By MATTHEW WEAVER
The manager of the Junior Livestock Show of Spokane likes to watch the kids from her office above the holding pens.
"Kids get all serious when they're going to show, but then they have fun," Lynn Cotter said.
Participants begin moving animals into the Spokane County Fairgrounds and Expo Center April 30. The show runs May 1-5.
Cotter expects 600 exhibitors and 700-800 animals, about the same as in previous years.
The show is designed to promote agriculture education for youths, enabling them to raise, show and sell their animals, primarily cattle, hogs, goats and sheep.
"It's their livelihood," she said. "These kids are making it their business of raising this livestock."
Costs for a project can vary. Cotter estimates that a hog project will cost a student $500-$600 for feed and the animal.
Cotter compares the cost of buying a whole animal to grocery store prices.
"You might put $2,000 out to buy a whole beef, but it's cheaper to do the whole thing like that and buy from these kids," she said.
The slaughterhouses in the Spokane area pick up the animals at the show, Cotter said.
The Washington FFA livestock judging contest will also take place during the show for the third year, Cotter said.
The Agribusiness Council of the local economic development council, Greater Spokane Inc., also holds a Farm Fair during the show. It will offer agricultural education to 800 fifth-graders. Cotter said the fair shows students the source of their food.
The cost of putting on the show has increased in recent years, she said. State fair funding held this year, following a 12 percent reduction last year, she said.
The show all comes down to marketing the animals, Cotter said.
"We all want that purple ribbon in the class, but those dollars and cents at the end of the day make the project worthwhile," she said.
The show is free to the public.