By JANET KEHRES
Daily Globe Correspondent
RICHLAND COUNTY - Richland County Jr. Fair Board members from the surrounding area 4-H clubs and FFA chapters used their expertise to show younger members the ins and outs of participating at the county, or state fair, recently at the county extension office.
From learning the different parts of an animal, feed identification, to completing their manual, the youth learned the different steps to take to be successful at the fair.
Organizational questions were first on the agenda. The youth had many questions depending on their level of experience. The levels are beginners, intermediate, and advanced. Each project has a level to allow youth to build on their knowledge each year and continue to challenge their skills. Projects are meant to be worked on over time providing an educational opportunity for youth outside of the classroom setting.
Quality assurance was next. The board members explained the various rules that needs to be followed for a successful project.
For feed identification, the students learned about what is good to feed their animal projects and which will help them the most.
Talking about manual completion, the students must write their name and the year on the front of their manual and keep complete records of their project. All projects need detailed complete records of the exhibit.
For breed characteristics identification the students must know the various breeds of the particular animal that they select as their project and know the characteristics of that animal. They also had to complete identification of parts and cuts (including market cuts and breeding parts).
They also learned about the face to face interviews. The students will learn that showing a project or animal will require a face to face interview with the judge. Also, a part of the exhibit requires a clean, neat appearance by meeting the dress code. The exhibitor must have knowledge of the project, show interest and enthusiasm, keep accurate and complete records, have an ability to express knowledge openly and freely, and show a positive attitude toward their project.
The various animals that are shown at the fair are alpacas, llamas, goats, rabbits, sheep, poultry, beef (various varieties and stages), and hogs.
The exhibitor will be evaluated approximately one month before the county fair. The higher the score they receive during the evaluation, the more probability for an Outstanding Exhibit.
The students are also asked how many years they have had with the species or project and total years exhibiting animals or projects.