Most youth don’t think about agriculture commodities, futures and risks while they are eating their morning bacon or ham.

But 4-H has teamed up with CME Group to offer a simple and fun way to “connect the dots between the producer all the way to the dinner plate,” says Dustin Oehl, University of Missouri Extension 4-H project coordinator. CME Group runs some of the world’s largest commodity and futures exchanges, including the Chicago Board of Trade and the Chicago Mercantile Exchange.

The Commodity Carnival was offered at county and state fairs, including the Missouri State Fair, in 11 states this summer to teach youth ages 4-14 about the value of agriculture commodities and costs, profits and risks that producers take to feed the world through two interactive mini-carnival games, Invest & Grow and Pig-Linko.

Dave Lehman and Chris Grams of CME Group visited the Missouri State Fair 4-H building on the opening day of the fair to play the games, which were developed by Ohio State University Extension. About 1,000 youth played the games during the fair and learned about producing a commodity and selling it.

Invest & Grow participants receive an activity sheet and a plastic egg that represents their hog. Players fill their container with items that represent various investments needed to raise their hog. In the Pig-Linko game, participants send their sealed container down a wooden obstacle course that represents risk factors that affect market price. Each container falls into a slot representing the final price for that commodity, with some players making money on their hogs and some losing money.

National 4-H Council President and CEO Donald T. Floyd Jr. said, “Exposing youth and their families to understanding why and how agricultural commodities are bought, sold and traded in fluctuating markets is vital. Providing our youth with this knowledge and education is critically important when one considers the impact of the agriculture market on our daily lives and global economy.”