October 13, 2014
Six-year old Callie Rae Childers of Hartselle exhibits in beginner showmanship at the Alabama National Fair livestock competitions Oct. 3-13
More than 300 students experienced the tradition of agricultural fairs at the Alabama National Fair Youth livestock shows Oct. 3-13 in Montgomery. The Alabama Farmers Federation and Alfa Insurance sponsored the shows.
Exhibitors showed lambs, goats, dairy cattle, beef cattle and hogs at the annual fair, sponsored by the Kiwanis Club of Montgomery, the third-largest of its kind in the world.
“Sponsoring the youth events at the fair is an investment in agriculture, and it’s an investment in our children,” said Federation President Jimmy Parnell. “These young people showing livestock today will be the leaders of tomorrow.”
Federation Beef, Equine, Hay & Forage, and Meat Goat & Sheep Divisions Director Nate Jaeger said showing livestock is the very core of how fairs started.
“Alfa is pleased to be a sponsor of the fair and proud to be a part of that heritage,” Jaeger said “The skills these young people learn will stay with them long after they leave the ring. A lot of great people and organizations teamed up to make this happen.”
Others involved in the livestock shows were Alabama Cooperative Extension System, 4-H, FFA, the Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries, Auburn University College of Agriculture, parents and volunteers. The Alabama Soybean Producers provided T-shirts to all competitors in the Youth Premier Exhibition Competition.
Hannah Slay, 16, of Chambers County said she started showing sheep before she was two years old, and her appreciation and love of showing has continued to grow.
“I like the atmosphere and the people,” she said. “I like winning, but it’s not all about winning ribbons for me. I like coming out here and having fun. It takes a lot of hard work, and you have to be really dedicated to showing.”
Federation Dairy, Pork and Poultry Divisions Director Guy Hall said the help of so many different organizations shows the strength of Alabama agriculture.
“The fair livestock events wouldn’t be such a success without all the hard work of many organizations, volunteers and parents,” he said. “By working together, we can help teach our youth responsibility, work ethic, sportsmanship, livestock care, teamwork and other solid life lessons.”
For photos of the fair visit the Alabama Farmers Federation Facebook and Flickr pages.