The Young County Junior Livestock Show gives area 4-H and FFA students a chance to show off what they’ve been working on all year long — their livestock.

The program helps kids learn about agriculture through the non-stop maintenance and care of their animals, and leading up to the annual event at the Young County Arena each January, so much more goes into the show than most people realize.

The purpose of the show, along with 4-H and FFA programs, is to teach students about livestock production and life skills, and to help them develop an appreciation for the livestock industry. Students participating in the show assume responsibility for their livestock. 

Depending on the category, participants showcase rabbits, sheep, pigs, goats, steers and heifers in a number of classes. Some showcase in more than one category, and all are judged. Top ranking livestock make the sale at the end of the show, and while some of the animals are purchased, sometimes there are aren’t enough buyers for all of them. 

That’s where the Graham Young County Junior Livestock Show Finance Committee, also known as the Graham Finance Committee, comes in. Every year, the committee raises funds through events and sponsorships to purchase livestock for Graham students that makes the sale. Upcoming fundraising events include a fun shoot on Saturday, Sept. 13, and the first Graham YCJLS Committee Fundraiser on Nov. 8. Graham, Olney and Newcastle each have finance committees for their hometown students. 

“Our goal is trying to get enough money to get those kids to where they can be a part of the livestock show again,” said Curt Crago, committee member. “Most of us on the board either grew up showing animals or parents of kids that are showing.”

Why is it important that every animal making the sale at the show be purchased? Graham YCJLS Finance Committee member Mandy Hearne said that the sale of a student’s livestock is not only a reward for their hard work and dedication, but the earnings can be used to offset the cost of their next livestock project, or be invested into a college fund. 

“It just helps the kids put back into their animals for next year, and it helps build their self esteem,” Hearne said.


Read more in Wednesday's Graham Leader.