4-H youth are busy preparing for the start of the 2016 4-H Farm Credit Showmanship Circuit season. They have been training and clipping their animals for the past month. Many of them get their animals as soon as school lets out for the summer. The entire Circuit is proudly sponsored by Carolina Farm Credit and Cape Fear Farm Credit. This funding is used to operate the Circuit. The county shows are in both Farm Credit territories, which makes it a great partnership. The first show will be held in Randolph County on Aug. 5. Youth ages 5-19 have the opportunity to compete against other youth from across the region at each of the 12 County Shows between August and the State Fair in October. Youth can show goats, heifers or lambs as part of the Show Circuit. Points are accumulated for placings in showmanship at a series of shows in the south central area of North Carolina. The showmen will finish the season at the Farm Credit Showmanship Circuit Banquet held in November.
Youth compete in showmanship and confirmation classes at each show. The showmanship classes are designed to gauge the 4-Hers’ knowledge and skill with the animal while confirmation classes are all about the animal itself. Females will be bred and will continue production on the farm. They are judged on their frame and structure based on how they would carry the extra weight of being pregnant and the stress of milking. Castrated market animals are judged on the total meat marketability of the animal. Rules and the schedule are listed on the Richmond County Cooperative Extension website at: https://richmond.ces.ncsu.edu/?page_id=360017
There are three divisions for all species. First place in each division will win a belt buckle and a banner ribbon, second place will win a banner ribbon, and third place through fifth place will win a tri-fold ribbon. Each youth participant receives a Circuit tee shirt. 4-H Showmen will also win ribbons, trophies, and premium money at each individual show. Some youth put their winnings into the bank to save it for college while others may use it to invest in next year’s show animal. There are several college scholarships available for youth to apply for which are strictly for 4-H members or 4-H Showmen.
Many 4-Hers are currently gathering sponsorship money to pay for our Richmond County 4-H Goat Show. It will be on Sept. 10 at 1 p.m. at the Dale Dewitt Farm in Ellerbe. We encourage the community to come out and support our hard working 4-Hers. What these youth will learn from showing livestock is only the beginning. They learn leadership skills, animal husbandry, record keeping, self-esteem, and responsibility to name a few. They make friends for life across the state and learn how to communicate with adults and other youth. The future of agriculture lies in our youth, as they are the future farmers, doctors, teachers and agricultural advocates in our community. This is why we want to send a huge thank you to our sponsors and to all the parents, friends and family of the showmen who support them throughout the show season! If you have questions about the Circuit or would like to donate to the Richmond County 4-H Goat Show, please call me at 910-997-8255.