The 2019 Iowa State Fair is shaping up to be a record-breaking year for the number of 4-H livestock entries in the show ring. This year, 8,750 entries have been pre-entered by over 2,300 Iowa 4-H exhibitors.
Growth is expected in the individual livestock areas of dairy and meat goat, dog, and swine. Pre-entered dairy and meat goat entries have increased by nearly 40 each; dog entries are up 10; and swine numbers are 235 entries higher than previous years.
“Youth today have so many choices on what activities to devote their time and efforts to,” says Mike Anderson, 4-H livestock program specialist and livestock superintendent for the Iowa State Fair. “We’re pleased to see that exploring learning in Iowa 4-H livestock project areas continues to be something that Iowa young people and their parents value and enjoy.”
Livestock projects popular for youth
Livestock projects offer youth some of the best ways to learn and grow, by taking on the responsibility of the life of an animal. The 4-H exhibitors must maintain proper nutrition, learn about necessary medications and teach their animal to lead, only part of the project learning. Exhibiting at the county and state fair provides them the opportunity to share their hard work and learning with others.
“The 4-H livestock program is still going strong, and the Iowa State Fair is considered by many across the country as the best state fair in the nation. The potentially record-breaking numbers are a testament to the dedicated volunteers and young people that make Iowa 4-H a high-quality, engaging, educational program,” Anderson says.
For more information on how to get involved with livestock exhibits at the Iowa State Fair or on joining 4-H, contact an ISU Extension and Outreach county office or visit the Iowa 4-H webpage at extension.iastate.edu/4h.
New program on livestock education
The Iowa State Fair is launching a new program this year to provide livestock education to the public while showcasing the fair’s youth exhibitors in both 4H and FFA. It’s called “Have You Herd?”
The demonstrations will take place Aug. 8-18. The demonstrations are located in the “Have You Herd?” Tent outside the Sheep Barn. The exhibitors come from a variety of backgrounds and ages. They will conduct live animal demonstrations, and explain about raising and showing sheep, swine, beef cattle, dairy cattle, goats and rabbits.
The demonstrations will be 20 minutes each, followed by 10 minutes for the public to ask questions and for the youth exhibitors to provide answers.