Ag Youth at Their Best

Youth in Agriculture Committee marks 15 years of scholarships and fun.

Missouri State Fair Director Marion Lucas believes that the success of tomorrow's fair is dependent on the involvement of today's youth. "Missouri is fortunate to have a group of leaders, the Youth in Agriculture Committee, that supports our young people by rewarding them for their agriculture-related achievements through a scholarship program," he says.

The 2007 Missouri State Fair marks the 15th year of the Youth in Agriculture Committee providing scholarships and activities for 4-H and FFA members who participate in the fair.

The committee has awarded nearly 250 scholarships and a total of $166,000 to ag youth since its beginning in 1992, according to Wayne Yokley, chairman of the Youth in Agriculture Committee. He adds that 65% of the counties in Missouri have been represented by scholarship recipients.

Scholarships are funded by the annual Sale of Champions at the fair where 30% of the champion and reserve champion animals' auction price goes to the Missouri State Fair Youth in Agriculture Fund. In 2006, 25 scholarships of $1,000 and one supreme scholarship of $2,500 were awarded to high school seniors.

The Sale of Champions is set for Saturday, Aug. 18. It will be held in conjunction with Youth in Agriculture Day. On this day at the fair, 4-H and FFA members will receive special discounts on admission and carnival rides.

A dance for 4-H and FFA members will be held Friday, Aug. 10 from 8 p.m. to midnight on the Touchstone Energy Stage. The committee will chaperone the event and security will be present to ensure a safe and fun dance. "There are new exhibitors every year and this is a great opportunity for new and old to meet," Yokley says.

The committee also works in conjunction with Missouri Cattlemen's Association and the Beef Industry Council to sponsor a beef display competition for 4-H and FFA exhibitors.

To support the Youth in Agriculture program through a monetary donation, visit www.mostatefair.com and click on the link, Premium Guide.

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