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…

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Never Stop Learning:Youth Improve Skills Through Livestock Clinics

An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest. -Ben Franklin Have you ever watched a livestock show at the N.C. State Fair? Have you ever wondered how they learn how to show a massive cow or keep control of their pig? Let me tell you, there are lot of rules to follow and techniques to execute. Those showmen didn’t learn how to show overnight. Through the entire year, youth are constantly investing in their skills and knowledge regarding livestock. They are forever trying to learn, grow, and become better. One major opportunity they have is to participate in livestock…

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The Life of a Ribbon After the Show

If you’ve ever shown livestock at the N.C. State Fair, you know that if you walk away with nothing else, you will leave with awesome memories and at least one ribbon. If you are like many livestock showman, you leave with several ribbons, because let’s be honest, many of us can’t show just one animal. I’d say it’s a problem we have, but I don’t think it really is a problem. And, if you are like a lot of livestock showman, you have ribbons that span years of livestock showing. I may or may not be talking about myself here….

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Youth Compete in the Round Robin Showmanship Invitational

After a long, yet exciting, two weeks of livestock shows, performances, fair food, rides, lights, fireworks, contests, and 977,256 people attending, the N.C. State Fair ended. For livestock show participants, there was definitely a sadness that the it was over, and also a bit of relief too. Perhaps now, they could relax a bit. It had been a long few days of competing for exhibitors, and even longer months preparing for the shows. However, for a select few youth, the competitions weren’t over. Even after the NC State Fair closes its gates, it still holds livestock judging and skillathon competitions…

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The Hand of the Buyer Extends Beyond the Stroke of a Check: NC State Fair Sale of Champions

On October 13th, a record was set in the state of North Carolina. The NC State Fair Sale of Champions brought in a record-breaking number of $190,000. Buyers bought champion goats, sheep, steers, and pigs exhibited by youth at the fair in the auction. Although many a check was stroked, the hand of the buyer goes far beyond that initial check. If a map of those affected by this Sale of Champions were created, there would be a web extending across the country. The hand of the buyer goes much farther than a raise for a bid or the stroke…

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The Making of a Nurse: How Showing Livestock Impacted a Nursing Student

Did you know that there is a huge shortage in nurses throughout the USA? According to the American Nurses Association there will be a need for 3.44 million nurses by 2022 which is a 20.2 percent increase in RNs. In other words, there will be a need for 1.13 million additional nurses. That is a staggering number, but there are those who are seeking to fill those positions. Meet Megan Lawing. She is a nursing student at Gardner-Webb University. She is also a N.C. State Fair Livestock Scholarship recipient. Megan grew up showing sheep for 15 years and showed pigs…

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Poise, Confidence, Character, and a Bit of Swag

Apollo the pig entered the ring with a bit of attitude. Gideon, my brother, was guiding him around the show ring calmly, asking Apollo to walk at a nice pace and make a few turns in front of the judge. I stood from the sidelines figuratively biting my nails because I had managed to break that habit many years ago. I was in danger of starting back up again, though. I’m always nervous for my little brothers in the show ring, especially this time. Apollo had been known to be super hard-headed, but Gideon had worked hard at home to…

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3 brothers and a goat named John

Meet the Henson brothers—Noah, Jesse, and Caleb. They live in the mountain town of Canton. Every year, they set goals for the season and do their best to achieve them. During last year’s fair season, they had a goal that revolved around a goat named John. They knew the goat was special, and they wanted to make sure he reached his full potential by the time he was shown at the N.C. State Fair. After hard work all season, it was time to walk in the ring with John. The only thing left was to hope that the judge thought…

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Nance family invests in youth at Meat Goat Leadership Institute

Mr. and Mrs. Billy Nance have a passion for both the meat goat industry and for youth. The result is a yearly 4-H meat goat leadership institute made possible by an endowment from the couple. The 8th Annual Billy Nance Family 4-H Meat Goat Leadership Institute was held on Feb. 10 at the N.C. State University Beef Education Unit in Raleigh. Youth learned about more than goats, though. They also gained skills to become an effective leader in their communities and beyond. The institute invites youth ages 10-19 to apply, and the top applicants are selected to attend the day-long…

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For the Love of Livestock

Showing livestock, as so many youth and families in North Carolina do, is not an easy thing. It is not as simple as walking an animal around a ring, accepting a ribbon, and having your picture taken. The days are long and include hours working with your animal, making sure it stands just so. These hours are longer when that goat or steer decides to be exasperatingly stubborn and rebellious. The work is hard. Many a showman have earned their share of blisters from shoveling manure or playing tug of war with an animal. The experience is messy. Mud-caked boots…

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