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…

Continue Reading

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…

Continue Reading

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…

Continue Reading

Invitation to a pig show turns into a business opportunity for Transylvania County girl

It was an invitation to a livestock show that turned the McNealys into a pig family. Watching her friend parade around a show ring with a pig, 9-year-old Ella McNealy was hooked, and she soon convinced her parents to let her start showing pigs. There was a definite learning curve for the Transylvania County family. Mom, Heather, grew up around horses, not pigs. But the whole family soon got behind Ella’s newfound hobby, and they all found a love for pigs. Little brother Denver even wanted to get in on the fun and started showing pigs, too. In 2018, Ella…

Continue Reading

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…

Continue Reading

Coming Home to the NC State Fair

In recent years, the multitude and magnitude of hurricanes that have hit our state have been maddening. They always seem to hit right around N.C. State Fair time, too. I guess that’s why they call it hurricane season. While overall, our state dodged major impacts from Hurricane Dorian, sans the Outer Banks, we are all still keeping a wary eye out for another named storm. Don’t get us wrong, we aren’t just being worry warts over here. We still have much hope and excitement, especially when our thoughts go to the N.C. State Fair. There is something about the State…

Continue Reading

Are You Smarter than a Livestock Kid?

Hundreds of North Carolina youth gather in Raleigh for three contests. These competitions test their knowledge of all things livestock. They practice. They study. They bring their game face. There’s nothing quite like it, and so many come back year after year to compete. Trust me. I was one of them several years ago. Here is a glimpse into each of these livestock competitions: Skillathon—A contest of knowledge, identification, and evaluation Tables are lined in rows. On each table is spread items waiting to be identified. There are four categories—feed, meat, breeds, and equipment. Youth are assigned groups are directed…

Continue Reading

Junior Beef Roundup—An Event for All Ages

Junior Beef Roundup doesn’t have an age limit…well, okay, maybe technically it does, but that isn’t the point. If you step onto the NC State Fairgrounds and look around the cattle barn, you’ll quickly see that while only ages six to 21 (by Jan. 1) are allowed to show and compete, there are people at the event of all ages. Those attending the Junior Beef Roundup may vary in many different ways, but there is one thing they all have in common—a love for beef cattle. Even though not everyone at the Junior Beef Roundup is able to show, they…

Continue Reading

5 Ways Summer Is Different for Livestock Kids

There’s something about summertime. School is out. The sun is shining, and anything cool sounds good (please pass the ice cream). Many families go on vacation or spend days at the pool. Children attend camps and make special memories with friends all summer long. Summer is a special time, but it does not look the same for everyone. Here’s 5 ways summer is different for kids with livestock. 1.Family vacations are to livestock shows. With some big livestock shows taking place in the middle of summer, families involved in the livestock show world, pack up, and make the trip to…

Continue Reading

A Red Pig Named Cajun: Road to the Winner’s Circle

In a barn in Kenly, North Carolina, a litter of red pigs was born to a sow named Ruby. One of those little pigs would be hand-picked by a girl in a neighboring town and go on to win a championship. This is the story of a couple of girls, family teamwork, and a red pig named Cajun. Sarah Scott (right), Taylor Glover (middle), & NC State Fair hog judge (left) Pigs, although often thought as a pinkish white in color, actually come in many colors and patterns. The Duroc breed is characterized by their beautiful red color that ranges…

Continue Reading