MN livestock scholarships transcend fair void

Donors allow 4-H livestock scholarships go on in Minnesota, despite pandemic cancellation of state and county fairs.

Jack Goodman, of Goodhue, displays his market lamb during the Goodhue County 4-H Livestock Ribbon Auction held Saturday at the Goodhue County Fair in Zumbrota. "They’re easy to show and handle. They’re good for beginners," said Goodman of the animal.

ST. PAUL, Minn. — The show will go on for livestock-related Minnesota 4-H Auction Scholarships in 2020, despite cancellations of the 2020 Minnesota State Fair and most county fairs in the state because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sponsoring groups are getting special help from donors, including a construction company in the Minneapolis area, leaders said in a July 10 announcement.

The Minnesota Livestock Breeders Association, in conjunction with the Minnesota 4-H and State 4-H Auction Committee, since 1995 have paid a total of $525,000 in scholarships to 390 4-H members. The groups awarded $65,000 to 43 winners in 2019 and hope to exceed that in 2020, despite obstacles.

Scholarships go to current 4-H members enrolled in at least one animal science project who graduated from high school in 2019 or 2020. Applicants must be enrolled and working toward a degree at an accredited college or university in the 2020-21 school year. Applications must be in by Aug. 1, 2020. Materials can be downloaded from .

Scholarships are awarded in $1,000, $2,000, and $4,000 increments. Donors pledge half of these amounts to be recognized for the full amount of the scholarship. Typically, the balance of the funds come from funds generated by the Minnesota State Fair 4-H Auction.


“However, with the 2020 Auction being cancelled, the matching funds for 2020 have generously been donated by Ames Construction of Burnsville, Minn., a long-time major supporter of the 4-H Auction,” the organizations said in a news release.

Questions on the program can be directed to Steeve Pooch, secretary of the Minnesota Livestock Breeders’ Association, at 651-323-4210, or Kent Thiesse, finance chair, MLBA Purple Ribbon Auction, 507-381-7960.

Goodhue County Fair
Chase Burfeind, of Rosemount, relaxes against his heifer, Donut, at the 2018 Goodhue County Fair in Zumbrota. The fair board announced the 2020 fair has been cancelled, though officials with 4H and the Goodhue County University of Minnesota-Extension are working to make an animal showcase opportunity available.

Mikkel Pates is an agricultural journalist, creating print, online and television stories for Agweek magazine and Agweek TV.
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