In its inaugural year at the 2016 Fulton County Fair, the “Commodity Carnival” program, funded by the CME Group – Chicago Mercantile Exchange– partnered with the National 4-H Council to provide an interactive learning experience for youngsters about the ins-and-outs of commodity markets.
The Commodity Carnival is a fair experience, which will travel to nearly 120 state and county fairs across the Midwest this summer, and teach youth how to balance the costs of raising a “hog” with the volatility of commodities markets when selling that commodity by allowing youth to participate in a hands on learning activity that demonstrates the process from purchase to sale.
With 489 youth participants and more than 275 adult participants, the Commodity Carnival made a sizeable impact on 2016 Fulton County Fair goers. Located at the end of the Poultry and Rabbit Barn, passers-by were invited to allow 4-H teen leaders to walk them through the event. After receiving a plastic egg which represented a pig, participants filled the egg with feed, and objects that represented the other costs that go into raising a pig. The egg or “hog” was then weighed and a token with the dollar amount required to “raise” that “hog” was given to contestants. They then tried their luck at the Risk Ranch and dropped the token down the peg board, where the token landed and told the participant what dollar amount their hog sold for. Before and during the activity, youth and adults were instructed as to what factors affected the risk ranch- gas costs, insurance, weather, feed, and demand for product. After comparing the cost to raise the “hog” and the amount made, contestants were able to identify with a profit or a loss and were awarded prizes accordingly.
Onlookers, parents and participants alike not only gave rave reviews of the event and the message it was sending about the business of farming, but were impressed that an event with such a deep meaning was so easily completed by fairgoers of all ages.
Two such participants, Kassidy and Lainey Zientek, Wauseon, were particularly moved by what knowledge they gained from this event. Kassidy stated, “I have a 4-H animal project and my parents usually pay the bills; so this activity showed me that there are a lot of costs to raising animals and you might not always profit from them.”
She expressed the importance of an activity like this, teaching her how to track finances and how to improve her ability to make smart business decisions where her livestock are concerned.
It is through outreach opportunities such as this that youth and adults alike can gain an accurate understanding of the agriculture industry and the effects that outside sources have on it. For further information on agriculture business, the Carnival joins the www.futuresfundamentals.com educational website, which explains the role of derivatives in everyday life. The site takes investing concepts like futures, hedging and speculating and shows how they impact the world around us. Also, don’t forget to visit www.cmegroup.com/4Hcarnival for more information.