Editor’s note: The following article, written by AJ Watson, was originally posted by the Alabama Farmers Federation.
Fairs are more than fun rides and funnel cakes for hundreds of youth showing livestock in Montgomery, Mobile and Dothan this week. Classes for lambs, goats, dairy cattle, beef cattle, and hogs all are part of the fairs, sponsored in part by Alfa Insurance and the Alabama Farmers Federation.
“Showing livestock gives young people a valuable opportunity to learn and grow,” said Alfa Insurance and Federation President Jimmy Parnell. “Whether it’s work ethic, responsibility or perseverance, children are learning valuable lessons inside and outside of the show ring. There’s no better family activity, and as a father, I have seen the difference showing livestock has made in my children.”
Lakin Whatley, a high school sophomore from Montgomery County, said in addition to responsibility and long-lasting friendships, showing cattle lets her be a voice for agriculture.
“There are a lot of people who come to the fair who don’t know much about cattle,” she said. “Educating people about agriculture is one of my favorite things. It’s very important we tell them and teach them the right things about cattle. Next time they’re in the grocery store, hopefully they’ll remember our conversation.”
The Alabama National Fair in Montgomery continues through Nov. 2. The Greater Gulf State Fair in Mobile continues through Nov. 8, and the National Peanut Festival is Nov. 6-15 in Dothan.
Guy Hall of the Federation said livestock shows and exhibits are the backbone of state and county fairs. He said industries and organizations that support the fairs help provide fun, wholesome family environments.
“The success of fall fairs and livestock shows depends on many moving parts,” said Hall, the Federation’s Dairy, Pork and Poultry divisions’ director. “By all working together we’re making an investment in our nation’s future leaders.”