Brittany Johnson sat down and sighed.
One could tell the Redwood County 4-Her was tired. It was Sunday afternoon, and the Redwood County Fair was coming to an end – Johnson’s last as a 4-H member after more than a decade of memories had been formed.
Her last as an exhibitor at the county fair was a special one for Johnson.
As one who enjoys trying new things, Johnson decided her last hurrah would include bringing something new to show.
So, this year in addition to bringing four sheep, and five pens of poultry, Johnson also showed a rabbit and three pigs.
In the end, the graduating member of the Golden Gophers 4-H Club, showed every livestock species at the county fair, with the exception of dairy cattle and goats.
Starting when she was five years old, Johnson began showing livestock, with sheep and poultry (ducks, geese and chickens) the consistent species throughout her time in 4-H. She also showed beef for a while.
“I started with a calf,” she said, adding they grew after that.
Starting in the fifth grade, Johnson then added another species – horses.
“I showed horses for five years,” said Johnson, adding her horse’s name was Snickers.
Johnson expressed her appreciation to her parents, Ken and Faith Johnson, as well as extended family, including her uncles, and others in her sphere of influence, to include Meghann Kodet who helped her learn all about horses, for allowing her to broaden her horizons through her 4-H livestock experience.
“Don’t be afraid to give back,” said Johnson, adding one of the things she has enjoyed as a 4-Her was being able to offer the knowledge she has gained with other younger 4-H members who are showing animals for the first time. “There is always someone in the barn who is watching and who needs a little bit of help.”
Johnson said there were other older 4-H members who did that for her, and so it only made sense to pass that along to the next generation. While Johnson’s county fair showing days are over, her 4-H experience continues this weekend at the Minnesota State Fair.
Johnson will be participating in the sheep show Aug. 25 with the animal she has entered. Johnson has been able to attend the state fair every year she has been eligible, adding she enjoys that experience.
Johnson has seen some success over the years, adding each year has also provided new learning experiences she will take with her for the rest of her life.
Johnson encouraged others to try new things and to keep learning.
Looking beyond 4-H, Johnson is going to be a second-year student at Southwest Minnesota State University in Marshall this fall where she is studying agriculture education.
That, she said, could mean teaching in a school or being involved in Extension as an educator – possibly working as a 4-H program coordinator.
Johnson has enjoyed her 4-H experience, adding even though she won’t be showing next year she will still be around sharing her experiences and helping others gain the same kind of positive experiences she had.