Focused on youth – Wyoming State Fair highlights agriculture, youth involvement
Douglas – Agriculture and Wyoming’s young producers are a highlight and focus of the Wyoming State Fair, hosted in Douglas every August.
“We try to create a venue where we give the kids an opportunity to exhibit their livestock. It’s really a décor of our fair,” comments Doug Miyamoto, director of the Wyoming Department of Agriculture (WDA).
Youth come from all over the state to visit the Wyoming State Fair every year, competing in contests from rabbits and poultry to sheep, goats, cattle and pigs.
“We, at the state level, have involvement but most of the true grassroots recruiting goes on at the local level, as it should,” states Miyamoto.
In Wyoming, youth work hard all year to ready their projects for state fair in Douglas.
“We do everything we can to support 4-H and FFA at our state level,” Miyamoto comments.
During the year, contestants practice their presentations in front of their mentors and receive technical pointers and advice.
“It’s always fun,” he states.
Many state fairs around the United States have shifted their focus away from agriculture, looking to bring in higher revenues through entertainment or beer and liquor sales.
“They have had to change from being an agriculturally-centered fair to something that more resembles a music festival,” Miyamoto explains.
But in Wyoming, this approach is not the case.
“We want to make sure that our fair stays agriculturally-centered and focused on youth exhibits,” he continues.
Fairs can be expensive to host, and the pressure of increased revenues is always present.
“There is a choice to be made between revenue generation or youth exhibits and agriculture. I would prefer to stick with youth and agriculture,” he adds, also noting that the people of Wyoming understand and agree with that sentiment as well.
“I think that the people of the state of Wyoming understand that the kind of fair that they desire is centered on agriculture and is centered on youth exhibits,” Miyamoto says.
Natasha Wheeler is editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.