July 1: Deadline to sign up for Livestock 101 at the fair

Eli Kuhn (left) and Ada Staten are all smiles as Ellen Moore shares facts with them about rabbits. The two youngsters took part in last year’s Livestock 101, a program that introduced youths to livestock showing. Last year was Moore’s second year volunteering to share her experience at Livestock 101.

(Posted June 22, 2023)

By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor

Now in its third year, Livestock 101 continues to draw in youths curious about what it’s like to show an animal in front of a judge at the Madison County Fair.

The event is open to youths 17 years old and younger and will take place at 10 a.m. July 14 during this year’s fair. The deadline to sign up is July 1. Registration is available at Livestock 101. There is no cost to enter. All entrants receive a t-shirt.

Participants choose a species they’d like to show–cattle, pigs, sheep, goats, horses, alpacas, poultry, or rabbits. They are matched with experienced 4-H and FFA exhibitors who show them the ropes then coach them through the show experience in front of a judge–all over the course of a few hours.

“It’s really a neat experience and a unique opportunity,” said Paul Gross, Senior Fair Board president.

That opportunity comes with the chance to win prizes. All participants compete for trophies and ribbons in their respective species categories.

Beyond that, the top finishers in each category get animals or leases on animals to show at next year’s fair. The two finishers in each of the sheep, goat, and pig categories win that species. The top finisher in the cattle category receives a $500 credit toward a lease or purchase of a steer. The top finishers in the horse and alpaca categories get leases. All participants who show a small animal get a small animal to show at next year’s fair, regardless of how they place.

The whole idea of Livestock 101 is to get more youths interested in showing animals and participating in 4-H, FFA, and the fair. According to Gross, it’s working.

“It’s definitely happening because the prize they win is a project for the next year. I know dozens of kids who are entering the program because of that,” he said.

Over 125 youths participated in the Livestock 101 event at last year’s fair. The judge for 2022 recently was a judge at the World Pork Expo in Des Moines, Iowa.

“We get nationally acclaimed judges to come in and do this because they think it’s such a novel program,” Gross said.

Livestock 101 has a new sponsor this year: Farm Credit Mid-America. Bluebird Retirement Community was the sponsor the first two years.

The 2023 Madison County Fair will take place July 8-15 at the fairgrounds in London. For a full schedule of events, visit www.madisoncountyfairoh.com or call (740) 852-1654.

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