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The Show Must Go On: Utah 4-H Leaders Looking Into Alternative Livestock Show Options For Youth

Ward Family
Dispite the limitations with the coronavirus pandemic, Rylee Ward is still able to participate in 4-H activites. She has been able to participate in a 4-H Virtual Livestock Judging clinic and contest from her home.

All around the country, county fairs are being canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic, but that won’t stop 4-Hers from continuing to learn and compete. While some counties have already cancelled their fairs, efforts are still being made to still hold livestock shows.

For children and teens participating in 4-H, county fairs provide an important opportunity for them to show and sell the animals they have raised. Because of the pandemic, many of these fairs are being cancelled, which means creative solutions are being considered in hopes that livestock shows and auctions can still be held in accordance to safety measures.

“We have discussed the virtual options, where the youth videotape their show animal and upload it so the judge can judge virtually as well as the other option of doing a virtual livestock auction so that the youth can still participate in a market and showmanship show as well as sell their animals,” said Callie Ward.

Callie Ward oversees 4-H youth development for Garfield County 4-H. There aren’t a lot of answers about how the county’s fair will be handled this year, however, Ward hopes the livestock show will be able to happen whether or not the fair is cancelled.

Beyond the fair, current social distancing guidelines have impacted other youth activities, such as learning about livestock judging. However, virtual adaptations have helped 4-Hers, like Rylee Ward of Garfield County, still participate in these experiences.

“You learned how to judge the animal. Then they took a few pictures of some lambs or pigs, and then you judge them and picked A, B, or C, and then you showed it to them and you also, recorded your reasons,” explained Rylee.

More decisions will be made about how to proceed with 4-H events as Utah state officials continue to update coronavirus safety guidelines.