4-H Faces Near Final Year at Fair

, Written by Jennifer Elliott, Posted: Tue, July 16 2013 at 12:58 PM, Updated: Tue, July 16 2013 at 6:33 PM

Today kicks off the annual Jackson County Fair ... but it could become one of the last fairs for 4-H Youth.

The food, the rides, and of course the animals.... today, the Jackson County Fair kicks off.

"My favorite part is the showing, it's what I would do for the rest of my life if I could," says 4-H member Ryan Gifford.

But behind the show and the shine, a dark shadow looms over the county's 4-H program, which has played a big part in the fair since it's start.

"many people are aware of budget cuts to the extension and 4-H with the county," comments 4-H Youth Development and Extension Agent Anne Manlove.

Meaning kids like Ryan may not be able to participate in 4-H much longer to raise livestock... like his heifer Lucy.

He tells us he's been in 4-H for several years now, partly as a way to pay for college, "So many scholarships are offered to get into any school across the country, Purdue, Oklahoma State ..."

And even though Kendra Kuikendall says it's hard to let go....
"I've cried every single year I've sold my pig." She says she's learning  life skills: as she works to find a buyer for her animals, she learns how to run a business.

With the looming lack of funds, 4- H is trying to find an alternative source of revenue before they're out of money.

"We'll probably go for a service district," says Manlove.

So they can keep running for Ryan and Kendra, and for participants even as young as 6 year old Faith Akers... who says her favorite part of the fair is:

"The rides mostly," says Faith.

Running...  so she can keep competing in the fair and everyone who attends can enjoy her animals.

4-H needs 22 thousand signatures to get them on the may 20-14 ballot to become a service district... then it would still need to pass with tax payers.

What do you think? Sound off on our Facebook page and on Twitter, or leave a comment below.

About the Author

Jennifer Elliott

NBC5 News at Sunrise co-anchor Jennifer Elliott spent most of her life in the Rogue Valley.

After graduating from Brigham Young University–Idaho, she was excited to come home again. Jennifer began her career at NBC5 in 2011 as a production assistant.

Her loves include drawing, playing the organ, fishing and of course, her husband and young son.

Catch Jennifer co-anchoring with Travis Koch weekdays on NBC 5 News at Sunrise starting at 5:30am.

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