The show must go on

Allison Allen and her goat will take part in the virtual livestock show.

The coronavirus has wreaked havoc on so much of what 4-H participants love about summer. 4-H Camp was canceled, as was the Louisa County Agriculture Fair and with it the annual 4-H Livestock Show and Sale.

Instead of an in-person event, Louisa 4-H will have a virtual livestock show. Exhibitors will submit videos of their animals being shown, just like they would be shown in the livestock show ring. These videos will be judged and results announced via Zoom on July 31.

“One of the misconceptions is that doing this virtually is easier,” said Jennifer Thompson, an agricultural extension agent involved with Louisa 4-H. “They have to show their animal in a video in 45 to 90 seconds, compared to the 15 minutes they would normally have in the ring.”

The judge will have a tougher time choosing winners because of the same time constraint.

Photos of the 22 young people who will exhibit animals can be viewed now at www.louisacounty4h.weebly.com. Each name is a link that leads to a letter from the 4-H member talking about their 2020 project experience.

People in the community will be able to sponsor exhibitors, much as they would after the fair in a normal year, although the animals will not be sold.

On Aug. 1 a link for a pledge form will go live and remain open through Aug. 7. Sponsors can use the link to pledge financial support to as many individual 4-H members as they wish.

If people don’t want to sponsor a particular young farmer, they can instead donate to the “Friends of Louisa 4-H” pooled sponsorship funds. The funds will be distributed among the exhibitors at the discretion of a committee made up of former 4-H leaders.

Thompson explained that the 4-H members who raise animals learn critical life skills such as responsibility, empathy, goal-setting and decision-making. They also learn to budget money and to keep records.

“During the pandemic they have learned that bad things can happen but responsibilities continue,” she said.

“Our 4-H exhibitors spend a good deal of time with these animals, working with them to prepare for the show ring. This care comes at a price. While youth generally earn a premium price for their projects in an auction at the fair, this year they are dependent upon sponsorships from individuals and business. A sponsorship can help offset expenses, build a flock, or save for higher education.”

She said that the typical costs to raise animals to market size vary from $300 to $800 for a hog to $2,000 to $4,000 for a steer. A hog takes three to five months to raise, while a steer requires up to 16 months.

Questions about the virtual show or online support platform may be directed to Thompson at 540-967-3422 or jennythompson@vt.edu.

These are the 2020 exhibitors and their animals:

Allison Allen – goat and hog

Isaiah Bowman – lambs

Levi Bowman – goats

Selah Bowman – goat

Evan Capozella – goat

Isaac Capozella – goat

Jacob Capozella – lambs and breeding ewes

Stella Gibson – lambs and breeding ewe

Tyler Gibson – hog and lamb

Keaton Hopkins – steer

Tanner Hopkins – hogs

Katherine Kaiser – goat

Max Kaiser – goat

Austin Libby – lambs

Kaylie Loudin – goats

Grace Rose – hogs

Amber Thompson – goats

Hasher Watkins – hogs

Arthur Wills – breeding doe

Sydney Wills – breeding doe

Matthew Woolfolk – goat, hog, breeding doe

Zac Woofolk – goat, hog, breeding doe

Contributed by Louisa 4-H

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