By Stephanie Bryant, Nebraska Pork Producers Association Mentor
My fourth and final pork promotional event was the FFA & 4-H Thank you dinner that was put on by the Nebraska Pork Producers and the Nebraska Soybean Board. The event was supposed to feed somewhere between 2200-2500 people, and I am pretty certain that we did.
Although the event started at 4:00 pm officially, it was busy almost from the time I got there (around 3:45ish) and there was still a line to the street when I left at 6:00ish. I never showed any animals at the State Fair, nor have I spent much time there just to look around. The number of young show people who went through that line was amazing.
I know that 2200 people may not sound like many to those who come from a larger town, but for me, that is almost the entire population of Valentine, which is our county seat, going through that line. Another thing to put into perspective is the fact that there are 20,000 people who live and work on production agriculture operations in Nebraska. (I saw that somewhere during the fair.) This means that ten percent of those people went through that line, give or take.
The thing that really made this experience better for me, were the people who told me thank you for doing this as they went through the line. I work in a service industry (waitressing) and hearing nearly every person say thank you after receiving their food from the volunteers was a pleasant change. The ages ranged so wide, from people older than my grandparents to teeny tiny little babies. There were multiple generations of production agricultural people sitting around those tables, and they thought nothing of it.
My final job of the evening was to take some pictures of the event. While I was taking pictures, my focus was to find pictures that NPPA could use in promotional material or in presentations about the event. I took several pictures of the sheer numbers of people both eating and standing in line, as well as some shots of children eating with BBQ pork covering their faces. I wanted to be sure that the people from Toppers could use some of the photos too, so I took pictures of people receiving their food.
This event was much more rewarding for me, because I got to do something that felt like it had meaning behind it. The dinner was something that, if given the chance, I would drive to Grand Island (new State Fair site) and do it next year because it was fun to see so many faces of agriculture.