Growing up participating in 4-H, Elaine Anderson understood how important it was to maintain the community fairgrounds.
Today, Anderson is the 4-H Youth Specialist in Morgan and Moniteau Counties in Missouri. Part of her job is to find ways to make her community better by partnering local organizations with educational and leadership institutions such as 4-H and FFA. This includes figuring out how to make improvements to the Moniteau County Fairgrounds for the students and patrons who use it.
“To me, the fair is all about the kids,” Anderson said.
The swine show at the Moniteau County Fair was growing exponentially. There was a need for more organization in the show ring and more pen space in the hog barns.
Seeing these issues, Anderson decided to do something about it.
She worked together with two FFA and two 4-H chapters in the area to write applications for the Building Our American Communities grant. Three of the applications were approved.
The grants will provide $1,500 to build sorting pens inside the show ring, and the additional money will be used to build pens in the fairground’s pig barn. The California, Missouri, FFA chapter will build the pens inside their agricultural education shop, and the 4-H chapters will be employed to help set up the new pens at the fairgrounds.
Peyton Niemeier, BOAC chairman and treasurer for the California FFA chapter, has experienced the need for the pens firsthand. Niemeier is a regular at the Moniteau County Fair and understands how important it is to have appropriate facilities for the students’ animals.
“A lot of kids, this is their only experience showing pigs, and we want to make it the best possible,” Niemeier said.
Lee Longan, a California FFA adviser, echoed Niemeier’s statements about improving the pig show. Longan also said the project would not be possible without receiving the grant.
“It gives the resources to make improvements to facilities,” Longan said. “It would be hard for FFA and 4-H chapters to make these improvements on their own.”
Anderson agrees and is thankful for the support of the 4-H clubs and FFA chapter in completing this project to improve the fairgrounds.
“If we did not have all the organizations working together, we could not make it happen,” Anderson said.
The BOAC grant program awards funding to Missouri 4-H and FFA chapters for projects that would benefit the chapter’s local community. In 2018, grants of up to $500 were awarded to 11 4-H and 11 FFA chapters across the state, including the California FFA chapter.