81st Western Junior Livestock Show looks to attract younger crowd to agriculture business

RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA TV) - The agriculture industry is struggling to attract the younger generation and are seeing less people in the production agriculture business than the past.

The 81st Western Junior Livestock Show is doing their best to get the next generation involved.

272 kids across seven states as far as Arizona are participating in the 81st western junior livestock show

11 year old, Athena Willuweit, says "I came here, this is my second year coming here. I have two steers and two calves."

The four daylong event is the last 4-H show of the year with kids ages 8-18 participating.

But this event is different now compared to the past.

Western Junior Livestock Show secretary manager, Jackie Maude, explains "when I was in 4-H 50 years ago we had a lot more kids here, but there was more people in production agriculture than there is today. It's expensive. There's so many young families that mom and dad have had to leave the ranch to go get a job into town. Well these kids don't have an opportunity, a lot of them, to have animals."

Maude says it's important to get these kids involved because we need people to feed us.

"If they're in agriculture they are going to be able to do something throughout their whole life with Ag versus football, volleyball. They are not going to, the big share of them aren't going to go on to the majors and make a living there, but they can in some type of production agriculture,” says Maude.

Plus, raising livestock teaches these kids life lessons.

Mother of a Wester Junior Livestock Show contestant, Becky Rose, exclaims "I can't name one 4-H'er that I don't know that can't go out and accomplish anything they want. I think it's just teaching them responsibility and just how to care, just general kindness."

The show starts Monday and wraps up on Saturday afternoon.