SEYF: An honored tradition

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Posted March 3, 2023 |

This year’s Southeastern Youth Fair (SEYF), which has been running since Feb. 23, will wrap up Saturday with hundreds of local students having competed in competitions involving animals, cooking, gardening, tractor driving and more. 

The SEYF is the oldest all-youth fair in the country without a midway and the largest all-youth fair event in Florida. The mission is to give participants, who must be registered with a local 4-H club or the National FFA Organization, enhanced educational opportunities and help them with self-esteem and personal growth and development. 

The fair also helps educate residents about the importance of agriculture locally, such as that roughly 22% of our workforce is involved in agriculture in some capacity and Marion County is ranked 10th in the state for beef cattle, first in the state for sheep and goat numbers, and has prominent farms dealing in peanuts, watermelon and seasonal vegetables. 

Many of the SEYF activities, such as raising a steer or pig, or the tractor driving competition, in which the participant must navigate a course that includes being able to back up a trailer, provide valuable skills for the youngsters who are poised to become future farmers and ranchers in our community. 

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