This week marks the beginning of the South Dakota State Fair, which runs through Labor Day. For our family, it’s our annual vacation. We load up kids, cattle and the camper and head to the fair.
I sarcastically call it a vacation because it’s more work than play -- clipping and fitting calves; running from my sister Kaley’s 4-H speeches, to her FFA steer show and back home to her volleyball game; packing food for all of us for a week and tying down loose ends at home before we go -- the fair certainly takes its toll on kids and cattle. Still, we wouldn’t have it any other way. Sure it’s a lot of work, but it’s also a great time to showcase your cattle, network with other producers and take in something fun like going to a concert, riding the ferris wheel or taking a stroll through junk food alley -- there’s something for everyone!
In honor of state fair week, I thought I would round up some old blog posts and photo galleries. Here’s a few I think you might like:
State Fair Memories Photo Gallery 
Cattlewomen Share Their Passion For Beef At The State Fair 
Cloned Steer Wins Iowa State Fair Cattle Show 
I think it's important to remind all 4-H and FFA families exhibiting at state fairs across the country that this is an opportunity to be proactive and share the agriculture story with consumers as they walk down the aisles looking at the cattle.
Sure, it can be bothersome when their strollers get in you and your steer's way when you're walking to the showring, and the last thing you want is to let a city kid pet and pat down the hair on your fitted animal, but put on a smile and welcome their questions and comments -- this is the one time each year where they get to have a first-hand look at animal agriculture. Make sure you leave them with a positive impression. Consumer perceptions and demands will greatly impact the way we do business in the future, so keep that in mind when you are in the spotlight at the state fair. Be a great advocate for the beef industry; here's your chance!
A Closer Look: Producers Must Promote To Consumers 
Do you go to your state’s fair each year? What’s your favorite state fair memory?