Benefits of Showing Livestock

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Livestock youth with awards

Livestock youth with awards

Here in North Carolina, being successful during the fall show season is the ultimate goal for most 4-H and FFA members that show livestock. When temperatures start to rise and the school year comes to an end, excitement enters the air. An excitement that most in our communities will never experience or ever begin to understand. But for some 4-H and FFA members this excitement signals a time to start fine-tuning their showmanship skills and ensure their livestock projects are managed to reach their maximum potential in the fall. 

Showing livestock is one of the most fun and rewarding activities a young person can do. Most realize this, that’s why they do it. However, the benefits of showing livestock is something that often gets overlooked or is not realized until later in life. When I think about the benefits of showing livestock the first one that comes to mind is responsibility. Raising and showing livestock requires a lot of time and dedication and the responsibility a young person learns from this is incomparable to any other youth activity. However, according to a study conducted at Texas Tech University that examined the perceived benefits of competitive youth livestock exhibition, responsibility is not at the top of the list for participants. This is probably due to the fact that there are countless benefits for youth development associated with showing livestock.

Below are the six benefits of showing livestock generated from this study listed in order:

  • Building Social Relationships. Showing livestock helps youth develop lifelong friendships and social contacts that aid in the fulfillment of career goals as well as the simple need for companionship.
  • Building Character. Showing livestock builds character by teaching responsibility, confidence, sportsmanship, and how to deal with loss. Character developed through showing livestock promotes growth from a child to a successful adult.
  • Family togetherness. Showing livestock is not only a youth activity, it is also an activity for the whole family. 
  • Exposure to Competition. Showing livestock allows youth to participate in competitive events while exposing them to winning and losing. 
  • Exposure to cultures. Livestock shows are hosted all over the country. Showing livestock exposes youth to diverse cultures through exposure to different cities and the diversity of people that accompany livestock shows. 
  • Knowledge and care of animals. Showing livestock teaches youth about animals and how to care for them. This is particularly important, if youth are interested in pursuing a career in an animal-related field.

If you would like to know more about showing livestock, how to get involved please or upcoming events contact our livestock agent Tom Devine at 828-652-8104 or tom_devine@ncsu.edu