County fairs play such a significant role in rural communities and beyond. As someone who spent years in market swine projects just a couple counties over, I know the impact a county fair can make. Some may think of rides and funnel cake when you think of a county fair, but it is truly much more than that. In my opinion, the greatest benefit of a county fair is advocacy for agriculture. For a county as diverse as Flagler, it is important for the urban population to see how vital agriculture is to our community.
This past week, 4-H and FFA youth were able to showcase nearly 80 project animals at the Flagler County Fair and Youth Show. Exhibitors raised pullets, rabbits, wethers, heifers, steers, and swine, some of which were sold at the end of the fair for harvest. Through hands-on experiences, youth are learning how to properly raise and market their animal.
Livestock exhibitors are judged and awarded based on the market quality of their animals and their own showmanship. Through these projects, the exhibitors are expected to work with and learn all they can about their animals. From recognizing what is in their project animal’s feed to where the best cuts of meat are found, youth are consistently learning throughout the experience.
Flagler County Fair and Youth Show exhibitors are also expected to enter projects into the “Family Living and Arts” exhibit. From sewing, fine arts, photography, baked goods, canned goods, horticulture, and much more, this gives another opportunity for youth to show their talent.
From all that a county fair offers, our youth have a platform to share their experiences with others and be some of our best advocates for 4-H and the agriculture industry. As a former youth livestock exhibitor, I have only scratched the surface on what there is to gain, but I hope all are able to see how hard these kids work as they learn how to put food on the table.
For more information and updates on our 4-H program, follow our Facebook Page: @flaglercounty4h
UF/IFAS Extension, University of Florida, Institute of Food and Agriculture Sciences – An Equal Opportunity Institution.