In what could be a costly move for students raising market animals, the San Joaquin Fair board of directors will consider this morning whether to allow 4-H and Future Farmers of America members to show only one market animal at the annual fair.
Fair manager Debbie Cook recommends that FFA and 4-H members be limited to one livestock animal at the 2010 fair.
Cook said the move is being considered to save money and streamline operations. Board member Mitch Slater added that the fair is reducing its budget in all areas, not just agriculture, and that every part of the fair will feel the pain.
Limiting students to showing only one market animal can be a financial hardship, especially when you're talking steers, said Jessalee Goehring, a Lodi High School agriculture teacher.
Some students may have already bought two steers, Goehring said.
"Market steers are very expensive," she said.
Cook said that it shouldn't be a hardship for those who have bought two animals.
"There are some kids, about 20 percent of exhibitors, who buy and exhibit two market animals," Cook said. "We are making provisions that they can enter both animals. If one gets sick, they can substitute the other."
Or if the second animal turns out to be more marketable, the second animal can be substituted, Cook said.
In a related move, Cook is recommending that the fair board adopt a new policy that will have breeding animals shown during the five-day fair run instead of the previous week so that the general public, not just those interested in the livestock auction, can see the animals.
Rex Olson, owner of Robinson's Feed in Lodi, Lockeford and Galt, said he doesn't understand why the fair board is contemplating the change to showing one livestock animal, but he strongly supports FFA members.
"Those kids — they're the cream of the crop. They don't get into trouble. It's a family thing — they see nature at its best," he said.
How to attend the fair board meetingThe San Joaquin Fair board of directors, officially known as the 2nd District Agricultural Association board, will meet at 9 a.m. today in the fairgrounds administration office, 1658 S. Airport Way, Stockton. The meeting is open to the public.
In other action, the board will consider adopting its 2010 budget and hear an update from fair manager Debbie Cook on horse racing dates for the Stockton fair.
The full agenda can be accessed online at www.sanjoaquinfair.com/board_agenda.html. For more information, call 466-5041.
Source: San Joaquin Fair