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 a crowd of buyers and sponsors ready to bid on champions Saturday night. With a nod of a head and wave of a hand, they will bid, not necessarily on champion livestock, but the future of youth. You see, the hands of the buyers extend well beyond the Sale of Champions and those who get to enter that spotlight. The bids fund dozens of scholarships, youth events, and workshops. We have so much gratitude for our buyers. They come back year after year and continually show up for and invest in our youth.
While we know that buyers have already committed to come to the Sale of Champion, we wanted to know what makes them want to invest in youth livestock programs in North Carolina and what makes the Sale of Champions so special. We caught up with a few of our buyers to hear the why behind their bids.
“For more than 40 years, North Carolina Farm Bureau has been a proud supporter of the N.C. State Fair Youth Livestock Show and Sale. We recognize the important role of the livestock show and its many benefits to North Carolina’s youth. It contributes to their development and adds excitement to the fair. The livestock and poultry shows are an integral part of the fair even in 2019 and we’re proud to be part of it. It’s a win for the youth across the state in learning responsibility and nurturing their animals and it’s a win for the fairgoers to see the strength and importance of agriculture.”
–NC Farm Bureau President Larry Wooten
“Contributing to the N.C. State Fair Sale of Champions gives us a chance to support youth interested in livestock production. It’s a way to acknowledge their hard work and achievement in raising a quality animal. We also like the fact that a significant portion of the funds from the Sale of Champions goes to support youth scholarships and youth livestock educational programs in N.C. We see that as an investment in the future.”— Zack McCullen, III, VP of Swine Division, Prestage Farms
“Farm Credit is a proud supporter of the Sale of Champions at the N.C. State Fair. This program showcases many extraordinary youth across our state as well as their outstanding livestock. The dedication that is required of these young girls and boys is impressive, and anytime we can support our youth and the future of agriculture, we are thrilled to be involved. Nothing screams “fall” quite like the Sale of Champions and the NC State Fair! It’s one of my very favorite fall activities!”
—Skipper Jones, SVP Marketing and Communications, AgCarolina Farm Credit
The Sale of Champions and N.C. State Fair is special for our buyers not just for the investment they are making in youth, but also the impact it makes on them and their own families. Skipper Jones of AgCarolina Farm Credit has never missed a year of the N.C. State Fair, but it wasn’t until a few years ago that she began attending the Sale of Champions. Last year she brought her two young sons for the first time. After a long day at the fair, the youngest was exhausted and fell asleep, but when the auction started, he perked right up.
“I remember sitting there thinking about how the youth livestock program and the Sale of Champions exposes youngsters to so many experiences – confidence and a passion for showing livestock, hard work and dedication, a family atmosphere of ag supporters, a live auctioneer, traditions, and the list goes on. It’s an experience my young boys still talk about today,” Jones said.
We are all waiting with anticipation for champions to be named and the bright lights and excitement of the sale to take place. Perhaps, though, we are most excited to see what kind of future livestock programs are developing for our youth and the memories the N.C. State Fair creates for us all—exhibitors, guests, and buyers alike.
Thank you buyers for making a difference in the lives of our youth. We’ll see you at the fair!