Just before the 4-H livestock competitions begin, the 4-H’ers join together in a fun, light-hearted competition called, “The Battle of the Barns.” For many kids, this is the highlight of the week. Livestock barns compete against each other for the honor of flying the championship flag at their barn entrance. Points are given for various farm-related relays and “skill” competitions. A “tug of war” between the barns with the highest point totals determines the winner.
A very important part of the competition is a collection taken for various food pantries and community service organizations. 4-H’ers are given two minutes to collect money from the audience. These donations are then equally divided throughout our county. This year, the 4-H’ers collected $4,466 during the “Battle of the Barns.”
In addition to these funds, 4-H’ers are also given an opportunity to personally deduct money from their auction checks to designated food and food-related community organizations. This year, 116 youth participated in specified donations, for a monetary total of $3,400. Our 2023 4-H queen, Reese Rowland, donated the entire $2,265 proceeds from the sale of her “kiss” to community food pantries and a group of community business leaders joined in the spirit of giving by purchasing a retired “Battle of the Barns” flag.
Bob Bishop of Bishop Farms, Max Deatsman of Deatsman Grain, Gabe Ayers and Jared Haughee of Clunette Elevator, Greg Harden of Greg Harden Homes/REMAX Results, Dennis Polk of Dennis Polk Equipment, Bill and Jenny Stofer of Dental Solutions and Brian and Janel Zehring donated $3,752 to the Heart of 4-H. Altogether, our 4-H’ers, their special “barnyard” competition and Kosciusko County’s generous community donated a total of $13,883.
Kosciusko County 4-H Livestock Auction also partners with Hoosiers Feeding the Hungry to donate meat products. Beau Goshert, Morgan Himes, Haley Nelson, Anna Seewald and 10-year 4-Her, Cameron Zimmerman, donated their hogs towards this cause. The five animals yielded 660 pounds of sausage for an approximate value of $2,000. Thirty whole chickens were also donated to Hoosiers Feed the Hungry. The meat from our 4-H poultry kids will feed approximately 120 family members. We are very appreciative of their personal decisions and willingness to serve their communities in this way.
The 4-H pledge states: “I pledge my Head to clearer thinking, my Heart to greater loyalty, my Hands to larger service, my Health to better living, for my club, my community, my country and my world.” We are so very proud of our Kosciusko County 4-H’ers for realizing the value of community and service to others.
The strength of the livestock auction provides the opportunity for our 4-H’ers to “pass it forward.” Their ability to give back to others is due to the generosity of our 4-H Livestock Auction buyers. Many thanks and our gratitude to the businesses, individuals and families that believe in the value of our youth and a 4-H program that teaches responsibility, commitment and models service.
The Kosciusko County 4-H Livestock Auction Committee
Submitted by Beth Lamb, Treasurer