21 June 2014 - It is Fair Time - Enjoy

This is an exciting time of the year for me because we are approaching or already into the heavy schedule of County and State Fairs across the country. Every year I urge you to support your county and state fairs by attending, getting involved as a volunteer, as a 4-H Club leader or an FFA alumni member because the Fair is the ‘Super Bowl’ time of the year for 4-H and FFA members. They have worked the entire year to bring their livestock, their fashion design, their photography or a myriad of other projects to the fair in hopes of bringing home a Grand Championship or a blue ribbon. They deserve our support.

Just a few thoughts about county and state fairs . . . I do want to alert young people who are exhibiting livestock at their fair. There may be some new rules in place to meet the USDA Animal Disease Traceability regulation, so be sure you check with fair officials to learn what the requirements are to bring livestock to the fair for showing.

And I offer another thought for young people showing livestock. Be prepared to be challenged by people from animal rights groups who want to attack you for bringing animals to the fair, for anything you do to or with animals. They may accuse you of being selfish or unkind to animals because you are taking them out of their element and into the show ring to vie for personal glory, a blue ribbon or a Grand Championship. Don’t back down from them, but try to educate them.

To the folks at PETA and the Humane Society of the United States, I would like to suggest that you leave these young people alone unless you want to encourage them. You can learn from them because they know more about the nutrition and humane care of animals than most of you not involved on a daily basis with animal agriculture will ever know.

Fair time is also a time to get together with neighbors and friends. It is a time to educate people not from a farm or ranch about what it takes to put food on their table, a roof over their head, clothes on their back and now, energy in their tank. I commend the various organizations who man booths at the fair to do that very thing.

So again, it is a great slice of Americana, a great part of our history because some of these fairs are more than 150 years old and I hope we never lose them. The way we can assure that we will keep County and State Fairs alive and well is to attend, to volunteer to help in any way, and to encourage young people to ‘go for it’. If they don’t get that blue ribbon this year, they can take the learning and knowledge from the experience and go for it again next year. Winning is good, but I’m convinced from personal experience that we learn more from losing than we do from winning.

Have fun at the Fair.

My thoughts on Samuelson Sez.