Thousands flock to Gonzales for annual LSU Ag Center Livestock show
GONZALES - It's a lot of hard work.
"It's very challenging, especially with cows. You have to get up early in the morning, late nights, rain or shine. So there's always struggles to something," said Camille Sonnier, a Louisiana 4-H Ambassador.
These kids have been putting in hard labor for years, raising their own animals, in exchange for the grand prize.
"It's to show others the genetics we can produce as farmers and livestock people. Because we want animals that can grow fast, big — produce more meat and more muscle — as a growing population to feed those people," said Garrett Lirette, another 4-H ambassador.
Lirette has been showing his animals for eight years, and giving back to his community.
"We make milk, cheese, caramels, soaps. So, what I'll do is I'll make cheese and soaps and give them to the people in our communities."
But with hard work, comes difficult challenges. Inflation has been hitting the livestock industry hard.
"The prices of feed and grain have skyrocketed. We used to go buy a bag of feed for $15, and now it's up to $25," Lirette said.
"Feed prices got a little higher. We have to buy super sacks of feed. It's expensive, definitely comes with a price," Sonnier said.
It's even affecting attendance for the livestock show.
"Feed prices have doubled over the last three to five years for these young people. So, that may also have contributed to some of the numbers we're seeing declining. The number of kids hasn't really declined that much but the number of livestock, simply because of the cost associated with feeding those out and raising them to the time to bring them to the state show," said Dwayne Nunez, the State Livestock Show Manager at the LSU Ag Center.
But, with agriculture being a constant need throughout the country, it hasn't put a stop to the hard work they put in.
"It's hard, but we can get through that. We try to raise genetics so we can sell them and get them out there to help our feed bill. But it really is hurting the livestock industry right now. Because of grain prices and all that, it's hurting," Lirette said.
"When they take on that role, they're really dedicated to it and invested," Nunez said.
If you're interested in seeing this year's livestock show, you can visit their website for the full schedule: https://www.lsuagcenter.com/portals/our_offices/departments/livestock-show-office/livestock/state/state-livestock-show-catalog
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