In recent weeks, 11-year-old Trevor Mills has been juggling his time between sports, school and raising a steer.
At times, raising the steer has been more time consuming than expected, he said.
“You got to be with him every day,” Mills said. “You’ve got to feed him and know what to feed him.”
The experience has conveyed a lesson that his father, Timmy Mills, was hoping his son would learn.
Trevor Mills is among the numerous young people from Nash, Edgecombe and Halifax counties who were showing the animals they had raised at the
75th annual Eastern Carolina 4-H Livestock Show & Sale.
The two-day show at the East Carolina Agriculture and Education Center at 1175 Kingsboro Road concludes with an award ceremony at 6 p.m. today.
Timmy Mills is among the parents who had displayed livestock at the show when they were growing up, and now their children are doing the same thing.
Mills, whose family has a cattle farm in Nash County, said the experience teaches young people life skills and a valuable lesson about how the food they eat ends up in grocery stores.
“It teaches a little bit of leadership and independence, and a life in agriculture,” he said.
He said his son has delved into the project of raising the steer.
But Mills said there is more to the show than educating young people about raising livestock.
“You meet a lot of good friends at (at the show),” he said. “I met Edgecombe County friends (at the show) and we still are in contact now. We’re good friends now. It’s not just about the animals. It’s social.”
The youth competed for awards that recognized their skills and the quality of the livestock they have raised.
Entries in this year’s show included 18 steers, 68 lambs, 58 goats and 33 hogs.
On Tuesday, a livestock-judging contest for cattle, hogs, lambs and goats was held. A separate cloverboat goat show also was held in which 9 years olds displayed the animals.
Today, a market hog show will be held at 8 a.m., a market steer show at 10 a.m. and a market lamb show at 12:30 p.m. A 4-H Show & Sale Alumni invitational event is scheduled for 4:30 p.m.
Art Bradley, county extension director for Edgecombe County, said the event could inspire some young people to go into the agricultural business later in life.
“A lot of people have taken it on as a business, not necessarily a full-time business, but it can be a sideline business,” Bradley said.
He said the event is an educational experience.
“This gets them introduced to agriculture and gives them a better understanding of what it takes to raise an animal that is eventually going to feed us,” he said.
Sandy Hall, Nash County extension agent for 4-H and youth programs, said the event teaches many lessons.
“We’re trying to teach children responsibility, all kinds of life skills to help prepare them for all that they will face in life and help them to be prepared for their careers to come,” she said.
“It teaches them good record-keeping skills and things that will prepare them for other careers.’