The B.C. Ag Expo is set to kick off in Barriere this weekend, Sept. 24-27, with more than 200 participants.
Ag Expo president Evelyn Pilatzke said she’s excited to host an in-person event this year – last year it was virtual – at the North Thompson Fall Fair Rodeo & Agriplex although she notes spectators will not be allowed to attend due to the latest public health order restrictions. The organization has worked with Interior Health to come up with a COVID safety plan for the event.
“We did have a virtual show last year but the kids really miss the in-person part of it,” Pilatzke said. “We’re really happy to get back to it. We’re trying to be as safe as we can but still let the children compete. It’s huge for the kids. We get to use our wonderful facilities.
“With facilities in the TNRD like the Agriplex and Fall Fair Grounds we can accommodate all our divisions. Unfortunately this year we’ve got some restrictions.”
Youth aged 9-19 from across the Thompson-Nicola Regional District will participate in the event by showing off their 4-H projects – from beef to horse, sheep, goat, rabbit, dog, cavy, gardening, photography and educational displays – as well as selling their market animals. Only buyers will be allowed on sale day on Sept. 27 to bid on the market animals at both a live and online auction.
Yellowhead 4-H Club member Niomi Cartwright, 12, said she is excited about the upcoming event, although also a bit “nervous to see if I get everything done.” Niomi is involved in the photography division, which involves basic photography and photo editing. She got into it in 2018, as a way to join the 4-H club, she said, because her family doesn’t live on a big acreage where she could raise livestock.
“I wanted to be in 4H because I wasn’t really doing any extra things and I wasn’t really interested in sports at the time,” Niomi said.
Niomi, who has a Canon Rebel SL2, said she enjoys portrait photography and prefers to shoot animals over people.
“I just like animals,” she said, adding she will likely continue to shoot photography as a hobby when she gets older. “I found I really enjoy it and there’s always lots to learn. I’ve made a few friends here and there. Everything is pretty fun and enjoyable.”
Pilatzke said 4-H gives youth a variety of different skills, such as leadership abilities, that they can use throughout their lives as adults. “It promotes our agricultural roots and industry in agriculture,” she said, adding the benefits to pre-4-H youth is “also immeasurable.”
The British Columbia Agricultural Exposition Society also awards bursaries to Senior 4-H Members who are pursuing a post-secondary education program. One to four $1000 bursaries will be awarded, depending on number of applications and funding.