County Fair Time

As a former 4-H and FFA member, county fair time brings fond memories flooding back. On Tuesday, I took a few hours off to “judge” the Clover Kids who brought static projects in to the Montgomery County Fair. As I asked these adorable 1st-4th graders questions like, “What kind of problems did you run into while you made this peach pie?” I couldn’t help but remember how nervous I used to get on judging day. I would tuck in my 4-H t-shirt and skim through my write-up for the third time before approaching the judge with a smile, a firm handshake, and an introduction.

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My sister Anna carried on the 4-H tradition this year with her state-qualifying Jemima Puddle Duck watercolor painting.

My ultimate goal with static projects was to earn that massive, purple rosette that booked my ticket to the Iowa State Fair. Over the years, my efforts paid off, and I had multiple static, communications, and floriculture exhibits go to the State Fair.

Farm Credit Services of America recognizes and supports the hard work of 4-H members all across its four-state territory. Many FCSA teammates, as we call each other, grew up showing at the county fair and now have kids and grandkids involved in the program. This week, my mentor Chad Jacobs and his wife are jumping into the bustle of the Montgomery County Fair with their twin daughters.

The Jacobs girls are showing static projects, goats, rabbits, and beef cattle. Like any dedicated 4-H family, the Jacobs started preparing for this week of weigh-ins, washings, and judging months ago. It has been fun to hear about the progress of the twins’ projects since the beginning of my internship through Chad’s stories and updates, which are almost always accompanied by a picture. 🙂

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Chad picked up freshly baked pastries before the auction started and delivered them to the auction.

Yesterday, Chad and I made a well-received FCSA representation at the Adam’s County Fair livestock auction. While Chad mingled with community members and caught up with several of his customers, auction-goers consumed 7 gallons of lemonade, 4 gallons of iced tea, and 13 dozen donuts from the Corning bakery. Every summer, Red Oak’s Farm Credit office delivers similar batches of refreshments to livestock auctions and weigh-ins at 8 different county fairs in Southwest Iowa. Event volunteers, parents and 4-H members alike enjoy the refreshments courtesy of FCSA.

In addition, FCSA demonstrates its support of rural youth in the community through the following contributions:

The only problem with the boards is that that the Farm Credit logo is on the smooth side, which handlers typically turn inward so their knees don't get caught in the grooves on the opposite side.

The only problem with the boards is that that the Farm Credit logo is on the smooth side, which handlers typically turn inward so their knees don’t get caught in the grooves on the opposite side.

  • Cash donation to the fair board for general purposes
  • Provide stall cards for every livestock exhibitor
  • Donate sorting panels for hogs
  • Provide T-shirts in some counties
  • Donate $3 or $5 meal tickets to every 4-H member for food at the fair
  • Buy pies or other baked goods at auctions for the Endowment Fund
  • Cash donation to 4-H Endowment Fund for scholarships

Iowa State Fair Involvement: provide stall cards for every livestock exhibitor

Without the support of many local businesses like Farm Credit

Livestock exhibitors fill out stall cards like this and staple them up above their pens.

Livestock exhibitors fill out stall cards like this and staple them up above their pens.

Services of America, I don’t think county fairs would survive. Growing up, I stapled many stall cards above my pen of three broilers, but I never really stopped to think about what would happen if Farm Credit hadn’t provided those green and white claims of ownership.

Exhibitors may take it for granted, but the generosity and support of businesses in the community like Farm Credit Services of America is what keeps these county fairs going strong. Farm Credit understands the need for youth in agriculture and the need for community involvement. That’s why Farm Credit Services of America works hand in hand with the extension service and county fair boards to promote thriving county fairs.

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