Engaging with the general public is essential for shaping the reputation of the agriculture industry, especially in the show lamb sector. Whether you're at a local or national show, it's important to be open to educating others about your lamb.
Answering Questions at a Show
County and state fairs provide a great opportunity to educate the public about animals and the livestock industry as a whole. People are drawn to the barns, and some may approach you with questions. These questions can serve as a gateway to sharing more information.
For instance, by explaining that your lamb is a market lamb, you can delve into the specifics of that designation. Discussing the market industry in a positive light, using terms like "market" instead of "slaughter," can make a difference. Providing basic information handouts can be helpful too! Another effective way to educate the public is through interactive displays. It can be as simple as a poster board with fast facts about sheep or as complex as a Jeopardy game with prizes. Displays and games can be a simple way to draw people in and educate them on your lambs.
Educating by Physical Touch
Many people learn best through physical touch. Allowing the general public to touch your lamb increases their ability to retain the information you share. Interaction can occur when you're with your animal or when someone approaches and asks to touch it. While they're petting your lamb, you can educate them on what areas to avoid touching, such as the mouth to prevent bites and the importance of not approaching animals from behind to avoid kicks.
You can also point out different parts of the lamb's body and explain where the various cuts of meat come from. Discussing the purpose of long wool on a market lamb's legs can direct the conversation to show lamb information. Allowing the public to touch your lamb enhances their likelihood of retaining the information you provide.
You Never Know Who is Watching
The phrase, “You never know who is watching” is as relevant as ever in the show world today. Various organizations have emerged over the years with the goal of shutting down livestock shows nationwide. As a showman, you are held to high standards, representing not only yourself and your animal, but the entire show industry.
Show day can be incredibly stressful, with nerves running high and the pressure mounting, especially when your lamb refuses to cooperate. However, it's important to remember that almost everyone has a smartphone with video and photo capabilities. It takes mere seconds for someone to capture and share an unfavorable moment. This reminder should guide your reactions when facing challenges with your lamb on show day. How you handle adversity can either be a positive or negative reflection of the industry.
Overall, to secure the future of livestock shows, your interactions with the general public are of utmost importance. Make sure these interactions are positive and informative, as they shape the public's perception of the livestock industry as a whole.