Iowa 4-H Livestock State Fair

2020 Fair Special Edition: Iowa 4-H and FFA Livestock Show

In the spirit of tradition, the Iowa State Fairgrounds are excited to host the 2020 Fair Special Edition: Iowa 4-H and FFA Livestock Show. Held with the same prestige and competition found at the Iowa State Fair, this 2020 Special Edition will showcase the superior showmanship, hard work, and determination of Iowa’s 4-H and FFA youth. This Special Edition show will follow all Iowa Department of Public Health and CDC recommendations for social distancing, hand washing and sanitization, so although it will be held in August and on the Iowa State Fairgrounds, you may notice some “special” considerations for this stand-alone event.

Purpose: To support the mission statement of the Iowa State Fair by providing an opportunity for Iowa 4-H and FFA youth to showcase their hard work and livestock projects.

Eligibility:  Open to Iowa 4-H and FFA exhibitors that have nominated/identified livestock projects for the 2020 Iowa State Fair. Shows will be available for the following:      

  • FFA Beef
  • FFA Horse
  • FFA Meat Goat
  • FFA Poultry*
  • FFA Rabbit*
  • FFA Sheep
  • FFA Swine
  • FFA & 4-H Dairy Cattle
  • FFA & 4-H Dairy Goats
  • 4-H Beef
  • 4-H Horse
  • 4-H Meat Goat
  • 4-H Poultry*
  • 4-H Rabbit
  • 4-H Sheep
  • 4-H Swine

*nomination not required

Schedule: The 4-H and FFA livestock shows will happen over three weekends in August.

  • August 6, 7, 8: FFA Beef, FFA Horse, 4-H Rabbit, FFA Rabbit, 4-H Sheep, FFA Sheep, Youth Dairy Cattle
  • August 13, 14, 15: 4-H Horse, 4-H Meat Goat, FFA Meat Goat, FFA Poultry, FFA Swine
  • August 20, 21, 22: 4-H Beef, 4-H Poultry, 4-H Swine, Youth Dairy Goat

The new schedule allows more room for exhibitors to try to obey social distancing recommendations.  The separation of the shows allows for the Fairgrounds to be cleaned thoroughly between sessions.   

**As mentioned before, some shows and competitions will not be offered for 2020. This includes the 4-H Dog Show (we are looking at alternative dates/locations), all carcass and/or performance contests including 4-H Beef of Merit, Sheep Carcass Contest; Livestock Skillathons, and non-show competitions (no poster presentations, etc.) and no Showmanship classes will be conducted this year. Just simply the livestock shows themselves.

Attendees: For crowd control purposes each exhibitor will receive 3 wristbands total. A limited number of wristbands will be available to show supporters.  A $100 donation to the show will grant the donor 2 wristbands good for all three sessions August 6-22.  More information will be available soon. 

Wristbands will be required to access the Fairgrounds. Wristbands will not be available on site. 
No additional fees for admission or parking will be charged

4-H Entry:

  • 4-H exhibitors will enter through the Fair Entry system as in past years
  • Entry will be open Monday, June 22nd
  • Entry Deadline: July 10th (extended from July 1 in past years)

Entry fees

Since no admission or parking will be charged to exhibitors this year, and with very limited revenue coming into the State Fair, entry fees will increase for 2020 to the following:

  • 4-H Beef                         $35
  • 4-H Horse                     $25/head + $5/class
  • 4-H Meat Goat             $15
  • 4-H Poultry                    $5
  • 4-H Rabbit                     $5
  • 4-H Sheep                     $15
  • 4-H Swine                      $15

Exhibitor Communication:  Follow show information on Facebook under 2020 Fair Special Edition: Iowa 4-H and FFA Livestock Show or Text SHOW to 75782 

Generators:  No auxiliary generators will be provided by the State Fair.

Parking: Parking will be allowed on the fairgrounds in designated areas at no cost.  All persons in the vehicle must have a wristband to enter the Fairgrounds.  Wristbands will NOT be available on site.  

Trailer Parking: Trailers parking will be available on grounds in designated areas at no cost. 

Premiums and Ribbons: CHANGE for 2020: The Danish Ribbon systems will still be used – exhibitors will receive the typical Purple, Blue, Red, White in each class. However, monetary premiums will be paid only to the top 3 placings in each class across all divisions. 

Species-Specific Rule Changes:

Exhibitors will notice some key changes for 2020 in certain species. For instance, due to no market outlet, market swine will not be loaded out for harvest. All shows will be non-terminal for 2020. The only exception will be for the following which are scheduled to be harvested at the Iowa State University Meat Lab: Grand and Reserve Grand Champion 4-H Market Steer; Grand and Reserve Grand 4-H Champion Market Heifer; Grand and Reserve Grand Champion 4-H Market Hog; Grand and Reserve Grand Champion 4-H Market Lamb; Grand and Reserve Grand Champion 4-H Broiler (Special); Grand Champion  4-H Market Meat Goat; Grand Champion and Reserve Grand Champion FFA Market Lamb; Grand Champion and Reserve Grand Champion FFA Market Hog; Grand Champion FFA Market Meat Goat.

Other Amenities:  A small variety of food and show supply vendors will be available.  

Accommodations and Camping:

COVID-19 Precautions:

  • All employees, exhibitors, vendors, and patrons must closely follow all rules, guidelines, and advice set forth by the United States Federal Government, CDC, State of Iowa Governor’s Office, Iowa Department of Public Health, ESA (Event Safety Alliance), and the IISC (Iowa Illinois Safety Council).  It is strongly encouraged that volunteers, participants, and families use face coverings and practice physical distancing
  • Some rows or sections of seating may be blocked off in order to space people at least 6 feet apart
  • Lines or queues will be eliminated where possible or encourage people to stay at least 6 feet apart by providing signs or other visual cues such as tape or chalk marks
  • Frequent handwashing with soap and water is greatly encouraged.  If soap and water is not available hand sanitation stations will be placed throughout the barns and show arenas
  • Cleaning and sanitization of all frequently touched surfaces will occur during the set-up and throughout the duration of the event

4-H Livestock Show Volunteers:

I know many county staff has been gracious in assisting the 4-H Livestock crew in years past with helping during check-ins, shows, and a host of other things. I will once again need some help in those areas, especially with our Fair Entry system. I will be editing and posting a new Google Doc sign-up sheet for county staff (or general volunteers) that would like to help this year. Admission wristbands will be provided. We are still working out details on food/meals for our staff and volunteers. More to come on that aspect.

Again, I know there are several other questions and details everyone is wondering about. Some we have answers to, some we do not quite yet. I will plan on having a “Mike’s Livestock Office Hours” very soon to help answer questions on fairs and shows happening at the county or state level.

Thank you again for your patience and we will all get this pulled together for our 4-H and FFA youth to have a positive exhibition experience!

Mike Anderson
State 4-H Livestock Program Specialist
1259 Stange Rd.
Ames, IA 50011