The Alabama Farmers Federation and Alfa Insurance gave more than 300 students an opportunity to experience the tradition of agricultural fairs by sponsoring the youth livestock shows at the Alabama National Fair in Montgomery Oct. 3-13.
Exhibitors showed lambs, goats, dairy cattle, beef cattle and hogs at the annual event, which is sponsored by the Kiwanis Club of Montgomery, the third-largest Kiwanis Club 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.”
Alabama Farmers Federation Beef, Equine, Hay and Forage and Meat Goat and Sheep 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 Department of Agriculture and Industries, Auburn University College of Agriculture, parents and volunteers. The Alabama Soybean Producers provided T-shirts to all students who competed in the Youth Premier Exhibition Competition.
Hannah Slay of Chambers County said she started showing sheep when she was under 2 years old, but along with birthdays, her appreciation and love of showing 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 Division 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.”