Many kids go to the Alaska State Fair just to have a good time… others go to secure their future.
The 4H program helps kids raise money for a college fund while teaching them life lessons, and currently they’re learning one of the harder lessons.
Ashleena says, “I really don’t have a lot of choices. As far as raising money for college this is the best way I can do it along with a summer job.”
9 year old Brittyn Werner and 17 year old Ashleena Roberts are preparing for college by prepping their animals for auction. They’re just two of hundreds of thousands of kids doing that through 4H.
4H is a hands on program that teaches kids life lessons through raising an animal. Most of the time at the end of their project they get the opportunity to auction off the animal.
Roberts says, “Ideally they can fund their next project next year. Not so much anymore.”
That’s because buying and raising an animal has become so expensive.
Roberts says, “Especially in Alaska it’s hard to get enough animals for the kids that want to raise those animals. Pig shortages were felt this year you can see a lot of empty pig pens in the barn this year.”
Just to get an idea of how much the feed cost this bag is around $15 and animals eat 3 to 4 bags a week. That’s around $75 dollars a week. And the kids can have a pig for about 5 months to a year.
There’s a number of reasons the cost of feed is rising but the drought in the lower 48 is expected to drive prices even higher this winter.
To help kids out there is a charitable auction fund.
Leader of the pioneer P 4H club Crystal Roberts says, “To ensure that the lambs the goats the sheep don’t start out at a 2 dollar bid where the kids is actually going to lose money.”
The unfortunate part is the fund can’t buy all the animals. Some kids walk away empty handed or just breaking even.
Ashleena Roberts says, “Less profit on my animal, less money that I can put into my college fund."
Despite kids learning a tough lesson of supply and demand many love the program and hope to continue doing projects in 4H.
Brittyn says, “It’s kind of sad to let them go so I’m hoping to get another pig next year.”
Ashleena says, “It’s fun. I enjoy it. Being at the fair and being in the show ring is the whole reason I do it.”