By Beth Pancione, Farm Credit crop insurance agent
As a young child, one of my favorite parts of summer was attending our local county fair. The months and weeks leading up to the fair are some of my fondest family memories, when my brother and I spent countless hours in the barn with our livestock projects. As I reflect, some of the teaching moments were more than just learning a new skill; they were life lessons.
Each year, there were new challenges to overcome. Whether it was trying to get an animal to cooperate on a lead, or fine tuning feed rations to make the end weight was perfect on weigh-in day, I found that ultimately being your best on show day was the overarching goal.
Show day would come and we were ready to walk in the ring with confidence, hoping the judge would appreciate the quality of our project. Sometimes we exhibited the highest quality animal in the show, and other years we did not. I can remember the coveted grand champion handshake, but those were not always guaranteed. However, the one handshake that was always memorable to me was of the one between me and my peers, congratulating each other on a fun meaningful experience. My time spent showing in the ring taught me the value of sportsmanship and teamwork.
The ribbons and banners have faded over the years, but the memories and life lessons learned have stuck with me. As a fair volunteer today, I see the same memories being made each year with our local youth. While this year has been very different due to COVID-19 and we won’t be hosting an in-person youth show or fair, I’ve found myself admiring the way our youth have adapted to a virtual show experience. They are truly resilient. Many youth purchased livestock projects back in the spring with the hope of getting to exhibit their project at the fair. For many youth today those experiences look different.
As we kickoff our local virtual show this year, I am thankful for the experience and life lessons along the way as an exhibitor. Our 4-H and FFA participants are finding creative solutions to market their projects, exhibit their projects via video, and are learning life lessons together. This year will not end with the coveted handshake, but seeing the spark of resilience in the eyes of our youth exhibitors is something I will cherish and remember in the months and years to come.
I am happy to help you continue to be resilient in your operation, no matter what it looks like, and invite you to give us a call at 888.339.3334 today.