If you or your business or organization has the means, consider supporting a local youth livestock exhibitor at either the St. Clair County or Eastern Michigan State fair this month. St. Clair County’s auction will be held tomorrow, July 22, starting at 4 p.m. and the Eastern Michigan State Fair event is slated for next week Thursday, July 29, starting at 1 p.m.

These auctions represent the culmination of months’ and sometimes years’ worth of effort by these children and teens to create the ideal fair project. For some that means breeding their animals for offspring or selecting one for purchase. They must make decisions about feeding and housing and take the time to groom and handle them regularly. Livestock exhibitors must also hone their own presentation and knowledge. They must memorize important facts about their particular animal plus essential facts about species and breeds so they can easily answer the judge’s questions. Youth also need to acquire the proper gear to attire themselves in the show ring as set out by the show’s rules and guidelines. How they fare in the show ring determines the titles they earn and their place in the auction book. They’re also encouraged to connect with potential buyers and invite them to the event.

As is probably evident, participants learn some very important life lessons from their livestock projects—everything from responsibility and goal setting to humane animal care, marketing, communication and much more.

Youth will go on to use the proceeds from the sale of their animal or animals to purchase their next livestock project, fund their college or post-graduation plans, direct it toward an extra curricular activity or any number of other worthy things.

Those who purchase an animal have multiple options when it comes to the animals they purchase. The livestock can be sent for meat processing for personal or business use. Additionally, animals can be sent to a stockyard to be resold or donated to an organization or food pantry for their own use. Shipping to a meat processor or for resale is provided free of charge by both fairs.

After scaled back fairs in 2020, kids are likely eager to return to traditional shows and welcome buyers back to auction sales.

We trust that the community will get out there and support their efforts this year and in the years to come.