4-H teen leaders will help steer youth in the right direction at the Iowa State Fair Aug. 8-16 and eight county fairs through a new Commodity Carnival game. The interactive game walks young people through the steps of bringing steers and cattle to market.
“The Commodity Carnival helps young people understand the economics of agriculture — from balancing the costs of feed, labor, transportation and electricity to preparing for changes in weather, new regulations and other unforeseen obstacles,” said Paige Halsted, Ag Commodity Carnival intern with the 4-H Youth Development program of Iowa State University Extension and Outreach.
CME Group, one of the world’s largest options and futures exchanges, and National 4-H Council are partnering for the second year to bring the Commodity Carnival to 120 state and county fairs in 11 states this summer. Iowa joins the group this year, with the Commodity Carnival featured at the Iowa State Fair and fairs in Black Hawk, Grundy, Hancock, Howard, Jones, Louisa, Poweshiek, and Story counties.
The Commodity Carnival also will be available beyond the fairgrounds. New this year, families across the nation will be able to access the Commodity Carnival game online and as a new downloadable app from their mobile devices.
“We are excited to bring the Commodity Carnival to the Iowa State Fair,” Halsted said. “Participants will gain the experience and understanding of the risks associated with raising steers, and will have the opportunity to receive a variety of great prizes.”
“We’re pleased to be back for our second year of this program because, although we serve customers in more than 150 countries, our roots have always been in the heart of this country with farm and ranch families,” said CME Group Executive Chairman and President Terry Duffy. “Of the many educational programs we offer, this partnership with National 4-H is one of my favorites, because it gives us the unique opportunity to interact with the next generation of our nation’s food producers in their own communities.”
Run by 4-H youth leaders, Commodity Carnival educates participants in two phases. In the first phase, youth are tasked with raising an imaginary steer — balancing the costs of feed, health and nutrition, production and energy and resources. Once ready for market, the steer is weighed and the participant drops a disc down a Plinko-style board, with pegs representing elements beyond the youth’s control — parasites, bad weather, health news, government regulations and seasonal demands. At the end of the activity, the participant obtains an increased understanding of the commodities market.