The Washington Town & Country Fair Blue Ribbon Livestock Auction has been a growth event.

Each year it grows with more bidders and rewards for the young exhibitors, who receive above market prices for their steers, hogs, lambs and for dairy products buckets.

What is really meaningful is that the auction has accomplished its objective. Organizers of the modern-day Fair wanted to encourage rural youths to experience the hard work of preparing farm livestock for competition and an auction that brings rewards to them, which is a life lesson. A second objective was and is to encourage rural youths to consider making farming their careers. The Fair officials many years ago recognized the challenge there was to “keeping them on the farm” and they hoped that the Fair could be a positive influence on them to make a career out of agriculture.

There are several lessons learned by preparing an animal for the livestock show and auction. One of the main ones is the exhibitor gains a sense of responsibility and knows at the end of the preparation period a nice reward may be waiting for them through the auction. It is a lesson that hard work will pay dividends. It gives the exhibitor a goal to strive for, and it teaches a work ethic, which is lacking in many young people today.

The auction has grown to the point that it may be wise to take a look at it. It now takes five hours or more to auction the blue ribbon livestock. Even with that long auction, people have stayed around, especially if they have a head of livestock they want to bid on to help the exhibitor. Maybe some changes are needed.

We congratulate all of the young people who were rewarded at the auction. We especially thank all the bidders who attended the auction and have made it what it is — one of the best in the state. The bidders believe in the auction. There are many repeat buyers.

And it is encouraging to see the many new bidders who show up every year.