The county fair was an important part of my childhood. My siblings and I showed beef cattle. My sister also took her art, and I took my cooking projects. While our interests were emerging at that age, we of course needed parental pushing from time to time to get our work done, but between the cooking and the working with our animals, it pretty much filled our summer schedule.
Now my kids also take animals to the fair. Cori takes her art as well and along with cattle and sheep the kids also take poultry. This year poultry did not show due to avian flu.😔
At the fair, once animals are in place, kids have to stay at the fair and keep their animals clean and fed. When it's time to show, they clean their animals and get them ready to be shown in the ring with a judge. Each animal species has a specific way it is to be shown. The animal is judged on body composition and overall marketability. It is up to the person doing the showing to make the animal look as good and settled as he or she possibly can.
Toward the end of the week, is the livestock auction. This is when the kids sell their market animals. At our fair we have good community support and kids can expect to receive a dollar or so above market price. Market price is dictated by the commodity market for that species and dependent on trading factors such as supply, demand, weather trends in the country, and many other factors. Right now beef is trading at $1.45 or so. That is $1.45/lb live animal. Sheep are trading at $1.00/lb live animal.
Andy received $3.00/lb for his steer and Cori got $10.00/lb for her sheep. So these prices are way above market and we are so thankful that we have buyers at the fair willing to bid at these prices. This money helps these farm kids go to college - many of whom have intentions of majoring in an agricultural field. So this auction is a good way to boost our local agricultural community and it's great to see so much support.
The kids of course have feed bills and Cori has to pay for her animal because we didn't own this lamb, but at these prices even after all costs, the kids still made a profit. We teach the kids that in farming, if you aren't making money, you don't have a business - you have an expensive hobby, and it's too much work to be a hobby.
We had a great fair this year and the kids have shown animals for about 8 years and still have 2 and 3 years left. Cori will now stick with sheep and Andy will keep showing cattle.