4-H livestock show and sale canceled: Would have been event’s 69th year

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The Wilson County 4-H Livestock Show and Sale scheduled for March 25-26 has been canceled.

The North Carolina Cooperative Extension Office in Wilson County and the Wilson County Livestock Association made the announcement Tuesday.

“It was not an easy decision to make at all,” said Jess Anderson, livestock agent for the Cooperative Extension office whose agents put on the show each year. “It was not a decision that we came to lightly or hurriedly either. We discussed every possible alternative before we came to the consensus that the event for this year just needs to be canceled.”

Some 86 children were involved with this year’s show, including 12 participants with steer projects and 74 participants with hog projects.

“In the 69-year history, it has never been canceled,” Anderson said. “I was told that one time in the ’80s it snowed, and they moved the sale to that Friday, the day after.”

Anderson said organizers are looking at options on how the livestock can be sold.

“We are trying to organize a truckload of hogs that will be sold for market that would take place next week, the same week that we would have had the show and sale, but that will really depend on the fact that trucks are still (running), workers and packers are still operating and the slaughterhouses are still running,” Anderson said.

Some families might decide to keep them for their own freezers.

Selling the steers will be a little bit different.

“We have some families that raise freezer beef, so they might be interested in getting some of these steers,” Anderson said.

Anderson said 4-H is about life lessons.

“Sometimes things happen that are outside of your control, and sometimes that can be a hard pill to swallow for adults, let alone for children,” Anderson said. “But also part of 4-H is doing the best for not just yourself but for your community, and this is a time and place in our country where public health is putting your community before anything else.”

“It is a huge deal for this community for us to have cancel that,” said Thad Sharp, president of the Wilson County Livestock Association.

Sharp said the community’s health was the first concern.

“The worst thing that could have happened is if we had moved forward and endangered the well-being of our community that has been so supportive. That would be terrible,” Sharp said.

Sharp said the kids, the parents, the Cooperative Extension and the buyers understand what the show and sale has meant to Wilson County over the years.

Participation in the event is “multi-generational,” Sharp said.

“I think all of the stakeholders understand the seriousness of this current situation,” Sharp said. “I feel like that they all look forward to continuing this legacy that they have all built, working hard, staying on task and the support that this whole community has given.”

“I don’t think that will change,” Sharp said. “I am saddened for today, but I am excited that we are going to be able to make this thing continue on. I am excited for next year and the years beyond, but it is a tough day today.”