Knowledge Center Blog

Welcome to the Farm Credit Knowledge Center Blog!  This blog is a combination of posts from industry experts, Knowledge Center staff and guest contributors covering all aspects of agriculture and life in the country.  We want you to participate in this blog, sharing your thoughts and comments about the topics posted here.

When Is A Steak More Than A Steak?

In keeping with the “fair season” theme – let’s talk livestock show and sales.  Anyone who has attended a local, regional or state fair and walked through the livestock barns has been able to see kids hard at work taking care of their cattle, sheep, goats and pigs.  For many of those kids, the fair is the accumulation of months (or in some cases almost a year) of hard work. 
It started when they picked out their market steer, lamb, goat or hog project…some from their family farm, some by visiting a breeder or sale.  They chose the best animal they could afford and brought it home, where the work really began.  From the day that animal entered the barn, that 4-H or FFA student was responsible for its daily care – feed, water, exercise.  They worked with the animal, teaching it to walk and getting it to stop and set up properly to make it look as good as possible.  They washed and clipped it, paid attention to all the little details about the animal – was it eating the way it should?  Did it look healthy?  What else did they need to do to make sure that it was gaining weight the way that it should, and looked like a show animal should look?  They kept records – how much feed and hay they purchased; how much the animal ate each day, veterinarian costs and other costs associated with raising a livestock project. 
Some of them may have taken the animal to other shows as well, earlier jackpot shows where they had a chance to see how their animal stacked up against other animals.  Maybe they did well, and maybe they did not, but either way they learned about sportsmanship and how to win, and lose, with grace.  These shows also gave them a chance to practice taking the animal in the ring, and helped them to work out kinks so that when they got to their final show, kid and animal worked as a team.  It allowed them to travel to different places – some close, some far, and in doing so introduced them to other kids they may not have met otherwise…and some of those friendships will last a lifetime, regardless of how far away they may live from each other.
All of that and more brought them to this fair.  This show.  The last show they will have with this particular market animal project.  They have worked hard to get here, and along the way they have learned responsibility, record keeping, financial management, sportsmanship, teamwork, and the value of all that hard work.  They are excited to be here, but at the same time, may dread it just a little bit.  They know that this is the end of their time with this particular market animal…and even though they knew this day was coming, even though this is what they have worked so hard for, it will still be difficult to say goodbye to that project on sale day.  When the gavel falls, someone else will officially own that animal, and it will, in most, cases be destined for someone’s freezer, providing local, responsibly raise meat for one or several families.
So why do we share this?  Because these 4-H and FFA students need your support.  They have put in months of hard work, taking the best possible care of their animals with the goal of selling it at the sale.  The money they receive from the sale of this animal may be used to purchase next year’s project, or pay back a loan they took out for this year’s project (or perhaps both if they are lucky).  It may be placed in a savings account to help pay for college in a few years, or help them to start their own ag operation one day.  Whatever it is used for, these kids need your help and support.  They need you to come to the sale, and support the program and the exhibitors – you don’t have to do it by yourself, you can get a group of people together to purchase an animal and split the meat if you want.  And if you would like to support them but do not want the meat?  No problem, almost every sale has the option for you to sell the animal back to the floor, and they will take the animal for you.  Either way, your attendance at this event is incredibly important, because it allows these kids to continue to be able to raise livestock projects – and more importantly shows them that you understand the value of the hard work they put in and the lessons learned. 

Monday, July 30, 2018
Farm Credit Knowledge Center
Victoria, thank you! Glad that you find it beneficial. We do now also have a pig and a sheep, you can find it at
10/29/2018 12:06:50 PM

Victoria Cohen
This is a awesome!!! Even though we are in FL, this will be going in with all of our Buyers Letters this year :)
10/26/2018 12:54:53 PM

Farm Credit Knowledge Center
Unfortunately we do not have one for a pig, sheep or goat (or poultry) right now - but that's a great idea! We'll add it to our list of possible resources. Thanks!
8/9/2018 1:49:17 PM

Farm Credit Knowledge Center
Hi Sheralyn, If you click on the image it will download a PDF that you can download and print. Thank you for your interest!
8/9/2018 1:47:59 PM

This is a great poster. Is there a chance to get a hi-res pdf of the poster for printing a banner? It would be great for our cattle kids at 4H Fair. Also, are there any similar posters for poultry, lamb and pig? Thanks!
8/8/2018 7:08:16 PM

Michelle Wood
I have been look for for this but for a pig. Where can I found one? I wanted to include in my son's buyer letters for th fair. (Aug 13-21).
Thank you,
8/5/2018 2:01:42 AM