Ag Day 2018 - Why Showing Livestock Matters

Happy National Ag Day!

We are so thankful for the farmers & ranchers who work every day of the year to produce healthy, safe, nourishing food.  We are thankful to live in a country where food security, choice and supply is plentiful.

We believe the future of ag is built by supporting youth who show an interest in the industry. Often that fire is lit when they're young, showing their first animal. It builds as they grow older, achieve success in the ring and build friendships with kids who have similar work ethics, dreams and passions.

Today I thought I'd bring back one of my favorite posts, tweaked to apply to the start of the show season.  Success is reason enough, and we wish our youth in ag successful show season!


Why Showing Livestock Matters

Fair season is about to begin.

Jackpots are being scheduled, initial weigh-ins are on the books and projects are being prepped.

The grass is just starting to turn on, and crisp mornings greet kids who scurry to do chores before the bus comes.
The list of supplies is growing, show clothes are being tried on to see what has been outgrown from the year before and the anticipation is palpable.

Visions of ribbons and champion slaps provide motivation for:

Youth who matter.

I wish I could describe the feeling of entering a show ring.

Or the competiveness that opens up when you grab the halter of a show heifer.
The intensity that takes over as the gate to the ring is opened, and you drive your hog in.
What the heft of a lamb bracing against your leg feels like.
Or the fluidness of a goat who walks with you in the ring as you lightly lead them by their chain.

It's a fair question.

Showing livestock doesn't come with a cheap price tag.

First you have to purchase the animal and feed it.
Then there's the nights in a motel, the meals on the go, and the snacks & beverages that filled the coolers. 
The diesel bill and how it probably rivals the Sullivan's bill... 
The entry fees, the registration fees and the health check fees.
But can you put a price on the life skills a child gains while showing livestock?
The child who forges friendships that span species and states.

The way parents can let little kids run around the barn, knowing a community of friends are watching over their well being?
The trust that is developed between a youth & their animal.

Showing livestock is more than just a great feeling or a number in the budget.

Showing livestock is a matter of teaching children life long skills.
Hard work.
Honest ethics.
A willing attitude.

We ask a lot of kids who show animals.

Think about how much is asked on just show day alone:

We ask them to show up to a ring on time,

To multi-task getting an animal ready with preparing themselves and mentally staying in the game.

To balance leading or driving an animal with paying attention to the judge and others in the ring.

We ask them to win humbly, and lose with grace.

All of these things that we ask of a kid who shows livestock; eventually we expect from adults.

Teaching it now in the show ring prepares youth to practice those skills that will be required and desired when they're grown.
That in itself can explain right there why showing livestock matters and why it's worth it.

The ability of a child to balance all that is asked in & out of the show ring?

You can't put a price on that.

And that's why the cost of showing livestock in the long run is worth it....because it creates youth and future adults that matter.

And we need people that matter.

Showing matters.

It really, truly does.

See you out in the ring this season...


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