Summer is just around the corner. For young people involved in livestock projects, summer is a busy time of the year through many parts of the country. Jackpots, county and state fairs, along with junior nationals make summer an active time for young livestock enthusiast.

Since youth make up the future of the industry and future spokes people for the livestock industry, it is important to support them and their endeavors as much as we can. Here are four simple ways to support the youth in your community this summer.

Show and Nutrition Clinic

Getting both the animals and exhibitors prepared for the showring and hopefully the backdrop doesn’t happen overnight. Many young people look to their local feed store or nutrition source as an expert for all things. So, with this in mind, why not host a fitting, showing and nutrition clinic. If you are not comfortable talking about all subjects, collaborate with others in your community. You can provide information about feed, water and overall health. Someone else can detail the fine points of skin and hair care and halter breaking. Finally, another person can demonstrate proper show-day prep with fitting and showmanship techniques.

Sponsor a Show

You probably get multiple calls through the year asking for show support. The best advice we can offer is to set some boundaries or you could be sponsoring literally every event in a six-county area. Your parameters can be driven by location, customer base, financial need or anything you choose. If you have one location in one county, perhaps you only sponsor shows in that county. If you have customers in multiple locations, maybe you choose to sponsor events where your customers are. Or perhaps you are the type of person that decides you will sponsor an event only if a young person solicits the sponsorship. Once you’ve decided what level you will serve as a sponsor at, decide how you will be a sponsor.

Will you give monetary support for prizes? Do you want a trade show booth? Do you want to sponsor back tags with your dealership name or Sure Champ® on them? Perhaps you want a banner in the showring. Maybe there is an advertisement opportunity or a combination of more than one available. Whatever you decide, be sure you get some company recognition.

Be a Buyer

Much like sponsoring a show or event, there are always ample opportunities to support livestock shows. First, you must know what your budget is and how you will divide it. Some sales want the buyer to actually purchase the animal; some offer just the premium, where you are buying the ribbon and recognition. Other sales ask for a donation and clump together people into buyers’ groups to support young people. One thing is certain. Most young people will always remember who purchased their animals, and their family is often going to support that business or group of businesses, so this is a great investment in youth with a rewarding ROI.

Be a Mentor

Every young person needs at least one solid mentor in his or her life. This chance to give back to a young person is an investment in time and will typically be the most rewarding. Is there someone in the area that is interested in sales or marketing? Do you raise a particular species and share that passion with some young 4-H or FFA member that could use some guidance? Reach out and offer your time and direction. Nothing is more valuable than having a respected figure in the community reach out to serve as a mentor. Who knows where this relationship could lead.

Supporting youth is a great marketing tool because they are the future. They are going to give you the recognition you deserve, and often the young people and their parents will turn into customers if they are not already. The support you give is just one way to show that you care, and that care does not go unnoticed.

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