by CLAYTON KEENE, Lake Wales Senior, Polk County FFA Federation Officer
January has been jam-packed with many events for 4-H and FFA members across Polk County. Most members participated in the Polk County Youth Fair in some way, shape, or form. From family and consumer sciences, livestock projects, small animals, horticulture projects, archery, and special events, there was something for everyone.
Starting the week with hogs, more than 400 students across Polk County made the weight parameters! All students did well in the show as they exhibited their animals for the judge. Your Grand Champion hog was exhibited by Carter Price.
After hogs, we transitioned to commercial heifers where Mattisen Keeble from Lake Gibson Sr. FFA took home supreme champion overall. As the week continues many different students brought in purebreds and the steers were brought in as well. Brooklyn Sweat from Frostproof Sr. FFA took grand champion in American open steer, Hailie Thomas from Bok North FFA took Grand champion commercial steer, and Mckenzie Hollie from Lake Wales Sr. took both Supreme champion and European open champion. Congratulations to all steer, hog and heifer exhibitors!
Many students were also able to submit entries that they had made to the Stuart center in the Family and Consumer Sciences division. Wreaths, sewing projects, gift baskets, photography, metalworking and woodworking projects were entered along with cookies, cakes, preserved jams and jellies. These students worked incredibly hard and congratulations to all who participated and earned Tri-Color Awards!
We also offered four education events at the end of the week for FFA, 4H, and YLPA members to participate in. Thursday, we offered a Poultry Evaluation Event where students were required to grade eggs, both internally and externally, grade carcasses, identify poultry parts, and judge a set of live birds. We also held a rabbit judging event where students took a written test on breeds and body conformation of rabbits. On Friday, we offered livestock judging. Students had to accurately judge four classes of livestock; a class of market hogs, a class of Brahma heifers, a class of market goats, and a class of breeding does. After the livestock judging event, we held a horticulture evaluation contest. Students had to identify various landscape ornamentals and vegetables as well as judge a class of plants and carrots. Great job to all who participated, and good luck to those going to the state livestock judging contest in a few months with 4-H and FFA!
Everyone did a great job at the Polk County Youth Fair this year, and it left as quickly as it came, but many students are already working hard for next year! If you would like more information about the opportunities available for students through the Polk County Youth Fair, check out their website at www.pcyf.net.