129 youth from across Johnston County are registered to participate in the annual Johnston County Youth Livestock Show & Sale. The event will take place at the Johnston County Livestock Arena at 520 County Home Road off Highway 210 just west of Smithfield.
The youth will be exhibiting steers, heifers, market hogs, market lambs and market goats. Following the show, the animals will be sold to packers and the youth will participate in a support auction that generates funds for the children, most of which is banked for future projects or college expenses.
During the show, the animals will be placed based on market quality, and the children will also be placed on showmanship; how well they present their animals. Steers and heifers will show on Monday, April 10 at 5:30 pm. There are 7 steers and 13 heifers entered. Lambs and goats will be shown on Tuesday, April 11 at 1 and 4 pm, respectively. There will be approximately 25 lambs and 65 meat goats in the show. Approximately 85 market hogs will be shown at 9 am on Wednesday, April 12.
At the conclusion of each species’ show, a fun event called “Children’s Revenge” showmanship will be held for that species. In this event, adults can borrow an animal to show, and the youth exhibitors who have won showmanship in the past serve as the judges.
A 4-H/FFA Livestock Judging Contest will be held on Tuesday, April 11 at 8:30. Teams of youth from across the region are invited to participate and try their hand at ranking classes of cattle, sheep, goats and hogs. The top five individuals and teams in both Senior and Junior age divisions will be awarded ribbons.
On Wednesday evening, buyers and participants will partake in the Buyer’s Meal, a catered barbecue and chicken dinner sponsored in part by Johnston County Farm Bureau. At 6 that evening, just before the sale, the showmanship winners will be recognized, scholarships will be awarded, and a surprise honoree will be inducted into the Johnston County Agriculture Hall of Fame. The Norman C. Denning, Sr. and Jean R. Denning Scholarship will be awarded, along with the Sonny Batten Memorial Endowment Scholarship, and several Youth Livestock Program scholarships. Dan Wells, Johnston County Livestock Extension Agent, reports that 12 high school seniors have applied for scholarships through the program this year. “We anticipate awarding $7,000.00 in scholarships this year,” Wells said. “We hold two annual fundraisers to support scholarships and youth livestock activities, including the Show & Sale. It’s very rewarding to see young people progress through the program and set their sights on higher education.”
The sale is supported by over 200 buyers each year, including businesses, farms, physicians, and individuals. Contributions can be made in any amount to any number of children in the program. Dan Wells says, “the community support for the sale is outstanding. And as long as a child submits their record books and works at the program fundraisers, they receive 100% of their sale proceeds, with no commission withheld.” The sale grossed over $150,000.00 in 2016.