, life has been uncertain. COVID-19 (we’d all be fine never hearing that word again) has wreaked havoc on our world. In many ways, we have come to expect events to be canceled and life to be anything but normal. For many of us, it is just easier not to hope. That’s not to say all hope is gone. When it comes to the livestock show community, hope abounds. Even before the N.C. State Fair announced that they intended “to offer a modified livestock show program for junior competitors” and encouraged “youth livestock exhibitors to continue working with their…

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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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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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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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