By Jessica Domel
I’m of the opinion that there’s nothing quite like a livestock show and rodeo. I’ve only been to a few in my life, but I have to say, there’s something about standing under the bright lights with my boots crunching fresh hay while the aroma of freshly cooked hot dogs fills the air. The sounds of children’s excitement as they crowd around a display of freshly-hatched chicks is just intoxicating.I forget how exciting it can be to see those first few moments of life, and I have to tell you, it’s something to behold.
The other day the head of our video department and I made the three-plus-hour trek to Houston from Waco to check out the Texas Farm Bureau’s AgVenture exhibit at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. I must admit, when we got there, I was exhausted, but that feeling didn’t last long.
One of the event officials took us behind-the-scenes at the birthing exhibit, and although I grew up on our family farm, I was amazed and excited by all of the pregnant animals and the newly born.
There were children waiting in long lines with their parents, day care providers and teachers to see the exhibit. Although I wasn’t always facing the children with my camera, I could always tell when they got to the point in the exhibit with the calf. There were gasps and ooos and ahhhs. I have to admit, I too was in love with her big brown eyes and innocent face.
Then there were the piglets. Oh there’s just something about watching baby pigs romping and playing in a big pen while their mother rests. I could photograph that for hours.
As it turns out, I’m not alone.
As we spent more time in the exhibit, I noticed that the children – largely from urban areas that day – were just in awe of the baby animals just like I was. They asked questions and stared in amazement. Many of the adults too, could be found smiling at the baby chicks huddled up together.
That’s why I love livestock show time. It reminds me why I always loved being on our family farm. There’s something truly amazing about seeing the start of something’s life and witnessing those first few moments. I think sometimes we forget how truly amazing those moments can be and that not everyone is blessed enough to experience that.
It reminds me why we need to advocate for Texas agriculture. If it weren’t for farmers who are willing to share those experiences with the public, there could be generations of children who have never experienced the miracle of birth, and with it, an understanding of life.