It appears that youths who have been working for months on livestock and agricultural projects will still be able to compete and sell their animals at the annual San Joaquin AgFest Junior Livestock Show and Auction in June.
“We are committed to having the livestock show and auction,” Josh Hiatt, the president of AgFest, declared in a Monday news release. “4-H and FFA exhibitors have a lot of money and time invested in these projects and AgFest will do our best to provide a hands-on learning experience and an opportunity for youth to recoup their time and money.”
The announcement came shortly after directors of the San Joaquin County Fair decided to cancel the 2020 fair’s four-day run beginning June 18 at the San Joaquin County Fairgrounds in consideration of the COVID-19 pandemic.
A message on the San Joaquin County Fairgrounds Facebook page read as follows:
“After careful consideration and thoughtful discussion focused on the concerns of the global COVID-19 pandemic and the current financial situation at the San Joaquin County Fair, the Fair Board of Directors has decided to suspend the June 18-21, 2020 edition of the San Joaquin County Fair. This is a difficult decision and we know that it will take time for our Fair Community to recover. We appreciate everyone who has worked so hard to support the Fair.
“We look forward to celebrating our community with the 2021 San Joaquin Fair next year.”
But AgFest is a separate organization, established seven years ago when the county fair was on hiatus for economic reasons. Since the return of the fair in 2016, it has replaced the fair’s traditional livestock portion as a parallel but independent event.
At this point, the AgFest board is forming “a comprehensive plan” based on COVID-19 considerations to move forward with showing and selling livestock June 14-20.
San Joaquin County 4-H and FFA members compete in livestock judging and showmanship in beef, swine, sheep, goat, dairy, rabbit, cavy and dog categories. Vocational projects including welding, wood, flowers and vegetables are also featured in the seven-day show.
The best showman in each category advances to compete in a master showmanship competition, and the winners go on to the state fair.
AgFest ends each year with the junior livestock auction, where the youth exhibitors sell their livestock to bidders.
For the latest information on AgFest, visit www.sanjoaquinagfest.org.