Black Hawk 2014 Fair in the Local News!
4-H, FFA fair wraps up in Black Hawk County
Courier - July 28th
WATERLOO | Kids and their animals put a wrap on the Black Hawk County 4-H and FFA fair Saturday, capping almost a full week of work and fun.
Getting in the ring was an important part of the fair for Cassandra Brustkern, a member of the Big Cedar Springs 4-H club.
"I like 4-H because it offers a chance to show animals," she said.
"My goal was to get a steer that would get to be big enough, to gain more weight than when it was first weighed," Brustkern added.
Pepper, her dairy beef steer, did pretty well in that department. He tipped the scales at about 1,500 pounds.
Brustkern, though, also showed goats, chickens, horses, rabbits and sheep. With about eight years of experience, though, she admitted sometimes still getting a bit nervous.
But the fair remains a strong attraction, Brustkern said.
"It gives an opportunity to do a lot of things," she said.
Maddie Herring, 16, also had a lot on her plate during the fair. She is a member of the Lincoln Links 4-H club, Hudson FFA chapter and reigning Black Hawk County Beef Queen.
Herring brought hogs, a horse and beef cattle to the fair as well as photography and food projects. And as royalty, she helped inside the show ring, passing out ribbons and trophies and posing for photos with the winners.
"It's just really fun to see family and friends and to show off what you've done all year," Herring said.
Fair time also allows a chance to meet other 4-H'ers and members of FFA who Herring says she may only see on the fairgrounds.
"It's really good to see them every year, to see what they've been doing with their projects," she said.
Herring said she enjoys all her animals but particularly likes working with cattle more than, say, the pigs.
"You just can't brush them or wash them that much. Beef is more fun to take care of," she said.
Hanna Fettkether is a member of the Lester Livewires and is a clover kid, a designation for the younger 4-H'ers. She spent part of Saturday with Louie, her rabbit, a Holland lop.
Though just 9 years old and showing a rabbit for the first time, Fettkether is already a three-year veteran of the fair and was well prepared to meet the judge. Louie was born March 19, she said, and weighs 2 pounds, 4 ounces, according to the young exhibitor.
Fettkether explained her interest in the fair simply.
"I like to show animals. It's fun," she said.
See more Courier Photos here.
4-H, FFA prove their worth once again
Courier - July 25th
Every summer, like clockwork, county fairs remind us of the value 4-H and FFA clubs and chapters offer kids and adults who participate. Black Hawk County's version started Tuesday, marking its 102nd anniversary.
The staples are still there -- livestock, crops, sewing and gardening -- but 4-H and FFA started including much more a while ago. Fair-goers also can expect to see what kids learned about animal science; communications; family and consumer sciences; food and nutrition; design elements and art principles; personal development; and science, engineering and technology.
Diane Wolfe, youth coordinator for Iowa State University Extension in Black Hawk County, believes working toward and then participating at fair builds life skills that will endure. Kids must think projects through, whether composing a photo or assembling a model rocket. They then must approach a judge, talk about their work and explain what they learned and the decisions made.
"This is all good," Wolfe said.
Arnola Siggelkow, 82, a veteran judge in several Northeast Iowa counties, describes working with the youngsters as a joy for herself. But she also recognizes what planning projects, attempting the work, completing the paperwork and facing a critical review means to young people.
"They're always so proud of what they have done. They get to talking, and the satisfaction comes through that they did it, a satisfaction that they can do it," she said.
A section of the FFA creed illustrates an important ideal:
"I believe in less dependence on begging and more power in bargaining; in the life abundant and enough honest wealth to help make it so -- for others as well as myself; in less need for charity and more of it when needed; in being happy myself and playing square with those whose happiness depends upon me."
The 4-H pledge also defines the organization's core values:
"I pledge my head to clearer thinking, my heart to greater loyalty, my hands to larger service and my health to better living, for my club, my community, my country and my world."
FFA was founded in 1928, and in 2012 -- just in Iowa -- had 12,875 members. The seeds for 4-H were planted between 1890 and 1900 and specifically in Iowa in 1902. 4-H now claims 60 million alumni worldwide.
The figures that follow are from the 4-H Study of Positive Youth Development, a research project conducted at Tufts University that examined the organization's impact . While the numbers are for 4-H, it's a safe bet FFA builds young people in a similar fashion.
According to the report, 4-H'ers in high school are about:
- four times more likely to make contributions to their communities
- twice as likely to be active in civic affairs
- twice as likely to make healthier choices
- twice as likely to participate in science, engineering and computer technology programs during out-of-school time
So to the 4-H and FFA members, adult leaders and volunteers, congratulations on keeping the fair tradition alive.
County fair teaches risk management with interactive game
Courier - July 24th
WATERLOO | Young Black Hawk County Fair-goers are receiving an early lesson in realizing what it takes to produce and bring animals to market at this year’s Commodity Carnival booth.
Chicago Mercantile Exchange Group and the National 4-H Council have partnered for the second year in order to educate young people about agricultural science and economics.
“U.S. farmers and ranchers are getting older and there are fewer people standing in line to take their place,” a 2012 article in Iowa Farmer Today, a Lee Enterprises sister publication of The Courier, reported.
Advancements in technology have spurred more diverse career paths in agriculture for future generations, but the average age of farmers has climbed up to the late 50s, according to the most recent U.S. Census of Agriculture.
The Commodity Carnival is aiming to reach out to younger generations. Last year, the interactive game educated more than 54,000 youths at 120 state and county fairs in 11 states last year.
Chris Grams, director of corporate communications at CME group, said the carnival is all about experiencing what it's like to run a farm and the work that goes into raising animals.
“We really want (the kids) to gain an understanding that farming is a business and that farmers and ranchers do face risk in bringing food to the market,” Grams said.
The game is composed of three main steps: grow your livestock, sell your livestock and win a ribbon.
“This year kids will be challenged to grow a steer and take their steer to market,” Grams said.
When kids arrive to the booth, they receive a gold Easter egg that represents the steer. They then fill up the egg with beads that represent various inputs necessary for raising the steer, including feed, health care costs and facility costs. The egg is then weighed and the grams are converted to a price. The child will receive a disk that represents one of the three price ranges available.
The disk is dropped through a Plinko board, with the spokes symbolizing the different risks they can hit along the way. The disk lands on a price and the kids can break even, lose money or make money with their steer.
“What we’re teaching them is that there is a lot that goes into bringing food from the farm to the dinner plate,” Grams said.
Yesterday marked the first Commodity Carnival of the week. Michelle Temeyer, executive director of Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, helped run the booth and kept kids engaged by asking them “Now, what are you going to do with that money?” when they made a profit, and asked how that money would affect their family or home if they lost it due to the risk.
Due to the carnival's success, CME Group also has launched an app that allows people to experience Commodity Carnival outside of the fair. "Risk Ranch" is a free game that mocks the carnival experience and has been used as a learning tool in the classroom.
Kids still have a chance to take a risk at the fair. The Commodity Carnival booth will be at the Black Hawk County Fair at the National Cattle Congress today from 12 to 4 p.m. and tomorrow from 12 ti 8 p.m.
Kids brings projects and nerves to annual 4-H, FFA fair
Courier - July 23rd
WATERLOO | If the youngsters with the shaky knees only knew how little they have to fear.
Judges and superintendents at the Black Hawk County 4-H and FFA Fair -- the folks who control the purple, blue, red and occasional white ribbons -- like kids. A lot. And they want very badly for each club or chapter member to succeed.
Clair Clubine, 74, has helped Jan Mitchell and others assess vegetables and flowers for probably at least three decades.
"'She won't bite. She wants to be your friend,'" he says.
The fair opened Tuesday at the National Cattle Congress Fairgrounds with judging of non-livestock projects. Everything from art projects to perfectly matched zucchini went through the doors at the pavilion.
Once the one-on-one conversations start, the young people hopefully pick up on the judge's tone, according to Diane Wolfe.
She is the county youth coordinator with Iowa State University Extension in Black Hawk County. Organizers suggest judges start with a few positive comments, then move into critiques on areas for improvement. The reviews usually end with a few words of encouragement.
"We really like that 'sandwich' method," Wolfe says.
"We want the kids to continue to bring projects," she adds.
The Black Hawk County 4-H and FFA Fair requires about 50 judges and assistants just for the non-livestock projects, according to Wolfe. Another crew will take on dog obedience, rabbits, pets, poultry, horses and other livestock later this week.
Mitchell has inspected projects in several Northeast Iowa counties for 22 years.
"I probably put more emphasis on what they tell me, what their goals were and how they would make it better," she says.
"We do encourage them to always learn, to always try to learn something new," Mitchell adds.
Arnola Siggelkow, 82, greets Cora Fecht's plate of bars with a smile. The veteran judge skims over the accompanying worksheet and entry form.
"You used butter rather than margarine -- good. I like butter," Siggelkow says.
Fecht, 14, is a member of the Lincoln Friendly Links. She explains the recipe originated with her grandmother.
"Have you started a recipe file?" Siggelkow asks.
"Yes," Fecht says.
"That's a project you could work on all year, and then bring it here for us to look at," Siggelkow suggests.
Fecht earned a blue ribbon with prospects for another on the horizon.
"It's a joy just working with the kids," Siggelkow says later. "They're always so proud of what they have done. They get to talking and the satisfaction comes through that they did it, a satisfaction that they can do it."
Rachel Bauler, 13, a member of the Lincoln Friendly Links, was among the first to arrive for judging Tuesday. Within a few minutes she had four blue ribbons with three projects left to go in front of a judge.
She is a fan of the reviews and the judges' "consider this" approach and comments.
"It helps me know what I could look for in my drawings and any of my other art," Bauler says.
Probably every judge has a few stories about less successful projects. Siggelkow remembers some chip-free chocolate chip cookies. Mitchell remembers inedible brownies that earned the young lady a white ribbon.
"I just couldn't get around them. I think she took it pretty good," Mitchell says.
Judges frequently get fresh paint on their hands or discover other evidence kids finished projects in the nick of time. As an example, Mitchell makes personal visits to area gardens, judging the source as well as the final product.
"They're out there pulling weeds as I drive up," Mitchell says.
STEM activities available at Black Hawk County 4-H Fair Friday
Courier - July 19th
WATERLOO | The Black Hawk County 4-H and FFA Fair’s second annual STEM Festival on July 25 will provide fair-goers an opportunity to explore hands-on STEM -- science, technology, engineering and mathematics -- activities.
The festival, set for 1 to 4 p.m. July 25 in Estel Hall on the National Cattle Congress fair grounds, is free to the public.
This second annual event is a partnership between the Northeast Iowa Region Governor’s STEM Advisory Council at the University of Northern Iowa and ISU Extension 4-H.
For information, check www.neiowastem.com or call 273-7398.
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