Meridian Star

January 15, 2014

Annual livestock show returns Thursday

The Meridian Star

MERIDIAN — Terri Ferguson Smith

    Goats, steers, and hogs — along with their young human handlers, will take center stage on Thursday.

    The 48th annual Lauderdale County Junior Livestock Association show and sale will be held at the Meridian Stockyards, bringing 26 FFA and 4-H members, along with the animals they have raised.

    Nikki Jefcoat, Lauderdale County Extension Service 4-H Youth Agent, said there will be market steers, registered beef cattle, market hogs and commercial, market and dairy goats that have been cared for by youth aged 6 to 18. Those who have beef livestock have had the animals for about a year; hogs have been in their care for about four months, she said.

    "They are responsible for their health, their care, their feeding," Jefcoat said. "They learn responsibility, how to be trustworthy, honest. They learn that they have to be the ones who step up and take care of them."

    When asked if students ever get attached to their animals, Jefcoat recalled her own experiences as a child.

    "My first year to show, I had a pig that weighed about 250 pounds," she said. "It stepped on my toe and I didn't mind selling it."

    The student's family purchases the livestock, unless it is grown on their own farm, and then sell it at auction when it is ready for the market, except for projects that focus on reproduction. Those projects teach the students how to grow the herd, Jefcoat said.

    Both students and their livestock are judged during the show.

    There is no charge to attend the show and the livestock sale, Jefcoat said. The show will be held at 1 p.m.; the sale will take place at 6:30 p.m.

    Meridian Stockyards are located at 10365 Old Highway 80 West.