Youth Cattle Shows Help Build Future Leaders

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County fair season is in full swing. It is easy to get bogged down in the frantic preparation and certainly the competition. However, taking a deep breath and looking at the big picture can bring realization of the true purpose of youth livestock exposition.

Youth livestock shows are projects that build young people. These projects are the foundation to helping guide young people in learning the skills that will make them not only productive members of society, but leaders. The vast array of life skills that livestock projects teach young people is unrivaled.

Work ethic
Learn how to win
Learn how to handle defeat
Competitive nature
Social skills/ Public speaking
Self-confidence/ Self-belief/ Self-worth
Goal setting
Problem Solving

A youth livestock project involves numerous components that build these skills. Youth have to commit to taking care of an animal. That involves daily chores that require work, time management, and accountability. Exhibition measures their project against others. This allows for youth to experience winning and losing. Teaching young people how to handle and respond to defeat is a life skill. It also provides a canvas for achieving success and learning how to win. Competitive drive equipped with work ethic and problem solving skills is the formula for a successful livestock project, a successful job interview, a successful career, and a successful family.

When you look at the list of skills, I think it is undeniable the value that youth livestock shows and contests bring to our society, our communities, and our families. I encourage all beef producers to support their local youth livestock programs.

I continue to organize and carry-out the Superior Young Beef Producer contest held during the Illinois State Fair. This contest consists of a skillathon, management test, and livestock judging classes. The top 5 individuals are awarded a $1,000 scholarship. The contest will be help in the Livestock Center (open show ring) on Wednesday August 6th, 6:00pm.