ROSEBURG, Ore. -- It was opening day at the Douglas County Fair, and while crowds flocked in for the rides, food and games, it was also the first day of competition for the 4-H program.
4-H Douglas County teaches kids in fourth through 12th grade about business while showing them how to sow, farm, raise and show livestock.
Each year at the Douglas County Fair, the kids spend the weekend getting judged on the animals they’ve raised and any other projects they’ve worked on. If they win, prizes include thousands of dollars, which go straight back to the kids.
Jeff Mornarich, an auctioneer for 4-H Douglas County, said programs like this teach kids how to be future leaders.
“It builds self-confidence in these kids. It teaches them a work ethic, it teaches them responsibility and it teaches them business,” Mornarich said.
One of the biggest competitions through 4-H is the market steer and pig auctions. If a member is participating in the auction, the member will get their animal a year prior and raise them until fair to show and sell.
Last year, the market steer and pig auctions raised $923,464 combined for 4-H members. Officials said they hope to exceed that this year.
Jasmine Reeser, who has been a 4-H member for the last six years and won grand champion steer in 2017, said the program has helped her in many ways.
“I encourage everyone to do it,” Reeser said. “It’s helped me a lot because I use to be the shiest person.”