LEDUC, Alta. — When it was time for the peewee division of the Alberta Dairy Congress, 24 youngsters between the ages of two and nine stepped into the ring to show off their heifers.
The children were often accompanied by nervous parents, and an event like this brings families and friends together at the annual dairy show held in Leduc June 8-10.
The young people who show up at these events develop an early interest and enthusiasm for dairy and farming and also meet other people with similar interests, said show judge Dr. David Chalack. The congress included a junior component as well as the larger black and white and red and white Holsteins.
“So many kids on commercial farms who do not participate in 4-H or shows don’t get excited about agriculture until late in life,” he said.
However, shows of this type are starting to consolidate, and there are fewer exhibitions for people to promote their cattle.
“There are fewer shows but that has its advantages because people don’t have to attend so many shows to get the notoriety,” he said.
“It is so expensive to do this and it is a real commitment. The people who do it are very committed. It is a great marketing tool. It is a way to identify the best in the breed and it is great for networking and developing the youth.”
Nicole Crosbie of Caron, Sask., who judged the junior show, comes from an active show family that travels across the West to exhibit their Holsteins.
“There used to be a lot more of them but it is getting more expensive to go to them and they have consolidated,” she said. “It is tough for the kids to get the experience.”
Crosbie and her husband, Ian, own Benbie Holsteins and coach the Saskatchewan Western Canadian Classic team. This involves young dairy enthusiasts from the four western provinces and will be held in Weyburn, Sask., this year.
Along with partners Robella Holsteins of Balgonie, Sask., and Zimmer Holsteins of Daysland, Alta., the Benbie crew showed the grand champion black and white female at the show. It was the second time this cow, born in 2011, has been shown.