Dear Ms. Besson,
Hello, my name is Christie Molinaro. I heard about the issue your fair board has in regards to showing livestock at the San Fernando Valley Fair and I would just like to express my opinion on that. I live in Central Pennsylvania, I am 19 years old. I have been raising and showing livestock for 9 years now and to be perfectly honest, I cannot imagine what my life would be like without livestock.
When I was 10 years old I bought and raised my own dairy goat. She taught me a lot of responsibility and money management skills. Following that minor investment, I began buying and selling more animals of various species. Sheep, goats, steers, poultry- I raised anything my parents approved of. For me, showing at the county and state fair was the highlight of my childhood. I spent some of the best summers of my life working with my fair animals. I honestly spend hours and hours leading my market lambs, goats, and steers around our field. I treated them like my pets, they were fed like royalty. At the end of the summer I would show and sell my animals at the fair. Showing in 4-H was my opportunity to exhibit my animals to the community; to show them all the hard work I had invested that year. The sale was always rewarding as well, the money from my fair animals was set aside into my savings account. In fact, I just bought my first vehicle with the money from my 4-H animals last month!
I believe any child with the opportunity and desire to raise and show livestock at the county fair be given the chance to do so. Not only does 4-H teach valuable life skills such as responsibility, perseverance, dedication, and determination; but it also teaches money management skills. I have siblings who grew up with me not showing animals in 4-H and I see their struggles with finances today. 4-H and any organization that encourages children to raise livestock and learn about agriculture is incredibly valuable, for their lives as children and also when they mature into adults. My showing days are over because I am too old, however, I can clearly see where 4-H has benefited me. I am an Animal Science major at Penn State University, I have been employed on several different dairy farms for the past 5 years, I spent the previous year representing the Pennsylvania beef industry as the PA Beef Ambassador, and I am currently on the National Beef Ambassador Team. I believe that just goes to prove that agriculture has an abundance of opportunities available to young people passionate to take them. My passion came from my years showing at the fair!
Thank You for your time and consideration, I hope the San Fernando Fair Board makes the right decision for the proper reasons.
Christie N. Molinaro