Livestock exhibitor communication preparation

It’s the time of year again for fairs. Youth livestock exhibitions provide a wonderful opportunity to inform the non-agricultural public about livestock care and production. Prepare youth to answer some questions that they might get at the fair.

As a 4-H member or livestock exhibitor at a county fair, you are bound to get a few questions from people who have no experience with animals.  A reminder from Michigan State University Extension is to be prepared to offer answers that are factual and promote your project animals industry.

To be prepared, first know the basics about your animal.  Simple fun facts like what the animal eats, how much water they drink per day, how they spend a typical day and what their personality is are great ways to enter into conversations with people.

Next, know about production practices. There is a lot of information out there, both factual and fiction, about livestock production.  As an exhibitor, it is your responsibility to know the facts and to communicate them.  If you are raising animals intended to enter the food chain, be prepared to talk about the humane process that occurs.

Lastly, keep in mind that our society has developed an emotional tie to animals; questions that people may ask or comments that they make may be emotionally charged.  It is important that if at any time during a conversation that you feel uncomfortable, politely excuse yourself from the conversation and allow an adult to answer any further questions.  Your fair may have an approved statement for animal rights that you can direct people to.

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