On Tuesday, February 21, Kathy Judkins, SECO Energy’s Deputy Director of Civic, Charitable and Government Affairs, attended the Marion County Southeastern Youth Fair at the Ocala Livestock Pavilion to continue SECO’s support of young people in rural agriculture activities. SECO has supported Youth Fairs in its service territory for decades.
Hundreds of students involved in local school chapters of 4-H or Future Farmers of America (FFA) participate in the fair each year. By showing and selling a steer at the Fair, students learn responsibility, marketing, communication and record keeping. Students are responsible for the animal’s feed, health and well-being and maintain the health records for their animal. Participants strengthen their communication and marketing skills by writing letters requesting sponsorship and generating interest in a final sale for their animal.
The Marion County Southeastern Youth Fair is the largest Youth Fair event in Florida. The foundation of the Fair began in 1941 with the Steer Show and the current Youth Fair format began in 1978. Hundreds of volunteers contribute thousands of hours to make the Youth Fair a success in Marion County.
As SECO’s representative, Judkins purchased a 1,004 pound steer from Dunnellon High School’s Tyler Matthew. Tyler is active in his school’s FFA Chapter, which includes 50 students under the guidance of teacher Austin Skipper. A senior this year, Tyler plans on attending college in the fall and will use his proceeds from the sale to assist in financing his education.
Judkins stated, “We live in a fast-paced world. In the age of social media and an infinite number of other distractions, it is a delight to see kids participating in farming events. FFA and 4-H gives kids a chance to slow-down, unplug and dedicate their time to caring and raising animals.”