Why do young people show farm animals at the 4-H fair?

Posted: July 16, 2020

Answer: Showing farm animals helps us learn how to raise and care for livestock which we hope to do in the future on our family farm.

We are Warren Schweitzer, 11, (third year 4-H member) and Elijah Schweitzer, 10, (second year 4-H member). We are brothers and live in rural Malta. We have four pigs, two head of cattle, and laying hens. We were really excited to show at the fair this year but given the current situation we will only be having a virtual fair.

We also have a small business selling farm fresh eggs. Our egg business is called Yolkal Eggs. We enjoy the many opportunities of living on a farm.

We are in 4-H to prepare us for our future since we both hope to farm. We decided to do livestock projects because on our farm we someday hope to have livestock. At the fair we can show our hard work and dedication to being a farmer.

Also, going to the fair and talking to the judges prepares us for talking to business people in the future. We are learning about how to manage a budget with our projects and company. At the fair you meet new people you have not known before.

Taking care of animals is hard work. You have to make a routine so our routine is doing chores morning and evening. You have to feed them and make sure they have water. We turn on and off the pig’s and cattle’s fans depending on the outside temperature to make sure that they are comfortable. For our chickens, we collect eggs twice a day.

When we are doing chores we make sure our livestock are acting normally. If we notice anything is wrong we tell our parents immediately and they contact the vet if it is something medical or they come help us if we cannot fix it or if something breaks.

To get our animals ready for the fair we work with our livestock a lot. We walk our animals so they show properly. For cattle we put a halter on them and lead them around our farm practicing setting up their feet, keeping their heads up, and moving them around. For pigs we use show sticks to encourage them to move in the right direction. Tapping them gently on the side and neck tells them where to go. We wash them for skin care and mostly to keep them clean. For proper hair and skin care for our cattle and pigs we wash them regularly and the cattle we also brush out and blow dry their hair. This helps to grow their hair and condition their skin but also calms them and helps to tame them.

Before we go to the fair every year, we review our pig’s and our cattle’s birth dates and feed ratios. We wash them and load up all of our show supplies, then we load up the animals, and drive all the way to Sandwich Fairgrounds.

The first livestock we raised were 21 laying hens. Those hens were the beginning of Yolkal Eggs, our company that sells farm fresh eggs. We have been lucky to have so much support for our business from family and friends. We have learned how to budget for expenses and income and how profit works. Yolkal Eggs has helped us to start saving for college. 

Our mom and dad have helped us a lot with our livestock projects and egg business. We work together in the barn and have made mostly good memories as a family. This is how our 4-H livestock project works. We hope you understand how it is to show 4-H livestock. We work really hard with our animals so that we can raise good quality livestock and learn more about it, too.

The Schweitzer boys – Warren and Elijah – raise beef cattle and pigs to show at the 4-H Fair. It’s a family project on their Malta farm. Their parents are Mike and Amy Schweitzer.