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Editorial: Organizers of Harford County Youth Livestock Show & Sale did a great service for area youth | COMMENTARY

Coronavirus caused a number of disruptions in our lives over the past few months, but the loss of the annual Farm Fair, a summertime staple in Harford County, was a difficult one to swallow.

While we weren’t able to enjoy the rides, the food, the music and all the other entertainment that comes with fair this year, several community members made sure those 4-H and FFA youths who usually show and sell animals at the fair still had an opportunity to do so.

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The Youth Livestock Show and Sale last week at the Harford County Equestrian Center in Bel Air, the typical site for the Farm Fair, featured three days of youth showing livestock such as poultry, swine, cattle, goats, sheep and rabbits.

And what a success it was. On Saturday, it wrapped up with an auction that raised nearly $339,000.

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That was a record-breaking total, despite having fewer animals up for sale than in previous years during the 4-H livestock auctions at the Farm Fair. There were 140 lots for sale this year, versus 161 in 2019 and 174 in 2018.

It was a truly incredibly showing of community support. Of note, organizers pointed out that about 70 people who participated in this year’s auction had not purchased an animal during the past five years at the fair, meaning it wasn’t just the usual suspect supporting local youth.

The livestock auction is the backbone of the annual Farm Fair, giving youth a chance to earn money they can save for college or put toward a livestock project for the next year’s fair. It would have been a shame for our young agriculturalists who work so hard raising their animals year-round to have lost that opportunity, and we’re glad they didn’t have to.

We tip our cap to the number of local business like The Mill in Bel Air, farming families and government leaders who made last week’s show and sale happen, and the wonderful buyers who helped make it a record-breaking year. Here’s hoping things will be closer to normal next year, with the return of the annual Farm Fair and livestock auction as we know it.

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