More animals are expected to be on display during the Junior Livestock Show of Spokane than show runners anticipated.
The annual livestock show runs May 6-11 at the Spokane County Fair and Expo Center, at 404 N. Havana St. in Spokane.
“Numbers seem to be up, just a little bit, as well as animal prices,” said manager Lynn Cotter. “With the price of animals and price of feed, I was kind of expecting it to be down, so it’s a good surprise.”
Participation numbers are up across the species for sale at the show — cattle, hogs, lambs and goats, Cotter said.
Cotter said the increased numbers may be due to an improving economy and more students interested in participating and raising livestock.
Cotter stressed the importance of supporting the students by purchasing their market-ready animals.
“The livestock sale is the completion of their project,” she said. “They’ve worked for the past six to eight months raising this livestock. People can come, buy the meat, send it right to the butcher and get it back in their freezer. It’s home-grown (meat).”
Cotter expects roughly 500 exhibitors and 500 market animals and 100 breeding animals. The show typically draws 800 to 1,000 people, she said.
The livestock show also includes Greater Spokane Incorporated’s two-day Farm Fair for a thousand fifth-grade students and a beef prospect show, featuring animals that will go on to compete in fall fairs.
Cotter believes the livestock show draws rural and urban youth alike.
“If it’s another generation on the family farm or the city kid in FFA who gets to show a pig for the first time, gets to experience that whole thing from buying the pig and seeing it go to someone else’s table or their own table,” she said. “Most of us eat meat or some product that comes from the farm.”
The show received $60,000 from Washington State fair funds, an increase to a level comparable to about three years ago, Cotter said.
“Funding went up a little bit, but the cost of rentals and everything went up, too,” she said.
At least half of that funding goes to directly back to the youth in premiums, Cotter said.