SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) – When people visit the Sioux Empire Fair, there’s no shortage of guests waiting for the carnival rides and musical performances, but nestled in the back of the fairgrounds, less frequented by fair guests, is the agriculture section where hundreds of 4-H kids are getting their animals ready for presentation. 

The livestock exhibit at the fair gives kids in 4-H a chance to show off the animals they’ve put months of work into and educate the public on the importance of agriculture, especially for South Dakota. 

“A lot of people don’t even know this stuff is back here and going on,” Heather Cody, the organizer of the FFA livestock shows, said. “They work their butts off and it would be nice to see more people out here supporting them.”

Exhibitors from 4-H clubs across the state come to the Sioux Empire Fair to show their swine, sheep, goats, poultry, rabbits, dairy and beef cattle. Throughout the week, the exhibitor’s animals will be judged on their size, muscling, balance and breed character. 

Members of the Colton Hustlers 4-H club have been at the fair preparing their animals since Sunday. Charlie Cody and Kane Grace will be showing beef cattle, Colt Johnson shows goats and Taygen Van Der Vliet shows sheep and swine. The boys say their favorite part of showing their animals is the competition. 

“It’s important to know where your food comes from,” Van Der Vliet said about why more people should be interested in agriculture. 

Julia Tinker, a 15-year-old sophomore from Brandon, has been showing her rabbits and chickens in 4-H since she was six. She is also a state 4-H Ambassador and educates others on what 4-H is about and how it has benefitted her.  

Tinker said she loves 4-H since it has taught her about leadership skills and she’s made connections with people all over the state. 

“I just feel so welcome with my 4-H family,” she said. “Some of my best friends right now are from 4-H. I have friends from Beresford and Elkton and even all the way out to Custer. I feel so welcome and I just really enjoy it.” 

Cody also says 4-H and showing animals at places like the Sioux Empire Fair gives kids a positive work ethic, creates good character and allows them to start learning about agriculture at a young age. 

“These kids work with the animals, get used to the animals around them, learn how to be safe with their animals, learn what structure we want on an animal to make breeding animals better,” she said. “They have to work all day, every day. A lot of these kids rinse their cows twice a day, which takes hours.” 

Cody said a lot of the kids who show animals in 4-H hope to work in the agriculture industry as adults and showing livestock as kids helps them become familiar with animals and ethical practices that are invaluable in the field. 

Wednesday is Agriculture Appreciation Day at the fair and a majority of the week’s livestock shows will take place this day. Cody said all of the kids in her 4-H club have worked hard for this day and would love to show off their animals to fair guests. 

Here’s a list of all the livestock exhibits during Ag Appreciation Day on Wednesday, August 9:

8 a.m.– FFA Market and Breeding Swine Show

9 a.m.– 4-H Dairy Show 

9 a.m.– 4-H Rabbit Showmanship

10 a.m.– 4-H Rabbit Show

10 a.m.– FFA Commercial and Market Beef Show 

1 p.m. FFA Market and Breeding Goat Show

2 p.m.– FFA Market and Breeding Sheep Show

4:30 p.m.– Livestock Skill-a-thon

5 p.m.– Farm Relay

6 p.m.– FFA Beef and Commercial Heifers show

6 p.m.– Livestock Judging Contest