While a lot of people might think of hogs and feeder cattle when they think of Iowa agriculture, not everyone may know that Iowa ranks number one (according to 2009 figures) in egg production.
That's why poultry showmanship is such an important part of county fairs - just like the Emmet County Fair going on this weekend.
Garrett Paulson's two roosters took reserve champion poultry broiler. This was Garrett's first year showing at the fair - and his first year in 4-H.
The poultry judge stressed that exhibitors know every part of the animals they were showing.
EDN photo by Michael Tidemann
"It's fun," he said.
Garrett, who belongs to the Center Champions 4-H Club, had the roosters for seven to eight weeks. He admitted it would have helped if he had worked with them a little more before having to show them at the fair. The hardest part, though, was having to remember everything he was supposed to know about the birds. Another thing that was a little tough was taking the birds from the pen.
So what was the most fun?
"When you're done," said Garrett, who took second in junior showmanship.
Madison Valen of the Lincoln Handy Helpers, who took third in junior showmanship, showed cornish rock broilers that she's had for seven weeks.
Madison said the hardest part was learning how to handle the birds - a long-sleeved shirt would have helped with that.
So what was the most fun for Madison?
"Just showing them and getting them to the fair," she said.
Hanna Gardner of the Lincoln Handy Helpers, who had the grand champion poultry and first in senior showmanship with her Light Brahma chickens, has been showing poultry for five years.
Hanna likes Light Brahmas because they're showy and gentle and can be used for both meat and eggs. She said the roosters get to a little over 10 pounds while the hens can reach eight.
The hardest part of showing them is washing them before showing, but the most fun is the actual showmanship, Hanna said.